The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

I am 16, turning 17 soon. I switched churches. I was emailing a pastor from a different church than my old one. And there was one paragraph that I felt applied surprisingly well to my situation:

"In Romans 16:17-18 we read: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people." It is important to understand what "teaching they have learned" is. This teaching is what the rest of the book of Roman's teaches. This is not teaching on culture or tradition but on solid Biblical stuff. If your church puts tradition or style or unbiblical stuff ahead of the solid teachings of the Bible and these become a stumbling block to the real "truths" of the Bible then it's time to go."

I feel much better about my faith and my ability to grow in it now, rather than when I was at my old church.

But here's the problem: I have had a lot of bad experiences with the old church and with what they have done. My dad was asking me about something and this came up, so I told him a lot of reasons why I don't like this other church, it's community, the school it has, etc.

This was on the topic of switching schools from the church school. One of my reasons (not the only one) was that there were few people at the school, and I didn't click or connect or really enjoy being around the people there, so it made it very hard on me. But since I had been in that church community all my life around those people, both my parents got the way wrong idea and took it as me having an identity crisis and being in tons of teen drama, which I'm not. It is a very big misconception. Whenever I try and bring it up to clarify that I'm not having an identity crisis or in teen drama, they just disregard it as me having an identity crisis and being in teen drama, so I can't even talk to them anymore without them hugely misunderstanding me.

I wanted to switch to a public school, and my parents were thinking of allowing me to switch to a public school, but then all this happened and they misunderstood. Now they think that I wouldn't be able to handle public school. But I know I would be able to, and I would be fine. It would actually help me because I have lots of friends there who I love being around and who are Christians who can help me and be there for me and who I can be there for them. But they think that my going to a public school will make me have tons of teen drama and more identity crisis, which I don't actually have and I know I wouldn't get.

So they don't want me at a public school, but the school I was going to is terrible in many ways, including doing unbiblical stuff. I was definitely not going back there, so they made me do home school, instead of going to a public school with my friends.

Now I am depressed and mad and kind of breaking down emotionally because this is my senior year of school and I am spending it home, pretty much alone all day, going crazy because I am an extrovert and I get energy from being around people. I get incredibly anxious not being around people for too long.

I just want to go to a public school where I can actually learn better. I would learn better being teacher taught than home schooled. At public school I can have fun with my friends and not go insane all day. Home schooling for me is very hard. Trying to do everything online and learn everything on my own with no help from any physical person in the room with me.

I am depressed, mad, and breaking down emotionally, and I can't talk to my parents because they have huge misconceptions about me. I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do or how to make my parents understand. I'm doing very poorly because of being depressed, mad and breaking down emotionally.

Can you help me at all?


Answer

In most states, your parents are responsible for you until you turn 18. At that point you are responsible for your own decisions. Thus, while you can voice your desires, the final decision remains your parents (there is some leeway and some exceptions legally, but it is the basic rule). In other words, if your parents insisted, you would attend the private school that you don't like. They gave you the alternative of home schooling, but they have ruled out public school. It is not what you want but those are the options you have to work with.

I home schooled my children, so I have a bias in that direction -- I just want to let you know. But I can also tell you there are ways to make your extroverted personality work in a home school situation.

  1. You are old enough to get a job. As a home school student you have the advantage of working hours that other high school students can't work. You can also volunteer, which can get you work experience even though it doesn't bring in income. Both gets you out and interacting. Even better, you will have to interact with people who are not your peer in age -- something most high school students struggle with.
  2. There are many community organizations. Find something that you enjoy or relates to what you want to do in life. Become a part of a community playhouse, join cycling club, be a part of a political organization, etc.
  3. Just because you don't go to school with a group, it doesn't mean you can't join them for activities. Many high schools allow home school students to join the band, or play on their sports teams.
  4. In many areas there are home school cooperatives where the teaching of some of the harder subjects is shared between families.
  5. You have the option to take some of your classes as dual credit at the local community college. The advantage here is that you can start earning college credits before you leave high school. It will make it easier to get into the college of your choice when the time comes because you can prove you are able to handle college level work.

In other words, you are only isolated if you let yourself become isolated. Life is what you make of it. You are old enough to start being responsible for your activities. Your parents still have the final say in what they allow, but you can do the reaching out and not expect someone else to give you your relationships.