The Fruit of Sheltered, Controlled Homeschoolers
Reb Bradley has a long and very informative article about mistakes he and other sheltering and controlling Christian homeschooling parents have made in Exposing Major Blind Spots of Homeschoolers.
For more information about Reb Bradley’s teachings, please see the comments below as well as this post.
I was also both heartened and dissatisfied by his article (which I read several years ago). Young Mom points out that he is dissatisfied because he did not get the results and is therefore arguing for changing methods (not because the methods were intrinsically harmful), but I would add simply that he does not change the results he wants: children with identical belief systems and identical lifestyles to his. He wants to produce clones, and he DOES NOT change this desire. It’s this desire that’s the problem, not simply the methods, because if he changes to more loving methods and STILL does not produce clones of himself he will see himself and his children as a failure. Parents need to stop making it their goal to produce clones and realize that their children are individual human beings who need to grow up and live their own choices and choose their own beliefs. That, of course, was exactly what this article did NOT say.
I agree with you up to a point but I cannot agree that parents should not have a goal to produce Christian children. For a Christian, a lost child is a great tragedy. They will spend eternity in Heaven but their child will spend eternity suffering the torment of hell. Yes, the children are individual human beings who need to grow up and make their own choices, but it’s the parents’ job to guide them in making wise choices. The fact that controlling and micromanaging them often turns them away from the faith is enough proof that this method is wrong.
Ah, but I did not say his goal is to create “Christians” but rather that his goal is to create “clones.” I don’t know how you define “Christian,” but I would assume you probably have a broader definition than either Bradley or my parents. I have known many people in the last few years for whom being a Christian simply means the desire to follow Christ, and issues like creation or evolution, pretrib or midtrib, the exact type of discipline used, dating verses courtship, stay at home mom verses working mom, small family verses big family, skirts verses pants, homeschool verse public school, and on and on, are largely irrelevant to that desire because they are a matter of individual leading and not Christian dogma. These individuals expect their adult children to follow Jesus FOR THEMSELVES and place them in God’s hands and trust Him to know what is best and to work everything out for good. For people like Bradley and my parents it is different. For them, being a “Christian” means not being a Christ follower but rather sharing their beliefs to the exact minutia (seriously, questioning the wisdom of parent guided courtship, or rejecting spanking as a method of punishment is enough to show that you are damned or at least headed on a path straight to Satan’s lair). As soon as the child disagrees with this sort of parent on anything, no matter how small a point it may seem, that Child is seen as broken, ruined, no longer truly Christian – EVEN IF THEY SAY THEY LOVE JESUS MORE THAN ANYTHING. The thing to remember is that I did not become an atheist until years after having trouble with my parents. Actually, when I had trouble with my parents, my faith had never felt so vibrant. It was JESUS who told me it was okay to question my parents’ beliefs, that it was okay to make my own. The issue my parents had with me wasn’t me leaving faith, it was me making my faith my own. So I did not say that the problem was the desire to produce Christian children, but rather that the problem was the desire to produce clones.
Oh, I understand. Thanks for clarifying. In that case, I do agree. <3
I’ve seen this linked by many homeschoolers talking about how great it is that he is “recognizing his past extremism”. My biggest issue with it is that the whole thing is talking about reavalutating how he did not get the RESULTS that he wanted. It’s time to change the conservative approach to parenting not because his kids were harmed or he regrets treating them that way, not because children deserve respect, but because his methods did not get the results he wanted. Also, his horrible book on discipline “Child Training Tips” was just republished in 2010. I feel that his article is too little too late, if you are really sorry, then actually apologize and burn your book.
Thank you for that insight. I did not research this. I will be highlighting your remarks, I hope you don’t mind.