Living Your Faith at School

An 11-year-old Emma called into The Patrick Madrid Show recently to ask Patrick for advice on how to stay strong in her faith and values this school year, especially when people don’t agree with her viewpoints or religious beliefs.

Emma explained that last week was her first week in middle school and there are a lot of kids there who don’t agree with her personal convictions. She said she has a water bottle that she brings to school that is covered in pro-life stickers and an American flag. Specifically, she asked Patrick what she should do or how she should respond when someone approaches her and expresses disdain or disapproval for her stickers.

Patrick began by encouraging Emma, telling her that though it may be difficult to navigate this new environment, she was in a great position. Yes, it’s hard to make new friends in middle school, especially when you hold ideas that don’t conform to other people’s ideas, but what Emma has is far more valuable: truth, moral conviction, and standards.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.

Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

“You’re like that lamp,” said Patrick. “You’re like a candle in a place that for some people is rather dark because they’re not used to people who are pro-life. In their home, maybe bad things are going on and you stick out to them.”

So, Patrick encouraged Emma to approach her responses to these people in an honest but gentle way. When people confront her about her pro-life beliefs, she can say, “Yes, I’m pro-life because I don’t believe in killing innocent people.” She can express her beliefs freely and openly, without returning any hostility or aggression. Others will be able to see not only what she believes in, but what type of person she is: a cordial, courteous Christian.

Patrick explained to Emma that very often, kids like the ones who criticize her beliefs and standards will disguise themselves as being tolerant, diverse, and against bullying. But as soon as it comes to somebody who doesn’t share the same ideas as them, no more tolerance because that means being tolerant of people who you disagree with. No more diversity because diversity of thought means including those on the other side. No more anti-bullying campaigns because then we can’t bully a pro-life, pro-American Christian.

But at the same time, they’re kids just like Emma. They’ve gotten their ideas from somebody else and being so young and malleable with such shallow beliefs, they don’t know why they believe what they believe yet. So, by asking them questions, you can often show them the error of their ways and win them over.

“Do you believe in being tolerant? Do you believe in diversity? Do you believe in being kind to others?”

“Yes, yes, and yes.”

“Then be tolerant of me. Let my beliefs and ideas be a part of the diversity. And please stop bullying me for my personal views.”

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT

John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.