Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Problem with Freedom

I've been thinking about our homeschool. My homeschool. I've homeschooled for 21 years. I know what I want to accomplish and why. I know how to do it (mostly). These things have not always been true. What has always been true is that I wanted for my children something that I, as a child, and even young adult, did.not.have.

What did I want that freedom to entail? Time. Time alone. Time for my kids to grow in to themselves without the stupidity and maturity stopping labels of too smart, too stoopid, too rich, too poor, too whatever. Time to follow bunny trails and embrace passions and learn and develop as spiritual beings along with their intellectual and social selves instead of being stunted and baby believers all of their lives. Freedom to hear the still small voice of God instead of being drowned in a cacophony of belligerent electronic and emotional and social distractions.

We've failed in a lot of things but in this one area, the area of giving our kids freedom, I believe that we have succeeded. Our kids have spent hours reading, listening to teaching and music CD's, grown in wonder and awe, understand how to create and learn and grow and have developed their belief in the concrete, the mystical, and the divine.

In that, dissatisfied creature that I am, I am content. I am not proud. I am satisfied. I have offered 5 people in the world something unique and fulfilling and awe-inspiring and, I believe, eternal.

What they choose to do with it, however, is not something that I can control. And that leads me to the point of this post. Freedom is easily lost, frittered away and unappreciated. Two things crowd out freedom, lawlessness and legalism.

Freedom is oft mistaken for lawlessness. True freedom is anything but. True freedom points the way to something greater but those who are free and aren't disciplined end up rebellious and ungrateful, entitled and lacking the self-control necessary to maintain or to create.

On the other hand, freedom is often, because of our very human nature, tied up in a box and restrained. We want to set controls, make rules, define, clarify and develop. Everything is created twice and those who envision something extraordinary and beyond the norm frequently get hung up on the nitty-gritty necessities of making a way in the world, the nuts and bolts, tpaying the bills. Nitty-gritty snuffs out freedom just as fast as devil may care lawlessness.

Because we are not raising children, but adults, and ultimately eternal beings, we get to a point in our parenting where we let go. The kids, adults, souls that we've stewarded make their own choices, their own mistakes, and live their own lives. Outcomes are not my responsibility, faithfulness is. I've faithfully, along with the dedicated care and provision of my husband, given my kids freedom. Freedom to think and feel and live how they are called. And if they stumble in to lawless rebellion or legalistic life-sucking forms that diminishes their call, it is their choice and ultimately, their responsibility. Perhaps they did not understand the gift they they've been given, the sacrifices made, the hardships endured to offer them this precious gift. Perhaps they wanted something else. There are voices, and  always have been, that have ridiculed, badgered and scoffed at what we've offered our children. The voices, loud and bitter, were loud andoften enough heard that my children noticed. Perhaps the siren songs of other wooed them.  It's not mine to speak to.

My vision for homeschooling has been that my kids would embrace  freedom, revel in it, dance unabashedly because of what they've been afforded. In that hope, despite the lack of assurance of outcomes, we continue. We continue to steward well what we can give.


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I needed to read this. Thank you!

Jessica said...

This is also paramount in our reasons for homeschooling. I do not think I could have articulated it as well, however, as you have! It's very hard as a parent to let go and remind yourself that their choices are their own to make, not yours, and you have done your best to help them develop a conscience and a compass when they were younger.

Jen said...

I'll be coming back to read this on those hard days of homeschooling. Thanks!

Elaine Roberts said...

Wow what a great post. It incorporates many of the reasons that I homeschool but it also mentions others that I haven't thought of but are still so very true. I ultimately hope that my children understand and appreciate what they have been given.

SmallWorld at Home said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing with the Carnival of Homeschooling.

LaughingLioness said...

Thanks for the comments, ya'll. I need to read this every now and then myself ; )
Love the carnival, Small World! Thanks for your sweet comment!

Pamela said...

I so agree that freedom and time are some of the greatest gifts that homeschooling can give our children, and our families. The ability to think for yourself, to entertain yourself and follow your own path (with or without bunnies:-) are all wonderful blessings indeed!

Angie said...

It is only recently that I begun to embrace the gift that freedom is. Your post really gives me hope that this is the way to walk, and that our eternal beings that got their start in our homes will also walk in freedom and faith.