Monday, December 12, 2011

Lie #10: The Duggars and Overpopulation

In a recent blog post, Cindy Dyer did a stellar job debunking 9 lies that fuel D.D.S. (Duggar Deranged Syndrome) Each lie was carefully examined, then tossed out the proverbial window, culminating in the biggest lie of all; hatred for Christ that results in hatred for those who love Him.

But, as wonderful as her post was, she forgot one of the biggest issues that surround Duggar hatred. So, I give you...

Lie # 10: Overpopulation! Despite the fact that the entire world populace could live inside the State of Virginia, we are constantly being fed the lie that we must avoid overpopulation at all cost. Vivid images of Hong Kong during rush hour will strike fear into the hearts of the gullible; but the information is intentionally misleading. There is much of rural China that could host an overflow of city folk, if they had the desire and/or freedom to leave.

But at the heart of this lie is a battle that we face everyday for the sanctity of human life. Whose job is it choose who should live, or who should die? When his beloved Rachel demanded children of the Patriarch Jacob, his anger was kindled against her as he replied, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?" (Genesis 30:1-3)

Throughout Scripture, we are plainly taught that God opens the womb; God closes the womb; and one of God's greatest blessings is the gift of children.

So, I ask: Of the 19 gifts under the Duggar tree; which ones are not fit to live? Which ones should they send back? Line up the whole tribe and tell them which ones they should not have! Could you do it? Are you God?

"But," you protest, "there are millions of orphans in the world. Why don't the Duggars just adopt, if they love kids so much?"

As noble as this question sounds, and as much as I love families who adopt, at the heart of this objection is a denial of the sanctity of human life. As Cindy pointed out so well in the comment section of her post, "You are saying that the existence of millions of orphans denies my children the right to life!" That mindset is completely wrong! Who draws the line at how many children we can "rightfully" have? You? The government? Or God?

If your answer was "You," then leave the Duggars alone and let them decide for themselves! If your answer was "The Government," then leave the Duggars alone, because you've got BIGGER problems looming! If your answer was "God," then I'm preaching to the choir and you already love the Duggars to death for their commitment to Him.
Define Irony:
“The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But our culture applies for curses and rejects blessings.” ~Doug Phillips

Related Posts:
"Why the World Hates the Duggars" at Get Along Home
"It Takes a Family" (December 09, 2011)
"The Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" (February 4, 2010)

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Takes a... FAMILY

In our town, not far from where we worship, there is a church which proudly displays the quote best known as the title of Hillary Clinton's book, "It Takes a Village to raise a child."

As noble as this quote sounds; taking each of us back in time to the days when life was simpler, work was harder, and families were more intimately connected to each other-- the modern use of this slogan has nothing to do with "the good old days."

I've been contemplating this quote for several weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised when Cindy Dyer used it as Lie #2 in her recent blog post, "Why the World hates the Duggars."
Lie 2: It takes a village. We have been trained by our own experiences with socialized education to believe that children are impossible to handle without the help of professionals. No one family can do it all or pay for it all. In fact, having children in the care of their own parents twenty-four hours a day is the weirdest thing imaginable in our brave new world. And yet, here are the Duggars daring to leave that system we’ve so carefully arranged “for the children” to fend for themselves. Worse, it’s working!
 Whoa! Pause; Stop; And Rewind! Is that what it means to be a village? Removing kids from parental responsibility and handing them over for "professionals" to raise? Enabling parents to live their own lives while their children fend for themselves? Somehow, that doesn't fit the cozy scenario of village life that I always got from watching "Little House on the Prairie." So I had to consult
vil*lage (noun)
a small community or group of houses in a rural area, larger than a hamlet and usually smaller than a town
So that makes me wonder: what did Senator Clinton mean when she used this quote as her title? 
"I chose that old African proverb to title my book because it offers a timeless reminder that children will thrive only if their families thrive and if the whole of society cares enough to provide for them..." (Clinton's Speech; DNC, 1996)
Anyone else confused? Well, I'll explain. The word village now means the "whole of society." Right. And the word miniscule must mean monstrous; and tiny means enormous! *sarcastic tone* Who needs that stuffy village anyway? We have big brother government!

