Twenty years ago I was a High School senior faced with the question, “What shall I choose as my vocation?” Being a girl, I might become a wife and mother, but again I might not: so I wanted to prepare myself for work in which I felt I could use my talents to the best of my ability and also I wanted to be contented and happy in my work.
Most of my classmates were planning to attend the home town school, Hope College. But it did not offer courses in Home Economics, the subject in which I was interested at the time. Our State College did, so, against considerable opposition, I started my course there.
“You’ll get away from the church”, “You’ll become an Atheist”, were just samples of the things people said to me. No remarks remain so vivid in my memory as those made by one who today has practically forgotten what the inside of a church looks like—he stayed home and made money. I received my B. S. degree there, spent one semester at a private college and a year at a large University Hospital where I interned as a dietician and worked on a Master’s degree.
Among my friends and acquaintances I can number almost all nationalities and religions, including Jews, Catholics, Seventh Day Adventists, Christian Science, Mormons and the general run of Baptists, Methodists and Congregationalists.
If nothing else, I have learned tolerance for others rights and beliefs, but I was born with a heritage of Reformed Doctrine of which I am justly proud and humbly grateful and I am doing all in my power to pass this on to my children.
Perhaps I was just fortunate that God lead me through those years and into a better life. He might have left me to become an Atheist as some of my friends predicted, but I cannot recall any temptations to leave my faith. Temptations in small matters I can well recall, but the fundamental principles of Christianity are not so easily thrown aside as some people believe.
True, it does happen, but if you are bringing in facts in regard to how many individuals have left the church when pursuing courses of higher education, do not forget that alongside that figure you must also place the number who have stayed home and left the church. Lust for money has taken as many as higher education.
If you were to ask the question, “Would I repeat my course if I were given a second chance?”, I would have to answer two ways. First, God had a purpose when He led me through those years, so I have no right to regret them in any way on that basis. Second, I know I have missed something that I could only have obtained in our own schools of Christian training. Therefore, my children are receiving what I missed.
Again you might ask, “What would I advise a High School senior of today to do?” In the light of what the years have taught me, I would say, “Senior, the first, foremost and only important question to ask yourself is as follows: How may I best use my God-given talents and aptitudes to serve God and my fellow man?” To do this, carefully review your past and try to visualize your future in the light of what your natural abilities and inclinations mean to you. If you choose a vocation in which you have a natural talent, your chances of success and happiness are much greater. There are two other factors you must take into consideration. The effect on your health and the financial aspects of a vocation are minor elements, but must not be overlooked when planning a future.
I know of no finer way to be of service to God than through the medium of teaching or its allied fields. Only a few are called to be ministers or missionaries, but there is an urgent need in our midst for teachers to lead our children. We need writers and speakers to teach us and our children. We need workers in our hospitals and homes as cooks, nurses, psychiatrists and scientists.
Seniors, I would first consider very carefully the courses offered in our own schools. Attend them if it is at all possible, but if you have a strong urge to be of service in a field in which there is no course of study offered in our schools, try to attend at least one year by taking a general course. Then very carefully select the institution which is located in a city where you will have the best contact with the church dearest to your heart.
If you keep in mind that you are attending the institution with the ultimate purpose of serving God to your greatest capacity, do not be afraid to venture forth. Seek and you will find friends who love God as you do. You may not find many interested in our Reformed faith, but remember that although for us our Reformed faith is the only way, there must also be other ways to Heaven. Few, but Hollanders, adhere to the Reformed faith and I cannot imagine a heaven in which Hollanders are the sole occupants.
It is not right to draw ourselves further into our shells and let the world minister to our needs. Our young men and women must go into other schools to earn degrees as doctors and nurses. We need men and women in many fields. Science cannot disprove the Bible. We need people to teach these things to our children. If our children receive the proper home instruction and a good Christian High School training, we should not be afraid to trust them to tell right from wrong. A Christian youth will have only pity for the highly educated man who has neglected his soul. Much as he may admire his brilliant mind, a Christian youth will know wheat from chaff.
In closing, let me once more remind you young people, WE NEED TEACHERS! Teachers with hearts filled with LOVE for God and His people. Use your talents for service no matter how small that service may seem to you.