Tuesday, February 5, 2013
When I was in high school, a group of students including myself would call out to the others while passing in the hallway, "Attitude check!" The response given to this was, "Praise the Lord!" How well would this go over today in the public schools? Would such students be hushed, sent to the principal's office, put in detention, even suspended? In the last couple of years a student was suspended for wearing a Rosary in honor of his sick grandma, on the pretense that it could be interpreted as a gang symbol. This was a good student with a clean record and no history of violence. Would bowing one's head in prayer even be tolerated in the classrooms of today? Some schools no longer include the Pledge of Allegiance because of the phrase "under God". God has been kicked out of school.
I did not choose homeschooling for religious reasons. God calls me to homeschool, which I understood from the beginning. However, I didn't use a Christian curriculum. If Beezy wanted to hear the Bible, I would read it. We have always prayed together as a family at the dinner table, and bedtime prayers are a nightly routine. But our studies did not revolve around Christian material. I wouldn't have called myself a "Christian homeschooler" until recently, when being Catholic became the focus of my life as a wife and mother. I did notice early on, though, that I was hearing a lot about God's being expelled from the public schools, and it bothered me. The logic goes that by not allowing religion of any form to be part of the school day in any way, no one's religious or atheist sensibilities would be offended. Do school children not have First Amendment rights? Their parents pay taxes, don't they? I pay taxes, even though my child is not in the public school system. I have the right to object.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that parents are the primary educators of their children, regardless of the schooling method. I think that most Christian homeschoolers give precedence to getting their children into Heaven over getting them into Harvard. The character of the child and his or her spiritual formation is the top priority. There is little use in book learning without a firm religious foundation.
What I don't think gets enough press is the spiritual warfare being waged between the forces of good and evil as it concerns us homeschoolers. It only occurred to me recently that attacks against my homeschooling efforts have their origin in Satan. My new motto is, stop feeding the dragon. The devil wants us distracted from our sacred purpose. He wants all parents distracted, but I think the ones who are making a point of focusing on religious instruction get his special attention. Those keeping their children out of harm's way, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, are going to more acutely experience his wrath. Enmity has been placed between the dragon and the seed of the Woman, and since the serpent couldn't conquer the child born of Mary, he is going after the rest of her offspring. This is taught in the Book of Revelation.
I think we need to grow thicker skins. God has given us a great task, and the devil will do anything to make us doubt ourselves and to thwart our efforts, and to turn others against us. The best way to defeat the dragon is to stop feeding him ammunition. He eats anger, low self-esteem, depression, self-doubt, fear, guilt, malice, hopelessness, and despair. He is repelled by Faith, Hope, and Love. Shove those in his mouth, and he will be silenced.