Yesterday on the family blog(click to see), and over the last few days on Facebook ,I have been sharing about what has been a pretty disappointing experience as a parent. Summary, my oldest son Jacob's high school drama
Long story short, I made myself heard. I wrote a letter to both his teacher and his principal. In all honesty, I got a really cruddy response from his teacher, and wasn't thrilled even with his principal's response. The teacher's bottom line was annoyance, and the principal's was basically that he could not speak to the matter because he wasn't there to see the production. Don't even get me started on that one.
I am not naive, and I know that our strong Christian standard isn't held or really even respected in the public school system. I know the stand for "righteousness" is against the grain, and the flow of norm in society today as a whole, specifically on a high school campus.
My first response was to pull Jake, my extremely talented actor of a child, from the drama program for next year his senior year. I don't really want his teacher to be a strong influence in his life, and he is schedule to actually take two classes with her next year, just as he did this year. It goes beyond even what she allowed on stage last week, it was something about her and her attitude as she was forced to interact with me as Jake's mom. (She called me "because her principal asked me to" not because she was actually interested in the dialogue.)
Now, I can already hear the peanut gallery in my head, and have heard a lot of it on Facebook and in personal conversations. There are those who would respond and say that Jake is almost 18 years old and an adult and it's not really up to me. There are also those who would say to yank him out and sheltre him completely from the experience. And I have to say, I can't agree with either. I will always be Jake's mom, and it will always be a part of that role to be wise counsel for him, but especially at this stage of his life, he still needs to be parented. The decisions are not in his hands yet. But, it's also foolish to think I can guard him completely, how strong will his faith and conviction be if he never has to stand up for them?
Neither of these responses actually throws me though, the one that does is the somewhat prevailing attitude that this particular area, of acting and entertainment, is impossible for Jake to work or participate in without any compromise. I have had that response from almost all Christian angles, the former participant, the young (newer) Christian and even the more mature and seasoned Christian. From each of those angles, I have heard it labeled impossible for Jake to make an impact or a change.
At this point, as a family, the way we are headed is to allow Jake to continue in the program, and even under the teaching of this woman, of whom I do not approve. He stumbled last week in his participation, two-fold, one in a word he let be uttered from his own mouth, and also from his endorsement of the rest of the program without knowledge of what was going to be on stage. He wrongly (in this case) gave his teacher the benefit of the doubt about what she would allow on stage, and in that error he exposed us, particularly his younger siblings, to things they should not have seen and heard. As a mom, I too made an error when I let me kids remain instead of walking out when I saw what was going on. We both have to learn from that.
But the prevailing message I am hearing that things will never change, that the theater industry is too liberal, and the entertainment standard too low so there is no purpose in even trying, makes me really, really sad.
We have challenged Jacob to evaluate what he really believes. We have asked him to take stock as to whether his actions and words are lining up. In this incident, they did not. I talked to him this morning about how open I have been with this situation among our friends and family and even in the blogging world, and please know, Jake is aware, and he knows that standard of accountability is there, and he is fine with it. But I am disheartened by the hopeless response of so many Christians.
I am saddened by a Christian writer deciding they had to put a word of profanity in a one act play, just because.
I am saddened that my 17 year old missed the check in his spirit when he agreed to say it.
I am saddened that as a whole, this group of young people is convinced that filth equals entertainment.
I am saddened that people don't think there is any point for Christian kids to try to take a stand and hold a standard that will be an uphill battle in Jake's "arena."
What I am not, is convinced. I am not convinced that Jake cannot take a stand and make a difference.
My pastor has been talking about "Faith the Changed the World," and we've been studying the book of Acts. It gives accounts of many who stood up against persecution for their beliefs. As I look around and this topic of discussion is ongoing about how it's impossible for Jake to make an impact, I can't help but note that that kind of "faith" might just be exactly why thing shave become what they have. Too many Christians unwilling to take a stand because of fear of the backlash or because they don't believe one person's efforts are enough to make a difference.
What have we as Christians given up because we don't want to fight the system, or worse because we don't want to be rejected by it?
The more I think about it, the mor eI am inclined to think that Jake will be in those two classrooms next year. I am becoming less and less concerned about what impact the darkness there will have on his light, and more and more hopeful to help my son shine in such a way that he will overcome the darkness.
No, maybe he won't change the whole system, but what if one person reconsiders how they express themselves, or his teacher reconsiders next year what she allows on her stage because of our efforts to call foul.
All I am certain of is I do not want my son to go out into the world believing that he cannot take a stand for righteousness and make a difference. I don't want him to decide it's ok to hide his light "under a bushel." I do want him to believe his faith can change the world, and more importantly, I want to help him learn to exercise it.