I received this timely Wall Street Journal opinion column this morning in my email. I consider it very timely for many reasons. I have been hearing this terribly annoying commercial on afternoon talk radio lately. I wish I could place it online but I’ve had no luck. The closing statement is along the lines of “The future of America is as good as it’s schools.” I cringe each time I hear this. I pray ‘Lord have Mercy’ and pray for the intercession of John Paul II. He knew that the condition of the education system, while quite important, pales in comparison to the condition of the family. His words, “Humanity passes by way of the family” run though my head each time I hear this commercial. Sure, a good education can contribute to good future, but a good family assures one.
The movement toward universal preschool is perplexing to me. Children are encouraged to be away from their families earlier and earlier. Do the benefits truly outweigh the family time lost? The time for a little boy to run around the house and yard to just be a little boy, where he can run to his mother anytime he needs connection and security? When is there time left to climb on Daddy’s lap for a good book? When is there time for siblings to just talk, play, share stories and dreams together? Will early childhood now become a time of strict schedules and pigeon holes for reading time, play time, painting time and eating?
I had our three year old in the emergency room yesterday afternoon. (The stinker is fine by the way, just two staples to the back of the head after a tumble in the bathroom.) The triage nurse was asking the typical questions of birthdate, weight, allergies, immunizations, (which is never a fun question for me since we do not vaccinate our children and they can never leave it at a simple “No”.) etc.. Then she asked me a question that took me completely off guard, “Where does he go to school?’. I kind of paused for a moment and replied in astonishment, “He’s only three!”. The nurse pushed her chair away from her desk and in a very curt manner said, “Plenty of three year olds go to school dear.” Then with a deep sigh she said, “I suppose he’s homeschooled.” I tried to explain to her that he’s not ‘schooled’ at all, that he is a jolly three year old boy that spends his day playing in the backyard with his brother, finding bugs, riding trikes, and building forts. He asks me a million and one questions per day. He holds my leg while I make dinner, asks for a story in the afternoon and tries to keep up with his older brothers on the chin-up bar in the basement. He is a kid.
But, she clicked the little “Homeschool” button on the screen. It was my turn to sigh. My three year old is homeschooled, I had no idea. I wonder how this conversation would have went down if I had my one or two year old in there? I would expect it with my older kids, but it was my three year old, and I’ve never even considered his current “schooling”.
Then came the Wall Street Journal piece in my inbox, and what I’ve known all along in my Mother Heart was confirmed and edified. He is right where he is supposed to be, home, with me, being a kid.