Thursday, September 8, 2011

Under my skin.

Once upon a time I was a Flight Attendant. Once upon a time I traveled all over the world... sometimes to places I never even knew existed (Djibouti, Biskek, etc.). Once a month we would have Flight Attendants fresh out of training, drying off their newly minted wings and working their first REAL flights as part of their final exams so to speak. One new girl caught always stayed with me. I liked her, we worked well together, but she was fairly exclusive to working with other people. Our schedules hardly ever overlapped. We both got pregnant with our first kids around the same time, and although she stuck with working till the near end, I quit once the stress started complicating things for me physically. Months after our children were born, we finally found each other on ye' olde Facebook and have communicated off and on ever since. That was until a few weeks ago.

I promised myself I wouldn't let words hurt as much as they did that day. I promised myself that I would not let others question my faith or how I raised my children. I promised myself that this blog would represent me and all that I am, and everyone else can suck it. I allowed myself to be bullied into a corner, a corner where I question my beliefs and my parenting skills. A corner where everything I once knew as true, I all of a sudden questioned. They verbally shoved me and I justified verbally shoving them back via their comments box. That, ladies and gentlemen was uncool on my behalf and I instantly regretted the horrible things I said to her in my head, because YES, I had enough sense to keep the majority of how I felt IN my head and not ON the internet. I would not have said those things to her in real life to her face because a.) I'm a chicken shit and b.) they're just not nice things and I would have felt HORRIBLE if someone had said them to me... oh wait... she did.

My entire life I have grown up with at least one VERY religious person in my life, mainly, my Grandmother. I went to church with her every Sunday as a small child. I have various memories of being saved or taken to strange homes in Atlanta to be anointed. She instilled hope and faith in me as well as the amazing power of prayer. She also showed me how blind faith can be just as much of a curse as it is a blessing. Once I got old enough to notice that things were contradicting themselves and that I was NOT to question her religion of choice (think Pentecostal, KJV only or you're not really doing it right) I stopped going with her on Sundays. She, however, did not stop loving me despite the choice I made. I continued to go on Holidays with my parents and sometimes we would get into a pattern of going more than once a month, but I still didn't feel right. I grew up here in the Bible belt. This means that I can have a foul mouth and keep it classy at the same time (but not always). Seriously though, it means that I am surrounded by churches and for the most part, knowing what church someone goes to will give you an immediate idea of what that person is like. And maybe it's just me, but isn't that judging a book by it's cover? Unfortunately, YES. Does this mean I don't believe in Christianity? No. And strike me down or take me off your blog list if you must, but my faith? Is none of your business and the one thing my Grandmother instilled in me was that LOVING one another and TREATING one another in a Christ like way trumps throwing scripture in their faces in an attempt to "win souls." Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'll find out once it all fades to black in (hopefully a long LONG time from now) the end, but if all this time I'm wrong in what I believe and this "faith" of mine isn't the "right faith" to have, wouldn't this mean that my entire life I haven't known wrong from right? Doesn't it say somewhere in the Bible that just as my Grandmother taught me, loving one another as you love yourself as God made you is His law above all else? Oh wait, THERE IS...

Romans 13:8-10
King James Version (KJV)

 8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

I owe not one person an explanation as to how I worship or how my family and I serve the Lord. I WILL live my life in an attempt to do right by my family and those around me. Do my children go to church? Yes. Do we teach them about the Bible? Yes. Does it matter to me which version of the Word it comes from? No. Do we practice aspects of both Christianity AND Buddhism in our house? Yes. And before you start scratching your heads, THIS is the one explanation I'm throwing out there and I'm not getting into it again: no matter which translation of the Bible you read, you are STILL reading a translation. It is a good book, a great book even, BASED on facts no less and I will raise my children up with the morals and values instilled in me from that same book. We will pray to Jesus when we pray and/or meditate. We will strive to be as Christlike as we can, but... my children are welcome to question as we have done ourselves. I firmly believe that it is useless at this point to worry over having all our questions answered because we will never TRULY know the answer till we get to have that chat with God himself. Until then, I want my children to have the faith that God is everywhere and in everything. I want them to treat every person they cross in life with the respect they would give to their parents. I do NOT want to be assaulted and made to feel dirty and sinful because I am raising them otherwise, as I have yet to feel at peace when I associate with churches and practitioners firm in the KJV.

