7-Quick Takes

The mommy wars - why I said goodbye to persuasion


It seems that August is now the new September. Kids are packing up their backpacks and heading back to school, while the local pools and other things that cater to school kids are closing up. It may be 95 degrees outside, but in my area the local metro parks are closed to swimmers.


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Even the ice cream truck, the cheerful white music box on wheels that blares it's enticing tune down the street during my granddaughter's nap time, with promises of sugary dairy delights, will curtail its visits next week when the public schools open. That's the kind of thing that boggles the mind, because it's still hot out!  Summer is very brief and winter will be here soon enough.  Why aren't we enjoying it?

Marchand Sorbet
Carrotmadman6 via Flickr licensed via cc

As a homeschooling family, we're trying to. We could still visit the swimming area when it's hot out, and even though it's the bane of my summertime existence, I know I'll miss the ice cream truck's visits.

Another back-to-school phenom apparently are the mommy wars between moms who are homeschooling and those putting their kids into school.  I say "apparently" because I no longer have much interest in participating in those discussions. This year marks my 20th year in a row of homeschooling. Two decades. I don't agonize any more over whether it is the best thing to put my kids in school or not any more. It's been settled for us almost to the point of habit. My issues are with the end of homeschooling and launching my student into real life, a time that has been messy for our family every time it's been tried!

Still I know that my 5th grader will thrive at home, my 11th grader is starting two businesses as part of her high school experience, and my senior is prepared to go to college next year and enjoying the ride so far.

That all said, there are things that pop up in these mommy wars that I could speak up on, but don't. One of my favorites popped up in a discussion this week, in fact I've been hearing it all summer for different topics -

"Jesus never said anything about __________________."

Fill in the blank.

In this case it was "home schooling," but I swear someone used that same line on me about gay marriage just a month or so ago.  It must be the new template for anyone trying to shut down debate and discussion - much like the references 10 years or so ago to Hitler any time a disagreement came up.

If pressed, I could have easily handled that one - Jesus gave an example of discipleship. He didn't have the apostles sitting in a classroom fashioned after the Prussian System of Education to teach them about God, and then give them multiple standardized tests to make sure they remembered all of the information. So if anything, Jesus' example debunks the current education system.

But here's the thing - when people, especially women... O.K... especially moms, are making these kinds of big decisions for their children, they are very sensitive and insecure. I know because I was there. Whether it was giving birth, breastfeeding, vaccinations, potty training, there were lots of opinions that I had to chose from and I was always insecure about whether or not I had picked the best option. And after I had made my choice, I felt that I had to defend that choice tooth and nail. Because what would it mean if I had chosen wrongly?  For me it was a pride issue as much as anything else, and when I was protecting my ego, I was NOT listening to arguments or discussions with the ability to be persuaded or compelled to look at the other side.

I think the ability to be persuaded or compelled to look at the other side of an argument objectively comes only in a place of calmness and after much thought and prayer. And lots of times that isn't easy and most of the time there is some pain and loss involved.

But certainly it's not something that's going to happen on a message board or on Facebook - at least not all at once.  At the very least maybe a seed is planted for someone to ponder and consider later, but instant conversion - never happens in my experience.

So at this stage in the game for me at least, I prefer to be the tree planted by the stream of waters. I've tested my theories and have enough personal experiences to back them up, and I'm willing to share them, but only if asked. (I'm assuming if you are reading here that want to read them, right?) In the meantime, I'm taking my kids to the state park to swim a few more times during the weekdays, because those are always open and they won't be very crowded. We might even get an ice cream on the way back!

Willow 2 at Belle Isle
Gordon via Flickr  licensed cc

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