Monday, November 24, 2008

Common Ground

Prompted by the the announcement of a Homeschool Leadership Summit and the attempt to define a homeschool standard, homeschool blogger Melina, would like to find common ground between secular and Christian homeschoolers.
Our world has plenty of divisions. It is easy to find things to judge in other people. Places where we disagree, fundamentally offend, and just plain don't like. The hard part is finding common ground, which could also be called sacred ground. Until we expand our common ground, the fantasy of a peaceful human race will be impossibly out of reach. In the case of homeschoolers like me, and male-led-family homeschoolers, the common ground is very tiny but very clear: we both believe in our right to make our own family culture. The right to organize our family in the way that best supports its members, free from judgment or coercion from outside forces. So while I vehemently disagree with the premise of Bible-endorsed male-led family structure, I am just as adamant in the right for a family to make that choice. I encourage all homeschoolers, religious and secular, to embrace a culture of non-judgment. Isn't that a value we can all agree on?

The problem with asking if a culture of "non-judgment" is something we can all agree on, is that those that say "no", are likely to be judged by those who think that this is a value we can all agree on!

But I'll take the risk and say, "no" I don't think a culture of non-judgment is something we can all agree on. Simply because judgments are made by each of us every day and those judgments will affect others. Choosing one curriculum over another is a judgment that affects both vendors. If I tell others why I chose one over the other this multiplies the effect and has the potential to offend. On my blog, my choice of topics and voicing my thoughts about them could cause others to feel judged by what I've said. It's happened before and will likely happen again. Should I stop blogging on a topic simply because others may feel judged? Should I cease taking a strong stand on a issue because others might become offended?

Making a judgment of right or wrong should not be banned from public discourse. Rather, it is how I respond when confronted by those judgments that is more important and within my control.

I cannot prevent others from judging me for my choices nor can I prevent them from feeling judged by what I say or do. But I can refuse to become offended by their judgment and hopefully deal with them and the disagreement maturely. So, rather than asking for a culture of "non-judgment" and attitude of non-offense when disagreements or judgments occur would be a much better choice for me.

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