Why Johnny Can't Think of Others
Sunday, July 16, 2006
My 8 year old can't read. Since my last 3 homeschool curricula have failed to teach my son to read, and since the private school also failed to teach him how to read, I'm in the market for a new program.

So I'm cruising the Net in my vehicle of choice (desktop computer, totally pimped out with neon lights on the motherboard cooling fans), and I come across a *free* reading course.

I don't think this one's going to work for us. The kindergarten level starts out with this lesson, which teachers are advised to print out and post.
It is called the "Most Important Rule in Life" - which is - "If I work hard and be nice to others then good things will come my way." This phrase is printed in colorful letters on a single page and should be posted throughout your classrooms and halls of all Kindergarten and Grade 1 students. Whenever you ask - What is the most important rule in life? - the child should be able to recite the above answer immediately. If this phrase is memorized by your students, we will have given them important "Meaning" as to why they should demonstrate positive behaviors in school and in society.

This "Rule of Life" definitely does NOT fit in with my worldview. In fact, it's this exact "its all about me" attitude that makes me want to homeschool in the first place.

How sad, that in order to instill a work ethic in these children, the educators are first instilling an attitude of selfishness.

It's not, "I will work hard and be nice to others, because I am a person of integrity". It's "I will work hard and be nice to others and I'll get what I want." It reeks of the Health and Wealth Gospel, actually. If you work hard and be nice, but instead of good things, you have some problems, does that mean you haven't worked hard enough? Been nice enough?

Instead of looking at obstacles and suffering as chances to grow personally, to become stronger, and to draw closer to God, the blame is put back on the child. "Well, work harder, Johnny dear, if you want good things!" It goes without saying, that the good things are not honesty, integrity, discipline, or modesty, things that will actually help one in any and every task attempted, but rather material things. Tangible objects. Things to create envy in others.
The truth is, often good things are the result of hard work. But they also are the result of chance, of luck, of God's free gift to His creation. "Bad" things often aren't really bad, but times of change, times of laboring before new fruit is born, things that are ultimately for our greater good.

I also instantly disliked this saying because it feeds right into the instant gratification lifestyle we've all grown used to.

I'm going to take the idea, but make my own Most Important Rule of Life. Incidentally, I was also required to memorize it at an early age:
God made me to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this life, so we can be happy with Him in the next.

I think I'll do two sayings - this one straight from Esther of Veggietales:
You never have to be afraid to do the right thing.
Now those are words to live by!

Tags: Homeschooling, Mama Says
posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 7/16/2006 11:12:00 AM | Permalink | |