by Gregg DeMey
In the church that I serve in Elmhurst, there are families that choose to homeschool their children, some who choose to utilize the public school system and many who discern that Christian day school education is best choice for their household. In the DeMey family, we can relate! In the course of our little family’s history, we have lived in three different states (CA, MI and IL) and at different seasons of life have discerned that either public, home, and Christian education was the best option for the formation of our two kids.
I love the word discernment. It’s a rarely used word that has managed to keep its spiritual connotation. Discernment is much more than a gut instinct. Discernment goes far beyond making a list of pros and cons (helpful though that can be). Discernment is deeper than merely making a personal choice. True discernment implies a thoughtful, prayerful, communal sorting of reality and a discovery of what is best. It’s a word that Christians reserve for how we come to know and do the will of God.
As people of faith, we discern.
Among the thousands of choices we make on behalf of our kids, where they will attend school is among the most significant. It’s humbling for parents to recognize that by the time our children are in elementary school, our kids will spend the majority of their waking hours in the academy. All the more reason to “discern” what’s best rather than merely to “decide.”
My family moved to Elmhurst nine years ago from a rural community in Michigan. My wife Sarah, a trained teacher, had been leading the charge in homeschooling our kids and had benefitted from a lively support system there. Knowing Timothy Christian’s reputation as a first-rate school, we made some initial inquiries in our attempt to discern what would be best when we arrived in Illinois. What we discovered at Timothy Christian both blessed and blew us away. The first two folks we met were skillful, professional, personally attentive and—that word again—incredibly discerning. We soon discovered that this one-two punch of skill and affection permeated Timothy’s organization at every level.
One of the many factors in discerning a school is simple economics. The cost differential of Christian education vs. homeschool is a significant one. We discerned that as our kids grew older, the cost would be well worth it.
In particular, Timothy Christian has challenged our children to be excellent in the development of their creative and intellectual gifts while also providing a diverse, Christian community that is preparing them for a fruitful life in the adult world. Sometimes classes at Timothy are really hard!
I am 100% confident that a Timothy education will have our kids academically ready for whatever college or graduate school might be in their future. I am also 100% confident that with a supportive church family and home life, our kids will also have spiritual tools they need to live thoughtfully and discerningly in an increasingly complicated world.
When these three groups join together—family, church, and school—the power for good in the lives of our young people not only goes up by a multiplier of three, but by the power of three!
While I look to Timothy primarily as academic institution, I also love the fact that Timothy’s staff and administration are peopled by folks who love Jesus. I have experienced every Timothy employee to have the best of intentions when it comes to teaching and forming our kids.
Dear reader, I don’t want you to miss this point: The folks at Timothy have the best of intentions when it comes to your kids. There are not many other places in the world where this will hold true. A large part of our choice to send our kids to Timothy Christian Schools was discerning this big hearted, strong-minded, positive intent.
Not to sound too boastful, but my kids came out of the womb as smarty pants. They’ve been graced with good brains. God, however, desires so much more than just our brains. God asks us to love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. What a tall order! I’m so grateful as a father, and as a pastor, to be part of a community like Timothy that nurtures our kids on each of these fronts.