July 23, 2024

Indoctrination or Teaching?

Studying LateWhen I told a coworker some time ago that I was planning on homeschooling my children, her first response was to wonder if I’d let my children experience any other viewpoint than my own. I told her that they’d be able to learn about other things, but from my viewpoint.

However, this whole concept seems to be a recurring theme and is more foundational than I once thought. It wasn’t more than a few weeks ago that I caught a special on one of the news magazines (it may have been 20/20) where they were doing some kind of in depth look at some kind of Christian cult. It was started by some Baptist Preacher and had some kind of innocuous name, but according to 20/20 the kids were indoctrinated to believe that free and casual sex was something that was encouraged by Christ. I won’t go into all the perversion, but I think I gained a glimpse of the reasoning the coworker had, why she had it, and I started to puzzle and reason through it.

Old Time Values are No Longer Considered Right

The current adult generation seems to have lived with the motto “Question Authority or Everything.” Without going into the question of did they question the motto, we’re now reaping a society that wonders about the morals and things that they were taught and wonders aloud about whether it’s something that their children should be trained.

I’m certain that society for all of time has looked upon people that weren’t brought up with the identical values as odd. Therefore, if Christian parents continue to adhere to teaching a Christian worldview to their children, they will come under more scrutiny. It’s possible that it could be a feeling of inadequacy by the parents doing the critiquing or it could be fear of another cult, but in either case, we’re living in a society with changing values and we must decide where we will stand.

A Double Standard

One of the problems with the new cultural norms is that they claim to want to promote your ability to choose your own path– but your path must be one of the accepted ones. So, it’s not ok to seek to follow after the Bible as far as roles for men and women, because that means that you’re enslaving them.

So, we have people saying that it should be ok for you to choose your own school– but it has to produce the same kind of lemmings that the rest of the world produces, even though the claim that they should question everything. In reality, what they want you to question is anything that would restrict you or cause you to think something’s wrong. They’re really pushing a humanist worldview, but they don’t want you to know it.

The Truth: Everyone has a Worldview

The truth is that everyone has a worldview. Some big components are the same for numbers of people. Some of the smaller may be unique (hard to imagine). In any case, we use our worldviews to make sense out of what’s around us. We look at the world and see either “wow, God created an amazing world” or “wow, I can’t believe this all came about by chance!” (funny statement, that last one). We see how people act, what people say, and interpret it through our worldview.

What the world is really saying when they claim that you’re indoctrinating your children (or use the word brainwashing them) is that they don’t want your worldview on your kids, they want theirs. They don’t want you having kids that look at the world God created and seek to please Him, they want someone who will look to themselves and the government for help.

Now, I’m not saying that cults are right– what I am saying is that it’s unexplainable to me why society seems to be afraid of children that seek to love their neighbor as themselves, want to share the greatest news ever told, and that have an appropriate respect for authority and are good citizens. Why we should choose to indoctrinate our children in a culture that seeks to be subversive, to get as much as they can from the government, and thinks that this is all there is so there’s no inner sense of accountability to something higher than themselves is ludicrous…

…except: These people are the same ones that are missing that which makes us a different. A personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Perhaps they push this indoctrination for our kids because they don’t know the fullness and richness of a life in Christ. For that, we need to work all the harder to get the message out.

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10 thoughts on “Indoctrination or Teaching?

  1. What the world is really saying when they claim that you’re indoctrinating your children (or use the word brainwashing them) is that they don’t want your worldview on your kids, they want theirs.

    You are “bang-on” with the above statement, my friend. My wife is homeschooling our children, and we got the old “brainwashing” charge on a number of occasion. My answer was and is:

    “It seems better to me to indoctrinate my kids in the Truth, than let the TV brainwash them into stupidity and ungodliness.”

    My fundamental 0.02$,


  2. My husband and I were hit with this whole article just a couple years ago, and by family members no less! Hence the reason our children ended up in public school for 3 years. There were a couple other issues too, but that was probably the biggest one.

    I guess I was just amazed at the statements: that we were brainwashing them, we needed them to make their own decisions about everything in life…including God. Yes, God does give us volition to either accept or reject Him, but our jobs as parents are to train them up (Proverbs 22:6), teach them about God and His Son, the work He did for us on the cross. I can not even imagine not setting that as a standard…a foundation in child-rearing!

    The other thing that always amazes me about the people that make the statements about ‘brainwashing’ your children or that they need socialization in public school, is that so many of them do not have children! They are experts on how to rear your children, but won’t make the commitment to take on that kind of responsibility themselves. But, my personal opinion is that many people that think that way have fallen into almost a socialist view about life in general.

  3. It is uncomfortable to say that we want to train our children in the truth, and yet it’s something that we must not compromise on. I must emphasize– it’s not like we’re choosing to train or not to train, but what to train them. If we train them nothing, then they will follow anything. It’s not good for society, it’s not good for their spiritual life, and it’s not good for the parents– whose ultimate responsibility it is to train the children.

  4. “…we need to work all the harder to get the message out.” True, though, unfortunately our fellow Christians often cite that as the reason to send our children into the public schools – the ol’ “salt and light” argument. But, I’m not throwing my children to the dogs when they themselves haven’t yet been rooted and grounded in the truth yet!