As noble as her title sounds, it is completely misleading. She is not referring to an intimate group of people that actually care about a child's well-being. Rather, her village is extensive, and cold, and callous. It doesn't care about individuals-- but the mass collective. Does that sound like a village to you?

But this is what confuses me most: people bash the Duggar family all the time, with unbelievable venom, accusing them of not being able to give enough one-on-one attention to each child. But many of the same people have no qualms about dropping their defenseless child off at a daycare where they are placed in a room with 35 other kids the same age. Does that sound like one-on-one attention? Ah, but the teachers are "professionals" so they don't bat an eye! (Maybe someone should inform Mrs. Clinton that in a few years the Duggars may be able to qualify for their very own village! Will that stop the hate-speech? I doubt it.)

From the beginning of time, God has ordained that parents be responsible for their own children.
It does not take a village to raise a child... It takes a family.
"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Deu 6:6-7

Related posts:

"Why the World Hates the Duggars" at Get Along Home.
The Fruit of the Womb is His Reward  (Feb 2012)

In a few years, the Duggars could have their own village!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When There's Nothing Else to Say...

Almost two years ago I started this blog as an outlet for my thoughts. I should have known better. Despite all my attempts in my youth, I was never able to keep a journal for more than 3 days at a time, so I guess this wildly-sporadic blog has been a vast improvement, but I think it's time to say "goodbye."

I have used this blog to share my thoughts, voice my opinions, and chronicle events in my life-- but the harder I try, the less I have to say. Not that I'm at a loss for words; but I'm increasingly convicted of how meaningless my words are. 

Words are easy... and they're cheap.

To be perfectly honest, my life does not back up the words I say. While I may have great ideas regarding child-training, I am not consistent in my parenting. I have strong convictions regarding doctrinal issues, but I sadly lack self-discipline in almost every area of my life. And though I have no qualms about giving advice, I do not have the humility to receive it from others. 
Loathing, as I do, the hypocrisy in my life; and desiring, above all, to be an unashamed witness for my Lord, I beg your prayers, that I would be fully conformed to the image of Christ. He bore unspeakable agony for my soul, and yet I balk and complain about tiny crosses in my life. In desperation, I pray...

Father, I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. 
I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, 
and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. 
I come trembling, but I do come. 
Please root from my heart all Those things which I have cherished so long 
and which have become a very part of my living self, 
so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. 
Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. 
Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shine in it,
for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
~A.W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ah-Ha Moment #1

Freezer Froggie:

When Freddie the Frog first came to us, he was just your ordinary beanie baby. Cute and loveable, for an amphibean, he was also soft, furry, and filled with squishy beads. Felicity fell in love!!! Pretty soon, the two were inseperable, until the day I found "Freddie the Frog" freezing in the fridge. So I called Felicity, "Why is your froggie in the fridge?"

Her smile was priceless as she squeezed her furry friend, "He was hot, Mama." Instantly, her grin widened as she felt his cool body, "See, he feels much better now." The next thing I knew, she was placing him against my skin. I was surprised at how cool he was, so I put him against my forehead. The headache that had been nagging me all day was abated. That's when the moment hit me! My "Ah-ha moment", that is.

I've worked in day care, babsat, and taught school; I've been around children all my life. And, with children, come all the inevitable bumps and bruises of everyday life. But, although each school/day care has their own way of handling minor injuries, I've never seen a cold-pack that kids like.

As Felicity trotted off to play, I tossed Freddie into the freezer. Later that day, his services were required for the first time. Of course, Felicity was the victim. As I pressed her cold friend to her forehead, Felicity smiled, then laughed outright and hugged him onto her bo-bo. In a few seconds she was good as new and Freddie returned to the freezer for another day.

Now the girls get him down by themselves to "fix" their sisters. I'll hear a bump and a cry from the playroom, followed by feet running down the hall as someone yells dramatically over their shoulder, "I'm going to get the frog!" Quietly, I resume my work because I know that, unless it's really serious, Freddie will make everything OK.  
His official name is Smoocy, but we call him, Freddie the Frog

Friday, April 29, 2011

So... What Next?

