One thing Sean and I have a beautiful agreement and heart on is the childhood we wish for our children. It doesn't include a lot of society's must-haves for children today. There are no fancy vacations, status-quo clothing labels, noisy plastic toys, or popularity in the right circles or playgroups, though some of those might be nice for a season. (I cannot even begin to express how I'm pining for a vacation right now!)
There is so much vying for the hearts and attention of our children. I think one easy mistake to make, in general, is believing that the heart and mind are separate entities in a child. A brick wall in between the two sort of separation. So let's ponder together...
How many things does your mind dwell on that does not affect your heart? Could you meditate and absorb fashion magazines and not become discontented with your wardrobe? (I couldn't so I stopped reading them and love my own unique style!) Can we read something and let it pass on, not thinking on it, not meditating on it? Can you watch something and not feel towards it? The heart and mind are connected so tightly. Advertisers know this and use it in their billboards and commercials and online ads. What we allow to be entertainment for our children will be what is in their hearts.
I recently heard a secular speaker talking about culture affecting Nickelodeon (no, this isn't an anti-Nickeloneon post) and he threw out a few instances of cartoons mentioning global warming or socialist agendas. Hitler had it right when he mandated all children be a part of the Hitler Youth Clubs. You affect a child's heart, you affect cultural change.
Here are some great questions to consider in another area of child-rearing:
Do you agree with the job the government has done with spending your money?
What about with how well they've done lowering your taxes?
Do you trust the government to make good decisions regarding your health care?
Do you agree with the decisions they've made regarding obtaining fossil fuels for our citizens?
Do you trust our representatives to vote what their constituents want?
Do you believe the government as a whole values life? Honesty? Morality? Biblical values?
No? A few of these? None of these? Then the common sense question becomes - why are we handing over the most valuable possessions entrusted to our care to the government?
I love that we have those 1,440 hours of training in our hands that our kids would normally be spending away from home.
Now I completely understand that public schooling may be the only option some parents have and my statements above are not a judgement but a catalist for thinking over a serious topic. I attended public school as the daughter of a single mother and know of many instances where two parents have to work or one parent is unwilling to consider home education or public schooling is simply accepted as the social norm. We never thought we would homeschool either.
I highly suggest reading a great book called A Thomas Jefferson Education, which is neither pro or anti homeschooling, public schooling or private schooling, but simply and profoundly addresses the way our children are educated.
Some might say our kids live in a bubble (trust me, I've heard it countless times) that is guaranteed to burst someday. Our kids know who Hanna Montana and Spongebob are and could care less, see the sadness resulted from teenage pregnancy, know the basics hows of teenage pregnancy, they've seen child abandonment, know about child slavery, child sweat shops, clothing labels (hey we find great ones thrifted - they even know which clothing labels use kids), and they know about drugs and alcohol. What else should they know about the sadness of life? Anything else that should be thrown at them when they are not even ten years old? The difference is they didn't learn about these things on the back of a bus, or in the locker room, or from a tv show. Sheltered? Really? (chuckle)
I love that our children play together. One of our sons was aghast when he heard that in traditional schools brothers and sisters cannot see each other all day. Our kids are normal, they squabble and tattle, but they are also extremely close. They are each others best friends. Every once in a while Sean will take a kiddo into work with him if he has a slower day. Last week it was Andrew's turn and all I heard all day from the other children was how much they missed Andrew and "when is Andrew coming home?" The closeness of family is one reason we love home education.
So what kind of childhood do we want for our children?
One that values family, relationship, diligence and the beauty of its rewards, God's truth and unbiased love, this beautiful world God made, contentment in every circumstance, life, learning from sorrow and pain, a love for knowledge and wisdom, compassion, involvement.... I could go on and on but you wouldn't find any of the current culture's must-haves for a fullfilling childhood.