Monday, October 14, 2013

Reflections From Parents For Liberty Conference

Late Friday night we drove to Austin, TX. Unbeknown to us, Austin City Limits, a huge music festival, was going on this weekend so we didn't get any sleep at our hotel. People were coming in and out all night, slamming doors. Then we spent most of Saturday attempting to absorb all the amazing speakers at the Parents For Liberty conference, left Austin at 7pm, drove through torrential rain, picked ...up the kids from Grandma's, and got home around midnight. Yet still my body decided to wake up at 8am. I'm going to attempt to share some reflections from the show, but I am grossly overtired so please excuse any lapses in brain function.

The first reflection I want to share is inspired by John Bush (Rise Up Radio Show, The Center for Natural Living) who spoke, among other great points on parenting, about the value of modeling behavior for our children, particularly not settling arguments with your partner in an uncivil manner in front of the kids. He joked that if anyone in the crowd never fought with their partner to come see him and share their wisdom.

Coincidentally, Papa and I were talking on the drive down about how in 6 years together we've had only one fight we remember. I think one reason for this is that we spend so much time apart, as Papa travels so much for work. Obviously less time together lends itself to less opportunities for fighting in and of itself. But more than that, it places a higher value on our time together. When I only have 36 hours a week with my husband, I want to make the most of them, and so I drop petty arguments. I turn off my computer and put away my phone. I try to pack as much love and respect and closeness as I can into that time period.

I think we should also apply this value to the time we have with our children. The days, even the hours, seem long. I know. But any parent of grown children will tell you, the time flies and then they're out on their own. Too many parents never even get to see that. We're guaranteed nothing. Let's pack as much love, respect, and closeness as we can into every day we have with our children, and all those we love.
My next reflection from the Parents For Liberty conference is inspired by Antonio Buehler. I won't do his presentation the injustice of trying to summarize it. There will be a dvd release later so you can see his entire speech. I will simply share two questions he posed to the audience.

"What is education?"

Cue crickets. Eventually some answers were thrown out there.

"What is education to the government?"

"Control!" "Conformity!" "Homogenization!" among other things.

Which brings me to my thought. It is not enough to know what we DO NOT want for our children. We have to know what we DO want for them. It is easy to criticize that with which we disagree, but we have to be just as passionate, MORE passionate actually, about that with which we do agree.

It is not enough to reject a broken system. We must create something better. We need to have a clear vision about what that better thing is and be able to articulate it. And so I pose the question to you. What is education? What is it to be educated?
Part 3
I was so very fortunate to hear Dr. Lawrence Reed speak this weekend on the subject of courage. I'm not sure if it is a direct quote or paraphrased, but I wrote down in my program, "Courage gives boldness and consistency to other virtues." Again, I won't do his presentation the injustice of trying to summarize it here and encourage you to check out Parents For Liberty if you're interested in a dvd....

We had the opportunity for questions and I asked him, "How do we instill courage in our children?" He answered, in so many words, that we model courage for them. I asked an obvious question and received an obvious answer.

I wish I would have instead asked, "How do we keep from suppressing or extinguishing our children's innate courage?" I would really love to hear his thoughts.

I know I personally have mistaken courage for defiance in the past. I have punished Josh for standing up to me, for calling me out when I was being hypocritical. In the past I have belittled and discouraged him from being courageous. How do I fix that? Well, to start, I recognize my behavior as wrong. I work everyday to take him seriously and treat him respectfully. I admit to my mistakes and apologize. Modeling courage is important, yes, but I think we also have to recognize courage when it is directed at us.

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