The Old Testament records that eventually there arose a Pharaoh who "knew not Joseph." Under the hand of this leader who did not know his nation's history, the Israelites were cruelly oppressed.
In Deuteronomy 11:2-3, Moses reminded Israel that their children "were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: His majesty, His mighty hand, His outstretched arm; the signs He performed and the things He did in the heart of Egypt."
In order that future generations would know and remember this important history, God told the Israelites to "fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up" (Deut. 11:18-19).
Our enemies, like Pharaoh, forget. We forget. But our children, who have never heard our history, do not have an opportunity to remember.
Two years ago, one of the most exciting victories ever experienced in the home schooling community occurred when we saw a million telephone calls used by God to deliver us from national teacher certification in H.R. 6. Now, in 1996, when I speak at home schooling conventions, almost a third of those in attendance have never heard of H.R. 6.
There are hundreds of thousands of home schooling parents who have no memory of the Bismarck Tea Party in 1989. Home school leaders from 11 states flew to Bismarck to stand in solidarity with the home schoolers there in an attempt to embarrass North Dakota into repealing its teacher certification law.
We certainly have enough fights today to keep all of us on our toes. But we cannot afford to forget the early fights for the freedom of our home schools. We need to tell and remember the stories, like:
- Eight-year-old Carrie Dagley in North Dakota who was subpoenaed to testify against her parents. She had to claim the Fifth Amendment.
- Robin Deigle of Ohio who was delivered from a judge who announced his intention to rule against her before her case was ever begun.
- Helene Richards, the first of our "Fourth Amendment" heroes, who stood in her doorway and told a social worker she couldn't enter her home unless she had a warrant.
- The "Katy 5"—five families near Houston who ignited the fire for Texas home schooling freedom by standing tall against a criminal prosecution.
Yes, new home schooling parents need to know and remember these stories. But even more important is our duty to tell the stories of freedom to our children.
After two decades of political involvement, I am convinced that the best political activists are people who have had to personally fight for their freedom. Since home schoolers have had to engage in hand-to-hand political combat, we have become the single most effective group of pro-family activists in the nation.
Had the National Education Association had any idea of what a vibrant political force they were helping to create, they would have done well to urge states to quickly liberalize all laws regulating home schooling. Instead, they resisted. We won. And in the process, the NEA's resistance helped to create America's best grassroots lobbying team.
Our children need to know these things if we want them to be freedom fighters. They need to be involved in our battles of today. They should be writing letters to their congressmen and state legislators. They should do these things, not only for the effect such letters have today, but also because their personal experience in fighting for freedom will change them for a lifetime.
I firmly believe that the job of this generation is to hold on to a semblance of freedom—almost by our fingernails—until the army we are raising is ready to take back our nation and restore the constitutional principles upon which we were founded.
These are grand dreams and glorious possibilities, none of which will happen unless we tell our children and the families who are just beginning to home school about the battles and victories of the past.
Old soldiers love to tell battle stories. New soldiers need to hear them so they know the price of freedom.