Monday, January 16, 2006

College Bound

A reader emailed and asked, "We are currently involved in a book study, which has been thought provoking. I agree with a lot that the author says, but there are somethings that I think it is wiser to not make a sweeping statement, but to let people do as the Lord leads them. One the question of whether girls should go on to school is one that is of particular interest as my daughter is approaching college age. She is highly academic and it has never really crossed my mind that she need not go. In the book Raising Maidens of Virtue by Stacy McDonald there were some thoughts shared that I would like to quote to you:

From the book: 1 Timothy 5:14 "I will therefore that the yonger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give no occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. "

Notice that instead of instructing younger women to find a specialized training or learn a trade, he encourages them to marry, bear children and guide the house. .....So if singleness is not the Scriptural norm, and marriage and being a keeper at home is, doesn't it seem logical that marriage and homemaking should be our focus of training? If we want to train to do something well, we train for what we expect we will actually be doing. If a Christian man wants to be an engineer, we don't see him running off to auto-mechanic school just in case he is ever laid off. He trains diligently for the desired result and trusts that God will equip him for any emergencies that might arise. Women who train to be breadwinners can expect to be very good breadwinners, but not necessarily very good breadmakers...or homemakers.

So, what are your thoughts? I don't want to send my daughter to college because that is the default and I don't know what else to do. This is the reason I went to college and that was a less than ideal reasoning.... " - A homeschooling mom

This is a question that keeps popping up every once in a while in discussions around our home and with our friends. To me there is no "right" answer. To say that scripturally an adult woman should stay home and marry would mean that all those who don't are in disobedience to the word of God. I'm not ready to say. However, I do feel that as a culture we are too quick to assume that once you graduate from high school that college must be the next step for either a man or a woman simply because they turn 18. I believe there is more to it than just the passing of years that should decide whether a young adult goes on to college.

When my oldest daughter was younger I used to say, "We'll let the Lord decide when we get to that point." As that time grew closer it hit me. What if the Lord brought someone into her life at 16 like he did for my mother and she was married at 19. Would I be willing to accept that as the Lord's will? Because of my strong academic background it was easy to accept that college could be the Lord's will. But marriage at 19 being God's will? Could I accept that as God's divine plan for my daughter?

I don't have an easy answer. I know many will say that they just can't sit home and wait for Mr. Right to come knocking at the door. What are they going to do in the meantime? We are content to let our daughter stay here as long as she feels that is what the Lord desires and not any longer than that. She can hear from the Lord very well. Does college mean that we are not preparing her for family life. Not necessarily. With the proper guidance before college and a steady walk with the Lord, college can be an asset to her and her family. I don't think this is an either or propostion.

So I guess in answer to this mom's question I would say that the scripture is clear that younger women ought to marry. At what age that happens exactly and what she does in the meantime depends on her and her obedience to God's direction in her life. Going to college does not necessarily contradict this scripture. Nor does it mean she is being trained to become the "breadwinner." So, if college fits then great she'll go with our blessing. But if not then we are open to the best that God has planned for her.

For all our children, we don't have the idea that they MUST go to college right from high school. They MAY go. But I would be just as happy if they took a missions trip for a time or did something else. There are many options available to our young adults. I'm not limiting God with just what our culture says is the norm.

There are other considerations if college is chosen. I hope to get into that at some point as well. But I'm going to have to leave it here for now.

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