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.