I spent the last two days at a Samford University orientation, and the old Biblical Proverb 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is grown, he/she will not depart from it," really spoke to me this week with profound, ageless wisdom.
I was attending a freshman orientation, with my wife and son, and listening to the students as they offered their advice and experience. I was of the opinion that most college students lived a life reminiscent of Animal House, but found out that the there are some exceptions.
At Samford University, the academic, religious and student life are all integrated. Samford acclaims its Christian heritage and the Beeson School of Divinity -- and it shows in the students.
The students are comfortable with the balanced student life, which incorporates religious and social service as part of the curriculum. BP 101-Biblical Principals is one of the core freshmen classes. The Students whom I met were positive, well-adjusted and socially mature. At some of the other "secular" schools I have visited, the picture was a lot different, and sometimes, even scary.
Samford offers a variety of intramural sports, with additional social and Greek activities on campus, but they were not competitive or snobbish. The school also has several sports teams, which do play to win, but still in the context of Christian principals.
Many of the more recognized universities and colleges in the United States, and around the world, for that matter, were founded as seminaries. As a matter of fact, almost all of the Ivy League and Southern Conference schools began as schools for clergy. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Notre Dame, etc, all have deep spiritual foundations. Emory University of Atlanta is associated with the Candler School of Theology that was started as Oxford in Covington; a school for United Methodist circuit riders.
I find it disingenuous when these now prestigious universities try to disassociate themselves from their religious roots. In many of these schools, the religious life takes a back seat. There is nothing wrong with a secular school providing a good education, but I feel that our spiritual beliefs are integrated into our core essence as human beings. Our religious foundations are a part of our character and ethos. If you don't believe me, just look at people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, John Wesley, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc. And, on the other hand, Karl Marx, Stalin, Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, etc
People have a religious soul, and it does affect their direction in life.
Men and women with good educations and strong ethical principals lead successful businesses around the world. Many of theses leaders also have a deep faith in God, and Christ, even though they don't wear it on their sleeve.
And on the other hand, some of the world's worst travesties in the business sector and the religious world, come from individuals who lack moral conviction and ethical principals.
There has been a recent renaissance of business-and-personal ethics in curricula being taught in almost every field of study offered in schools today.
Samford University was the school my son picked for his undergraduate education, but there are many other good private and Christian schools in Georgia, and the United States. Start early and help your child get a good education, from a good school with principled teachers.
Expose your child to a holistic, religious upbringing. It is important to invest in your child's education at home and in school. The leaders of tomorrow will be the best-educated and the most socially mature, but they will also be well-grounded in their faith.
If you have any comments on this column, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.