It's been a long time since my last post, almost 2 months, to my chagrin. Meanwhile, my blog got mad at me for the neglecting abuse and decided to stop posting my pictures, even the old ones. But, just when I was about to lay to rest the blogger in me, my new-found friend from Get Along Home encouraged me to keep going. So, even if the rest of you are bored to tears by my feeble attempts at blogging, I will succumb to peer pressure and keep persevering... at least for a little while.

As many of you probably know, the past few months have been absorbed with my drama club. We're part of a homeschool co-op that meets weekly for various classes and activities. As a very amateur drama/theater enthusiast, I wrote and directed a medieval play for our group this year. What a blast! The kids were fabulous and the audience was enchanted.

But now the play is over. =( And I'm experiencing what has been rightly described as let-down. All the long hours and sleepless nights are catching up to me and, since I have no adrenaline left to keep me going, I'm not getting all the *stuff* done that I had hoped.

So, I now have three six goals for the summer:
  1. Get back on a good sleeping schedule
  2. Improve my eating habits
  3. Exercise faithfully
  4. Take control of the house
  5. Have a yard sale
  6. Try to improve this blog a bit (er... a lot)
Meanwhile, I get to dream about the next production... (whenever that may be)

My wonderfully, awesome CAST and CREW!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

So, What Works?

One of my readers left this comment on Homeschooling Mistake #3 and I wanted to share my response and see how you would answer her:

I just decided to home school my preschooler (her older sister attends regular public school, but I want to get the younger one prepared) What do you suggest instead of a focused classroom type set up? I don't want to do unschooling (as covered in mistake 4) because it know it won't work for us, so I planned on doing something similar to what my older one does in her kindergarten classroom. If it doesn't work in a home school setting, what does?

Here is my reply. I'm afraid I said a little more than I initially intended:

 I want to devote a whole blog post to this, because it's a great question that begs to be answered. For now, let me just say that I'm not trying to bash everything that is done in a typical, classroom setting. For example: standing in front of a 100-number chart and counting out loud is very helpful. But do you really "need" the 100-number chart to do school? No. You can print one off the computer and put it in the child's folder to have them use daily. The same goes for calendars, weather graphs, and etc...
My point was that so many families "need" these things posted all over the wall, to "feel" like they're really teaching their children. But you don't. The unschoolers have this right: every moment of the day is an opportunity to teach your children. Whether you're counting to 50 while beating the eggs, singing geography songs in the car on the way to the grocery store, or just laying down on a blanket in the backyard and marveling at God's creation-- every moment is a teaching one.

You don't need to spend lots of time and money on teaching equipment in order to teach your little ones. Moms that go overboard in this, frequently end up quitting, because the task is just too enormous. 

Any thoughts on this from other homeschoolers?

Other posts in this series:
Homeschooling Mistake #4
Homeschooling Mistake #3
Homeschooling Mistake #2
Homeschooling Mistake #1

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homeschooling Mistake #4


I'm afraid I must have stepped on some toes in my last post, so I'm going to even things out a bit and squish the toes on the other foot now! While I definitely disagree with a parent's "need" to re-create a classroom environment for their children, I also have problems with the current trend towards "unschooling". For those of you who are new to this concept, allow me to use this quote and explain:

"This [unschooling] is also known as interest driven, child-led, natural, organic, eclectic, or self-directed learning. Lately, the term "unschooling" has come to be associated with the type of homeschooling that doesn't use a fixed curriculum. When pressed, I define unschooling as allowing children as much freedom to learn in the world, as their parents can comfortably bear."

