Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. II Timothy 3:13 NKJV

“So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilisations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, laboured with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over — a weary, battered old brontosaurus – and became extinct,” Malcolm Muggeridge, (1985).

In a recent print newsletter, Dannah Gresh quotes a SCOTUS decision from 1979:

“The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant to American tradition.”

That the US Supreme Court felt the need to make such a statement in 1979 means that we’ve been having a custody battle of sorts over our own children at least since then.

Gresh comments: “What we are witnessing in our culture is the rise of an ideology, a mindset that actually believes teachers and other agents of the state can make better decisions for your child than you can.”

I remember a parent-conference teacher in the early 1990s when I was the parent. The teacher had required students, including my daughter, to write an essay discussing the most difficult situation they had faced.

When I asked this teacher how my daughter answered this question, she refused to tell me. That was between her and my daughter.

My minor child.

The teacher had attempted to search my child’s heart, and told me I had no right to know what she’d found.

My daughter later told me she dramatized a minor challenge. In other words, she gave the teacher an answer to satisfy the requirement, without giving up heart and soul in the process.

The nosy assignment failed to measure learning unless the purpose was to teach students to equivocate.

But there must have been a trend.

Across the street at the junior high, one of my sons felt compelled to answer a similar question because a grade was on the line. When I took my complaint to the top of the administration, that teacher apologized. No doubt she had not yet achieved tenure.

I instructed my children then as I do my own students now: You are never required to tell more than you are comfortable telling.

All schools should provide the same refuge. Parents should not be out of the loop.

For many years, some in the institution of education have felt entitled to take over the role of parent. For some years, many parents have abdicated their authority. Such coins are always two-sided.

We in the West have done all to ourselves, as Muggeridge predicted we would.

Last week, the Biden Administration appealed to the US Supreme Court to strike down state laws banning gender transition surgeries for minor children.

One federal US court has already ruled that parents may not challenge schools’ transgender policies.

In Canada, citizens no longer have to ask for assisted suicide. Medical professionals are now supposed to offer death to a wider audience of subjects. Our northern neighbor has expanded Medical Aid in Dying so much that they now face a “crisis”–a lack of “willing” doctors to provide the “service.”

There’s a push to expand the “right” to MAID to “mature minors,” those under 18.

Also last week, the United Kingdom ordered that yet another child should die from withdrawn care. Over her parents’ objections, the UK court denied Indi Gregory the chance to travel to Italy, a nation friendlier to a foreigner in need than England is to its own citizens.

Tara Isabella Burton: “Ultimately, however, [a similar, earlier] case was about who gets to decide what the best interest of a child really is. When the view of the state and the view of a child’s parents are at odds, who gets to have the final say?”

In England, the answer to that question has reared its horned head multiple times, always under the government’s premise that the “best interests” of the child must be death.

God gave parents a mandate to raise children in the way they should go. He told us to care for the weak.

Schools and government are secondary institutions to the family. Schools exist to edify. Government exists to protect. Neither is here to overrule, tear apart, destroy, or murder.

We will all, parents, educators, medical personnel, judges, stand before a sovereign Judge who will remember the harm done to the little ones entrusted to us.

Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Our new website milicomathersreads.com is accepting reviews for middle reader books–especially those written by middle school students. Message me at readgoodbooks@milicomathersreads.com or in the comments below.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

A Window, not a Mirror

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39b, ESVUK

“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” Sydney J. Harris

The elder leader of the group smiled with the presumed wisdom of a sage. “We can’t teach old books. The world has changed.”

The seminar for teachers had been filled with the assumption that contemporary education must include reflective books for middle/high school students. Old books no longer held relevance.

According to the new authority, teachers must give students books with characters like themselves in modern situations kids face today.

The world has changed, I thought. But how will students know how it’s changed if they only read books about kids like themselves? How will they ever be able to understand situations people faced in other times and what difference those books made?

To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with students considering how someone else might face a situation similar to one they’re experiencing.

Our minds, like our stomachs, need variety. But mirror-reflecting situations are good for occasional desserts, not as a steady diet.

Young people still need models who faced situation bigger than themselves.

Let’s consider some characters from a widely read book, banned in some places in the past, and having fallen out of favor with many educators in today’s world: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.

Lee’s magnum opus came at a time of disruption in America, the 1960s. It showed what life was like in the fictional community of Maycomb, Alabama, in the 1930s.

Atticus Finch looked through a window. If he’d looked into a mirror, he would have refused to defend Tom Robinson. He would not have wanted his children to suffer the abuse of schoolmates that led Scout into playground fistfights.

He would have shielded them from the issue of their day. He would have protected them from witnessing a quest for justice. He would have kept them from who they would become–better people for having gone through the trial of resisting racism around them.

Mayella Ewell looked through a mirror and saw the disdain the community would have for her for desiring the attention of a Black man. If she’d looked through a window, she might have seen Helen and the children who would have to find their way alone without the provision and love of Tom.

(Spoilers ahead.) Had Bob Ewell looked through a window, he could have avoided the revenge that cost him his life.

Scout, Jem, and Dill looked into a mirror and found a desire to make Boo Radley come out.

Perhaps Boo Radley had looked into a mirror long enough. When he looked through the window, he saw children in need of protection and saved them.

The book wasn’t set in contemporary times. It reflected the inward conflict that comes with outward injustice. Something beyond youthful angst and a quest for identity within a school setting.

Well educated people understand the past. They understand the conflicts of people who came before them. They understand life beyond the First World issues of our day.

They know the struggles of pioneering America from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.

They know the hunger of famine and how watching the society around you can push you into bad decisions from Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth.

They know the pain of living through the resolve not to sell yourself short in a society that doesn’t see your value from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. They know the victory that resolve brings.

They know the dangers of not paying attention to the past and to truth from George Orwell’s 1984.

They understand that, in order to love our neighbors, we must first look through a window to see them.

To limit our viewpoint to the mirror is to propel ourselves into our own destruction.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”