My husband and I are at the stage now where we are starting to think about starting a family and all the questions that come along with it. One of those questions relates to what neighbourhood we might want to settle in where the kids would grow up. Most people would advise us to think about what schools are in the neighbourhood and whether we would want our kids to attend them.
We generally like where we live right now. It’s central in the sense that there’s a large grocery store right across the street, a great new library down the street and new developments going up all around us. We’re also right next to a bus line and a ten minute walk from the skytrain. When it comes to schools, however, it’s a different story. You see, our neighbourhood is in the middle of transitioning from low-income to mid-income (which is why we were able to afford this apartment in the first place!). This translates to schools historically filled with kids from troubled homes and broken families. Our neighbourhood is also full of immigrant families, which means the schools have lots of immigrant kids. [Edit: I say this with much respect to immigrant families, but also acknowledging the added challenges for immigrants in this city.] All this to say, the educational reputation of this area isn’t exactly envied.
I was thinking about this the other day and I started to wonder. What if staying here in this neighbourhood is a mission for our family? What if our family is one of the few “healthy” or “stable” family that our kids’ friends would consistently have in their lives? What if our kids’ classmates’ moms and dads need encouragement and we’re the ones to bless them? What if it’s not all about our own children getting “the best education” and “being successful”? What if, in being surrounded by the brokenness in the world, our children learn to be more compassionate? What if they love justice more because they see how injustice affects friends they love? What if God chooses to bless our kids and protect them because we embrace His people in this neighbourhood?
It’s risky, I admit. Because what if our hopes are not realized and our kids are the ones affected negatively by their classmates? Would it be worth that risk?
I said to my husband earlier today, if Christians moved only to places that had good schools, that wouldn’t be very Christ-like, would it?
So here it is, a dangerous and uncomfortable stirring in my soul. An invitation to trust boldly and to choose love over fear. We are still in the process of decision making, of course. But this is definitely one area I’m looking for confirmation from God for.