Now I'd like to dissect this statement. In the words of Pat Farenga, unschooling is:
  • Interest-driven: But if you were to study the Scriptures thoroughly, you would see that Discipline is found on almost every page. Self-control, mortification, dying to self, and etc... are all forms of discipline. These are important to instill in our children from a young age, for God's Word also declares that "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child." So why should parents bend to their whims and interests, when their desires are not mature ones?
  • Child-led: If a child that is left to itself brings its mother to shame, (Proverbs 29:15) then how can we condone teaching methods that encourage just that?Are we commanded to let our children train themselves, or is it our job?
  • Natural: Scripture is very clear that the natural man is at enmity with God. Even "innocent children" when left to themselves, are nothing more than miniature, totally depraved sinners. Giving in to their "natural inclinations" is not the job of a parent! We are told to train them up in the way they should go. That word "train" indicates going against their natural inclinations. We lay down tracks for them which we compel them to follow. We don't just sit back and let "nature" take its course!
  • Organic: I got a kick out of this one, as the mental images of children shaped like carrots made me chuckle, but I think the definition which best fits this is: simple, healthful, and close to nature. So, despite the way this sounds, I don't have any problems with Organic Homeschooling! It should be simple, it should be healthful, and it should be close to nature-- recognizing that God created all and rules all, for His own honor and glory.
  • Self-directed: Back to the first three points! If children must be taught discipline, if a child that is left to itself brings its mother to shame, and if the natural man is at enmity with God-- then how can you expect a child to be able to direct themselves correctly?
  • Doesn't use a fixed curriculum: I must agree with this point. It has been my experience that one company's Science book may be outstanding, while their History is lousy. Each employs a different teaching method that can be helpful or frustrating. But equally frustrating is the parent's task to wade through the different curriculum and pick out the best one for each subject! Frankly, it can be an enormously staggering task, so I do not blame the parents that pick one curriculum and stick to it for twelve years! I could never do that, but I do understand how others could.
  • Freedom for the child to learn (at least as much as their parents can bear): OK, this one makes me laugh! But it's sobering as well, for to me it paints the picture of a child who surpasses his/her parents in knowledge and prances about, spouting off in arrogant pride. Do we really want to raise a little know-it-all? Or a jack of all trades but master of none? And are their little bits of knowledge more important than godly character and discipline?

In summary, unschooling may be popular because it is a drastic swing from institutionalized schooling, but is it really helpful to our children? And, more importantly, is it consistent with God's Word? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this...

Other titles in this series:
Homeschooling Mistake #1
Homeschooling Mistake #2
Homeschooling Mistake #3

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homeschooling Mistake #3


I would venture to guess that most homeschooling moms have spent time in a classroom. Even though I was homeschooled for six years by my parents, I still spent seven years glued to a desk watching an infernal clock ticking oh, so slowly!

But I got an even better advantage for, despite announcing how much I hated school on the first day of kindergarten, I spent four and a half years as a teacher before coming home to raise my own children.

Now, I have what they call "School Fever". It's like Spring Fever, only it happens every August. I start to smell those bouquets of sharpened pencils. I pull out Maps and Charts and draw Wall Calendars on Poster board. And, I write out elaborate lesson plans that I know I will never, ever follow!

Then, right about now (February) I start groaning about all those good intentions from August and wondering whatever became of them!

You may be thinking: Her oldest daughter just turned six, what does she know about this? Well, we've been "doing school" for three years-- at least. (I know, poor Joanna!)

That brings me to today's title: The Mistake of School Simulation.

Does it seem a little ironic to you that we remove our students from a classroom environment and then try to recreate that environment for them at home?

Recently, a friend gave me a box of activities that a friend of hers didn't need. This box was chock full of laminated critters teaching consonant blends, time, etc... You know, the same stuff our teachers used to give us to catch our attention or occupy us when bored. Then my friend told me that the lady who created those items so carefully, drawing them out, cutting, laminating, adding brads when appropriate, and etc... had only lasted a few months in homeschooling.

I didn't mean to be rude and honestly tried hard to suppress that laugh, but looking at the box in my hands I knew exactly why she had given up homeschooling!

This lady (like so many other homeschoolers) was trying to simulate a classroom experience for her children. She wanted the bulletin boards, the activities, the maps, the marker-boards, the calendars, etc, etc, etc... just like her classroom. And, in her mind, she was a failure if she couldn't produce it.

Think about it: the only reason we need bulletin boards in a classroom, is so everyone in the room can see them. When you have a few students, this is unnecessary! Another purpose of bulletin boards is to impress the parents with the subjects being taught, when and if they should chance a visit. When you're homeschooling, that's never a problem.

