One of the special privileges I enjoy is the opportunity to interact with thousands of home schooling parents every year at state home schooling conferences and conventions. At every conference, people come up to me and express gratefulness and appreciation for the work of HSLDA. I am always especially moved by those who tell me that they pray for us on a regular basis. That means more to all of us here than can ever be adequately explained.
But as I have been watching my wife, Vickie, begin the process of starting our family's fourteenth year in home schooling, a question suddenly occurred to me: Who thanks the real heroes of the home schooling movement?
Vickie is teaching five of our school-age children this year (two have graduated; two are too young). She is teaching a total of twenty-eight subjects. And she is washing and cooking and washing and cleaning and washing and driving and washing and shopping and washing and mending and washing—all on top of her teaching responsibilities.
Vickie is unusual compared to the world at large. And she is obviously uniquely special to me. But there are another two or three hundred thousand home schooling moms who are doing essentially the same things.
And it's my guess that these ladies—the real heroes of the home schooling movement-rarely hear words of thanks. So let me give it a try.
To all home schooling moms:
Thanks for being willing to sacrifice the minutes, hours, days, months, and years that constitute your life so your children will have the opportunity to grow up godly, mature, wise, intelligent, and loving. People who give great sums of money are widely heralded as great philanthropists. You have given your children your very essence so that they may achieve the kind of greatness that God values. Keep in mind that their only hope for achieving those character qualities is bound up in the fact that you serve the one true God who endows you with those same characteristics.
Thank you for your plain old hard work. In the midst of a society bent on obtaining the maximum in convenience, you demonstrate that things of value are not accomplished quickly or on the first try. You are the exemplars of the virtue of the third, fourth, and fifth tries. If your children take your example into the American work place, our nation will rise to its former prominence as the country which succeeded because of its simple commitment to hard work.
Thank you for being willing to encourage other moms who struggle, who are new to the movement, who are discouraged, who need your counsel, your experience, or your wisdom. The selflessness you demonstrate in the lives of your children pours over into the hours you devote so that others may succeed. Arguably you have a vested interest in the success of your own children. You have nothing to gain from helping others. It is an act of pure altruism.
Thank you for your obedience to God. Together with your husband you have read the Scriptures. You have understood them to lead you in this path of home education. And regardless of the costs, the difficulties, or the lack of immediate rewards or gratification, you have done what is right simply because it is right. Few are willing to do right these days for its own sake. You serve as an example of moral courage that our leaders would do well to copy.
Thank you for loving your husband. Your marriage is the human foundation of your home. When it cracks and crumbles, all that you value—including your home schooling-is threatened. Your selfless love for your husband is an essential ingredient to keeping that foundation strong and true.
Thank you for taking the time to teach your children the Truth. So much of education today ignores the truth and simply attempts to impart knowledge separated from the principles of absolute truth which flow from Almighty God. Your children have the advantage of learning what is real and true and good. Those things which are cheap counterfeits will always be self-evident frauds to those who have had the good fortune to spend years being exposed to the Truth.
And finally, thank you for being willing to swim against the stream of society's definition of success. Stay-at-home moms are given little praise in our society today. The "mothers of the year" are normally "great moms," but they are really chosen because they also serve as captains of industry, public policy, or finance. At the very time the world ridicules a mom who devotes herself exclusively to her family, you have embraced that role with even more enthusiasm than the generations who have gone before you. Your version of "having it all" means shouldering all of the responsibility for the rearing of your children.
The feminists won't hold a women's conference in China—or anywhere else—to give you the accolades you so richly deserve.
But your true reward will never be meager efforts of thanks like this letter. Your true reward-at least the one you will see here on earth—will be children who rise up, while the rest of the world is stooping in compromise, and call you blessed with their lives, their words, and their deeds. It is your legacy of love. Thanks.