When our children were born, my ego was launched and I felt I was the only one who could raise them in the way I saw fit, that no one could know as well as I what they needed and what would allow them to build their own boat to navigate the seas. (I am in nautical mode today.)
When we lived in San Clemente, 1976-1978, we felt concerns about the way the country was going and we decided to buy a boat and sail around the world. Jeff was three and Chris a new-born and so schools would be an issue. I investigated the Calvert school and pleased, sent for the first year of educational materials, planning to home school with the aid of their well-accredited materials. I was impressed with what I received and did use that first year of instruction with both my children, though they were also enrolled in school.
What I knew then and know now is that though I was a part of their learning to read, and learn basic scientific principles and math, the peer group was important too. They needed involvement with friends of differing opinions to learn how to resolve their own issues. They took a hit on the playground to learn about action and response. They learned first-hand that bullies are the one afraid.
It appears to me that many children home-schooled today are done so in an attempt to isolate and brainwash. That is unfortunate since the flow of information that school provides is important to both parent and child. I learned an incredible amount from what my children brought home from school. I may not have liked all their teachers but talking about them with my children allowed us all to grow. One son had a sixth grade science teacher who insisted evolution was theory and that creationism, and I realize there are many forms of this, but hers was an extreme fundamental version, was fact. We navigated through that.
This morning in the shower I found myself thinking of how one sails a boat. That brought all this navigational imagery to light, or wind, perhaps. When you sail upwind, you tack; you go left, then, right, back and forth again. I think that the politics in this country have, until recently, followed that pattern. Compromise has kept us on course, but it seems there is a fringe, and I do hope they are a fringe who seem determined to sink the whole ship. I am unclear on why this is so unless they are sure they are going to be the ones lifted up to a brighter place. How then is that different from thinking you are going to slam a plane into a building and hang out with virgins the rest of your life?
I take these words from a sailing website, http://www.boating.co.nz/sailing/upwind.html:
The most important part of making the boat go fast upwind comes back to the person holding the tiller. It's all very well coming in after a race and blaming your sail/mast/rudder, where nine times put of ten it's your fault! The minute you realise that you are at fault, you will begin to improve.
"Realise you are at fault, you will begin to improve."
I think this sailing lesson can be taken into our lives so that we look at ourselves more wholly. I look at myself.
Where might I have moderated my behavior, behaved a little more sensitively, listened a little more closely, reflected back what someone was saying with a little more care?
What I see is that the way we sail a boat is a model for how we navigate our lives. In the past when there was disagreement people often sailed to a new land but the land is taken now and we haven't yet chosen or figured out how to ship communities out into space.
I'm not sure how this current situation on the subject of education can resolved, but the words of my grandmother come to me. Everything can be taken from you or lost except education. Education you will always have. I realize that Alzheimer's or a stroke may threaten that, but certainly for the majority of our lives, what we learn is there for us to use. I believe that our president is well-intentioned in what he is striving to do and he is pulled in a multitude of directions. I may disagree with him on Iraq and Afghanistan, but I am baffled that anyone could disagree with a desire to educate our children, unless people are so insecure in their own beliefs that the thought of exposing their child to an alternate way of thinking and concluding, threatens their own rigidity of thought.
Sometimes I don't speak for what I see as obvious but I think this point on Obama and education is one on which we who see it as obvious must unite. We must have a well-educated populace for this nation to stand. The bullies may fear that but when you stand up to a bully they fall back like the paper tiger they are. Enough is enough! Children deserve to be exposed to different opinions so they can decide. They must know how to think, to examine pros and cons and make an informed decision. But oh if they could do that, oh, well, then, yes, I see why this is such a fight.