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College prep or life prep?
Written by Maria Gausman   
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:14 PM

I’m a parent in a U.S. with a plunging economy, eroding personal liberty, and more and more blatant disrespect for life.

In the midst of all this, good parenting is herculean!

While tightening our budgets, education still remains one of the highest parental priorities.

If you can make plans for your child’s education the default thinking is to save for college.

My oldest will reach college in 2024; tuition alone is estimated to reach $32,000-$114,000 per year.

Some serious savings ahead of us, right? After all, it’s been said children are the future of the country.

Wait a minute
Tuition rates have gone up over 25 percent in the last 4 years. Class sizes are at all time highs.
Ivy League schools; like Harvard, removed the ROTC, approved student B.D.S&M clubs and campus permitting parties titled “incest fest”.  Media coverage of the best party colleges/universities supersedes the best-ranked educational facilities.

Fraternities are committing criminal offenses against their own pledges.  College “survivors” have just a 50 percent chance of finding work.

College kids borrow more without understanding the burden they and their families will face for a decade or more.

Common thread
Is saving for college the best investment in your child’s future? Are we equipping our children with the tools necessary for adult life?

I believe there’s a common thread that binds the state of our country.

Bad economy, education, civility are symptoms of that thread fraying.

The thread is religion; not just Catholic, Baptist, etc…, but the fundamental belief system about our origins and our relationship with the universe and fellow man.

Religion is the foundation of morality.  Our history emphasizes it.

For example, Article 3: Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” – Northwest Ordinance, 1787.

For generations, religion keeps getting minimized everywhere in our lives; away go morality, knowledge, and the soul of this country.  What’s the answer?

Return to the phrase “children are the future of this country” and in turn this country is my children’s’ future.

We found a school that embodies this principle quoted from the Northwest Ordinance.

My husband and I shopped 6 pre-schools for our daughter before finding Harrison Christian School.

Harrison Christian School won out because while observing a class we saw that the kids love their teacher.

One of the first orders of business was reciting the pledge of allegiance to the American flag (the other 5 schools didn’t have a flag in their classrooms).

Then in the span of just 10 minutes the children sang a number song, answered questions about a Bible story they learned, dressed a bear in weather-appropriate clothes for that day, and discussed the calendar.

It was fun and structured.  And I couldn’t imagine my daughter anywhere else.

While the faith-based education is core to Harrison Christian School but was not a requirement for us initially, we came to the conclusion that in this world we need all the help we can get in raising her.

Yes, it’s the job of parents to raise children, not the teachers. However, where are our kids for 6-7 hours Monday-Friday while both parents work 8-plus hours on those days?

It’s during her elementary years I have the greatest influence on how she spends her days and with whom.

If it can’t be with her parents; then it’s going to be in a nurturing, up-lifting, positive, and academically excellent environment.

I’ve seen my kindergartener come home from school and teach me some Spanish she learned that day.

She’s been writing a letter to the principal to come to her class and read them a story; without any prompting from us. She teaches prayers to her baby sister.

Character counts
All of this may just sound cute, but it’s so much more.  Harrison Christian School is teaching her academically plus building character and a strong moral compass.

I vividly see the best possible investment I can make in my kids’ education is now during the most formative years of their lives.

Harrison Christian School is essential to our preparing them for life.

Let me say it another way. Pretend you’re building a home; the only option is in the heart of Tornado Alley.

You’re presented with two choices for your money: 1) a conservative home with a steel reinforced poured concrete foundation and full basement or 2) a larger two story home with concrete block foundation, minimum partial basement, and great curb appeal.

Choice 1 provides you the security in knowing it has the potential to survive the wild storms swirling in this world. Choice 2 is appealing, but doesn’t provide the security to weather the storms that life will throw at it.

I liken this metaphor to the choices we have for our kids. Shouldn’t the proper foundation for their future start with their primary education; spending more up front for a “steel reinforced poured foundation” that includes building their moral compass to guide and protect them in life?

Or a foundation that meets the minimum state and federal requirements with the hope it will serve them well in their lives. That’s why we chose Harrison Christian School.

The school did not put me up to writing this.  My motives are a little selfish.

I saw the enrollment go down this year versus last, and in an economy where people including myself are cutting back, I’m going to do what I can to get the word out about what a great school this is.

Come check it out! Harrison Christian School has an open house Jan. 31. Their Web site is http://www.harrisonchristian.org/.

Maria Gausman is a Harrison resident.