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A Parable about Children and Public Schools
It may be difficult for a child from a Christian family to be placed in the secular school system. Can circumstances result in problems similar to those experienced by Redhead ducks?

I was listening to CBC radio on 99.1 FM recently as I often do on Saturdays. Not that I agree with the views they espouse, but rather to hear how “the world” thinks. I want to better understand the culture and perhaps address people who are immersed in this culture in a language, or from a framework with which they can better relate.

They were rejected on both counts.

On a show called Quirks and Quarks a man was discussing a recent study he had undertaken with Redhead ducks. He explained that this duck species not only laid their eggs in their own nests, but also in the nests of other Redheads and in the nests of other duck species. In his example he named the Canvass-Back duck as an “alternative species.”

In his study, he observed the effect on Redhead ducks of being hatched and raised by a family and community of Canvass-Back ducks. He found that Redheads, and in particular males, when raised in the Canvas-Backed Community, became confused and made "mistakes." Although Redheads were clearly Redheads by appearance, they took on behaviours and movements of Canvas-Backs. However, despite their mimicking of the Canvas-Backs, they were not accepted by the Canvas-Back community. He noticed the “mistake” Redheads made was to attempt to mate with the Canvas-Backs. It always resulted in rejection.

He then said that sadly, because the confused Redheads acted like Canvas-Backs, they were also rejected by Redheads. They were rejected on both counts.

It struck me how this fact of nature may relate to young boys as well as girls from Christian homes and community attending secular humanist public schools starting at age four.

During the first four years of his/her life, a child from a Christian family is sheltered in a Christian environment. Using the example of a boy, his parents may believe that by placing him in the public school system he will become a light in the darkness, salt to the earth, a world changer. However, then suddenly everything he knew and experienced to that point is challenged in the secular school and often dismissed as unacceptable. Because he does not use the language of many of his classmates, or listen to the same music, or watch the same movies, or dress the same way, he is rejected by his classmates and demeaned.

As time passes, this young boy will have some tough choices to make. Should he continue to adhere to his parents’ directions for the next 13 years, or should he reject his parents’ direction in favor of being accepted by his classmates. He will likely feel rejection either from classmates or his parents. It’s a tough decision for a boy regardless of his choice.

I welcome feedback.

Jim Enos is president of the Hamilton-Wentworth Family Action Council  He can be reached at

Originally published on the website, Christian Governance, July 7, 2010.





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