How we choose to educate our children is such an important priority to Scott and I. Both of us are products of the public school system and I’m the daughter of a public school teacher. Looking back, my education was pretty awesome. But, I was also raised in a small town (less than 12,000) as was Scott (4,000) with a graduating class of 151 and 92, respectively. Our public school experience, in many ways, reflects the education our children are getting today at a private, Catholic school here in Austin. Back then, we led the Pledge of Allegiance, said the morning prayer on the local radio, knew everyone in the school and had serious, yet appropriate, consequences for our bad choices.
There are so many reasons why we choose to make the financial sacrifice for our children’s education. Let the record reflect that I admire any educational system, as long as it’s right for that family and done for the right reasons. I have oodles of friends who send their kids to public school and love it. The same goes for other private (non-religious and religious) schools and homeschoolers. Ultimately, though, we feel strongly this is where our children are meant to be. And, may I also add that I’ve never viewed our “sacrifice” as a sacrifice? Some people may wonder: How do you do it? How do you send five kids to Catholic school on a one-income family budget? Well, our date nights are pretty close to home, we don’t take fancy vacations, our cars are paid off…and all that jazz. I suppose I would say this. When you want something – and I mean REALLY want it – you make it happen. If you want to lose 20 pounds, you find a way. If you want a night out with your spouse, you search high and low for a sitter. If you want to get into that awesome college, you study hard. We really wanted a Catholic education for our children, so we do whatever it takes. If you’re wanting it to, and thinking there is no way, I’ll offer this advice. Go talk to the school’s principal. Take a tour of the campus and find out if there’s a way you can make it work for your family. If it is of God, it will be. You can take that to the bank.
This past weekend, we had the honor of hosting a get together at our house, along with three other families, in support of Catholic education. Perhaps what brought us together was the annual fundraising appeal for the school, but what kept us there was community. As we played the school video, instead of watching it, I looked around the room at the nearly 70 parents and faculty in attendance and I darn near teared up. The parents of my children’s dearest friends – the ones they play with, argue with, study with and grow up with – were in our living room. Smiling at the faces on our TV. And I saw God in that room. Experience has taught me that I can reach out to them when I need to talk, pray, hash out a problem or celebrate a joy.
Y’all, that is a gift. That is why we do what we do. My children’s academic success is vitally important to me. We would be doing them a disservice if we didn’t give them that. But, it is their spiritual well-being that will take them farther. Their souls are at stake and I don’t take that lightly.
So, as we played some 42, drank a little wine, laughed about stories that are only told in good company and ate some pretty fantastic BBQ and fixings, I felt joy. I really do love where God is leading our family.
Holy Family, pray for us.