So, where is Homeschooling in all of this? It's not. We're taking it one year at a time with our (DUNH DUNH DUUUUUNH) public school system. It is 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. If they weren't in school they would be spending that same average amount of time at a Grandparent's house without me. This gives them time to make friends in their age group, allows them to use resources I can't financially provide them, allows me time to help my Grandfather without my attention being all over the place. And when the old man doesn't need my immediate help, it allows me time to do something for myself without my attention going elsewhere. Do I love the idea of Homeschooling my kids? To be truthful, yes and no. Yes, I love the idea of not forcing my children to spend 8 hours a day with 30 other children fighting for 1 teacher's attention. Yes, I love watching my children grow and change as they learn. Yes, I think our school system is literally going to Hell in a (very small) hand basket... BUT, the school system we have available to US personally has not failed me yet. Selfishly, I will admit, I like my 3 hours a day 3 days a week. I like that they are learning from someone other than myself and that I am constantly hearing praise from their Teachers for their behavior and intelligence. I like that they love school and are surrounded by 20 other kids (and at least double that in student teachers) whom they can't wait to see every day. YES, there are bad days where one child or the other isn't in the mood to go (or come home for that matter.) YES, there are days where I question if Lillie specifically, is ready for a school setting. NO, I do not regret our decisions in the grand scheme of things. Will they still be in public school in 5 years? I don't know. Will we continue learning at home outside of any school setting? Yes. We will continue to take it on a year to year basis and that is what's right for us as of right now.

So, if you're a Homeschooler and you're reading this, high five! I'm excited for you and I do NOT think ill of your choice. If anything else, I am in awe of you and your decisions. While trying to decide what was best for our children this year, I discovered just how hostile people can become over one tiny little educational choice. There were moments when my own family made me shake my head and/or second guess my reasons for even thinking about it. Y'all aren't all crazy psychopaths or agoraphobics. If anything else, I've discovered that the majority of Homeschooling parents AND children come out on the other side of the education process better prepared for "beyond school." Shoot, even my favorite doctor at our pediatrician's office was Homeschooled. I have a favorite little ratio that I learned during Flight Attendant training to describe pretty much any situation. If one person out of ten people are angry about something, you are only going to know about the one angry person. Most people who are even barely satisfied with an experience will not speak up... you better believe though that the one irate person is going to go to the mountains with how dissatisfied they are. The same thing can be applied with nearly any bad review you read online or any negative comment made in your blog feed. The same thing can be applied to Homeschooling. If one parent completely messes their children up by Homeschooling them, chances are there are nine other success stories. Will you hear about them? Maybe... most likely not... And more than likely if you research into that one bad parent, you'll find that it wasn't really the educational choice that messed the child/children up but something else entirely.

I'm pretty sure I'm rambling at this point so I'll take this opportunity to go find some focus elsewhere. I'm glad I wrote today, even if it will end up blowing up my comments box with differing opinions. Bring  your opinions here, I welcome them, so long as you're not just taking advantage of being an anonymous yet opinionated voice fueled by the fact that what you write in the comments box is not what you would say to my face if you ever met me. Love you! 

13 comments:

  1. Hear, hear! Homeschooling works great for some people. Public school also works great for some people. And whichever way you go, as long as it's working well for your family, no one should criticize you for your choices! (visiting from Mama Kat's)

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  2. LOVE how you tied together that faith and education are PERSONAL, family choices! And while discussion on how we each have chose is appropriate, hate and critical comments are not helpful.

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  3. I specifically agree on the hate and critical comments. How is that going to make me WANT to see things your way when you are being so critical of how I choose to raise MY children? Even if I don't agree with your way of doing things, I am still positive about how wonderful your children are doing and what a great job you've done. And when I do voice my questions and comments about your way, I make sure to be tactful about it because. SERIOUSLY, it just might work for you even if it doesn't for me.

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  4. Okay, so I stumbled on your blog via Mama Kat's blogroll for the blog prompt and have to admit I was doing it because she requested it. But I read this post of yours (and a few others too) and can officially declare you my favorite blog! You are an amazing writer and spoke to me in quite a few areas. You also gave me a kick in the ego because while I focus on other's being critical of me, I have become critical of them. And I need to knock that off. I'm am just in awe of you and this blog and it excites me to have found you! Thank you! I am indeed a new follower and will be sharing your blog, thank you thank you!!

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  5. I'm sure yo mama is bursting the buttons of her shirt with pride. Real sure. You write wonderfully, and I appreciate you not throwing yo Mama under the bus. :-P

    The following is NOT DIRECTED AT ANYONE, it is a general statement of how I feel. The noun "you" is the plural one and definitely doesn't signify Domestic Mischief or anyone in particular. OK, now on to my comments...

    I've known a lot of people who home school, either in person or through the internet. Homeschooling has been a part of the American fabric since the early days out on the prairies or up in the mountains, where there were no public school systems. I have no problem with homeschooling per se; if you have the temperament to be around your children 24x7 without losing your mind and don't need the break that school brings you, then God bless you.

    HOWEVER, if you are using homeschooling because either you or your child is an anxious mess, then you need to get some help, because while those problems may be somewhat alleviated by keeping your babies close to you, it doesn't fix the problem that lurks outside your front door: the real world. Plus, remember, your child is learning how to deal with the world THROUGH their parents (especially the same sex parent), and if you're screwed up when it comes to that, well...

