Monday, April 17, 2017

Q&A Part 1: Girls and College?

Recently, Olivia W. asked me what my thoughts are on girls and college, and this is in response to that. :)

If anyone has any questions like this (or not like this) for me, do refer to my Q&A post!

Comment sections are super fun, but when you have a lot of thoughts about a certain topic, might as well just give it its own post. 

So. College. Christian young ladies. What are my thoughts on the mix?...

College is neither inherently good nor evil. 

Colleges can't sin! They also can't honor God in or of themselves

So, in my opinion, it's not black and white for either gender. 

With that being said, men are supposed to be the primary earners of their homes, if they are capable, so a college degree could give them an edge in the market to get a "better" job and provide potentially even "better" for their families. (Note: better is in quotation marks because nothing this earth provides us will be the best we can achieve. Desiring to provide well—and it is expensive to raise a big family, if that's your goal—is absolutely noble, but should never be the ultimate goal or prize.) 

If we can outline that and say "okay, this young man wants to go into carpentry, which college should he choose?", maybe we're going about it all wrong. Carpentry work could be learned vocationally or in an apprenticeship. Architecture? Yes, college. But carpentry will always be more about experience than a piece of paper saying you went into debt and met some deadlines for four years. 

Not black and white. 

For either gender. 

Maybe try examining motive...?

Think: if some young man or lady wants to go to college because they don't know what else they should do or that's where their friends are going or anything like that, no. No for both genders.

So why would a girl need a college degree? 

I think there are plenty of reasons a modern-day Christian young lady might need (or otherwise use) a college degree wisely.

I, personally, am working on a degree in English. For me this touches several bases and I am very pleased with my path. 1) I want a degree in case there are laws passed in the future requiring even home educators to have degrees and/or teaching certificates. I strongly want to homeschool my future children. 2) English opens up a world of possibilities in foreign missions. Many schools worldwide are looking for American-accented English teachers, and wouldn't even mind if the Gospel is shared in class or Bibles are distributed. 3) If I am in a position one day where I do need to provide for a household/my family, a degree can get me a better-paying job than just a high school diploma alone. (And I have some options even already to use an English degree to work from home.)

Other degrees I find fairly practical for a Christian young lady would include anything in Education and Nursing (particularly just a 2 year degree in Nursing)*. I think midwifery is a very noble calling, also, and that is usually more of an apprenticeship program than an actual degree.

Any skills you can pick up in language and translating could be invaluable on the foreign mission field, though a degree in such seems overpriced, overrated, and unnecessary, to me.

Music is a fun major, but those are some awfully expensive music lessons. Teaching music from home doesn't require a degree, either.

*(Note: because it is most aligning with the Bible for the woman to work from home and not at 9-5 office jobs, I do not recommend degrees that can only be utilized outside of the home. Nursing is mentioned mostly because it's very helpful on the mission field, so the recommendation is contingent on where your focus and heart is long-term. I am not personally recommending a career in the nursing industry.) 

Now... which college?

If you're thinking you're on the right track and a college degree does sound like something you should pursue, good for you! (Ha! That rhymed. Anyways.)

Choosing a college is scary stuff, and—might I scare you more—probably more important than you even realize.

Environment is key (you usually become what you're around). Professors, yes, are actually important, no matter how firmly-grounded in the faith you are. And I'm going to go out on a creaky limb where not many people will like me and say, for girls, be careful not to go too far from home.

Home is where God placed you, and it is His will you stay home. Not necessarily from college, I mean. But you've got to be apart of your home. It was never God's plan for you to go home > college > married + home again. No... You're supposed to go from your father's home to your husband's home. You weren't made to be independent. I'm sorry. I know it's rough to hear (I'm a girl here, too!). But it's just how it is, if we're talking Bible.

So, I think close to home is really the best option.

I think, living at home and commuting to a community college is probably the first thing you should map out if college looks like something you're going to do.

I think, if community college is not going to work, online college should be weighed heavily in the balance.

Then, if nothing still comes together, start at home and figure which schools are closest and which you can visit home on the weekends from.

Please stay close to your home—even if not physically, be as closely connected as possible! Please, dear girls, be always apart of your home, and seek parental counsel about decisions. Please keep accountable. Please keep your father as your Spiritual leader until you are married. Your life will just be so much smoother with these kinds of guidelines in place if you'll just release a bit of that pride and independence and trust God knows what He's talking about.

Also: don't go into debt. It's absolutely not worth it. If you do need a degree, save until you have the money to pay cash as you go. Take even one class per semester if that's all you can afford. Don't go into debt. You won't get paid more, really, with a more prestigious college name on your degree paper.

In conclusion:

I said a lot, didn't I? To sum it up, I think there's nothing wrong with a girl pursuing a college degree.

