new monasticism – the problem of children

An interesting discussion has been taking place about the question of race in the context of New Monasticism, over at God’s politics, the Sojourners hangout.  While I dont personally feel the effects of that in particular, I definitely recognise the difficulties faced by one particular blogger, who talks about the enormous decision of ‘relocating to the abandoned places of empire‘ when children are involved.

We’ve just taken the decision to put our kids into a school which is in a disadvantaged area, this is not the sort of school that others of our class/background/educational attainment would normally choose to put their children in.

Have I done right by my kids in putting them in this school?  I have lots of reasons why I think I have, but the proof will be in the pudding, what if this negatively affects their life chances?  What if they are badly bullied?  What if their educational outcomes are lower because they went to this school?

Am I irresponsible in doing this?  Some people think so.  I hope I am not, I hope I am actually doing the best thing for my children and others – but it does concern me.  Fortunately Kel and I are clued up enough to be able to deal with any educational issues that crop up, and in fact having been to the school and talked to the head, I’m pretty confident that there wont be a problem.  Similarly bullying can take place in any school and I have no reason to think it will happen here.  But this all goes against the conventional wisdom, and what if the conventional wisdom is right?

I dont want to give the impression that I’m overly worried about this, as I say I’m confident we can deal with any potential problems anyhow, but this is something that anyone who is in this position has to take seriously and deal with if they have children – regardless of race.

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One thought on “new monasticism – the problem of children

  1. When you’re a farmers child, you’re expected to work on the farm on the weekends.

    Good schools (that will help your life chances) have two important components – at least some inspiring teachers, and other children who are interested in learning. A frightening amount of peoples values and actions are picked up from their friends. Schools in bad areas can have inspiring teachers, it’s just they’re short of children who will mentor and accept each other.

    In that way, your children, might have more of an influence on the neighbourhood than you. It’s still mission though – it’ll require strength and sacrifice. Have you talked to your children about why you’re moving to the area, and what you hope to achieve, and found out what they think about it?

    In terms of life chances, it’s perfectly possible to do well at a bad school given support. Whatever school you go to, there are always other schools/universities/jobs that would perhaps enable you to fill your academic potential better, but that’s not the only important thing in life.

    Where I’ve done well academically, my friends have been more important than my teachers.

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