Tuesday, April 23, 2013
I have to hear it all. And it hurts my heart to the point I want to stand up and shout, "Stop It!!!"
That snarky little cartoon you posted on Facebook poking fun at home schoolers as being both ignorant and socially inept? The hilarious picture you linked to where two little African children comment on how horrible American public education is because the children are forced to sit perfectly still all day long?
It's not funny. Instead, it's divisive.
Sarcasm is anger's second cousin; it is a passive-aggressive way of saying, "I'm a better mom because I'm educating my child this way."
The problem, though, is not divisiveness in the political area. It's a much deeper division that pierces the very soul. This war over the choice between public schooling and home schooling is pitting Christian against Christian, dividing brothers and sisters in Christ.
One child even asked his mother how I could send my oldest son to public school if I had really prayed to God about it. The assumption was that I was a bad mother and a bad Christian for not homeschooling, that I was more spiritual if I kept my son home with me (and that he'd be more spiritual, too, by extension). In another conversation, a friend made the assumption my twins' shyness was caused because I home schooled them and would lead them to become social lepers. This time, I wasn't a bad Christian but was still a bad mother.
I am not merely a mother, though. I am also an educator.
Over the past fourteen years, I have taught your home schooled teens, your public schooled teens. I have even taught those private schooled teenagers whose tuition cost more than I make in a year.
In the end? I can't tell a difference among them.
As a whole, I can't stereotype a home schooled student as being "closer to God" any more than I can stereotype him as "lacking significant social skills." Likewise, I can't stereotype a public schooled student as being a "standardized test robot lacking out-of-the-box critical thinking skills" nor can I stereotype him as being "less moral."
In composition courses where students reveal more of themselves in their writing than they would in a history or math class where facts and figures are more important than personal ideas, I get the privilege of learning who my students are as individuals. Yes, even on the college level, I know them...sometimes too personally.
I listen to their in-class discussions, read their heart-driven essays, have one-on-one office consultations. By the semester's end, I know most of their histories, their current situations, their moral convictions, their religious beliefs, their political leanings, their dreams, their greatest hurts, loves, and failures.
Yet throughout it all, I can't really tell a blanket difference between the student who was educated in his kitchen or in a traditional classroom. I'm equally as likely to have a conversation about God with either group. (I'm also equally as likely to have my socks blown off by both group's immorality.)
Being a good mother? Being a good Christian?
It has nothing to do with whether you home school or public school. It has to do with you obeying God's calling for your life, whatever that may look like.
Our household is a unique one. I was public schooled from day one in kindergarten. My husband's academic upbringing was the exact opposite, with his mother home schooling him throughout elementary school and middle school, then home schooling through Pensacola Christian Academy for high school.
When husband and I married, we brought to the table our two completely different experiences on education. Perhaps that's why we both have love in our hearts for these two styles of education rather than animosity for one side or the other, because we understand this is one of those areas not spelled out in a Biblical command but one where we must pray and receive guidance for our family.
Whether we realize it or not, with every negative word we speak about the "other side," with each sarcastically angry cartoon or comment we post on Facebook...we're creating the next holy war at the feet of our children.
I strongly believe Satan is working intently to break up the unity found in the church. Where better to draw the dividing line than based on the definition of what makes a good or bad Christian? A good or bad parent? What better way than to discourage and divide rather than support and encourage.
Before I speak. Before I post. I need to ask myself if my words are opinion versus Biblical command, if my words can hurt, can offend, can divide versus draw my brothers and sisters in Christ together.
If the answer is yes, then I'd better hit delete.
at 8:28 PM