To all of those whom I have disappointed, I apologize.
Let me give you some background. I’m a homeschooled graduate. In fact, I was one of the earliest ones in the modern era (1991). My family began homeschooling in 1978 (when it was illegal), and I have never spent a day of my life in a government school.
My wife and I were married without dating (or courting) in January of 1999, just as the purity movement was beginning to skyrocket. Our first kiss was on our wedding day. My wife and I have nine children, all of whom have been taught by us at home (we also pay for our own children’s education with our own money).
I am very theologically conservative, and always have been. I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. I’m a complementarian (see The Danvers Statement) in my views of gender roles in the home and church. I believe God created everything in six literal, 24-hour days, about 6,000 years ago. I believe the Bible gives us guiding principles that apply to all areas of life.
I have work that is meaningful to me. I’ve always been able to support my family, and have never had any debt other than a reasonable mortgage payment (well within our means).
I have been blessed in my life more richly than I deserve (anything beyond spending eternity in Hell is far better than I deserve), and I am deeply grateful and thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful life!
I’m So Sorry!
All of this leaves me feeling rather displaced, however. It seems that most of my fellow pilgrims, who have been raised in similar circumstances, have felt the need to escape from the “tyranny” of their upbringing. The current trend among so many of them is to complain about their parents, accuse them of spiritual abuse, whine about anything that hasn’t gone right in their lives, and repudiate everything they used to believe.
I feel like I should be writing a book recanting all of my previous books, and doing a speaking tour to apologize for all my speaking messages I’ve given over the years. The problem is, I’m not sorry. I’m not cynical, jaded or angry. I’m actually abundantly blessed and overwhelmed at the goodness of God. Which leaves me feeling like kind of an outsider. I’m not coming out of the closet. I’m not writing exposes on my parents and everything they did wrong. I’m not in a recovery group, to mend from the wounds of not being able to play X-Box, and having to do chores, when I was growing up.
Did my parents make mistakes? Sure. Have I seen things in the Church that have been out of place? Do other Christians sometimes rub me the wrong way? Are there imbalances in certain sub-cultures of the Christian community? Of course!
So what is my response? Just try to do better. You can’t change people, and you can’t change your past. The things in my upbringing that weren’t ideal (yes, those things exist) have all made me stronger. I am who I am today precisely because of going through those difficulties. So I thank God for bringing me through them. They give me perspective, and help me guide others who are coming along the same path. I don’t feel a need to be bitter and disaffected, and to wear a negative lens that makes me go about trying to tear down other people.
I want to move forward, not look backward. I want to be better, not bitter. I know this perspective isn’t hip. And yes, learning to stand alone in the crowd is probably something I learned largely through being homeschooled. I just want to say to everyone who wishes that I was writing blogs about how badly my life sucks lollipops…I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you by having a happy and satisfied life. I can only hope that you will someday forgive me. I’m too blessed to be stressed, and too forgiven to be resentful. I hope you will accept my apology.
Israel Wayne is an author and conference speaker and Director of Family Renewal. He is the author of seven books, including, Education: Does God Have an Opinion? A Biblical Apologetic for Christian Education & Homeschooling.
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Thank you for this. As someone who became a Christian 7 years ago, and started homeschooling not long after…with 3 kids who I sometimes feel will grow up being all these things that you write that you aren’t bitter for, thank you! I needed this encouragement that public school and less chores and all that isn’t the answer, because I’ve had a rough few months dealing with obedience, messiness, poor attitudes, and discouragement. Sometimes, as a mom, who went to public school and had less responsibility and more freedom….I wonder if I’m failing miserably. Thank you for the encouragement to keep on keeping on!!
Much appreciated, Israel. God is using what He has invested in you, in a significant way. Stay the course!
As a father of 4 homeschooled-all-the-way-through-high-school grads who are grateful
and married and leading Christ-focused lives (thank you Lord), and the husband of the most amazing wife and teacher in the world (OK, I’m biased), I sometimes feel like I should be saying “I’m sorry” too. But I’m not sorry. I’m thankful, and that thanks goes to God.
As my body racks up more “miles” and our culture becomes less Godly I also recognize that every tomorrow may bring huge unexpected twists or turns. If so, I pray that I’ll respond in a way that pleases and glorifies God in that situation, too.
Live the Word. Stand firm!
Very, very good point. Food for thought indeed.
I’m one of the early day homeschoolers myself. I haven’t come to all the same conclusions you have, but I do appreciate your steady focus.
There’s a wide line between honestly assessing what the next generation should change and parading the victim flag. Some of us have had hard things to overcome but who wants to forever live in despair and anger?
Keep taking the high road!
Well said brother. We love you
You scared me for a minute…
Thankfully all is good…great post! (But don’t do that again!!!)
Thank you! I was blessed and encouraged by this article!
I was homeschooled in the 80s and early 90s, and now homeschool my kids. Our local support group has quite a few second-gen homeschoolers. (You may meet some when you come speak here next spring). None of the second-gen homeschoolers I know are vocal about it on the internet, however. People rarely take to public discussion about what is going well or what they like, unless they have “new convert syndrome.” There really are a lot of us out here, quietly doing this homeschool thing too. I am opposed to some of the ditches of 90s trends in homeschooling, which makes it hard to allign with some of the older conservative leaders in homeschooling, but I think it will all work out in a few years.
Been following you and your family since before you were married. This was so refreshing! Thank you!