I grew up in a Baptist church and my parents wanted me to attend a Baptist school when they made their decision on where to send me after kindergarten (they were unhappy with the public schools in our district). When they enrolled me in the christian school, they saw “Baptist” in the name and assumed the schools beliefs were the same as their own. While many beliefs are similar, they didn’t know that the Fundamental Baptists were a slightly different breed.
1. You looked forward to Chapel day each week. While chapel was never what one would call “fun,” it was still an hour you weren’t sitting in class. It was much easier to pass notes in chapel, and there was always the “try not to laugh out loud when someone’s stomach growls” game.
2. You know what a “sword drill” is. It was your teacher’s favorite method for learning the Bible, and you probably considered yourself a master by the time you reached 6th grade.
3. You learned at least 15 Bible verses as songs. Someone, somewhere, decided the best way to learn Bible verses was to set the verse to music. If you ever hear these verses today, you probably still sing the tune in your head.
4. You thought the people in the Bible actually spoke 1600s King James English. Because KJV was the only translation allowed on the premises.
5. You were proud of yourself for buying a DC Talk CD only to be told at school that it was still the music of the devil. While most churches accept and embrace christian music, fundamental baptists believe the beat is wicked.
6. Free dress day. What’s that? You probably got jealous of your other private school friends when you learned they had “free dress” days. Not you, oh no. You were in that plaid uniform every day, every week, every year.
7. Culottes were the closest thing to pants girls could wear. Not on a school day, mind you. Only for P.E. or at school-related functions held after school hours.
8. You’ve been part of a nativity play more times than you can count. When you finally get selected to be Mary or Joseph, depending on what sex you are, you’ve reached the pinnacle. The highest honor any christian school thespian can achieve.
9. If you happen to be female, you were jealous of the boys. Because to a Fundamental Baptist, boys were better. Those rare field trips to a skating rink? Boys could wear jeans. Girls were still expected to skate in their uniform or an approved skirt or dress. Hem below the knee, of course!
10. You’ve sold enough World’s Finest Chocolate to feed a small country. Because it’s the universal fund-raising food. None of those great fund raisers where you can choose what kind of food to order…the only options were plain, caramel, almond, or krispy. Don’t hurt yourself deciding from that expansive list of choices.
11. Your first exposure to science was creationism. Saying “evolution” was almost as bad as cursing.
12. A Beka Book. You never knew a different brand of textbook.
13. You never watched a film in class. Not even educational ones. Like, ever.
14. The school holidays were better. Because, unlike public school, you probably got the Friday before Spring Break off as well, because it usually coincided with Easter. And that 3 days off at Thanksgiving business? Ha! You got a WEEK.
15. You lived in fear of being sent to the principal. Because paddling was the answer to every bad behavior.
Yes, I realize not every fundamental baptist school is exactly like this, but odds are, this was pretty close!