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Ask Dave

Is A Christian School The Answer?

Mary is calling because she would like to put her stepson in private Christian school in the upcoming school year. Dave isn't sure the school is going to solve his problems.

QUESTION: Mary in Knoxville is calling because she would like to put her stepson in private Christian school in the upcoming school year. He has some issues with violence, and Mary thinks the school could help. Her husband wants to get out of debt first. They make about $160,000, and the school is $6,000 a year. Dave isn’t sure the school is going to solve his problems.

ANSWER: My kids are grown. My youngest is in college, and my daughters are grown and married to sharp young men. My only expertise in family therapy is having been a dad. That’s the extent of my expertise. Things that we dealt with with our kids in early adolescence included peer issues and external variables involved. As parents, what we came to find was that the video games and the movies are an impact. They are an issue. The school is an issue. But if you put those two things together, my unprofessional opinion would be they don’t amount to 25% of the problem. Seventy-five percent of this is putting this boy in a headlock and taking him fishing ever so often and threatening to drown him on the fishing trip if he doesn’t straighten up. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I was being sarcastic.

Dad has not been there in his life because of the divorce, and Mom’s screwed up. It’s going to take a little while for this little guy to come around with Dad’s influence and Dad’s loving, firm, strong hand. I really don’t think you’re going to get the result you think you’re going to get by moving him. I think you can take all the violence out of his life and put him in the perfect little school, and he’s still going to be having these issues except to the extent that you and your husband lovingly and firmly challenge his little behavior patterns.

We’ve been through it, too. Ramsey kids aren’t perfect kids. We went through the thing where we stuck them in a Christian school and that was going to be all right because they were hanging out with Christians. What we found out was some of these Christians are twits.

The biblical foundation also comes from you more than the school. I’ve seen some of the meanest little twerps I ever saw under the heading of the cross. Our family is believers. We go to church. But my youth group didn’t lead my kids to the Lord. Their mom and dad did. It was a good youth group; it was influential in their lives in helping them form character. The school didn’t make or break. We didn’t allow those variables to be in control. We look at them. We analyze them. It’s our responsibility as parents. It’s not the school’s fault.

You make $160,000 a year. If you want to spend $6,000 on your kid, I’d do it. If it helps, it helps. But I don’t think it’s going to change his life. I think you are.