Thinking, thinking. A while ago I stumbled across these two blogs. They were both written by young women who were raised in large home-schooled families. The whole point of their blogs are to expose the ills of this "subculture". It was just so weird to read these things from such a complete opposite perspective, but, I thought, hey, there might be something I can learn here. I thought about what they had to say for days actually.
It made me think about how all of us, including me, judge things by our own experiences. We have to! To those young people that is reality, they lived it. To them that is what a Christian homeschooling family is, and so, they feel the need to take a public stand and shout about it. But that was only their experience. You can never lump a whole group of people together and say, "this is how they are, they do this, they think like this." But we do it all the time. Turns out there's a lot of "homeschool apostates" out there on the internet, wanting to make their voices heard. And that's fine, but, as I was reading some of the comments on these two blogs I noticed some things. Things that I know to be of a certain spiritual danger in the homeschool world.
For one thing, not all, but some, and I would venture to say many, parents who choose to homeschool, have suffered some extent of hurt and abuse in their lives, enough so that they know that the world is not a safe place. They know first hand that there are actually evil people in this world and they have a fierce determination and sense of duty to protect their own children. And that's good, we should by Biblical mandate, take it upon ourselves to shepherd, protect and disciple our children.
But, I also know from first hand experience, that there can be a tremendous amount of pressure on a home school family to be perfect. To have it all together, a clean house, homemade organic food, perfectly behaved children, who never have messy faces and always have their hair combed;), who can recite large sections of Scripture and play musical instruments, and have been thoroughly trained to address grown ups as Mrs. and Mr. so and so. There's also the pressure to always look pleasant and composed, especially in public, so you don't make other homeschooling families look bad. Then depending on where you're at and who you're around, there may be the pressure to teach your kids Latin and there is for sure the pressure to keep them at least a notch or two above their peers academically. AHHHH.....help! All that pressure, after a while, is enough to make even the sanest among us feel a little crazy!
Again, I know first hand that when you look at yourself and your family and all the ways you're not cutting it, it starts to seem like the other families are so much ......better. You start to wonder, what are we doing wrong? And you look for some books, of course, because being a homeschooling mom you love to read, right? So, you find the book and the author is awesome and spiritual and has all the answers, and if you just follow his formula, your family will be perfect too. But, unfortunately, your husband is nothing like him. He just isn't as spiritual, disciplined, etc. etc. and probably that's why it's not working out. So, you get your hubby all the CDs to listen to on his way to and from work so he'll understand what's expected of him......
I don't know, but I noticed that lots of the people that were commenting on the blogs have a lot of anger at certain public figures in the home school movement. And I just worry that there is the temptation to become followers of men rather than God. Maybe some men feel a lot of pressure as well, to lead and disciple their families. Maybe some resort to military like discipline and leadership to try to maintain the level of control they feel they need to have. Especially if they did not have a good father themselves, so they've never seen how it's all lived out in day to day life.
And then, oh sad, sad! What happens when the man your family is following falls spiritually? The damage is unbelievably devastating. It makes my heart ache for these poor families, who were setting out to do something wonderful and far reaching and ended up with angry, bitter kids.
Fortunately for me, Blue eyes is too independent and skeptical to have ever been too tempted in this area. Plus, we are blessed to have known real life men of God who quietly lived their lives, leaving an example for others. Who's faithful witness lasted until the end of their lives. Men who's children rise up and bless them. We have been blessed beyond measure to have seen around us generations of godly men. Perhaps they haven't written books but they have humbly tried to do their best to follow the instructions given them in the Bible.
I want that kind of heart! That clings to the Word of God alone! I want to love the simple instruction given to us, to be gentle, kind, and faithful, and most of all to trust HIM to work in us those good things. And,
through faith to patiently wait for the fruit of our labor, with vision and grace! Knowing that we may water and sow but it is God Himself who gives the increase!
Yup, this is what we've been talking about at our house lately. Don't get me wrong, I love parenting books, marriage books, homeschooling books, because I want to glean wisdom from others who've gone this way before me. If I am able I want to learn from their mistakes and victories. But just as importantly I want to remember that my family is 100%, completely unique! There has never been a man just like Blue eyes married to a woman just like me, so it goes without saying that there are no other children just like ours! What works for Micheal Pearl's family probably won't work for mine because the daddy at our house is a tenderhearted, gentle, soft spoken guy. If he tried some of the things that worked for Mike, our kids would be brokenhearted and that's OK because we're free to just be us.
And you are as well, free to be you, so take heart, relax, stop worrying about how you appear before men and set about with me to love and enjoy the unique, one in a million guy you're married to. Let's trust that God has given us just exactly what we need to raise the fruit of our wombs. Just think, the fruition of the love between unique you and your one in a million guy. Pretty special!