Evangelizing the World Begins with Protecting Your Kids

Evangelizing the World Begins with Protecting Your Kids January 14, 2014

Pope Francis has called us to evangelize the world.

Jesus Christ also called us to evangelize the world.

That is our Great Commission as believing Christians.

It requires us to go out into the world wearing our faith on our sleeves. It means that we will have to consign ourselves to the barbs and slings that certain folk aim at Christians who stand for Christ. It is a call to give up the cheap grace of hiding our light under a bushel and to stand upright and live our love for Jesus out loud and in public.

I am not talking about becoming the mirror image of the atheist boor who goes around verbally assaulting and insulting Christians for entertainment and sport. We are not called to force our beliefs on those who will not hear them.

Our call is something much more difficult. We are called to live as if we believe what we say we believe and to do what Jesus told us to do in every aspect of our lives. That means we don’t lie, steal, cheat to get ahead. It means we practice personal chastity and sexual cleanliness. It means we do not defame, slander or try to destroy those who disagree with us, even when they do their best to defame, slander and destroy us.

It means that we study the faith so that we stand ready to, as Paul instructed, give a good report of what we have believed. It means we must know our faith and are always willing to talk about it in a positive and faith-filled way.

But there is one thing it does not mean. It does not mean that we throw our children to the secular and anti-Christian wolves when they are unformed babies. By that I mean specifically the schools where they spend most of their waking hours.

I hate saying this, hate worse that I think it’s true, but the schools have become a means of indoctrinating our children into a worldview that is not only anti-Christian, but is in many ways, anti-child. Consider this, this, thisthis and this.

Do you really want your children going to schools whose sex ed courses hand out chemical birth control and give lectures on how any sexual behavior is “normal?” Do you want your daughters taking the morning after pill like candy? Do you want your kids confused with “gender identity” lectures?

And I’m not even talking about the other kids, coming from their messed up homes and the bullying and cruelty that, based on my experience when my kids went to the public schools, is ignored and allowed. There are kids who can manage to get through this intact. But most of them can’t. That means that the public schools, especially big city schools, are no longer a safe place to send your kids if you are a Christian who wants your children to grow up with Christian values.

Add to that the fact that the public schools do not provide a good education for everyone. Public education is at least two-tiered. We have the schools in the “right” neighborhoods where the best teachers teach, the facilities are top notch and everyone has access to all the learning equipment they could ever need. Then, we have the inner city schools where there aren’t enough textbooks for every child to have one, and, while some of the teachers have a missionary zeal, most are burnt out and just building time toward retirement.

Ironically, the parents in these inner-city schools are the ones who are least able to provide alternatives for their kids. Rich kids can always go to private schools. But inner-city kids are stuck.

Those of us who are adults need to assume an adult faith and stand up for Jesus in the larger culture. Not one of us is too precious to take a few slings and arrows for Our Lord. On the other hand, we also need to take a parallel stand for Christ by protecting our children from this toxic culture until they are old enough to engage with it without being overwhelmed by it.

We live in a bizarre world where adults run and hide, duck and cover, while they put their kids out there on the front lines. If we are going to stand for Christ, our first mission is to reverse that.

You need to stand for Christ while you simultaneously protect your child from evil influences until that child is an adult who can stand on his or her own.

The best way to illustrate this is by taking a look at the Holy Family. Joseph and Mary protected Jesus and kept Him safe throughout His childhood. They did not go around announcing “We’ve got the Son of God here! Come have a look!” They gave Him a childhood of normal time, safe and protected within His family.

Men, I want you to consider the role of Joseph. When Herod decided to kill the baby Jesus, God didn’t wake up Mary. He went to Joseph and told him to get his family out of danger.

Men, if you are not helping your wives to be the mothers to your children that those children need, then you are failing. It is your job to protect your families and keep them safe. That is why God made you strong. That is why God woke up Joseph, and not Mary, when it was time to flee into Egypt.

Women, I want you to consider the role of Mary. She is the Mother of God. The Archangel Gabriel greeted her, “Hail Mary!” which is the greeting extended to Caesars. She outranks every other human being. But her first and most important job was to deliver her baby son to adult manhood as a loved and fully-formed human being.

One of the things that amazes and touches me, as both a mother and the daughter of a mother, is that when mothers do their jobs right, their children never stop coming to them for comfort and support. Never. The safest place on earth for well-raised people is always Mama. Or, as a priest friend of mine once said, “Home is where your mother is.”

What about the single parent who doesn’t have a husband or wife to lean on? The mess we’ve made of marriage and the inability of our young people for form families of their own, has led to a whole generation of fatherless children. Mothers are stretched beyond what any one person was ever designed for. There are also some men raising their children alone.

How does a Christian single parent, who has to work full-time and who doesn’t have the money to provide choices in education or in life for their kids, manage to do it? We have one example among the Catholic Patheosi in Katrina Fernandez, The Crescat.

I think we need to support single parents in their efforts to raise Christian children. We need to help them as much as we can. Maybe God will call someone to develop a lay ministry to support children who are missing a parent and for parents who are trying to be two people. Things are in such a mess right now, that I think we need to begin by ministering to our own struggling Christian people before we move out to the rest of the world. In these trying times, Christians need ministry from other Christians.

We are called absolutely by both the Holy Father and Christ the Lord to take a stand in this life and this world for Jesus. No one should ever be in doubt that you are a Christian. None of the people who know you should have to guess that you follow a risen Lord.

