Two weeks ago, we went to see Lee’s mom and dad in Wisconsin and had a great visit. I also found the visit insightful as it concerns Christian college and my children.
Lee’s dad is on the administrative team at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Lee went to college there, and I taught there for three years while Lee was in medical school. Going on campus is a lot of fun for us adults. I get a chance to chat with friends that I worked with, see a few previous students grown up with families and a part of the college in other ways. I see the children from church grown up, too. Lee sees his friends and old teachers, those who loved him and cried over him, and are delighted to see him. It is fun to talk with Lee’s dad about the vision and goals of this small liberal arts college. They don’t always accomplish everything they’d like, but they are constantly evaluating those goals and how they’re doing reaching them. Fun.
I was fascinated to watch our children as we interacted with the school functions (we went to a college play, and ate on campus several times). Laurel asked her grandpa, “Is this a Christian college?” The children were trying to understand the simple questions that keep us adults talking late into the night. What makes a college Christian? How is it different than any other college? What do these college students do all day? Is our mission effective? Does it make a difference when a student attends a Christian college?
I had deliberately planned our trip so that they would have the opportunity to see some of the answers to those questions. They attended the college play. We ate on campus. Normally, we would have attended chapel, but that didn’t work out this trip.
Is it any wonder that they like what they see? Or that they say, “I want to go to a Christian college like you did”?
- I’m interested that simply visiting a college at this time in their lives was so influential in their thinking.
- Although I have no idea what Christian colleges will look like when they’re older, I like very much for them to have Christian college as a desirable and attainable option.
- I’m thankful for my early exposure to Christian colleges. I think it would be worth seeking out for my children at this age, even if I didn’t have family near a school like that.
- Not everyone has a positive experience in Christian college. I did. That surely shapes my approach to college in our family. I am routinely grateful for my education and degree from a Christian college.
- Will we require college? Yes, for our girls and son both. Not every kid should go to college, but in our family, college is the default setting. That said, there are many reasons that a student won’t need college. I’m not setting hard and fast rules right now. On the other hand, when our children ask, “Will I go to college?” We simply answer, “Probably. We’ll see what God does when you get to that point.”
I too had a fairly positive experience at a small Bible college, and would love for my kids to go to one but I don’t see how we will be able to afford it for them. I only attended 2 years, so that may be feasible and not all Christian colleges are equal. Many I think not worth the extra cost and might be a discouragement to some kids because of the lack of visible difference from secular colleges. I like your idea of exposing them young though.
Laura, I’m becoming increasingly aware of how cost can be prohibitive. I do think a child who desires Christian college is far more likely to overcome obstacles than one who doesn’t care. I do think the major a child chooses can be significant. I was an English major, and I thoroughly enjoyed my classes. I found them of tremendous value. Friends who attended state colleges loathed their English courses (with good reason!). Other majors might not have such a drastic difference in courses. There are other factors, of course, that make a Christian education desirable, but that is one consideration.