Saturday, November 27, 2010

Response to a friend's post about the 2nd Amendment...and thoughts on parenting

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Suzanna Gratia-Hupp's last statement is that the unelected need guns to protect themselves against the elected. Bizarre. We have ballot boxes to protect ourselves from them.

The point of the second amendment is to keep a free where officials are elected in free and fair elections; to protect ourselves from those who would take our country from us (think Great Britain not the very politicians we put in office).

As for Gratia-Hupp's statement referring to what I gather is using semi-automatic rifles as an appropriate means of defending one's property against looters, I cannot imagine how this would be defended by the Second Amendment. First, it states that a "well-regulated militia" will secure of our free state. There is nothing well-regulated about a man on his roof with a lethal weapon. Nor could he be seen as a militia.

As for duck-hunting, this is not addressed either, unless you imagine the militia out in the woods on duty with nothing to eat but wild ducks and nothing to kill them with except their rifles.

All this gets me thinking...
The larger problem is not one of guns. (She is correct, as the adage goes, "guns don't kill people; people kill people.") The larger problem stems from the motivation of anyone to take the life of another human being and more deeply from our understanding of death and life and the meaning of it all. We are, like it or not, deeply dependent on one another in this world- dependent on those we love and those we hate and those we fail to recognize as our fellow humans.

As a mom, I am constantly convicted by the words and actions of my children- they have capacity for the entire gamut of blessings and cursing. We all do. Good and evil are equally available and more than occasionally disguised as one another. In my role as mother, I must take responsibility for teaching my children the lifelong skill of training their own mind rather than lamely attempt to control their actions while they reside in "my" house. Sure, I could make them behave in any way I wanted (Skinner), but there is no use in that.

We ALL must learn to "take every thought captive" so that we are at peace and instruments of peace in the world.

I cannot take my children's thoughts captive, but I can teach them to. As adults, if we did not receive the guidance we need, there are ways of obtaining it now. Not only is there a plethora of self-help practitioners, each of us has the capacity to know, love, and correct ourselves.

At the heart of it all, I believe that pleasure is the point of life.
To enjoy and bestow the pleasures afforded us on this earth must surely please the creator also.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Com- means "together, with"
Think of community, commune, commit...competition.
Somehow it always seems to come to that, that angsty winner/loser version of competing where no one actually wins anything better than a false sense of superiority or worse than not measuring up to some arbitrary standard lasting only for a moment.

I've had a pretty decent record when it comes to competitions- I get very competitive with all that adrenaline flowing, I can't deny. But I only feel it in games (aka playtime, diversions- won by strength, skill, luck). I never was into competitions when it comes to who we are- who looks/smells/wears better anything, who gets who to sit with them, who is ahead in any particular form of measurement...

It makes me sad to read blogs and posts and hear and see the competitions among those I love. Exceptionally sad when I am part of that competition without having entered it. At a total loss when anyone thinks I have won.
For surely I have indeed won- by any measure I care to use I have the best of everything I desire. But I desire the same for everyone.

Define your own desires- not the desires presented to you by others incapable of living in peace, ever running after that elusive prize of having "won."

And know that you have little say in your attainment of those desires. Games are won by strength, skill, and luck! Desires are granted by a God who exists outside this petty competition we have created to enslave ourselves. The real prize is to be free.

Com + pete = together, with + aim, seek in the original Latin.
I wonder if competition is available in some pure form that idealistic capitalists once believed in- one that provided mutual benefit because all were aiming together, seeking with their fellows. That is the only kind I am interested in. Unless, of course, there happens to be a boggle board around- or a willing arm to wrestle- dartboard?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

So Little Time

According to a plethora of sources, I should need an hour (or less!) per day to complete my child’s kindergarten studies. I’m not sure whether to laugh at the absurdity or weep for all the children whose parents are giving them so little. Perhaps I should also weep for the parents who believe an hour is all they can handle, all their children deserve, or even worth their time. Small wonder that homeschooling is scoffed at.

My daughter wakes up asking me when we're going to start (even on the weekend). Once we get into it, it really is hard to stop- she's a sponge and I'm a faucet! What we need is more time, not less. Except for that one day...we had been doing so much, I think she needed a day of something different while her brain caught up. Hooray, homeschooling! I can give her what she needs every day, maximizing her progress while minimizing her stress.
(Sure, this isn't what happens in the average, low-paying job. But why is it that we want our children to start hating life earlier and earlier instead of learning to use their creativity to do something that nourishes their mind and spirit?)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thirteen Years

Thirteen years is a long time. Especially when preceded by only four or five barely memorable ones and when six of them are yet to be served. Anything that demands that much time of nearly every American's life must also demand our analysis, creativity, and careful attempts to improve it.

One approach is homeschooling. Within that category are countless alternatives: from school-at-home, which is an alternative setting rather than an innovative educational approach, to unschooling, which is based on the belief that whatever needs to be learned will be if a caring parent guides and enables their children to pursue what they are interested in. Methodology is a manifestation of personal philosophy.

What is my why?

I constantly tell both skeptics and supporters that there are countless reasons why: to maximize independence and achievement while minimizing stress and pretense, to interact with my children and have them interact with one other, to learn what I missed the first time, to travel and set our own schedule, to not take the full the thirteen years…
What it really boils down to is that I believe I can do it better. Granted, I value a “school” more than most of the people in them, but in lieu of starting my own, I am content to develop my educational philosophy and approach with those students in whom I am most invested.

As a public school teacher, I learned that our mission was to create "good citizens." When I honestly examine public school, I realize that most of what is learned there is obedience based on extrinsic rewards...obedience and extrinsic rewards...inauthentic, disingenuous compliance. This is my first major fault with our public system, both for what it is and for what it breeds. Is a life of inauthentic disingenuous compliance really what we want for ourselves, our children, or those we leave behind as we give our children something better? (Removing oneself from the public education system does not remove one's responsibility to demand its efficacy and empowerment for those who are still there, those who will be our neighbors, build our empires, rob our houses, write our laws…)

My second, and really my most fundamental problem with public education, is the return. If we consider school to be an investment (and if you pay taxes, you are most certainly an investor in the public education system), the returns we get are abysmal. To be clear, most graduates have mastered what I expect of my children by the end of fourth grade. Some get more, some get (how is it even possible?) less. I got more, but very much less than I hope to give my children.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I never had any interest in writing a blog. I have several of my friend's blogs in my bookmark toolbar so that I can visit them easily, but actually entering into the world of writing random and personal things doesn't really appeal to me. I did have a blog, once, long ago, that I used to record things I had already written, but that was before marriage and children and years of sleep deprivation had enveloped me. Unfortunately, that blog, with all the words I put there in an attempt to preserve them, has been completely lost to me.

A friend of mine, or rather someone I hope to become friends with, has a blog to keep herself accountable while she homeschools. I thought about doing the same. But my passions are endless and I would find it impossible to stick to one subject. So, it will just have to be the running account of my rambling heart. Here goes...