Excerpt 1 of 3 from Parent Orientation by Ron Gilley
If I were to ask tonight, “Why are you here? Why have you brought your children to this school? Most of us would answer that we are here because Trinitas has a reputation for offering an excellent education, the kind of education that will get your child into a good college and then a good job someday. Also, many of us would say we are here because Trinitas is safe. We’ve all heard the stories from so many schools about sex and drugs and alcohol and violence, so we’ve beat a hasty retreat to a private Christian school where we hope to protect our children from that environment.
So, a great education and a safe environment are two reasons many of us are at Trinitas. I know those were two of my top reasons for bringing my four and five year old to Trinitas in 2003. I wanted them to have a good education, and I wanted them to be safe, sheltered, protected from the dangers they might encounter elsewhere. And of course, we should give our children a good education, and by all means, we should keep them safe. But I want to submit to you this evening that we may be doing these things for the wrong reasons, for selfish and worldly reasons. I know I was. I wanted my children to have a good education so they can get into a good college and make a lot of money someday, and I wanted to keep them safe because they belong to me—as if they are my own possessions—and I don’t want anything to ever happen to them.
Well, guess what? My children don’t belong to me. Your children don’t belong to you. Our children belong to God. He has entrusted them to us for a season only so that we might raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, so that we might train them up in the way that they should go. But make no mistake, they do belong to Him. They are meant for far bigger tasks than our own amusement, and certainly for far more important missions than getting into good colleges and making lots of money. In the words of N.D. Wilson, the popular writer of contemporary children’s fiction, they are made for “polluting shadows.” In his book Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, a culture critique written for adults, Wilson says:
“The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. [But] Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger [either]. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.”