However, there are some degrees a girl probably shouldn't pursue if she has a Biblical focus for her life. She should be very careful to choose a school that is a good environment, but even more importantly in my opinion, close to home. She should be conscious, if she is living away from home, to keep her parents her authority and accountability. She should never go into debt or take out any loans for a degree. She should know her purpose in obtaining a degree before she even starts pursuing, else she should wait and seek God's direction—go with intent into everything! If at any point in her degree path, she sees herself slipping in her relationships with God, her parents, or her siblings, she should take a break and reassess her priorities in life. Just my thoughts on the matter, anyways. :)

Education can be a great tool for the Kingdom of God, but is far short from the End Goal. Be careful, you all, as you pursue things for this life and your own perceived happinesses. He created you for His glory; how have you fulfilled that today?

And what do you think? Girls and college? Yay or nay?

Note: all opinions are personal. Some opinions derived from much personal study of the Scriptures; some opinions formed from experience and consideration. I encourage everyone to figure where they stand in such matters for themselves. And, like yours, my opinions, too, are subject to change. :)

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing this Kimberly! You include very good points. I would have said much the same!
    God bless you!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement, Michaela! Blessings!

  2. I really appreciated reading your thoughts on this subject, Kimberly! They are all very good, but I especially liked the part where you said "I want a degree in case there are laws passed in the future requiring even home educators to have degrees and/or teaching certificates." That was exactly my father's mindset when he and my mother were first married! He worked very hard to better his education (without going into debt! :) in order for his family, which grew throughout the time he went to school. His main purpose in obtaining a teaching certificate was so that if necessary he could home school we children instead of my mother. (whose art degree doesn't exactly work for that!) Thankfully the laws have not changed as yet, but I respect his decision and the sacrifices he made very much. He graduated with his master's degree and an impressive resume the year I was born, and he's been teaching ever since. Now he is in a position where he gets paid to live in one of the most beautiful places in North America and teach his youngest daughters in the closest thing to a home school he could ever imagine. I think the Lord has blessed his hard work greatly, and your mention of that just made my day! :)

    As for me, I'm following in his footsteps, and I plan to be a teacher, so a college degree is imperative. However, I absolutely agree about your opinion (truly, the biblical standard) for young women staying close to home. That is why I have decided to take some form of online classes after I graduate this year as opposed to moving to a college. I just don't feel that I am ready to leave the security of my father's house, and your words on that subject helped quite a bit. :) Thank you so much for posting this!

    1. That's funny that should be your favorite part, Jenny! I actually have several friends who really hate that reason and don't like doing things for the "what if's". Like, we should be trusting God better than that, or something. But I like having the tool in my back pocket. ;)

      I love hearing about your dad! My dad also has his Master's degree, but in business, and he didn't get it until I was I think 16. It was hard sometimes to have him in school, but it was also such a blessing for me to see how hard he was willing to work to take care of us the best he could.

      I'm so glad you have peace about the choice to take online classes! I've been praying for God to direct your path and give you great peace. And I'm sorry I have gotten behind on comments! I've been away at ATI Conference in Texas and I didn't take my computer.

  3. I don't understand why you don't like liberal arts colleges, state schools? What is wrong with meeting people outside of your beliefs and being able to learn from them and be a witness to them?

    1. I don't have anything against any schools! And I like meeting all sorts of people! Sorry my post wasn't clear for you!

  4. Hey Kimberly! Thanks so much for your thoughts. :) Sorry I'm only just replying now!
    So I have a few follow-up questions. You don't have to respond if you don't want to, but I would like to know what you think!
    1. A college degree is only to be used practically? It can't help you with anything else?
    2. You mention that girls should go right from the fathers' house to the husbands', if were talking Bible. Is there a passage of Scripture, or a place where you find this to be implied?
    3. What about single girls? Is it okay for them to move out on their own?
    As for staying connected with family, I agree. I am looking at a college about five hours from our house, and to us that is close enough for comfort but far enough away.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to thoughtfully answer my questions!
    Olivia :)

    1. Hi Olivia!

      I'm so behind on commenting since I was at a Family Conference in Texas most of last week. Sorry!

      1. In what ways do you think a college degree should be used impractically? Like you just want to go to college to learn fun stuff you're interested in, like that? I don't think it's a good idea to invest so much money and time into a hobby, if that's what you mean.

      2. 1 Corinthians 11:3 is probably the most clear verse on the hierarchy of Christ leading men, men leading women. Besides that, can you think of a woman from the Bible NOT living under a man's (who she was married or related to) authority? The only time I really see independence was with widows over 60, and even then, they were under the umbrella of the church.

