Wednesday, April 14

In the world, but not of it

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.


Craig and Bethany said...

I LOVE this post. I couldn't agree with you more. Thanks for articulating your vision for raising these precious children.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled upon your blog a couple months ago when looking for some like-minded moms regarding homeschooling (we had just started off and I was uneasy...) and I'm so glad I'm able follow your posts. Many of them ring true for me, and it's such an encouragement to know there are others out there that deal with similar situations. And kudos on that bread recipe--I use it weekly now, as we've tried to cut back on what we buy at the grocery store! Thank you for your words; know they reach all the way here on the opposite side of the country. And whats odd is that I'm not really even a "practicing" Christian...

Eleanor Joyce said...

Well said, and I couldn't agree more. We've managed to raise 4 kids (now 19, 17, 15 and 13 without little league, endless soccer games, trips to Disney, etc. They are each others' best friends. We, too, get the "sheltered" line from folks. I don't even try to defend it anymore. I love that our home and family is a sanctuary that we've been able to share with others.

Kelly said...

Great post Hannah! This is something we feel very strongly about as well. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you 100%!!!!!!! I think kids that are in the confinement of school all day can be sheltered in all sorts of way. They are in school all day, not out in the real world experiencing real things. For example, most kids that are my son's age go to preschool. Evan is homeschooled, which includes volunteering at an animal shelter, spending time with children of various ages from 2-8, visiting a farm nearby, learning how to get along with his little brother daily as they are always together etc. etc. etc.

You are doing a great job with your kiddos :)

Mindy said...

Wonderful, thought provoking post, thanks for taking the time to share it.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I find that to be so true when one boy is somewhere else all the others can't wait for him to be home. I love it!
Marissa in Ohio

Michele said...

Excellent post, Hannah. So well thought out and written. I agree completely.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful post, Hannah. Though I cannot home educate my special kids, it is still my heart and I love to see it happening successfully. Thanks for encouraging the masses.
Tracy C

Anonymous said...

Great post...I agree with you on the no need for all the junk that society says our kids need... My husband and I agree that, they need to be kids.. it seems society wants them all to grow up so fast...

Hope the morning sickness fades soon.

Sue in NJ

Joyce said...

Beautiful representation of many homeschool families, ours included. My husband and I had a conversation on this very topic just last week. Why do we purposely choose to train our children in the way that we do? We live in a very liberal area where few home educate and although we have gone against the flow for 20 years it has only been to our blessing. Not easy, but a blessed life.
We also foster care and I am looking across the table at a 3 year old visitor who would benefit greatly from homeschooling.... so much potential, but so many needs for this little one. It is sad, but we do our part to love and teach our little visitors.
Blessings on you today.
BTW, I get crabby sometimes too..... :)

Debi said...

Amen! Preach it sister. :)) Your words are so true. Keep spreading he word.