Students Set Example of Hope; Not Division
Too often, it seems like the national media is focused on the latest round of name-calling and inflammatory language being bandied about among celebrities and politicians. But this fall at least 650,000 students were busy setting a different kind of example for our nation.
Courageous youth—kindergarten through college age— celebrated Bring Your Bible to School Day, an annual, religious-freedom event for students sponsored by Focus on the Family on Thursday, Oct. 4. They shared their faith by highlighting its source—the Bible, sharing God’s Word with classmates throughout the day and talking about their experience on social media using the hashtag #BringYourBible.
While their actions might have been overshadowed by political chaos, they had a powerful impact nonetheless. Because they represent the hope of our nation’s future leaders, and they remind us of the freedom that unites, rather than divides.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” I Timothy 4:12. Below is a round-up of feedback we received from #BringYourBible participants—and refreshing examples of kids putting that verse into action!
Sophia, age 12, shared: “I made an announcement at my school. I brought 12 Bibles, plus three Spanish language Bibles, and 100 pocket Constitutions. I gave away all Bibles except two of the Spanish language ones. Six more kids requested a Bible . … I’ll deliver them next week. I have done this for the third year in a row.”
A mom, Cindy, shared: “My daughter Emily, age 9, and my son Francisco, age 5, took their Bibles to school … as I sat inside my car in the school parking lot, I realized my babies could get harassed, bullied, made fun of, get in trouble or get heartbroken, so I began to feel fear and got teared up. So I began to pray for them, for God to be with them and protect their hearts. I was anxious to ask them how their day went with their Bibles once I picked them up! To my surprise, it was all positive! My kindergartner told me he showed his teacher and said, ‘Today is Bring Your Bible to School Day’ and showed his friends. … His teacher responded, ‘Cool!’ My fourth grader said she met a boy who told her he also believes in God and attends church but doesn’t own a Bible. Hey! [We] have gift Bibles at home to give out! I am happy and proud of my babies! They are braver than I could ever be.”
Savvy, age 17, shared that on #BringYourBible to School Day two teachers asked her about her Bible, “so I explained to them and I think by being excited I made them excited too.” Then “a few kids at my table asked me about my faith and it was a great conversation that lasted through most of the period. But I think the best experience I had was when my favorite teacher and I had a very awesome, in-depth conversation about faith that didn’t turn into an argument but it ended up something we both agreed on. I plan to carry my Bible with me every day at school now, even if just one person asks, I feel like that’s an opening for me to explain and share the great truth of Christ with them.”
Judah and Jaedyn made this awesome social media announcement for their #BringYourBible to School Day! Their mom shared: “Judah brought his Bible to class in third grade and my daughter brought hers to middle school. … Jaedyn came home telling me that she was able to talk to several kids about Jesus and the Bible.”
In this video, 7-year-old Luciana shares her experience getting ready for the event. It was a bit of a challenge at first: Luciana’s mom commented that school officials initially told her that, while her daughter could take her Bible to school, she couldn’t share it with anyone on school property. In response, she told school officials that it was her daughter’s “right to share her faith” and equipped Luciana with a legal memo clearly explaining that right. See the “Know Your Rights” section.
Melissa, a parent, shared that her 12-year-old daughter was recently baptized and was excited about Bring Your Bible to School Day being an opportunity to share God’s love with friends. After the school was notified of her participation, her daughter and a best friend “put up a few posters to remind people.” But the day before the event, “she was pulled outside of her classroom and told she had to take them all down and that it was against the law.” But Melissa shared she was staying calm and trying to address the matter in a way that allows “my kids to see the importance of standing up for your faith even in times like these.”
There was good news the morning of the event: The principal acknowledged that “he could have done things differently, he does realize that now and there will be a different response next year and from now on. … I told my daughter how proud I was that she was bold enough to start the event in her school.”
15-year-old Libby shared: “For the Bring Your Bible to School Day event, I asked two of my friends to bring their Bibles to school with me. In the morning, all three of us met up and read through a Psalm together and discussed it. Later, at lunch, one of my friends and I read a little bit of Esther and started talking about that, too. Me and that friend are planning on keeping up with doing devotionals and reading at lunch from now on.”
Isabella—a small but brave elementary-age student in Rhode Island—won what may be the first legal victory in Bring Your Bible to School Day’s five-year history! She has participated in the event for three, consecutive years. In 2017, as a first grader, she participated by asking her teacher for permission to share one Bible with a friend during free time. But instead, she was promptly sent to the principal’s office. School officials confiscated her Bible and other faith-based materials she had in her backpack, including a Bring Your Bible-themed coloring sheet.
What a terrible message for a child: That the Bible, or anything else faith-based, is perceived as unacceptable and even shameful. But Isabella’s mother stood up for her daughter’s rights and this summer won a legal victory. Isabella put those rights into practice, this time putting up a poster to promote the event!
A parent shared that her church in Los Angeles has participated in Bring your Bible to School Day for the last three years. “Some of the kids from our church brought their Bible to school. It’s an exciting event in which all of the kids are learning that the Bible is allowed in schools. …. Parents’ involvement is the key…The picture is of my 7-year-old Xavier.”
Katelyn, a 24-year-old youth leader shared: “Our youth group wore their T-shirts to represent our church, brought their Bibles and passed out [Bring Your Bible Conversation] cards. It is so important for our youth to be active and vocal about their faith. We live in a lost world and it is imperative people see God’s light in us.”
If you’d like to see more comments like these, visit Bring Your Bible to School Day’s Facebook page, where you can see students’ and their families’ posts.
This article was originally featured in Focus on the Family President Jim Daly’s blog, DalyFocus™