season turn
Wednesday September 06th 2006, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized, youth specialties, personal, family

we closed down our office at ys yesterday for our 5th annual staff sabbath day. we all head up the coast to mission san luis rey, where beth slevcove (our director of spiritual formation), and this year, karla yaconelli, lead us in a day of rest, prayer and reflection. it’s become a wonderful tradition, with a culmination, at the end of the day, of celebrating communion together.

then, my family met at the beach for ‘last day before school’ picnic and play. we stayed until the perfect sunset dropped below the water line.

today, the kids both start school. our public schools here have been in session for 2 1/2 weeks already, but max and liesl are at a waldorf school (a private school). liesl attended there for a month at the end of last year, but this is new for max. she’s pumped, he’s nervous. i asked him how he felt about it, and he said, “well, i don’t want to go, but i know i have to, so there’s no reason to say anything about it.” wise kid.

and, today i fly to argentina. we’ll have our 5th or 6th convention there, in mendoza, at the foothills of the andes, on the western edge of argentina. i’m doing a couple seminars and a general session, with translation.

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marko, in my experience the whole public/private school option has been a heated one. so I want to be clear that I am not digging for holes in your ‘armor’. I wonder if you could articulate some of your rationale to send your children to private school. My own position has leaned heavily toward the public side of this discussion but I would sincerely value your input into my thinking if you think it would be safe to discuss this topic. I realize it has the potential to polarize people so whatever…

Comment by mdaele 09.06.06 @ 10:43 am

you bet, mdaele: i think i’ve done a bit of that in the past, but i’m more than happy to do so again.

first, i’m a huge fan of public schooling. i think christians should be IN culture, not removed from it. we’d always intended our kids to stay in public school all the way through.

but that was until last year, when my daughter entered middle school. her social life at school was great (she loved it), but she was dying academically. she struggled to get through 3 or 4 hours of homework every night, and was still getting Cs and Ds. it was a massive strain on our relationships, and my wife and i were afraid it would start to have an impact on liesl’s beautiful heart. we didn’t want her to feel like a failure, or to have her life consumed with homework.

not being very open to considering a christian school (i’m sure there are fantastic christian schools - i’ve seen a few of them; but the one by us would be pretty similar to the public school in terms of academic approach, but is really good at turning out jaded innoculated nominal christians, we searched for alternatives. that’s how we stumbled onto the school we put the kids in: it’s private, but not christian. the kids are from a great socio-economic mix, and a great racial mix. there’s massively high parent involvement, it’s developmentally and learning-style sensitive, and uses lots of arts to teach.

when we visited the school for liesl, we realized it would be great for max also — for different reasons. he’s a sensitive kid with no struggles academically, but lots of social struggles.

all that to say, i have always thought parents need to do what’s best for their kids, while keeping some broader values in mind. jeannie and i have a broader value of not pulling our kids out of culture, but we needed a different approach to teaching (and homework).

Comment by marko 09.06.06 @ 11:04 am

Mark, I have followed your blog for a long time but this is the first time Ive ever commented but I just want to say how much I appreciate your heart. Us in youth work tend to shoot off our mouths in arrogance and insensitivity but over and again I find myself humbled as I read your thought processes (eg. reviews of your books).
Its encouraging to read!

Comment by Dr Michael 09.06.06 @ 11:00 pm

The Sabbath day sounds just wonderful - and incredibly smart. Many blessings on you and your team.

Comment by kyle 09.07.06 @ 9:39 am

i think the ‘not-pulling out of culture’ is huge.
I’ve also realized that with an increase in the private schooling options comes a different way to engage culture.
I have no illusions that the public school system (at least in this country) is the lowest common denominator in almost every aspect (academic, social, etc.,) So I think there are times when we need to fine tune the education that our children are getting.
i especially applaud your intentional choice of a school that has racial and socio-ec. diversity.
thanks again - sorry for being lazy…

Comment by mdaele 09.07.06 @ 10:45 am

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