Hanna de Jong-Markus

How Cohesion Matters 4 79 The teachers felt highly responsible for transmitting the message of the Bible, and they strongly desired that children adhere to the Christian faith in the end. For example, Femke said, “… it is the way to eternal life, and that is something I award for these children … with all my heart.” Meanwhile, Nora said, “If you see this world, everything is destroyed and ruined. But God will give a message of peace. … I have to share this, both the incredibility and the beautiful situation of hope, with the children.” In describing Interest 3, we already mentioned that teachers also refer to the baptismal promises of parents. However, some teachers explicitly pointed out that they do not have the highest responsibility for children’s Christian socialization, as that role goes to their parents. Second, teachers added pedagogical influences. In their eyes, it would be better, at least, for young children to grow up in surroundings that are cohesive and “safe” (Gijs). Because children spend so much time in schools, it would improve their well-being if the school’s norms and values are in accord with those of their parents. Additionally, school is an ideal setting for children to learn a lot about the Bible, many Christian songs, and other religious aspects. When children are older and have taken root in the Christian tradition, they can enter into dialogue with religious others. Anna said that because children are so precious and malleable, they should be at a safe place. She added, “I can equip them to grow to be strong persons, so that they eventually are ready to enter ‘that world,’ or the secondary school.” Gradually, there may be more openness and more contact with religious others, but ideally this occurs when the children are more resilient. Teachers sometimes position themselves as professionals in Christian socialization because they are better prepared than parents or the church to discuss the matters of faith at the children’s level. Third, we determined that Interest 2, at least, also has to do with feeling incapable of working at a school that is not orthodox Protestant. The first indication was the fact that the teachers themselves mentioned the disadvantages of being raised in OPPSs, and therefore, lacking experiences in meeting religious others and discussing their faiths (see section “Perceived disadvantages”). The second indication was the fact that some teachers expressed feeling the need to develop as a believer and as a professional before they could work at another kind of school (see Interest 2). Together, these signals suggest that, because they had limited learning about how to engage with religious others, they were hesitant to apply for jobs at non-OPPSs. In general, the OPPSs seem to correspond with the teachers’ three interests. However, if an OPPS has a wider population of pupils (i.e., not all pupils are from orthodox Protestant families/churches), some of the pupils might not experience cohesion between the