For Catholic School's Week, Phil and I were asked to give a talk after Mass about why we chose to send our kids to Catholic school. Since I can NOT publicly speak without hyperventilating, I agreed to write the talk and have Phil give it. Here it is (from Phil's point of view):
Before my wife and I even had children, we talked a lot about their futures. We discussed how we wanted to raise our children, what kind of education we hoped they received, and what kind of people we hoped they would grow up to be. It’s funny now to look back on all those visions we had, and see how different reality can be! But the one thing that has remained constant was our dreams for education. We wanted our children to attend the best academic program we could find, a place where discipline and respect were expected in order to create an ordered, peaceful, and safe place to learn.
We also envisioned a learning environment that was small enough to allow faculty and staff to truly get to know each child individually. A school where preschoolers can walk down the hall and be greeted with smiles and hellos from the big eighth graders. A student body that feels like family away from home, where the kids look out for one another, and can even pray together. We have found all of this in a Catholic school, right here near our home.
We now have four children attending Catholic school, and we are committed to continuing their education there until they are old enough to go to the Catholic High School, where I teach Theology. We personally know the struggles of affording a Catholic education (I just mentioned I was a Catholic school teacher, didn’t I??), but we also can see that the many rewards far outweigh the financial sacrifice. We are so lucky to live in this area where the great competition of Catholic elementary schools keeps the cost of education relatively low. Sending three of our children to preschool and Kindergarten costs less than sending one baby to daycare for the year! Plus, there are financial aid scholarships available from the Diocese, and participating members of Catholic parishes can receive assistance from their Pastor as well. We know the importance of a great education, and we are willing to do what it takes to give this gift to our children.
As parents, our duty in this life is to do all we can to get our children to Heaven in the next life. Why give them an education at the risk of having them lose their faith when we can give them an amazing academic start and allow them to grow in their faith at the same time? Our preschoolers come home from school singing songs about loving Jesus as if that were as normal as singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Our Kindergartner, after learning about Martin Luther King Jr.’s dreams, wrote that he dreamed of a day when public schools can teach about God. Our second grader takes such pride in his academic work, and is being prepared so thoroughly for his First Communion later this year.
While we feel that parents should be the primary educators in the matters of religion, why not get the help and support you need from a place where our children spend most of their waking hours? We strongly encourage all of you parents to attend an open house or take a tour of a Catholic school and see for yourself the difference it could make in your child’s life. Thank you for your time and God Bless!