Should You Send Your Child to Nineveh?

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Rabbi Eric Tokajer

While recently speaking with some parents about education for their children, we began to discuss the three main options available today: homeschooling, private schooling and public schooling. As the conversation went on, one of the parents made the statement that they felt led to send their child to public school because, if all of the Bible believing children left the public school system, then all of the light would be removed and only darkness would remain.

They said we are called to be light in darkness and that was the reason that they would send their children to public schools.

When these words were spoken, my mind immediately went to the book of Jonah. But, the reason I thought about Jonah and Nineveh may not be the reasons you might think at first. As most of you know, Jonah was sent by G-D to Nineveh to preach repentance, as we read in Jonah 1:1-2:

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before Me.”

Nineveh was a dark and sinful place, very much like modern public schools. Nineveh was so sinful, in fact, that G-D’s message through Jonah was that because of their wickedness G-D was going to destroy them in 40 days. So, we do see that G-D will send His people to dark places to share His message of repentance because of a coming judgment. 

The above statement may seem like an agreement with the parent above. However, I want to point out some things about Jonah that I hope all parents who are thinking like the parent above will consider before sending their child to their local Nineveh … I mean public school.  

First of all, Jonah was called by G-D, not sent by His parents. G-D didn’t call everyone in Israel to go to Nineveh; He only called Jonah. Second, Jonah was an experienced, adult prophet of G-D, not a child in school. So, unless G-D has directly called your child to be a prophet in the public school system, please don’t send them to be a prophet there.

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On a side note, when G-D did call Jonah to go to Nineveh, his first response was to run the other way as far and as fast as he could because he knew how dark Nineveh was. So, if your child is jumping at the chance to be “light” in “darkness,” you may want to double check if they want to be a Jonah or a Ninevite. 

Please don’t read what I am writing as a condemnation of parents who send their children to public schools because that is not what I am trying to do. I do fully believe that G-D has many, many Jonahs that He will call to be light in the darkness of the public school system. However, I do hope that you will seriously consider what I am saying and make sure that it is G-D who is calling your Jonah and not simply your desire for your child to be light in darkness. 

Please remember that before Jonah was called to Nineveh, he served faithfully in Israel. Yes, it is true that Jonah was, in fact, sent by G-D to Nineveh, but there were many other prophets who were called by G-D to serve in Israel. 

Also, please remember two other things: first, there are many great Bible-believing teachers and administrators who work within the public school system being light in darkness. So, don’t be deceived into thinking that if your child isn’t one of those called to serve in public schools that there will be no light shining in darkness. Second, and just as important, this message of being called by G-D versus being sent by parents (or even rabbis or pastors) applies not just to public schools, but to every aspect of our lives. 

We all need to listen to G-D’s voice speaking to us personally before we start out towards our personal Nineveh. When G-D calls you to your Nineveh, be obedient. Don’t run from your calling because being swallowed by a whale and then puked out is uncomfortable.

Also, and very important, if G-D doesn’t call you to Nineveh, then stay in Israel and serve as part of the light shining there. 

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We must pray for this chosen generation. Read George Sawyer’s book, The Daniel Prayer for Parents.

Eric Tokajer is the author of Overcoming Fearlessness, What If Everything You Were Taught About the Ten Commandments Was Wrong?With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity, OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry, #ManWisdom: With Eric Tokajer, Jesus Is to Christianity as Pasta Is to Italians and Galatians in Context. Visit his website at rabbierict.com.

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