Pressured by Parents to Quit – Part 1: Quitting (Part 4)
One of the biggest disappointments in life is when either parents or children fail. There are innumerable stories of how parents have failed children. In many ways, most of us feel a bit cheated by our own personal upbringing. Even the best parents fail, you know, because everybody falls short of perfection.
Children can also be a real source of heartache for parents. In fact, I doubt that there has ever been a child who has not disappointed his/her parents at some point, because children, like parents, also fall short of perfection.
It should be obvious that the closer the relationship, the greater the possibility for disappointment and since there is no closer relationship than the parent-child one, everyone will experience disappointment, regardless of the age of those involved. This goes both ways and involves both positive and negative traits and recollections.
Not only are parents perpetually concerned about their children, but this concern naturally extends as grandchildren are added to “the family formula.” When young parents decide to do things differently from their parents, they can expect at least some level of opposition. This is especially true of young parents deciding to be the first within a family to educate their children at home.
There are actually only two reasons (grand)parents would get involved in this decision. When children decide to do something different from the (grand)parent, they are, in a way, disagreeing with how they were raised. Not every (grand)parent can take that kind of rejection and so some simply react negatively in self-defense.
The most common reason (grand)parents get involved is simply a genuine concern for the well-being of their children and grandchildren. Many times these concerns are founded entirely on ignorance of what a home education is and how it benefits both children and family.
Few things can incite more emotion than children walking away from the parents’ belief system. This does not even have to be in disagreement with a particular faith foundation. All that has to happen to start serious animosity is for a child to go across the street to a denomination different from the parents’.
What is most amazing about these religious-based family feuds is that it usually has nothing to do with the faith as much as with how this faith is expressed. Put another way, if one were to ask both parties for a defence of the faith foundation, both would quickly quote (or misquote) the Bible. Regardless of the accuracy of each party’s interpretation, nearly all of the issues being debated are usually disconnected from Biblical truth.
Religion is a funny thing. It is what joins people together and at the same time, what tears people apart. It is truly sad to see this happen within families. In some cases, the rift is so severe, parents and children break all ties, destroying the most important relationships on earth. How does this please God who created family and established it as the fundamental unit of society?
Now to be fair, I would be the first to advise people to stand on what they believe, but here I must be careful. If I leave that sentence ending with “believe,” I have just opened the door to normalizing culture as faith and that is not right. Culture is important, no doubt, and usually faith is intertwined within it. However, what we need to stand for is not what we believe, but what we know to be the truth.
In other words, we must believe in something because it is true and this is when we must be willing to defend our positions. Alternatively, if something becomes true because we believe it, not only will we be in error, but we risk ruining relationships.
Home education is a case in point. I have no problem defending and advancing it because common sense, experience and history support it.
More importantly, although not clearly delineated as a “thou shalt,” home education is implied throughout the Bible. Actually, it is never mentioned as such. I assume that is because there has never been a Biblical alternative to parents bearing, raising and teaching children.
Still, there are many people who will “share the faith,” yet vehemently disagree with home education. This is difficult when those who disagree with our determination to follow God’s directives are family members and especially problematic when those members are our (grand)parents.
Many a new home education family has found itself in this disconcerting scenario. It manifests itself in two possible ways, direct confrontation or “The Letter.” One of our families recently shared their “letter” with us. Brokenheartedly, they asked me how they should deal with it.
My advice was: “You should not over react. Carefully study the letter in order to understand your (grand)parents’ perspective. Finally, ask lots and lots of questions in order to establish your position and positively influence theirs. Always keep in mind that the objective is never to be right or to prove the other wrong, but ‘…to come to the knowledge of the truth.’”
Over the next few weeks I will review this letter as a stereotypical example demonstrating how even lovingly sincere (grand)parents can get it all wrong and cause serious stress and concerns for a new home educating family. Be sure to tune in!
Previous Post: Pressure by Others To Quit: Quitting (Part 3)