Here is the reality of life in America today:
We are too caught up in being against something rather than being FOR something.
Hence, we are living in a society where many have forgotten how to put their self interest aside and simply work together.
All it takes is a quick scan of Facebook and you will see people ranting about what they are AGAINST.
This morning, as part of a math lesson about scale, my son constructed a model of Freedom 7 - which carried Alan Shepard into space.
Because he is also taking an astronomy class and our science focus this year is space, he was very interested in this - so we fell down a rabbit hole watching videos about the first American in space.
In an interview, Alan Shepard's daughter said her dad never said anything was HARD...he would only say it was a challenge. She also spoke about the competition between the 7 astronauts to be the first to go into space for their country, and when her dad was chosen the others were proud of him and all competition ceased. They all worked toward one goal for the benefit of their country.
After this video ended my son looked and me and said "too bad our country isn't like that any more."
Wow. Profound from a perceptive 12 year old.
I wasn't sure whether to be proud of his observation or saddened by the truth of it - I guess I am both. This observation, however, just spurs me on to be the best homeschooling parent I can be.
How do we raise children that have that Alan Shepard spirit? How do we raise children that want to work TOGETHER for something beautiful, good, and truthful, rather than simply shout from the rooftops how unfair life is and how upset they are?
This is why we homeschool.
We cannot abdicate the development of our children to anyone else.
We have an amazing opportunity to develop a sense of fairness, justice, and compassion in our children -- for them to really ACT on these ideas, not just protest about them. We have an opportunity to raise young men and women who will influence the coming generations in untold ways.
We have an opportunity to raise humble people who look first to the interests of others, rather than themselves.
It is IMPORTANT. It is a way to change the world.
I am optimistic for the future and the leaders we are training in our homeschools!
So, let's talk about what we can actually DO.
Is It True, Beautiful, and Good?
As Classical homeschoolers this is our mantra, but it applies to everything in life.
Does everything you are providing for your children pass the truth, beauty, and goodness litmus test? Really think about this one. (I mean, REALLY think about it.)
Think about the following things - are you striving to give your children only the most true, beautiful, and good things in the following areas?
I don't buy the argument that we can't shelter our children from the world. Oh yes, we can, and I believe it is my responsibility to do so.
Giving a child free reign of technology, media, and other adult things is not only developmentally inappropriate, it also assumes so very little of them. I get that it's much easier to plop your child down in front of the Disney Channel rather than come up with a few independent activities for them to do in place of watching television, but this is what we must do to keep truth, beauty, and goodness first in their lives.
(As always, I'm writing this post as a reminder to myself. I'm still a work in progress.)
As you go about your day with your children, ask yourself if what you are doing promotes truth, beauty and goodness. You might be very surprised by the answer.
This book is currently on my nightstand - looking forward to delving into learning more about truth, beauty and goodness.
A tremendous benefit to homeschooling is that we can seek out mentors for our children (and sometimes ourselves, too!). You would be amazed at the number of WILLING adults who are happy to build into our children's lives.
I have been intentional about placing adults in my children's lives that will build into, support, and encourage them.
I've had two aunts and a friend teach my daughter to quilt - and in the process impart some beautiful life lessons.
Currently, my daughter is working with a woman in our church who heads a special needs ministry. Anna is able to learn so much and is forming a bond with another adult (who isn't her parent!).
Most recently my husband and son (and several of their friends) have been learning the ancient art of forging from a dear man in our church. This man is teaching many local boys the art of forging. They are making crosses to distribute all over the world, and in the process he imparts his faith, life lessons, and so much more.
You can look for mentors within your church, your homeschool community - anywhere, really! If you see someone who is doing something you would like to have your children learn, ask them if they would be willing to teach them. You might be surprised at the reaction you will get!
Provide Examples from the Past
Reading aloud to our children about heroes from the past is such a powerful way to teach them about mightiness, working together, and heroic and noble qualities.
Now that my children are older we don't read aloud quite as much, but I do give them hero books to read on a regular basis.
I've written about how to teach your children about heroes of the Christian faith. Included below are also some of our favorite book series for teaching our children about heroes.
We especially love the Torchlighters video series - even created a Sunday School class based around this great study of Christian heroes.
Perhaps I am preaching to the choir, but in an age where traditional schooling and so many other things seek to DIVIDE the family, it is imperative that we keep our children close to us.
That old image of the one-room schoolhouse can be created in our modern homeschools. We can learn beautiful things simply and well. We can have our children spend the bulk of their times in OUR schoolhouse, with us as their primary influences.
This brings it all back to my son learning about Alan Shepard. I found it so fitting that Alan Shephard paid tribute to his family and one-room schoolhouse experience.
It's hard to swim upstream in our culture - it's not the most popular thing for teens to spend so much time with their families, but this is exactly when they SHOULD be spending the most time with them.
The thought of children's peers raising them is absurd, yet what happens when children spend more time with those peers than they do with their own families? It's something to think about.
In the end, we can rest knowing we are doing our part to educate and raise children who are inspired to work together for noble causes. We can rest knowing we have tried our very best to give our children truth, beauty, and goodness, access to role models, and most of all -- their FAMILIES.