As many of you know, I attended 12 years of Christian school. The only year I wasn’t in Christian school I was home-schooled. That was a joke to be discussed at another time. I have many interesting stories from my years in church school. No, literally, both the schools I attended were in churches. My friends and I were trail-blazers. Usually we were trouble makers. We didn’t even have detention in our school before we made it necessary. No one expected anything from us and we tended to deliver in fine form. I remember the teachers kept telling us that we had big shoes to fill, when the class before ours left. They were the model students, the model Christians. We were the drop-outs. The ones who pushed the envelope way too far. The ones who made their lives difficult.
Our senior year, we decided we wanted a prom. We pitched the idea to our principal, who supported it but needed to discuss it with the teachers. We had to convince them why we needed this prom. My good friend Hannah and I took the lead. We’d both been to a school more strict than that one before. We knew the lingo and we were determined. When we presented the idea to the teachers we didn’t use the word ‘prom’ because we knew that the cultural expectations surrounding prom would put them off. We opted instead for ‘ball.’ Sadly, we didn’t see the fault in that plan or perhaps we would have chosen ‘formal.’ The reaction we got the idea of a ball brought out our rebellious sides. One teacher told us flat out, “If you call it a ball one more time, I’m going to cancel it right now.” Why you ask? Because a ball implies dancing. We also were not allowed to call it prom, as we suspected. So once we got the go ahead and started to raise the money, we opted to call it a non-prom. Our posters hailed it as such. Our little smart-ass retort became our theme. Hey, we didn’t call it a ball. They let us keep it going even though we were defying their stupid rules. Probably because they knew they were bullshit too. I mean, we knew we weren’t going to dance, and we knew they didn’t want to know if we were going to have sex afterward.
That’s the way it often was in Christian school. Semantics. You can’t call it a ball or a prom even though they may be exactly the same. You needn’t worry about what is being done nearly as much as what is said is being done. It encourages good liars and smart-ass vocab changes much like our constant battle for political correctness. It’s just that kids in Christian school learn to speak political correctness in two languages; English and Christian. And yet, when my high-school accomplice told me that she’s going to send her daughter to Christian school, I get it. There was a lot that we didn’t have to deal with. And so I tell her, I get it. But I hope they both rock the boat and maybe standards will be raised because of it.