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Choosing a non Adventist vs. an Adventist school


Iíve been going to an Adventist school my whole life. Now that Iím going to high school this year, itís not my choice to go to an Adventist school. At a public high school I think Iíll learn more and be more challenged. I really think public high school is better, and I think I can survive, but my mom doesnít. What should I do?óSchool Stuck, 14, IL

Shayna Answers:

Dear School Stuck,

Both public schools and private schools have their advantages. The choice of one over the other depends entirely on your circumstances. Many private schools’ curriculums are Christian-based. Because there are usually fewer students in private schools, teachers usually have more time to help students and mentor them.

In public schools the broad student diversity and state funding often allow them to offer special accommodations for learning disabled, speech-impeded, and gifted students. As you pointed out, advanced programs such as honors, advanced placement, international baccalaureate, and dual enrollment can be a huge draw to a public school, especially if the private school in your area lacks them.

What may be concerning your mother is that public schools, because of their diversity, will force you to mingle with non-Adventists and non-Christians. From what you said, this will be a new experience for you. Christ showed us by His example that we shouldn’t be afraid to do this, and that life doesn’t always happen in “safe” environments (Luke 7:34, 35).  But, He also showed through his own life and schooling that before we embark in any public ministry, it is important to have a strong spiritual foundation.

When you say your mother doesn’t think you’ll “survive,” maybe she feels that you lack the maturity to stand up for yourself against the peer pressures you’ll encounter at a public school. She may want you to be in an environment that will help strengthen your spiritual foundation for a few more years, so that when you do enter the “real world,” you won’t end up compromising your standards.

Sit down and talk to your mother to find out exactly what her reservations are. Make sure you listen to what she’s saying before jumping in with your counter-arguments. The goal of Christian education is to strengthen your spiritual foundation, develop your character, and prepare you to share God’s love with people everywhere. Think this through carefully, then talk to your mother about your concerns and your desire to try a public school education. Ask her if the two of you can compromise—if she can help you understand more about your faith and help you make better decisions.

You’ll also need to demonstrate your maturity by your actions. This means taking on more responsibility at home—doing your chores without being harassed, not picking fights with your siblings, and not succumbing to negative behaviors just because everyone else is doing them.

I guarantee that in a public school, you will end up questioning your faith. Many Christians believe this exposure strengthens their faith. The working world that you’ll eventually be a part of is full of different kinds of people with different beliefs. It’s important to understand why you believe what you do so you can witness about it (2 Timothy 2:15).

If your mother decides not to send you to public school, don’t worry. Colossians 2:2, 3 reminds us that God holds all the treasures of wisdom—not our educators.  So, no matter where you go, if you are seeking God first, you’re going to excel academically (Matthew 6:33).

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