This post was prompted by what I posted yesterday "Poster children for the state" and the discussion I had in the comments. If you haven't read that I'd encourage you to read that first.
Children are perceptive. They learn not just by what we say to them but by what we do around them. They begin to identify with those they spend the most time with. Those that they spend less time with become less important. That is what is happening to that young fifth grade boy in Tennessee. He is beginning to identify with the school to the point that it represents family to him. The idea that this young man would identify with the state as "family" in a positive way is not a value I hope to culitvate in my children.
My sister told me a story from her days as a teacher in a private Christian school. Shortly after she began teaching.
She was assigned to a fourth grade classroom. As a typical recent graduate she was eager and enthusiastic to impress her little scholars. By the middle of the year things were going along quite well. The staff liked her, the parents seemed impressed, and the students loved her. So much so that one day a little girl said to her as she was walking into class, "Mrs. H. you're so pretty, you're so smart, you're nothing like my mother!"
Instead of feeling complimented my sister was saddened. Because she was doing such a good job the little girl's impression of her own mother was diminished. My sister knew this mother. She was a typical mother trying to do her best to raise her daughter. She was working hard to send her to the best schools and hand picked the teachers to ensure her daughter's success. But the unintended consequence was that her daughter's heart was slowly being wooed away to see others more important than her parents and family. Left unchecked, the little girl will grow into her teen years ignoring her parents and their impact in her life becomes minimal. The eventual outcome is that the relationship is weakened and the little girl will constantly be looking for the next Mrs. H. to fill the need for information and advice.
But I guess most parents accept this a just a part of life in the "real world" their children are going to one day be a part of. I want to create a better reality for my chiilren.
But people often say, "The real world is not so rosy. Not all have a mother. What about those children?" In general I would agree that if there is a parental void that it be filled. Just not by the state. The schools are not the place to build lasting relationships. While this teacher or school may fill it for him this year. What about next year? Or the year after? It wil be a revolving door of "caring people". That's not a family. And that has a long term affect on children. But many cannot see this because they themselves have been affected. They believe that not only can the state fill this need. But that they must fill it. After all, who else will do it? Never stopping to consider the long term ramifications to our society when the state is so powerful.
God did not design things that way. He made a man. Then a woman. From them came a family, and then the nations. He didn't create a nation of individuals to be intimate with who ever they chose or whoever the state assigned them. God, the marriage, the family, and then the nation is the order in which I believe a proper society will function.
A society that doesn't seek the face of God is bound to seek the hand of the state.
I have much more to say on this topic. (Don't I always.) But this same dear sister has just delivered her seventh child today. So I'll be busy but I'll be back.