Christianity and Middle-Earth

Friday, January 14, 2005

A Grand Adventure

Being in possession of several physical disabilities that frequently render life a bit on the miserable side, I have good weeks and bad. This past week has been one of the latter sort, which is why I’ve been so long in posting again; but I finally managed today to drag myself around some of my normal reads, Christian-blogwise, and found myself suddenly cheered by the irrepressible Steve Bragg of DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS, in a post fitting in nicely with the one I’d spent yesterday trying to write and not getting very far:

Public School Recommends 'Boob Jobs', But Not God!

The convergence with my post was homeschooling, not chest measurements, actually, but this amuses me because I have for years assured my more modestly-endowed offspring that the American fixation with dueling nose-cones is nitwitted in the extreme. Whatever the perceived charms of generous endowment in youth, by middle-age it becomes more of a burden than anything, partly due to an equation involving gravity, speed and inertia. (If you don’t believe me, try strapping two grapefruits to your chest and wearing them all day.)

The decision to pull our older daughter out of public school and teach her at home wasn’t due to any professional lack on the part of her teachers; rather it was precipitated by my maternal concern at sending her off to endure the fever-swamps of American teen-think at a tender age. From the relative (and I stress relative) pastoral innocence of a primary-grades environment, she was about to be herded into the middle-school feed-lots of Beverly Hills 90210 to be fattened up for - culturally speaking - ritual slaughter.

This was not a prospect I found pleasing. Girls are very silly if left to their own devices in the teen years, and I well remembered my own silliness at that age. As an adult, I had my own ideas about what my daughters should learn, and it didn’t include having them pressured to squander their emotional energy on bubble-brained panics about clothes and make-up and boys and all the other issues of national importance that our society seems to think are an appropriate state of mind for even pre-adolescence.

So, starting with the one daughter, we set out upon our Adventure, one which I highly recommend to American parents.

I don’t think she’ll ever forget that beginning: Altogether, that September in Eastern North Carolina was a marvelous year. Not only was there wonderful sunshine and delicious rain in due times and perfect measure, there seemed something more: an air of richness and growth of an amazingly wide variety of toadstools, at least one of which stank oddly of plastic and fish, and the poor child had to identify all of them.

Two autumns later, her sister joined the experiment and we went merrily upon our way, defying custom and culture and Respectability and having a jolly good time of it into the bargain. They finished high school at home, and were welcomed into a small local private college and graduated with their heads on straight and with high honors.

If modest bosoms.


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