Tom Gilson

4 thoughts on “For Students and Parents, On Staying Christian In College

  1. As my children matured and went out into the world, including to college, what I wanted was for them to meet people and have experiences that would develop their ability to think creatively and to make the choices that would enable them to create the lives they decided they wanted for themselves. In one way, I can’t imagine sending them out into the great wide world and saying, “Don’t change. Don’t be learn to be anyone but who I taught you to be.” In another way, though, I hoped that they would continue to hold at least one value I believe I taught them: to be always open to learning something new and making their own choices. So, what I wanted them to take with them was that they didn’t have to take anything they didn’t want.

    By the way, both of my children, children of a very liberal parent, made the choice not to party their way through their post-secondary education, although they both lived and studied in environments where they easily could have.

  2. I find Salvo Magazine to be a particularly helpful resource in presenting the other side of the story in extremely pertinent and readable ways. The paper copy is beautiful and the topics are right where it’s at in academia: ID/evolution; history of the porn industry; atheism etc. There’s even an entire magazine edition dedicated to the topic of how religion fares in universities. My nephew is headed to college and I’m giving him my copies.

  3. Tom,

    I like your comments and suggestions regarding kids leaving for college. I think so much of what happens with kids in college is framed by what happened before. Those kids that have been forced to attend church and be involved in Christian-related activities tend to be the ones who see the whole college experience as a freedom-seeking opportunity. Those who are strong in their faith typically remain that way.

    At the other end of the spectrum, you have individuals who have been so sheltered that they have no idea how to cope with the “real-life” experience and simply go crazy in the open environment. Many of them return to their previous convictions after a season of temptation, but some truly get lost in the process.

    As a professor, I know that there are educators out there whose sole intent is to dismantle the beliefs of the kids who come in under their teaching. I find such behavior appalling, saddening, and unfortunate. I have had students come to me completely out of sorts about their faith and so confused they didn’t know what to do.

    In any case, the topic you’ve addressed here is one of real concern and I think our best defense is to make sure we’re doing our jobs as parents long before college is ever even thought about.

    Thanks for your work.

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Tom Gilson, Senior Editor, The Stream.

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