2 Moms. 5 kids. 1 van. 3 weeks. 3000 miles. Are we amazing or are we crazy? You decide.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Day 10: NYC Skyline

Six years plus a few days ago, I was visiting New York City. Primarily to visit the in-laws, showing off the wonder-child that has since grown to be my wonderful daughter. We hit all of the normal tourist spots, but decided to skip the trip to the top of the World Trade Centers. There was a line, and I much preferred to be at ground level, seeing the people and sights, feeling the electricity and smelling the potpourri that did and still does make up The City. We did take pictures on the Staten Island ferry, though, even though at the time, I didn’t have a thing for ferryboats. Not as much as I do now, anyway.

The pictures on the ferry have the WTC in the background, and are dated September 4, 2001.

Driving back by this skyline, this week, I feel old. Each generation has a loss of innocence and faith in government. For my generation, it was the vulnerability that 9/11 exposed. For my parents, it was Watergate, Vietnam—or the Kennedy assassination. For those who were young adults in the late 18th century, it was the declining faith and trust in the king and Parliament. They took matters in their own hands, and by the fortune of having some really remarkable minds in their midst, were able to hold some very important truths to be self-evident. (I don’t know if that phrase is entirely accurate, as no generation before theirs had really believed that all men were created equal. Even the writer of those words had a few stumbles along the way.)

They did the right thing; it wasn’t legal, it was dangerous and it was revolutionary on more than one level.

I wonder if successive generations haven’t descended into complacency. Such a rebellion seems fairly impossible today.

No, I’m not thinking of any particular political issue of today. Even if I were, I’d know better than to raise it here, on a blog that will be read by an Army Major in Dijbouti as well as those who agree with the bumper sticker saying “The road to hell is paved with Republicans.” Let’s keep it friendly here, folks. My wondering and thinking is more of the Radical Homeschooler bent—that children today learn there is one right answer, and that questioning authority is wrong. That the right answer is usually B, and when you’re taking the SAT, it’s not good to guess. (I like working the name of that particular country into conversation whenever possible, so keep an eye out for it. Dijbouti! Dijbouti!)

Life isn’t like that. There’s more than one right answer, sometimes even in math. Questioning authority is good. Sometimes you need to push the limits. I’ve been testing my own limits, pushing my own personal boundaries ever since I started on my homeschool adventure. This trip, as frustrating and exhilarating as it has been, is typical of homeschooling in general. And homeschooling is typical of parenting in general. You keep trucking, day after day, becoming frustrated and tired. Then something happens. It could be a parenting first—a gummy smile, first step—or educational first, connecting facts learned at separate times into thoughts and questions, applying knowledge. But whatever the moment is, you realize that your efforts aren’t in vain. That you are helping to shape a small person, and gradually they take their own shapes, individual shapes that perhaps aren’t best accommodated by the rows of desks found in traditional schooling.

My point? Well now, I don’t really have one. Just that rebellion isn’t always a bad thing, and when one does rebel, the consequences can be wonderful.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is fairly impossible to imagine our current culture engaging in any serious revolution. Perhaps that makes the individual rebelling both moms have done even more significant. You did what you both never said you would do--homeschooling. I think you both surprised yourselves with your decisions. Neither of you surprised me. It was clear with M and A that the traditional schooling wasn't what was best for either of them. So you did what was best for them--brought them home. I know you two--and have for as long as you both have been alive. Neither of you are perfect, but you are both wonderful moms. You chose what was best for your children--even though it was something that you had previously put in the "I will never" category. These were not the first of these "I will never" decisions you have made. Your interest in them was greater than your self interest (and perhaps what was left of your sanity). I admire you both for making the brave choice--not the easy one.

If I haven't made it clear enough before--I admire you both more than I can put into words. You make me grateful to be related.

~Sometimes sappy weird Cousin/Sister

JaxDad said...

Treading on thin ice here - particularly hazardous in Djibouti where the average heat index is 115 before noon - but the reference to rebellion brought some thoughts to the surface that I'd like to share, without stepping on anyone's politically sensitive toes. Here come the thoughts (fear not, gentle reader, for I am sitting and not likely to be bruised as they strike me):

I think it may have been Thomas Payne who said something to the effect that "If there is to be trouble, let it be in my time, that my children may live in peace." As a Soldier I live that philosophy. None of us take our oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic" hoping to die for our countries. What sustains us is the belief that we will beat even the cruelest odds to survive well into old age. You could say that we bet our lives on that.

The duty to rebel against the government that abuses its authority is also something I dwell upon from time to time. I wonder how many readers of this blog ever consider just how much the United States has deviated from the Constitution. For instance, the Republic of Uganda has official representation in Washington, DC. The state of Utah has none. As the Founding Fathers ratified it, the Constitution allowed for state legislatures to elect senators so that the state governments would have representatives in Congress who answered to their home state legislatures. That doesn't happen any more. No one in Congress speaks for or represents state governments. This link is to the Constitution:

http://boortz.com/more/us_constitution.html

Democrats vs Republicans, or the Vote Buyers vs the Vote Buyers.

As with many military officers, I've given up on Republicans. I need a party that will defend our borders against an unarmed invasion, repeal unconstitutional laws that disrespect the concept of private property, remove the federal government from private contracts between private citizens, abolish the progressive tax (originally conceived by Marx and Engels in The Communist Manifesto), and otherwise restore the US to the original intent of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

Jaxdad:

I admire and echo your comments. Makes you wonder why we appear smarter than them - it seems so simple. Power, money, and a complete disregard for our founding principles leaves me discouraged and dumbfounded. Thanks to Atlmom for the thoughtful post. Everyone be safe.

Uncle Wisecrow