  5. I still have mixed feelings about homeschooling and my husband is dead set against it.

    There are absolutely positive aspects of homeschooling and the best part is teaching the kids about devine creation, which in fact is truth.

    However, I believe they may be too sheltered from the world.

    What happens when they go to college? I would feel they would be inadequate, emotionally, to handle the reality of college life and all of its diversities.

    I don’t know.

  6. Leticia, here in the UK there is not such a trend to homeschool, so it is not really an issue. I can see your point and Min’s too. A teacher may not be supposed to teach their own world view, but because they internalize attitudes of the culture and worldview they live in, they will teach things unaware that what they are saying is not so much truth as a consistent (or paraconsistent :dizzy: ) point of view.

    An example might be a history lesson, where the teacher perhaps says something on the lines of “the 17th century English civil war and glorious revolution preserved Britain from becoming a republic”, which would totally ignore the effect of the 18th century evangelical awakening. What is said would sound right and seem to be consistent, but without serious challenge, the children would not know that this is merely point of view.

    This kind of thing would happen again and again in schools. It is inevitable, so the question is what we do about it.

    One viewpoint is to take the children out, and teach only our world view. That is an honest solution, because it recognises that children will be taught a worldview wherever they are, and that they too could just internalize the attitudes of our culture if sent uncritically to a state school.

    Another solution is to send children to a Church school (I’m not sure how prevalent these are in the U.S.) and a third option is to send them to the state school, but to get involved in your child’s education, challenging the things they are taught, and teaching them how to think through the issues. This, I think, prepares them well for life – where they are able to respond critically to the challenges the world throws at them.

    I do, however, think the “keep religion out of schools” hysteria is a real problem. In the UK our state schools have acts of worship (of a “mainly Christian” character) and religious education as a legislated part of the school week.

    Now school is not the place to teach our children doctrine, I think – and if the head teacher of a school is not a Christian, then the quality of assembly given to the children will vary widely. However, this deliberate policy means that we do not have major problems over religion in schools. It is an accepted part of school life.

  7. Regardless of the schooling option chosen, the parent needs to be involved– and I think that’s what you’re saying, Stephen. I think you’re absolutely correct here.

    I think that each child is different, and will react differently to the culture that’s present him. That being the case, I appreciate people like Holly that do a mix– homeschool while young and then send to public school when older (when they’re ready) for the other options.

    Keep in mind, there are more school options now than state schools, and you supplement homeschooling with more community service than the average public school student does so that they get the socialization that they need. Don’t think of homeschooling as the place where the kids are home 24/7, think of it as the adventure where you’re out in nature to learn science, where you go to the library to learn great truths, where history comes alive visiting battlefields, and where you have the time to minister in your community unfettered by the confines of a 8 to 3 school day.

  8. Leticia – of course, you must submit to your husband in this, and do as Stephen suggests — be involved in your children’s school.

    There are a number of hybrid options popping up as well: homeschool/Christian school, homeschool/public school, part-time attendance, etc.

    One other thing to look out for: homework! When my kids were in the early elementary grades, it was shocking how much time it took out of their day to do the homework assigned. Family life, chores, etc, suffered. So it could be a real challenge to train your children in a biblical worldview, in the amount of time left over.

  9. I have to say something to all of this again! :cheerful: We have done about half and half with public school and home school. Our oldest is now away, 2,000 miles away at Bible College.

    When the children were in public school, we felt there was a lot of deprogramming to do. And as Rebecca said above, it cut seriously into our family time and chores. I thought that since they had been at school for 7 hours out of the day, when they were home it should be OUR time, not homework, programs, etc. So, there was a lot of aggravation with that of course. When we home school, we do a four day week and are usually through by noon! This is covering ALL subjects, everyday, Friday is a make-up day or field trip day. I absolutely LOVE this schedule! I can’t say that enough. And, we finish the books every year, something they do not do in public school.

    The curriculum I use also gives what they are teaching, or the ‘norm’ in public school and then it teaches the Biblical view. So, they are still learning both views, which they need of course to take ACT and SAT tests in order to go to college. Our children are learning the ‘basics’ of evolution, for testing purposes and we are ‘teaching and promoting’ the Biblical view. So far, none of our children have strayed from this Biblical view. I think they need to have an understanding of what is going on in the world system, because they live in it, but they function in their daily lives under God’s system.

    Since our children have gone in and out of public school, (which has had bad and good benefits), they have had to be tested. They have always come out above average and have ‘mainstreamed’ well into that environment.

    Because we have home schooled our children, we have really encouraged them to get out and experience life around the age of 16. They work out in the community, have worked different kinds of jobs, so they can get an idea of how the world functions and others in it while still under the protection of our home life. This has not included dating, and that has not even been as issue with our teenagers yet. We have always enouraged education and home life until at least 18 when they can be responsible for themselves. But, they have had bank accounts; checking and saving and credit cards before they have left home. Mainly because we wanted them to learn the proper usage of all.

    Our daughter has adjusted very well to college life and living away from home. She has been ready to tackle anything that has come her way. All our children have done and will be doing summer work programs where they are gone for the summer, around other people and authority. We think they need this to get them ready for their adult life.

    Bottom line is: Each family has to decide what God’s will is for their life. Even if you set out to home school or to have your children in public school, be ready for God’s leading in your life and accepting of what He wants you to do.

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