    And if you can't afford the professional help (or don't have the mental health insurance policy), there are a TON of self-help books available at the library. I suggest looking up "general anxiety disorder" (GAD) and reading a few to give you ideas on how to deal and cope. GAD is very prevalent in our society, and I have it myself.

    Children need socialization with their peers, to discover that everyone is different, and that no matter what another parent does, yours is going to make your life miserable. :-D Sorry, I couldn't resist. Seriously, though, it helps give the child insight into other's lives and helps them understand other viewpoints. It gives you the opportunity to explain to your child why your family doesn't act that way. It helps you teach how to deal with all the different forms of bullying, and it provides you the opportunity to do some real hard parenting and life skills teaching.

    It is not easy to confront a teacher for not doing what they are supposed to do, and it sure isn't easy to move up the ladder to the school board if necessary. If that doesn't work, a letter to the editor may. But in standing your ground, and allowing your children to see you do that, they may discover the most important lesson of all: bullies cower when confronted, especially in public. Confronting, tho, doesn't mean slamming a person or slurring their life, it means being firm in your right to be treated respectfully,and not backing down when push comes to shove (hopefully only literally). If it does become physical, file charges, even if they are 8 years old, because their parents are liable for their children's actions. Harsh? I would think you'd rather teach them a lesson now when their record can be expunged at 21, versus when they are 19 and called "Precious" in prison.

    Never, ever back down in your pursuit of respect. Make sure you are giving it, and be firm in expecting it. Parenting (and religious beliefs) are hard work. With both, you don't know what the end result will be, but you have to have *faith* that you are doing the right thing and it will all turn out right in the end. Just remember that everything YOU DO is a teachable moment to your child, whether you home school or not.

    I'll have to save my ramble on faith for another day, although there is a post on Celery Patch that sums up my feelings... Coexist (http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=1891052901877231003#editor/target=post;postID=7934844265584891946).

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  6. Beckie, thank you SO much for commenting (and adding!!!) I'll be adding you right back, because OHMYGOODNESS your babies are precious!!! I had to giggle after reading your comment on my writing, because I'm having a really REALLY hard time not going back and editing some bad grammar mistakes. I was only working on 2 cups of coffee, and once you've been here a while, you'll know that it takes at least a pot of "the good stuff" to get me coherent in the mornings.

    Celery... I'll talk to YOU at dinner. ;)

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  7. I love this post and your honesty. It's so good to read post from someone who is not afraid to take the heat and give their real opinions. So what if you lose a few readers? You may just gain some new ones that are a better match for your blog.:)

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  8. First of all, you complimenting my writing is incredible for me, because yours is far superior! I can only hope to be the writer some day that you are now! I am so glad that we met through Mama Kat's!

    Our son went to kindergarten this year. He has OCD, Tourette's, Anxiety, Depression and some sensory disorders. We put him in public school. That is all I can afford. He is in a "normal" class and we will see how he does. His disorders have never really affected him academically, but he did have behavioral issues in preschool, a lot.

    I have to say that his teacher, the school nurse, and the guidance counselor seem committed to keeping him in a mainstream class. I feel very blessed that we live in a town with an excellent school system, and blessed that he seems to have a great teacher who is willing to work with him.

    Is part of me scared that he won't be able to "make it"? You bet there is. Did part of me have a thought about homeschooling him? Yes, a part of me did, although my husband is very much against it. We are both disabled and committing that much time to our child could literally kill us. We need the time he is away from us to rest, so we can be the best parents we can be when he IS home with us.

    I just have to hope and pray that we made the right decision and if things do not work out in mainstream public school, well, I will just have to cross that bridge if I have to come to it.

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  9. Mama, you ARE doing the right thing for your situation. You know that in order for you to be a fully capable parent you HAVE to give your son an outside schooling experience. It's just something that has to be done for the well being of not just you, but your entire family structure.

    I'm thrilled that YOU think I'm a great writer, unlike you, I've never written as a career choice. :) Hopefully I don't disappoint!

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  10. Good for you! It drives me crazy how people are so quick to judge others for their choices. Everyone makes their choices for a reason. Whether or not they homeschool, what religion they are, whether or not they choose to vaccinate their kids, etc. DOES NOT MATTER. It's who they are as a person.
    It drives me batty when people try to shove their ideals down my throat. Just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for everyone.
    Really great post!

    Lisa
    www.inisignificantatbest.com

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  11. Thanks so much, Lisa, for your comment! It IS who they are as a person that matters, unfortunately for my friend and I, her ideals are becoming who she is. She's completely changing in front of my eyes. I'm scared for her AND her kids.

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  12. I'm sooo sorry to hear that! Good luck to you! I really hope everything works out!!!

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