got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Thursday, July 07, 2005

contention and concession (joy)

Not that I want to play devil's advocate here, but I think it seems only fair (and in the interest of arguing with integrity) that we acknowledge some of the remonstrations that are brought up against the prospect of sending a Christian daughter (often away from home) to a college, be it a Christian or secular school.

What are some of these questions and griefs raised? I'm not even completely familiar with them. What are the real or perceived (i.e., very real to some) dangers of a college education for the godly young woman? Of what are some of these parents or pastors leery?

We don't need to be dismissive in our attempts to be persuasive. In fact, I think we have a solidly convincing case. We needn't fear that conceding a few legitimate or at least potentially (in someone's world) possible concerns will destroy our faith in how God used higher education to form us into more capable and loving servants for Him.

So I'll start. I wonder are some people concerned that a young Christian girl might lose her focus or get overwhelmed by all the opportunities afforded her in a liberal arts education at the university level? I confess. That happened to me. I often joke that I managed to cultivate a hopeless case of ADHD when I was in college, that I minored in Extracurricular Activities, that I did indeed change my major at least once, that I became a Mountain Dew addict, that I lost tolerance for noise and for caraway seeds, that I wanted to be the wife of an evangelist-missionary-carpenter-accountant-cellist (depending on the predicted vocation of whichever boy held my interest at the time), and that I knew all the dorm girls' last names but couldn't seem to recall my New Testament chapter content for the quizzes. And that's not the half of it. So there. Guilty. As charged.

On the other hand, I honestly believe that God is big enough to work in us and our circumstances IN SPITE OF us. We're going to have to learn some of those hard growing-up lessons somewhere, sometime: prioritizing, scheduling, simplifying our lives, building vital relationships, undergoing the shame and pain of well-earned rebuke and consequences of our choices. And that's not the half of it. We're there to learn. We might retain some good and some bad along with the diploma we actually set out to achieve. But college, like any context wherein a Christian finds himself, is just another milieu for God to continue to work sanctification in our hearts.

I learned some negative things at college, but I also believe in a sovereign God Who used a fallible group of men and women, by His grace in all of our lives, to work out His agenda for me at that time in my life (partly for how it would benefit me now and in the future, and mostly for His own glory).

What else do people have against higher education for their Christian daughters and for their young female parishioners? I'm confident, not arrogantly so but certainly assured, that college was good for me, the best thing for me at that time in my life. A privilege and a gift from God Himself which I don't dare take lightly. What are the issues against it? Are there legitimate concerns that we could address? Misunderstandings that we might eradicate with some facts, an appropriate word in season? I'm game.


  • At 8:45 PM, Blogger Rhea said…

    An arguement that I have heard includes girls being out from under the authority of their fathers. If a girl is away at school, either physically or mentally, she may be more inclined to look to others for direction and be led astray.
    Another arguement deals with the humanistic teaching that girls will be taught under. Some apply this arguement to the boys; but then again, others don't. I think girls (and boys) should be able to hear many different opinions and find the truth.

  • At 6:16 AM, Blogger Rachel said…

    As to the first arguement, many times that is talked about, but I really just think it is a smoke screen. Oftentimes it seems that the people who use it wouldn't let their daughter go to a local college either.

    I think it is a valid concern, but there are many things that can be done so that the daughter is still under her father's authority. If they have a good relationship, she will still seek his counsel about things. This shouldn't change just because she isn't physically close to him. He can also be active in making sure that she is part of a Biblical church and possibly even find a family there that can befriend her and act as her family away from home. But each of these things will depend on the girl and her father.

    Authority is not something that is dictated by proximity. If that were the case then there have been many Godly wives throughout history that have been out from under their husband's authority because he has a job that takes him away from home. Think of during WWII. All those husbands overseas with their wives home alone. Whose authority were they under?

    Hmm, maybe that is the way to make a potentially bad situation (i.e. girls going to school away from home) into a good learning expirience. She can use it as a time to learn how to be under authority even though the authority figure is not nearby watching her every move. It will prepare her for times when her husband may not be around. She can learn how to make decisions that will honor him, even if she can't ask his opinion about every little thing.

  • At 8:01 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Hi Rachel,

    You made some excellent points.
    I suspect there are a variety of reasons that people don't want their daughters in college and most of them are summed up by noting some control issues.

  • At 10:41 AM, Blogger Nikkiana said…

    I've heard the arugements that Rhea brings up before though... And I've also heard that some people think sending Christian girls to college is a waste of money because they're just going to become housewives... or worse, be tempted to have a career outside the home.

    Plenty of things have bothered me when I've heard arguements like these in the past... But oddly enough, I think the strangest thing I personally have felt when someone has told me that girls should not go to college because they'd be out of the authority of their father is inferiority. You see, this arguement is tailored to Christian families. It makes the assumption the parents of the girl who's education is in question are Christians. As a daughter of people who aren't Christians, it makes me feel like I, personally, have failed some kind of Christian litmus test because I wasn't raised in the church. Of course, a mature Christian knows that they have a score of parental resources within the church, but it's a constant slap in the face to know you have to go to others for guidence instead of your parents like a "normal" Christian would... Feelings of second rate Christianess aside, I never quite agreed on the premise of locking your children up to protect them from the world and never educating them about it.

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Hi Nik,

    I just want to encourage you as you continue building a relationship with your parents. My husband's parents were not believers and many times he would call his dad for advice and was always glad he did. Just because a person is not a Christian does not mean that he cannot give sound guidance, especially since parents have experienced many things that you have not yet experienced. Of course, it goes without saying that we need to hold all counsel up to the light of Scripture.

  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger prairie girl said…

    Oh, and I might also mention that I have seen and heard terribe advice coming from other Christians! Discernment and maintaining a Berean spirit are the key!

  • At 4:51 AM, Blogger Camille said…

    I still think there's a skewed idea of authority swirling around in all these arguments and comments. The contemporary interpretation of biblical "authority" is quite flawed. There's no sense of "boss" in Scripture.


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