Now, I love maps. As a teenager, my bedroom wall was decorated with maps. I've got nothing against them (or bulletin boards, for that matter) but I'm trying to press a point.

If we're going to try to simulate a classroom "experience" for our children, then we shouldn't be surprised when discouragement hits right about now. But what is our goal? To educate our children for the glory of God, or to recreate an environment that we've been told is the only key to learning?

If you answered the latter, then you might want to chance a glimpse at some public school SAT scores...

Other articles in this series:
Homeschooling Mistake #1
Homeschooling Mistake #2

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Case of the Missing Mountain

Why shouldn't you tell jokes to a volcano?
(It might start cracking up!)

Now, before you all groan and walk away, I'd like to tell you about an awesome book and concept that suddenly appeared in my mail box last week. I had completely forgotten that I agreed to review The Case of the Missing Mountain this summer, but I'm tickled pink that my blog was chosen for the task. =)
Click here for more details and ordering info
Written by Kim G. Jones, a former guide at the Mount St. Helens' Seven Wonders Museum, this book is like a glorified version of Ranger Rick. And I say "glorified" for two reasons:

1. It is much better quality, as a book rather than a magazine. With 80 full-color pages and paper back binding, the book is filled inside and out with adventure and fun. The publisher, Master Books, is well-known for their exceptional work of publishing, and the author has done a remarkable job letting children interact with the book rather than just read it.

2. It is also "glorified" because it glorifies the Creator and teaches children the Truths of Creation from the eruption of Mount St. Helens.

Hidden in the 80 pages, you are likely to find:
  • Secret Codes
  • Word searches
  • Gorgeous photos
  • Mazes
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Science experiments
  • Fun Facts
  • Volcano jokes
  • Hidden Ranger Clues
  • And MUCH, MUCH more!
 When the book is finished and all the clues uncovered, the children can go to Kim Jones' website: to receive their Official Mystery Ranger Certificate and Badge.

Personally, if my children were just a little bit older, I would use this for at least a full semester of science, supplementing with a few Creation videos. But it doesn't have to be used as school-work! I have a feeling that if you gave this book to any adventurous young person, they would instantly disappear themselves and re-emerge much wiser! 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Homeschooling Mistake #2

I guess living in the Amish community gave me a different perspective on a lot of issues. While we were there, one teenage boy chopped off his big toe with a machete. Ouch! But there was no screaming, no panic, no trips to the ER or calls to the doctor. The boy's dad simply went for the sewing kit and stitched that toe back on the foot with a needle and thread!

In our one-room schoolhouse, the "teacher door" was a revolving one. Unmarried girls from the community were all expected to take a turn teaching school for a year. There wasn't a specified teacher with a degree who continued as headmistress until retirement. All of the teachers had no more than a seventh or eighth grade education and none of them continued to teach after marriage.

But our world is so different than that. We idolize "professionals" and "education". We look to the government for aid and put doctors, lawyers, and teachers on pedestals-- whether they deserve it or not. If someone has a degree, that must mean they know what they're saying, right?

Wrong. I've known people with more degrees than a thermometer that just needed a good ol' dose of common sense!

Homeschoolers are not exempt from this "professional" mind-set. More and more are succumbing to government aid programs, as though they are incapable of giving their own children a good education. In our cyber-age of Wikipedia and Google, it seems we have forgotten that nothing is really free. And I fear the cost is far greater than any of us can afford.

Commenting on this homeschooling trend toward government assistance, Pastor Voddie Baucham, Jr. drew a parallel with the infamous Trojan horse saying,

"Individuals who could not get in through the front gate, 
have somehow found a way to give us a "gift". 
And this "gift" that we think is a trophy of our victory
is ultimately a ploy for our adversary to come in unaware."

"Equo ne credite, Teucri. 
Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.

Do not trust the horse, Trojans! 
Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bringing gifts.
(Laocoön from Virgil's Aeneid: Book II)

Trailer for "Exposing a Trojan Horse," 
produced by The National Alliance of Christian Home Education Leadership.

Previous Post:
 Homeschooling Mistake #1