Book Review: Not a Day Care by Dr. Everett Piper

Higher education is a mess right now. We are watching colleges and universities strangle themselves as they discover what education looks like when the oxygen of objective truth is pulled out of the room. Because the basis for such action is found in the philosophies and theories of some of their own radical professors, they are only eating their own poison. Postmodernism’s chickens have come home to roost. The insular environment of higher education, usually regarded as conducive to deep study, has proven to be a prime environment for the asinine practices that are being put into place in the name of tolerance and democracy. And it’s killing them.
What are some of these practices?
The need for “trigger warnings” whenever something seemingly offensive is going to be said.
The establishment of “safe places” for students where they can pet puppies, play with Play-Doh and color from their favorite coloring book to sooth their offended minds.
Choosing on admissions paperwork which pronoun best fits your chosen identity. If you don’t identify with he or she, you may certainly choose ze, too. And if you don’t want to constantly remind others of the pronoun of your choice, you may wear school issued buttons which displays your pronouns.
The establishment of “Bias Response Teams” which go around campus responding to any cases of offensive speech.
And the list can go on and on.
The leaders of these colleges and universities are weak. Some know better, but they’ve let the fear of man control their boardrooms. For many others, they are only the college flower child from the 60s and 70s who finally cut his hair, put on a suit coat, and now resides on campus as dean or president. They are no defenders of objective truth.
Instead of rooting out the seeds of progressive radicalism early on, the leadership left them in place. In the shadows, these seeds germinated. Now, the roots run deep. Their grip on the soil of the university is firm. Removing them would surely get someone dirty. So, instead, they let their institutions bleed out. This is the sure mark of a spineless leader.
That is why they would do well to follow the lead of Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (Bartlesville, OK). Last year, Dr. Piper wrote the book Not a Day Care. This book is his response to the degenerating state of higher education in America.
The seed for this book was planted after an incident in Dr. Piper’s university. In 2015, Dr. Piper was confronted by a student who claimed he was victimized in a recent weekly chapel speech. The speech was on the topic of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. The offense? The student felt offended because a homily on love made him feel bad for not showing love in his personal life! Utterly dumbfounded that such thinking could exist at OWU, Dr. Piper wrote an open letter on the university’s website. What follows are some excerpts of what he wrote:
Our culture has actually taught students to be this self-absorbed and narcissistic. Any time their feelings are hurt, they are the victims. Anyone who dares to challenge them and, thus, makes them feel bad about themselves, is a “hater,” a “bigot,” and “oppressor,” and a “victimizer.” I have a message for this young man and all others who care to listen. That feeling of discomfort you have after listening to a sermon is called a conscience…The goal of many a good sermon is to get you to confess your sins—not coddle you in your selfishness. The primary objective of the Church and the Christian faith is your confession, not your self-actualization.
He ended his open letter with this:
This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up. This is not a daycare. This is a university.
In the months following, his open letter went viral on the internet and finally culminated in the book, Not a Day Care. If you are not aware of what is going on in colleges and universities today, I highly recommend reading this book. In as much as the work of our own Christian schools’ correlate with that of higher education, all of us should read this book. We aren’t immune to anything in this world.
Regarding the book, Dr. Piper writes in a very accessible manner. I think the term is “conversational.” He doesn’t base his arguments on peer-reviewed research like most writers in academia. In fact, this book isn’t academic at all. Although he points to the reasons why higher education is where it is today, he doesn’t examine it very deeply. With that said, unlike other books recently written on this subject, Dr. Piper does come with a Christian perspective and assessment. I think the strength of this book is in its ability to make aware of what is going on in our local institutions.
The book is saturated with examples from colleges and universities across the nation where these institutions are strangling themselves in ridiculously applied postmodern philosophies. The culmination of these examples points powerfully to the fact that higher education has gone woefully astray. They are becoming an embarrassment with their marshmallow policies and practices enacted by their inept, agenda-controlled leaders.
Young people, I encourage you to read this book and be aware of the world we are living in. Better yet, take a cue from Dr. Piper. Boldly live in the truth regardless of what others around you are doing. When college and university presidents all over the country are folding from pressure, Dr. Piper stood up and said “Enough!” That’s courage.