By Irene F. Starkehaus -
Does government retain control of your children or do you?
Right off the bat, this is a hard conversation to have with freedom loving people. The whole idea of being in control of your children feels very totalitarian and alien to the way Americans view parenthood. Control is an abomination of the most basic childrearing tenets when you reflect on it for a moment. As parents, we may raise, nurture, reprimand and guide. We may be ultimately responsible for directing them to autonomy, but we're not in control of them. They have free will and must be taught to control and respect themselves.
Yet increasingly, control is the legal battle that parents are having with government. Who ultimately maintains control over minors? Who has the final say in the upbringing of children?
The government would certainly like to lay claim to every aspect and stage of our children's lives and micromanage what they see as America's greatest resource. You know, like a rainforest or an oil well. I've never liked the point of view that children are a great resource because that merely perpetuates the progressive idea that people exist to feed the energy needs of the State and those who run it. It's been said before and it bears repeating, people don't exist to serve our government. Our government exists to serve the people. If you like being micromanaged, I can recommend any number of countries from which people are currently escaping that might better suit your mood. America is designed to be different.
The reason that parents are infinitely better suited to "control" (for lack of a better word) their children is precisely for their willingness and biological urge to guide and then release offspring to live lives of their own. I ask you this before we move another inch forward in the "it's for the children" meme. Once the government gains control over something, when does it ever willingly released it?
You know, unless we're talking about releasing violent criminals from jail and into your neighborhoods, and then by all means…fly away, little birdie.
So how likely is it that government will willingly release your children when it's time for your sons or daughters to stand on their own?
Parents often don't like thinking of our job in terms of rights. Control. Ownership. We care about them beyond cold statistics and rubrics and we love them each as unique and irreplaceable gifts. To this end, we think of our responsibility to our children more often than our right to them, and when something happens that impacts them in a way that runs contrary to our hopes and dreams for them, we take it personally rather than write them off as a statistic.
Are there exceptions? Are there bad parents? There are. Setting aside the three thousand mommy dearests who will terminate their children's lives today in abortions because a baby doesn't fit into their schedules as well as orgasms do… even having gotten over the hurdle of choosing life, some people are just horrible parents. So let's feel free to write off parenthood as an archaic alternative to the preferable, taxpayer funded "before school lunch programs" and "after school youth groups" and "state mandated preschool" because some people can't think beyond their own hedonism. For my part, the exception merely amplifies the rule of thumb. With this in mind, it's only when someone or some entity decides to assert authority over what has always been seen as the natural order of things that we start questioning what our children represent to our lives, our liberty, our pursuit of happiness and yes…our control. By God's grace, we made them. By God's grace, they belong to us.
And understand, this might not hold off the Left from claiming Prima Nocta because we used the roads built by somebody else for getting to the hospital to have our babies delivered:
Nevertheless, only the unhealthiest of societies and people believe that children belong to the government and are granted to biological parents on a sort of lend lease basis with the stipulation that they must be raised within federal guidelines and mandates so that they can be harvested for the government's greater prosperity. With all due respect to those who would disagree, "it takes a village" is a weed in the vineyard that ought to be plucked by the root the moment it rears its ugly little head.
Building upon this theme, there's an article posted on National Review Online for October 7, 2014 by Kevin D. Williamson entitled: They Are Coming for Your Children and the crux of the issue that Williamson presents is that the government is flexing its considerable muscle over homeschoolers in Connecticut using the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School as rationalization for eminent domain over psychological profiling of all children throughout the state.
If only we could find that attention of detail applied to the people illegally crossing our borders…
"[Governor] Malloy's committee on the Newtown shootings is recommending that Connecticut require home-schooling families to present their children to the local authorities periodically for inspection, to see to it that their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction."
The justification for Governor Malloy's recommendation is that Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was once homeschooled. To the education monopolists, this means that homeschooling is to blame for the evil actions of Adam Lanza because if state run schools had been able to properly monitor the young Mr. Lanza, they might have been able to prevent the Sandy Hook shooting spree.
This is an interesting supposition by Governor Malloy given that nearly every school shooting since the 1940s – and there's an astounding number of them, I might add – involves public schools and enrolled or former students of the public schools. Nearly all exceptions to that rule include teachers or faculty that were employed at one time or another at public schools or disgruntled parents of students at the public schools in question.
There have also been occasional random acts of violence by people who have been through our judicial system's revolving door of law and order. This might also constitute a failure by the public sector but has no direct connection the public school system. In that case, please refer to the previous paragraph on early-release programs for criminals.
Actually, if we were to take the spirit of Governor Malloy's recommendations to the logical conclusion, based on the history of American school shootings, all public employees must then be required to present themselves to taxpayers for periodic inspection so that the taxpayers can be assured that government's psychological and social growth is proceeding in the desired direction. Unfortunately, accountability isn't a two way street.
But this whole argument over public vs. homeschool induced violence becomes moot because as Williamson rightly points out:
"Adam Lanza was the product of madness, but he also was very much a product of the public schools and their allied institutions. He was briefly — very briefly — homeschooled after his parents had exhausted every other option. His mental troubles began long before he was home-schooled and were in fact well known to and documented by the various credentialed authorities under whose management he spent his youth, from his kindergarten therapists to the scholars at Yale's Child Study Center."
As tempting as it is to continue on this tit for tat line of reasoning – especially because it's incredibly easy to demonstrate the superior psychological stability of homeschooled students vs. public school students – this is really quite beside the point.
Even if inverse indicators bore out and I could establish that homeschoolers were by and large emotionally imbalanced compared to their public school counterparts, this still begs a question. By what authority might Connecticut summon all homeschooled children to undergo evaluations to determine whether their psychological and social growth is proceeding in the state's desired direction?
And what health standards would act as their baseline, I wonder. Given the amount of corruption that runs rampant in all levels of government, I hate to consider it. By all leading indicators, Jeffery Dahmer would have done as well or better as the Director of the IRS than what we have witnessed over the last half decade or so. True, he would have had to restrict himself to more abstract forms of cannibalism, but all-in-all, Lois Lerner has been paid better and will likely end up in a nicer prison if the State ever gets around to prosecuting her.
Better still, given Malloy's recommendation for state mandated psych evals for all homeschooled children, what might we postulate is the actual purpose of our public schools? Because it's clearly not about the three Rs anymore…assuming that it ever was. If reading and math skills were what the government cared about, then homeschools would be championed as the example that public schools should emulate. Instead, the State of Connecticut disparages homeschoolers as potential mass murderers that require state intervention to keep them on the proper emotional growth trajectory.
And that brings us full circle to our original thesis. The government lays claim to every child and every aspect of our children's lives so that they can micromanage what they see as America's greatest resource. Homeschoolers don't fit neatly into the government rubric, so that's gotta change.
Pay attention, homeschooling parents of Illinois. They're coming for your children too.