The Benjamin Buttons of Homeschooling
CC image courtesy of Flickr, Brian Cook.
By R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator
Homeschool kids and alumni live in a strange time paradox.
As infants, we were “vipers in diapers.” Even though we couldn’t speak or walk, we were spanked because somehow we had the cognitive ability and will to rail against God, just like any other adult. Yet even though we had the power to determine our eternal destiny, we were nothing but property of our parents, void of any rights (other than the right to eternally damn ourselves, of course).
As children, we were raised under the banner of exceptionalism. We were always ready to defend our parents’ educational choices, always ready to proclaim the benefits of homeschooling, and always paraded around in little suits and dresses as if we were mini-senators and presidents-in-training. Those of us who participated in homeschool speech and debate had one Bible verse drilled into our heads over and over: 1 Timothy 4:12. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
We took this message to heart. We wrote it in our diaries; we typed it on our Xangas; we opened every speech and debate conference with it.
We lived our lives in such a way that our youth seemed meaningless. We took to State Capitols; we rallied for pro-life bills right alongside our parents and other adult peers; we have even testified on legislative floors. As long as we walked the paths our parents desired for us, our youth had no meaning. We were treated as adults, as fully human beings who understand the biblical worldview and had the power to proclaim it to all the nations.
But then we actually grew up. We become real adults. And we began to think for ourselves. We began to speak for ourselves. We began to disagree with those who raised us.
Then we, now actually adults, began to be treated as children.
Suddenly time reversed and we were told, “Wait until you’re older. Then you’ll agree with us again.”
So we waited. We became older. We still had disagreements. Then we were told, “Wait until you have children. Then you’ll agree with us again.”
So some of us waited. Some of us had children. We still had disagreements. Then those some of us were told, “Wait until your children reach school age. Then you’ll agree with us again.”
Some some of us waited. Some of us put our children in public school or private school or even homeschool. We still had disagreements. Then those some of us were once again told, “Wait until your children become teenagers. Then you’ll agree with us again.”
We are stuck in a perpetual state of childhood. Whereas we had to spend our actual childhood acting like adults and being paraded around as mature, we now spend our actual adulthood being rejected as immature children who are simply bitter at our parents.
It’s a lose-lose for us homeschool alumni.
We’re like Benjamin Buttons, starting our lives as mini-adults only to grow down into large children.