Formed for eternity
Parents must not abdicate their responsibility to form their children . . .
Five California high school students were threatened with suspension for showing up to class wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the American flag on Cinco de Mayo last month.
According to Fox News, the vice principal at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., asked the boys to remove American flag bandannas and to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out, saying the shirts were “incendiary.” The boys, some of whom were Mexican-American, opted to leave school and go home for the day.
After the dust settled, the vice principal apologized. But this political-correctness-run-amuck is symptomatic of the illogical and hypersensitive thinking so prevalent in America’s public schools every day. This sensitivity, however, stops when it comes to any sort of patriotic or Christian expression. In 1962 (and again in 1963), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prayer led by school officials is unconstitutional, and the results have been devastating. In some areas, schools have become virtual war zones with metal detectors and a heavy police presence.
When it came time for my wife and I to decide where to educate our children, the choice was a relatively easy one. My wife is a former school teacher and has the necessary skills to homeschool. But even more importantly, we were not about to abandon the rearing of our children to a secular system that is quite often hostile to the faith. The Catechism says that parents are responsible for their children’s “moral and their spiritual formation. The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute” (#2221).
Clearly, homeschooling is not for everyone. Some parents don’t have the patience, skills or time to effectively carry out a home-based curriculum. Single parents depend on family or other childcare during the day and have precious little time after work. Dual income parents may depend on a second income just to get by. Others may send their kids to exceptional Catholic schools, faithful to the teachings of the Church and able to provide children with a balanced education.
Whether parents opt for a public, private or home-based education for their children, the Church urges them to remember that “parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children [and that] the home is well suited for education in the virtues” (CCC #2223). The family is the primary building block of society, and the home is where most of life’s lessons are learned (and taught) whether we intend it or not.
If parents abdicate their responsibility to form their children in the faith, the world is certainly ready, willing and able to form them according to the secular, humanistic worldview so prevalent these days. It’s a wise Catholic parent (or grandparent) who works hard to ensure that the youngsters in their lives are formed to fight the good fight and bring more souls along for the ride.
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.