Hard Times

February 9, 2009

by Tammy Drennan

I was in Wal-Mart the other day – just after school hours – and saw two parents with their children.


One was a dad with two sons. The boys were wearing T-shirts from a local elementary school. The shirts said, “We’re Super Lions from Lion River Elementary.”


The other parent was a mom with four girls. All the girls wore private school uniforms.


What struck me was my gut-level emotional response to seeing these families. I saw the dad and boys first and smiled. I always smile when I see parents and children together – it’s not as common as it once was. The boys looked happy to be at the store with their dad (when I was growing up, going to the store with dad was a big treat).


But when I saw the mom and girls I felt a sense of elation. Yes! There was something so positive and empowering about the sight, something so right, so hopeful. There are children not being reared by the state. There are parents not bowing to the government’s assumption that their children belong to Uncle Sam.


Sometimes I see homeschoolers in stores and I feel just as I did when I saw mom, et al – like I should give them a high-five and say “Way to go! Stay the course!”


Many months ago I got a call from a dad who was investigating homeschooling. He had three children in private school, it was back when gas was $4.00 a gallon, and his job was a little iffy. He had considered public school as a money-saving tactic, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. He and his wife had talked it over and decided that homeschooling was something they could do.


As finances tighten for many people and our economy twists and turns in its effort to recover, this is what I hope for families…


I hope that tough times will make parents look inward and homeward, that they will think about living simpler and devoting themselves to the upbringing of their children instead of to new stuff and bigger lifestyles.


I hope that parents will reflect on what it means to bring children into the world and on what sort of future they want for their children and how they can make that dream come true.


I hope that as parents watch the government fumble and toy with the economy and throw its weight around in displays of self-righteousness that can emanate only from politicians, they see the folly and foolishness of the state and realize that these are not people who should be defining or delivering something as important as education.


Finally, I hope parents will find the courage to walk away from the money – the “freebie” of public schooling, take their children back, choose sane and responsible living and childrearing, and produce a generation that will restore government to its rightful place – that of humble servant of liberty.


Hard times can be times of sober reassessment for people. What better time than now to re-evaluate the future in light of how we’re rearing those who will create it?