Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Score One for Normal

This article, entitled Education Normal, was written by Mark Mitchell* for Touchstone Magazine. This is not a magazine I read regularly, but the article itself is thought-provoking.

In fact, it might be just plain provoking if brought up in casual conversation in a group of parents. (I rarely do this sort of thing anymore. I have enough "different" ideas, and hold them strongly enough, that I tend to be provoking just by existing in near proximity to other parents. If you do something differently from others, you know, you're automatically "judging them" by having made your different choice. Or so the story goes. They're not judging you by having chosen differently from you, mind you... But I digress. Forgive my baggage. I'm trying to work through it all; really, I am. And I'm trying to work on holding an opinion strongly and confidently without making others who don't hold the same opinion feel judged. It is tricky business!)

In the meantime, we have found a few similarly-minded friends with whom we discuss these types of parenting issues and decisions. We have also found a few not-so-similarly-minded friends who are those wonderful and rare types of friends who like to bat around the ideas and have the discussions and play "devil's advocate" for each other... all that general "irons sharpens iron" kind of stuff... even though we know of our general "different camp" tendencies from the get go. At the end of the day, we often end up agreeing to disagree, but it is all very amicable and respectful, and it is especially refreshing to those of us who really do want to be challenged and encouraged and questioned and affirmed and, and... In these sorts of gloriously rare and beautiful interactions, no one feels condemned and, in the end, everyone feels all the more confident in the choices being made before the Lord. I don't know how it is possible, exactly, but I can tell you that it isn't possible at all unless the Lord is very involved in each of your lives, and in all your interactions together. Pretty tall order.

If you're fortunate enough to have some of these sorts of friends, phone them right away and tell them how much you appreciate them. Write them a note, thanking them for being who they are in your life.

And maybe next discussion you can bat around the ideas raised by this article.

*Dr. Mark T. Mitchell is an Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and a James Madison Fellow at Princeton University.

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