by Allison Hyer
Allison is a gradaute of Calvary Christian School in Naperville, IL (elementary school) and Wheaton Academy in West Chicago, IL (high school). She graduated from Bryan College in Dayton, TN. In addition, Allison is the daughter of Mr. Mark Strohm, Elementary Principal at Delaware County Christian School (Newtown Square, PA).
A person’s worldview—the basic set of beliefs through which you understand the world—is affected by the influences around them. One of the most important influences in a child’s life is his teacher.
Each day teachers pass on basic information that students accept as truth. Especially with young children, the truth of what a teacher says is not generally questioned. Not only in matters of fact does the teaching go unquestioned, though. The way a teacher treats students, the opinions a teacher may communicate—these are accepted as well.
Whether a teacher is passing on factual answers to the foundational questions (like teaching a child about scientific origins) or more subtle opinions (such singling out a child as commendable for something, which teaches about identity), a child is exposed to a teacher’s basic beliefs. Children are not equipped to untangle these beliefs on their own or even communicate them to their parents, so these beliefs will most often be accepted without question.
Since worldview is so foundational, the importance of answering basic questions correctly and consistently cannot be overestimated. When parents send their child to school, they are entrusting the mind of their child to his teachers. If the worldviews of his teachers are not biblical, the parents have led their child into a position where he will absorb basic beliefs that are not true or consistent. And because basic beliefs are also assumptions, he will not know how to question them.
His foundation for meaning, morality, identity and his understanding of his destiny will still be influenced by his parents, but because his teachers are in a position of authority and because they spend so much time imparting knowledge to him, there is no question that they will also be a huge influence on him in those areas. These unbiblical basic beliefs will be established in his mind, leading to, if not action based upon unbiblical beliefs, at least confusion. Which way of thinking is the right way—his parents’ or his teachers’ and friends’?
However, when parents send their child to a school where the teachers’ worldviews are biblical, they can be assured that he is learning—both extrinsically and intrinsically—the same basic beliefs and assumptions that they are imparting to him at home. They do not have to worry about their child learning unbiblical answers to basic questions about who he is, where he came from, what right and wrong are based upon, the value of other people and the meaning of life.
This leads to increased confidence for the child—there is no conflict between the authority figures in his life, so he can be more sure that what he believes is true. This will lead to a greater tendency toward action based on a biblical worldview, as well. Because he is learning to think in ways that are consistent and biblical, the fruit of those beliefs will be evident in a life lived more consistently by biblical principles.
An increase in confidence will also come for the parents—they do not have to worry about trying to help a child who is too young to question his assumptions unlearn what his teachers have taught him. Not that they can or should disengage in the process, but when they send their child to a Christian school, they can rest assured that they have entrusted the formation of their child’s beliefs to allies who are working toward the same goal—imparting a true and biblical worldview to their child.