I hadn't been a parent for long at all before I realized that it's impossible to do the parenting thing perfectly. No matter how hard we try, we screw up often enough to have a few regrets. So I started telling my children that I would be happy to pay for half their therapy, figuring that I was at least covering my own damage.
As a society, we appear to have no skills related to argument. What's that you say? We argue a lot? Actually, most people quarrel rather than argue, though they may do so without physical involvement or raised voices. In fact, most people do not know what argument is.
This is unfortunate, because we need good, productive, challenging argument - in our family life, in our businesses, and in our shared communities. Argument is supposed to be the act of thinking together. Of both offering and considering persuasive ideas backed by facts and observations in order to advance our understanding.
The GOP is now pushing for a birth-control measure as part of their negotiation over the debt ceiling. Let's analyse this . . . this is a political entity that is willing to jeopardize an issue of domestic and international economic concern just so they can try to force their personal agendas on women? Since when was legislating the bedroom and women's medical decisions a form of SMALLER government?? And most importantly, why do they have so little respect for women that they don't believe we are capable of making moral, medical, and religious decisions based on our own belief systems?? There are thousands and thousands of Americans who follow religions that ban the use of immunizations, but I don't see them trying to make insurance companies stop covering them . . .
What makes a person believe that others owe him or her more than they owe in return? People who constantly borrow money from others but never pay it back, people who expect others to bail them out from problems they have caused, people who will do anything to get their own way, people who are indignant when they break the rules and then have to suffer the consequences -
The subject? Literature. The lesson topic? Heroes. When asked who she would name as heroes, Aubrey immediately named Martin Luther King and Harvey Milk. Would I have known this about her if we weren't doing school together? I don't know, but I'm SO glad I do!
I have long been critical of religious fundamentalists who homeschool to buffer their children from the influences of popular culture. It seemed like an indictment of the rest of us, and I had a rather emotional - even visceral - reaction to it.
Simply, it costs to much. In America. During these days of emotional, largely uninformed, often ignorant, and completely politicized discussion, I can only hope it will be useful to pass along information that has been fact-checked. I realize that many people don't care about facts these days, but I remain hopeful . . .
Thanks to Upworthy for this video:
or . . . Our (Continued) Adventures with Home Schooling
I have always embraced the value of supporting and investing in public schooling.
We Americans aren't particularly fond of subtleties. We like our politics black and white and our issues right or wrong. I once thought this was indicative of lack of intellectual energy, but lately I've been thinking we just like to fight. The problem is, most significant social issues are messy, and there are no perfect - or even near-perfect - solutions.
I get in my cab tonight after dinner, and the cab driver says "I'm the best cab driver you have ever had." I tell him, "That's going to be tough to achieve. Everywhere I go I meet wonderful cab drivers - it's one of my favorite things about traveling."
So he says, "Well, I bet you never had a cab driver serenade you before." He's right. This has not happened. "What will you sing for me?" I ask. "One of my favorite songs," he says. "A love song in my native language."
"Are you a tenor or a baritone?" I ask. "Both," he says. "When I was a young boy in Mexico City, I could do every voice in the choir." "OK," I say, "Sing me your song. It's been a terrific day and this sounds like a wonderful way to end it."
And he begins to sing. A soft, melodic, then soaring Spanish love ballad. I put my head back, closed my eyes, listened, then wept. When he opened my door I kissed him on his cheek and gave him his due. "Yes," I said, "You are the best cab driver I have ever had."
Everywhere you go, people can surprise you. They are rarely just what they seem.