Saturday, May 31, 2008

We Can't Have It All

Okay folks, please listen carefully.

I'm telling you this because I care about you.

I don't intend to hurt you by saying this, but if I don't you or someone else might be hurt worse.

Are you listening?

Here it is...

You cannot have it all.

Plain and simple.

Not everybody wins.

In the candy bowl of life, not everyone gets all they want --- or even the kind they want.

That's just how it works.

We make choices in life and out of those choices spring our next set of options. And so it goes from there.

You do not get "do overs" that allow you to keep what you want from your first choice, yet go back for the "goodies" of what were your previous options.

Is that right? Is it fair?

Pretty much so.

Now, don't stomp your feet. Think of the example you are setting for your kids. Just stop it.

Simply put, if you get everything there are going to be others that get nothing.

Today I ran across something that made make a funny face and sigh the words, "Get real."

Perhaps, if it wasn't related to a group that I admire and for which I have regularly played cheerleader for even though not a member of their team, maybe I would have just made the face and quickly moved on. Unfortunately, that isn't the case.

A group that represents homeschoolers felt it necessary to send a letter to the Subway restaurant corporation because Subway excluded homeschoolers from a contest with a prize suited to accommodate a formal school, be it public, private or parochial. $5000 worth of fitness equipment. The letter to the company validly stated the value of homeschooling when it noted that "Homeschooling is a thriving educational option. All the available research shows that homeschoolers are excelling academically and socially." However, it was way off base when it said of the group, "We do not deserve to be overlooked." That is simply feet stomping in an attempt to get the goodies of the previous choices that were not chosen.

The reason homeschooling is thriving is because the benefits of that choice are phenomenal, but in choosing that option a family must know they are forgoing the benies of the other options.

Shhhh... Now hush, just a second. It is my opinion that the greatest benefits are found in the homeschooling option. And not just for the kids and their families. Hushhhh. Please let me talk. I truly believe that homeschoolers, as a group of solidly developed individuals, may be one of the greatest hopes of our society. That said, I have to go on to say that I hope that homeschooling isn't polluted by the whining entitlement attitude so pervasive in our present society. And that letter strikes me as just that.

Yes, Subway is going to cater to the homeschoolers in response to that letter in that they have promised to develop a contest solely for homeschooling families, but what kind of message, really, does that send? It muddies the water of the homeschooling moral float. Really it does.

Homeschooling families make many sacrifices. Daily. It isn't an easy choice, nor is it an easy lifestyle. The long-term benefits are sometimes not so evident when worksheets are spread throughout the house, infants refuse to stop crying during an exam, impromptu science experiments go awry and you can't remember when you last could uttered the words, "Calgon, take me away"and have it mean something. On the toughest of days, it has to get to the parents who are giving their all to give their kids the best they can give. It must be frustrating to know that, in some ways, there are advantages to formal schooling of which your kids can't partake. But the big picture is that a homeschooling family is a family that know the how, what and where of the influences upon the family. I can't see anyone who is thoughtfully raising their kids thinking that whining about a trivial contest is something that they want to influence who the children become.

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