But the single most important way we can do that begins, not in public, but in the safety of our own homes. Protect your children first. Whatever it costs you, protect your children.

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14 responses to “Evangelizing the World Begins with Protecting Your Kids”

  1. The biggest misconception that many (not all) children from overly religious families bring to school is homophobia. They go through their childhood and adolescence with mixed messages about homosexuality. Religious parents teach them that it is a sinful lifestyle. The schools, on the other hand, encourage tolerance and diversity. My younger son helped form a gay-straight alliance at his Catholic high school, which has continued on to help dispell prejudices learned at home. He described it in an essay on his college application and was accepted at Cornell. I am proud of him.

  2. Amen and amen! The older I get, and the more children become likely, the more I understand my parents’ attempts to shelter their kids. To say the world is even crazier now than in the 80s is more or less undeniable, tho of course human nature itself is quite consistent. 🙁 I’m also with you on the backwards notion of putting children out there to be bathed in the acid bath of the world while we adults conveniently avoid matters of faith and morality outside of the church walls. Anyone with some developmental psych training (or experience as a human!) knows kids are much more fragile and maleable than adults–both for good and for bad, depending on what happens to them… it’s just a fact of how we come to be who we will be as adults.

  3. Bill, I have a friend who had to pull her kid out of the public high school he was attending because of the gay bashing. She learned what was happening because she got a call that he was truant and found out that he was hiding in the school library to keep from going to class. The school, predictably, would not do anything.

    Gay bashing isn’t the only or even the most common, form of bullying and hazing in the public schools. It happens to girls because they are girls, to boys who are not aggressive, to Christians, (I recently dealt with a 14-year-old who was suicidal because of being constantly hazed by atheists in his public school) or to anyone who looks like an easy victim. From my experience, the schools always do nothing.

    By the way, my friend moved her son to a Catholic school — which agreed to take him mid-semester because of his situation — and he was very happy there.

  4. Even the Catholic schools aren’t that great any more, though in general they are a step or two up from the public schools. My advice: consider homeschooling.

  5. This was beautiful Rebecca. I loved it, all of it. School choice is the answer, or at least an improvement. In NYC we have a charity called the Inner City Scholarship Fund that pays to send poor kids to Catholic schools. It’s one of my charities. Perhaps other cities have similar or should try to organize something along those lines.

  6. Bill, we’re all learning a bit more about homosexuality than in times past. I am not for any gay stigma. I was actually quite liberal on this going back well into my youth. However I am not for gay marriage. We have to find a balance, though I think the gay marriage issue is lost.

  7. Yes, schools do nothing, everywhere. A friend is looking at pulling her daughter out of highschool in WA because a gang of girls has made her their target and the school will do nothing. So, she gets stuck in classes with them and doing assignments with them, and then things happen like her going over to do work at a girl’s house where they gang up on her and send her to the ER with broken ribs and a concussion. On school grounds, they bully her until she snaps and throws a punch and then SHE gets a record of “assault” and suspended for a few days. It isn’t because of her looks, her beliefs, or anything–it’s just because they can, and most likely if she escapes them, they will just find a new target, maybe even the weakest among their own circle. It’s terrible, and her mom’s beside herself. And this isn’t the only case I know of, either. 🙁

  8. My children went to Catholic schools. There were several gay students who fled from the public schools to the Catholic school because there was greater acceptance there and far less verbal and physical violence. While gay students were accepted and nurtured, the Church’s teachings were clearly explained in Religion classes.

  9. My older son, who is gay, was bullied and called a “faggot” in his public school. He attended private schools from then on and received an excellent education. He is in the entertainment business and serves part-time as music director for an elementary school.

    Catholic and other religious parents are upset about the supposed “indoctrination” going on in the Massachusetts public schools by the LGBTQ movement. Yes. Some of it seems a bit over the top. But I believe that most of it is necessary to counteract prejudices picked up from their parents, especially for those who are gay themselves and are at a high risk of suicide. Not to mention the need to stop gay bashing in the schools.

  10. “I am not talking about becoming the mirror image of the atheist boor who goes around verbally assaulting and insulting Christians for entertainment and sport. We are not called to force our beliefs on those who will not hear them.”

    When you demean LGBTQ Americans as undeserving of the same rights and privileges you take for granted as a straight woman, you should expect insults to be hurled.

    When you demean women and refuse to allow them control over when and if they become pregnant and leave that to be determined by men who never have to experienced childbirth, you should expect verbal backlash.

    And when you force your beliefs in the form of legislative action to disenfranchise whole segments of the population from the legal benefits you have complete access to regarding marriage, you should expect anger and vitriol to be directed your way.

    You do not get to wield the stick and expect the person getting hit to not react negatively.

  11. My younger son went to a Catholic high school and got a top notch education as did I. There is no question about Catholic schools being far superior to public. The problem is with the Church’s policies as they relate to human sexuality. But high schoolers are smart enough to form their own opinions. I was. And my son was.

  12. Do you have to pay for Catholic education as they do here in Australia ,I ask this because not everyone can afforded the school fees which can be substantial in the more prestigious schools so as much as most Catholic parents would like to send their children to a Catholic school finances prohibit. Secondly an idea what about parishes have a adopt a granny/grandfather auntie/uncle yes pre veted blue card here in Australia for children of single parent families or even
    Ones who have family living far away. We have to try and help each other don’t we?