The proud, solemn, measured march, the colorful gown, mortarboard and tassel, and that precious piece of paper. Graduation Day is one of the highlights of life, a huge accomplishment. Twelve long years of cramming facts into one's head, and learning lessons that will last a lifetime are behind those excited students, and they feel ready to take on the world!
Whether your child has attended a public school, private school, or homeschool, when they finish the state's requirements for graduation, they're considered ready to be sent out into the world. They've learned all they need to learn in order to either proceed into college or on to their life's work.
But...are they ready? Have they been prepared in the ways that matter? So often, I'm afraid, we think that just because someone is a "good girl or boy", and just because they've gone to church every time the doors were open and had devotions every day, that they're ready for anything and everything that life has to throw at them. Not so.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer to every man
that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear."
1Peter 3:15 (KJV)
These young people need to know their Bible through and through. They need to know how to study it and understand it. Will they know how to respond when they face questions and criticism from those who try their best to undermine and destroy their faith? Will they be able to stand on the firm foundation of Scripture? Or will they fall? Will the fragile little belief system and pat, memorized answers support them? Hardly.
I speak from experience. During my growing-up years,I attended a Christian school. (And I'm very grateful that my grandparents sacrificed so much so that I could go there.) Along with the regular subjects, I learned how to dress, talk, and act, and I learned to parrot nice little cliches and phrases like a pro. On the outside, I looked like the epitome of a good girl with a firm, biblical foundation upon which to stand. But on the inside, I was confused. If I had been pinpointed, I could never have given a sound, scriptural reason for why I believed what I believed, or why I did the things I did. Oh, I could have parroted the things I'd heard/memorized, but I didn't have a good grip of even some of the basic teachings of the Bible.
I've witnessed this over and over. Parents expect the church and the Christian school to teach their children what they need to know. These children aren't properly discipled by anyone, let alone their parents, and then they're shoved out into the world with either no foundation at all, or one that is so weak it will crumble at the slightest nudge. It's time we, as parents, stopped being lazy about the most important area in our children's lives. It's our duty to not only live the life of a Christian in front of them every day, but also to be sure that we ourselves know enough to teach them what they need to know to defend their faith. It's the most important subject they'll learn.
Genesis 1:1, the story of Creation, is the most basic of these, as nearly every other doctrine hinges that passage of Scripture. Here's an example of what I mentioned earlier; I only realized how important the teaching of the literal 6 day creation was in the last three or four years. I had no idea how vital it is to the very core of what we believe. But it is! That's just an example. There are many other issues, and, to be honest, I'm still trying to remedy that lack of knowledge. I have so much to learn. Education isn't everything, I know, and too much education and not enough faith can ruin a person. But it's wrong to use that as an excuse to be lazy about spiritual matters.
Another example is the subject of worldview. Until a few years ago, I really didn't even know what a worldview was. What is your worldview? Is it more secular than you think? It's so important that you know how to shape your worldview according to the Bible!
I guess I've said all that to say this. Don't leave it all up to the preacher or the teacher. YOU are the parent. You teach them the Bible. Be sure they have the answers they need, and a firm foundation upon which to stand before they step out into the "real world". It's wonderful for them to make high grades in their academic subjects, but it's far more important that they make an "A" in the study of Scripture, and the knowledge of how to apply God's Word in all of the situations they'll undoubtedly face.
Send them out...prepared.