Saturday, August 24, 2013

They Let You Do That?

Anyone who homeschools can probably chronicle the crazy questions they get about their "strange lifestyle". We have gotten many questions both here and in the UK, and lots of funny looks. 

But by far the scariest, and most revealing, was the question from the grocery store check out guy in California. He asked about the kids being out of school (which I think is so odd in itself--why do they think they deserve a justification for why my kids are with me?) and when I told him that we homeschooled he looked at me in shock and said...

 "They let you do that?"

THEY let you do that?

They LET you do that? 

They let YOU do that? 

Anyway you look at it, it's frightening. 

THEY: Who are they? I presume he meant "the government". The all-powerful THEY; un-named, impersonal. In an avowed totalitarian regime (as opposed to one pretending to be something else--ahem.) he may have looked over his shoulder first, and then whispered his question. 

But instead, he looked at me shocked. 

It wasn't a question he thought about--it just came out. 


LET: Whoever "they" are, they have the power to LET you do things, or not LET you do things. They apparently have the power to LET (or not LET) me make choices about my own children's best interest. THEY decide what I may do with my own children's education.

YOU: "You mean they let YOU take care of your OWN children?" Enough said. 

"But," the reasonable person says, "but what if someone wants to neglect their children, or teach them evil, subversive things!" 

We don't want that, do we? 

So we are willing to ASSUME that most parents are likely to neglect their children, or to teach them evil things. Therefore, THEY have to take control. 

  • Set up schools that will raise kids the RIGHT way. [common schools/public schools]
  • Demand require compel parents to bring their children to the government schools. [compulsory education]
  • Allow the parents to bring their children to other schools only if they are approved by the government. [accredited private schools]

Does this sound crazy to anyone else? 

Am I the only one who shivers in fear when someone asks a question like that? 

This reminds me of a story.
When I was an undergrad at CSULB in southern California I had a night class. I was a commuter and drove from my parents home about 40 minutes away. The campus was pretty big and the walk from class to your car could be quite a ways…in the dark. It didn't always feel very safe. At the time they had a program where you could call security from a campus phone and ask for an escort--a male volunteer who would walk you safely to your car. When I was told this, my first response was "How do I know I can trust the escort?"


Apparently, most parents will fail to provide a good education for their children so we must require them, by law, to turn their children over to the government appointed educators, who, by their very nature will care more for the future of the children than their own parents. 


And how have these people earned the right to be of such great influence in the lives of children? 

THEY (the government) say that the teachers are good, and the school is good, so therefore, it must be true. 

The assumption is that parents will tend to be a bad influence on their kids and the government will tend to be a good influence. 

I never thought like this before. I used to be one of those teachers---I was a good one, approved by all the right people. And I sincerely worked to help my students learn what I was told they needed to learn. I loved them---it was a love inferior to their parent's love for them, but it was love. 

But from the moment my first child was born I began to see "the authorities" 
(the first one being the medical community--soon to be a real branch of the government) 
as a threat to my child, and to my relationship with my child. I was immediately struck (and frightened) by the fact that THEY had to LET me take my baby home from the hospital. MY BABY!!
This is not my first baby. By the time this little redhead came along I was a bit more savvy. 
We couldn't wait to get her home. And since that day we have made decisions about our family that are entirely our own. 

We treat THEM (the government), and all their related THEY's with great suspicion. We read forms that we sign at the doctors office more and more carefully. We watch laws and lawmakers and how they couch all of their rhetoric about "the best interest of the children". 

I am so happy to live in a country in which I am free to choose my religion as I see fit, free to school my children as I see fit, free to eat what I want, free to move from place to place according to my own understanding of what is best for me and my loved ones, free to work hard and make all the money I want, free to give some of that money to the charity I want, free to spend the rest on whatever I want. 

But I fear that we may lose all of this freedom. The grocery man's question frightened me because, in his ignorance, he ASSUMED that I wasn't in charge of my children's education. 

In how many other areas of life does he (and other like him) assume the government should take care of things? What other freedoms is he (and others like him) willing to give up? 

Let's wake up folks! Let's not be the proverbial frogs in the pot of boiling water. 
Nuff said. 

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I have had it asked, "You can DO that?" Same thought process though. ANd the medical field? I love my pediatric, but the well check up routine questions...forgetaboutit!