Thinking Cap #37 - Is A Christian Preschool really Christian?

A study released in early April 1998 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that not all terrible twos are equally terrible. Two-year-olds who spend lots of time in childcare generally behave worse than those cared for by their own parents. But childcare workers need not despair. The American Academy of Pediatrics seems intent on making sure that all young children are equally ill-behaved. The 53,000 member academy proclaimed during that same week that spanking leads to aggression in children, and that parents should opt for non-physical punishments such as time-outs and grounding.

Those two items alone would probably be enough to get you up in arms and reaching for your pen. I will not be addressing the corporal punishment item here, but I would encourage you to point your Web-browser at thinking cap #27 for my thoughts in that area. A group of Christians asked me last fall what my thoughts were in regard to parents placing their children in public school, in Christian school or home-schooling them. My response was basically, “Whatever the parents decide, I am for it.” I make that statement because I believe that the Bible places responsibility for the training and development of the child squarely at the feet of the parent (Dt. 6:4-9; Eph. 6:1-4; compare also multiple references in Proverbs dealing with mothers, fathers and children). But, while the parents are responsible, I feel that parents also make choices based upon a lack of information, misinformation and convenience.

What are some of the reasons that parents would place their preschool children under the care of others for training, nurture and education? Some would be:

1. They feel inadequate in dealing with their own child. As good as a Christian preschool might be, it is no substitute for Godly-parents in the raising of children. Jay Adams has an excellent book called “Competent to Counsel.” In it, he maintains that a mature Christian is able to be effective in counseling situations far more than a secularly-trained psychology college graduate. The indwelling Holy Spirit of God in conjunction with a vibrant local-church family and a Christ-centered home will enable any set of parents to raise their children for the Lord.

2. They are unable to control their child. I would again refer you to Thinking Cap #27 and the effective use of parental example together with Corporal punishment. Or you can write and order a copy of my sermon on “What Parents Owe Their Children” where I give ten things that parents should do if they wish to raise children who hope in the ultimate triumph of God and act accordingly (preached on Mother’s Day this year).

3. They relish the joys of a career rather than the raising of a child. This is a very selfish motive and one that is sowing seeds of torment that will bear fruit in generations to come. There is no higher calling in this age than that of being a mother, a father and a parent. Shame on the church for encouraging women to step out on their children and into careers of “fulfillment.”

4. Both parents have to work in order to make ends meet. While this may be the most common reason and the most difficult to tackle, I still feel that it is a matter of priorities. Most families live far beyond their means and think that they “need” more than they really need. Homes, cars, recreational vehicle, sports, vacations and hobbies have taken on an importance that overshadows the simple joys and responsibilities of raising a family. I am aware of multiple parents who have decided (and that is really the key here: a decision) to allow mom to stay home and raise the children who have made very normal choices in life (choices which many would consider radical.... but, then aren’t we called to live radically in this world). Living in a trailer rather than a nice home, driving an 18-year old car rather than a nice Sport Utility Vehicle, staying home to vacation rather than extensive trips, hand-me-downs rather than name brand clothes, eating at home rather than eating out, and on and on and on. It really boils down to a choice of what is important in life. Creature comforts, image, fun, & convenience or raising a family that is content, able to sacrifice (another lost character trait in today’s Christian society with nasty ramifications) & yielded to following Jesus wherever He leads. I don’t mean to be unkind, nor do I wish to condemn parents (or single-parents) who find themselves in bad circumstances. But, I would ask parents to take a careful look at themselves and their options. I really don’t think there is a good substitute for raising children than the family in conjunction with the extended family (but, with our highly mobile society we are also damaging this vital institution... aha, there’s another “thinking cap.”)

What then about churches or groups that offer “Christian” Preschools. Do they not see the damage that is being inflicted? Do they not see that they are usurping (now that’s a word wrought with emotion in a Baptist church) authority that was placed into the hands of parents. I would usually hear the retort, “Parents need a place for their children. If we don’t provide it for them, they will be forced to put their children in a secular preschool.” Isn’t that somewhat like saying, “Men are going to look at pornography, so why not have a safe ‘reading-room’ at the church.” Are such churches not making it easier for parents to avoid their God-given responsibilities? In their rush to be a “full-function-church” or to raise a buck, are they not “aiding and abetting” unscriptural behavior?

Pleasant Thinking,
Kent Haralson


Return to Thinking Cap Homepage


Copyright 1998 by the Gospel Martial Arts Union All rights reserved.