      3. I, personally, would not move five hours from home because my motive in that would be selfish and independent. I just know myself that well. I think every person and family is different, though. As you prayerfully try to figure that out for yourself, I think you should seek your parents' heart about that, and make sure your motive, at the very root, is God-honoring:

      Hope this helps! Please, please, please never rely on me! Seek God and He will show Himself strong! (James 4:7-8) :)

    2. Kimberly,
      I have not replied for a while as I've been busy with life and also thinking through a lot of what you said so I could come back here and write a thoughtful and not hasty comment :).
      I'll reply with my thoughts in order of yours, so we don't get confused :).
      1. Oops, I should have clarified that point. A college degree is not only to be practical. The knowledge we acquire in a degree can be used to glorify God, whether in the Church or the home (more importantly the church). A music major is not just expensive lessons, it's learning about something God gave us and also something we use in our church, something I participate in. It is important to realize that to look at the world around us and understand it and see how it points to God we need knowledge, we need to learn about the things God gave us and how to use them for His glory. College is but one way to do that. Yes, we can learn so so much from our parents, but neither one can teach me what a college professor can about a certain topic, someone who is "specialized" in that one topic. Someone who has spent their life researching and learning, themselves!
      2. I am beginning to realize I was not as clear as my thoughts were in my previous comment! Do forgive me!
      I did ask "You mention that girls should go right from the fathers' house to the husbands', if were talking Bible. Is there a passage of Scripture, or a place where you find this to be implied?" I did not ask if there were passages with girls living not under a man. I was curious about where you get the idea, where you see it? The Old Testament?
      You mention widows over 60, who are under the umbrella of the church. Are not singles as well? Why wouldn't they be?
      3. Our family is of the opinion that once you are considered an adult, you should act like one, being responsible, having a job, paying your bills, owning a home (or renting), etc. So going away to college is but the first toe-dipping step to help you in that area as well. What if you got married and moved five hours away? Would that be selfish? Or would it be fine because you are with someone else? This is confusing to me!
      I do hope I am not sounding mean or angry with you for thinking what you do! :) This is a very good conversation one I feel is not voiced enough!

      P.S. I do plan on writing a blog post touching on this topic soon! a

    3. Here's another tidbit on it being selfish to go that far away from home!
      What do you think the missionaries are doing if not leaving their homes far behind and going to spread the Word? Think of college as your own mini mission field--- it is! We are missionaries even if it's still in our home state!

      I hope this makes sense! :)

    4. Hi again, Olivia!

      1. I see what you mean! I would still maintain, though, if I wanted to learn music from a college professor, I could take lessons from him. I could enroll in just his music instruction course. Perusing and obtaining a full degree around the purpose of bettering myself in church music is probably not the best utilization of my time and money. And I would love to hear what Scriptures are pointing you towards obtaining knowledge. I've said it (even in this post), I think degrees can absolutely be tools for the Kingdom—but not because we need the knowledge from them, in my opinion.

      2. No worries! I'm constantly misunderstood, myself.

      On the case of the family order, most of any Biblical guidelines will be Old Testament, yes. The Old Testament guidelines line-out God's order for the family unit, and the New Testament guidelines line-out God's order for the church. We stand behind "God ordained marriage between one man and one woman", but to really stand behind God's order of the family would include upholding daughters being under their father's authority until she is given in marriage to her husband ("who gives this woman to be married?"—it's not supposed to be the bride giving herself away).

      It's 1 Timothy 5 where Paul instructs Timothy on how to handle widows. Note how they are supposed to be taken in by their family. If they do not have family, and if they are over sixty (and desolate, etc.), the church can take them in/relieve them. A single young lady would not fit under this umbrella because they probably do have family authority willing to take charge of them, and if they don't, they can marry and then have that authority and charge (note Timothy was to refuse even younger widows). I know this sounds harsh that "if you don't have a dad, just get married", but now we ARE talking straight Bible.

      It's my personal opinion (note I said this was my personal thing in my comment; I didn't spell it out in the actual blog post) that it would be very hard for me to leave my father's house, taking my life into my own hands, without a bit of a proud, headstrong, and, yes, selfish air coming about. It's not that I think the actual act of moving away from your family is selfish, but asserting you can manage just fine on your own, and this is your life, and you want to do your own thing... that. That is selfish. And anti-Biblical. And that attitude would be too easy for ME to slip into. At least during this season of my life.

      (To be continued...)

    5. (Continued from above)

      3. That's a nice family opinion. But that whole ideology is of American origin, not Scriptural. Being an adult and acting like an adult and what that means have all been fabricated by men within the last hundred (or maybe two) years, and the whole system gives no ear to what God says about all this.

      Marriage is a transfer of leadership. So just like you wouldn't move hours away from your husband, I like to think you shouldn't move hours from your father, either.

      College and missions...

      My take is: if you're going to use that excuse, your own neighborhood is a missions field, too. Did you saturate that with the Gospel? If yes, a strong family unit will always be better for continued evangelizing efforts than if you separate yourself. If no, what makes you think you're going to be a better missionary with 18 hours of classes + 18 hours of homework + your work study job + your off-campus PT job + sleeping, than you were at home with less on your shoulders and more support?

      Another bit on the missionaries: they were sent out two-by-two. (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1) I'm not saying single women have never done great things for the Lord! But I do personally believe God's glory will always be best magnified when we follow the orders He has established for us.

      I hope THIS makes sense. It's a lot! You don't sounds mean, and I hope I don't either. I'm pretty much used to people disagreeing with me (peculiar on purpose—haha!), but I know my tone sometimes comes across as argumentative, and I'm sorry.

      I'll be sure to watch for your blog post!

      Blessings, Olivia!


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