Going Public

Some called it the biggest upset in college football history. On Oct. 6, 2007, underdog Stanford University defeated #1-ranked USC, 24-23. Tavita Pritchard was the sophomore quarterback making history that day with his first college start, quickly becoming the center of a sports media storm. Without hesitation, the 6’4”, 200-pound Samoan smiled at the cameras and said, “All the glory goes to God.”

Tavita’s story sounds like good material for a compelling book. Unfortunately, he missed mom and dad’s deadline by a few weeks. Going Public, by David and Kelli Pritchard, is the first book of its kind, a practical guide with profound encouragement for parents who choose the public school system for their kids. Filled with powerful personal stories gathered from 24 years of raising eight children, the Pritchards make a compelling case for facing parental fear with the love of Jesus Christ. Relationships recently caught up with the Young Life staff couple from the Pacific Northwest and asked a few questions:

Relationships: There are some parents today who believe that putting their kids in the public school system means putting their kids at risk socially, academically, physically and/or spiritually. Do you hope to change their minds?

David: It’s not our goal to change anyone’s mind. Instead we desire to give parents a process to make a decision that is right for their family. We believe that there are good reasons for families to choose home school or private school. Fear is just not one of them.

Relationships: You’ve led a parade of eight Pritchard children through the public school system for the past 19 years. Have there been any moments when you were afraid you chose the wrong route?

David: If you’re asking were there ever any tense moments, the answer is yes. There was the time our girls where getting bullied by that young boy in class; there was the time that a teacher sent home material that called Noah and the Ark a religious fairy tale, and there were others. Rather than thinking we made a wrong decision, we saw opportunities to live out our faith.

Relationships: There must be many more stories of how God has used your family in the lives of others during your journey through the public school system.

Kelli: I can tell you one we’re still living. Through our son Tana and our daughter Dani we met a single mom and her four kids. Over the years we’ve “adopted” that family. When she needs help picking up kids, I will often be the soccer mom. If the principal wants to meet with one of the kids for discipline issues, David will go to the meeting. Or if there is an awards ceremony, our family will try to go support the recipient of the honor. The mom often wonders what drives us to give our time and resources to her family; it ends up being a great opportunity to live out the love of Christ.

Going Public can be purchased at Christian bookstores, Barnes and Nobel, and Amazon.com. But get ready for an upset. In this book, faith beats fear every time.