Friday, November 09, 2007

It's two o'clock in the afternoon and something is nagging me. I've stopped everything and thought I should work it out here.

Why is it that when I choose to protect my kids from what I have deemed "dangerous" or "contrary" ideas, I am seen as an overprotective coward?

I found my experience public school to be difficult and unsatisfactory in the realm of education and personal development. So, I homeschool my children. And, as a result, I'm prejudged to be a christian alarmist who indoctrinates her children with all sorts of radical christian ideas... and likely to grow bunnies in the back yard.


Whereas the truth is: My kids learn their abc's just like in school... and their school days are filled with science (secular and faithbased for comparison), history, math, language arts and so on. There's no hidden extremist agenda classes in the basement. Nothing other than an open bible every morning... and a lot of discussion about what is right and what is wrong according to that bible. Not spooky, extremist or alarmist. Just what my husband and I thought would be best for our kids.

There's a few fiction stories that have come out in recent years. I'd heard from both sides of the aisle about what we "should or shouldn't do". I took them as suggestions not commands. And, I approached the books/movies cautiously... Eventually I found out that the kids did see the movie when they weren't under my supervision... and it provoked some discussion. Good discussion. My children haven't read all of the books, and as the movies progressed they became less and less interested in their dark nature. (It was already lost on me, so I was fine with the hoopla being over.) They won't likely see the last one... but it will be because their interested has waned.

There's a new movie based on a 12 year old book of fiction coming out. The kids and I were only vaguely aware of it. I came across a dear friend's blog where she writes about the controversy of it all. I did my research and responded. My response? I feel obligated - based on what I learned in my own research - to be cautious. I was also concerned that in an effort to be "openminded" christians may find themselves marching alongside a professed atheist who says he hopes to undermine the church.

Here's a portion of a response that was written right after mine:

"Was witchcraft around before J.K. Rowling brought up the idea of a school of witches and wizards? Uh, yeah. Were there anti-christian people before this author….and many others? Uh, yeah. I think that I agree with Niki on some things that there are ‘alarmists’ and that people often react like frightened sheep……a quick bleat and then turn as a group and run. Nevermind the thing that triggered it was a blowing pile of leaves, or a playful pair of kittens practicing their hunting skills.
I have taught my girls (7 and 14) that before you are afraid of something, try to understand it. Before you freak out and run, do take a good look at things and learn from it. This of course, does not apply to playing in traffic or running with scissors or other maternal must-haves. The point being that being educated and thinking for yourself is not just a good thing anymore, it’s MANDATORY to function in this world we live in now."


The idea of my kids becoming fascinated with witchcraft and atheism is a little more than a pair of playful kittens or leaves blowing in the wind. I am a Christian. Avoiding the very appearance of evil is what I'm learning to do... and I have unashamedly taught that principle to my children too. Though... discerning what appears to be evil and what is really harmless is where the heart of the discussion lies... and it will be a discussion that will never end. There are as many opinions as there are people.

I obviously have a different vantage point than this reader. I do not think that children our children's ages can or should learn from everything that's available to them. I as a parent have been given both the authority and the wisdom to guide their learning. It's as though we are building a home and I am deciding - depending on our surroundings - just how much insulation our home requires. And, in the secular viewpoints of witchcraft and atheism I have chosen to insulate our home just a little bit more than most. For now.

I think a lot of times parents can pride themselves in just how "informed" and "cutting edge" they've allowed their kids to become. As though it were some kind of strenuous feat. I find that my it takes great strength, attention and guts to stand up and say "here and no more".

There is a lot of learning that has to be done before I introduce my children to the very real world of witchcraft and atheism. And, they're not at the age of understanding yet. This doesn't make me an alarmist, extremist or even a stick in the mud.

I'm just a parent.

It's what I do.

That's my rant.

Now, back to the 200 word fiction papers my kids are writing... ironically.


Monday, November 05, 2007

My creative mind has been a barren wasteland for a few months. And, today... creative juices sprinkled on the cracked surface just a little bit.

I've just started a new painting... I'm trying something I've never done before. Impressionist art. I saw something tonight that fixed an image in my mind. Something I just had to put on a canvas. So far so good. It's not exactly what I imagined, so I think I'll be revisiting the canvas again tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll wash the cerulean and prussian blue off the ends of my fingers, wash the paintbrushes and call it a night.

We've moved from our first rental into a new home. Built in 1945 but new to us.

We moved because we found the first home to be full of mold. And at first I thought it wouldn't affect me much. But soon I started finding myself sleeping a whole lot more than usual. Sleeping in and having to take several catnaps throughout the day. Eventually we moved out of our bedroom (the worst of the mold was there), and things started to get a little better. But, symptoms like unclear thinking, rashes, postnasal drip, nausea started to overwhelm me. And, apparently I was the most susceptable. The kids were upstairs away from the bulk of it. And, I'm glad. Derek started becoming symptomatic here in these last few weeks as well. It was a good decision leave. I just hope the effects aren't permanent.

But... on to the new house.

I'm sitting in my new studio. I have my art desk, easel and computer in an angular room in the attic. A small window faces west with a great view of the mountians behind our very large weeping willow. Fabulous! I keep the fridge downstairs so I'll leave this nook every once in a while.

The house is colourful, clean, bright, and well maintained. A real jewel.

I have a garden outside that both delights and challenges me. I've never gardened. Okay. I actually have a reputation as a plant killer. But let's keep that between you and me. I heard that plants listen. (A kooky, dirty fingernailed plant lover told me that once...) I hope to be up to the challenge. I spent an hour raking the garden under the weeping willow and have the sore hamstrings to prove it.

So once again life has taken a turn... and I'm enjoying the ride.


Friday, November 02, 2007

I turned 35 today.

I don't feel 35. Not that I know what 35 is supposed to feel like.

I suppose I don't feel mature enough to be 35? Maybe that's it. Maybe that's a good thing! Maybe not.

What I learned this year:

I'm stronger than I thought I could be.

I hurt deeply... and then recover.

I'm quite organized when I want to be.

I've been sick a lot. Might want to get that checked out.

I really REALLY love my family.

I finally feel like I have a grip on homeschooling.

I'm a good teacher.

I can do more at church, but just because I can, doesn't mean I should.

My husband is madly in love with me. He puts up with too much from me.

You can come out of your shell now. The world didn't end.

God is good. All the time.

You never know what God is up to. Enjoy the ride.

I haven't wasted my time. I'm glad I stayed home all these years with the kids.

They are too.

I need to express myself creatively more often. This is where your voice is best heard.

You need to get a grip on your health. Enough is enough already!

You are more capable of love than you even know. Keep it up.

You actually enjoy early mornings and early bedtimes. Might wanna keep it up too.

You and your daughter really bonded this year. This is good.

Enjoy your new home. Invite everyone in! This is why God blessed you with it.

Learn more about others this year. Seek wisdom. You'll need it.