Monday, December 04, 2006

Old Toys & Older Ways

Most homeschoolers want their children to learn the best virtues from the past, but adjust for surviving in the present world. We teach our kids to show respect, and use the manners that will bring them favor with gentlefolk. We teach them that they should save for what they really want, believing that the ability to defer gratification until it is affordable will enable them to avoid many troubles, financial & personal. We seek to instill morals of Christ and the wisdom of Proverbs. Its our hope that this will give them the best possible pathways along their journeys.

Gotta pray daily that this is blessed because I've been realizing of late that -while we are teaching the best we know - the world is getting sufficiently messed up to sometimes make even the truest of those old truisms appear false.

Good, old-fashioned courtesy is a good example. Mind you, manners are still very much a benefit in this world...around the right people... in the right situations. I've been facing squarely an unhappy truth of late. WE raise our children to be polite,

but many schools & a number of families are raising their kids rather differently.

Even in her first years in public school my daughter was being 'corrected' every time she addressed an adult as 'sir' or 'ma'am,' or held a door for an elder. These very behaviors had resulted in folks beaming at our little girl in public, and even resulted in a number of unexpected little presents and pleasant opportunities from these happy strangers. Her manners did benefit her out in the world, but - not at public school. She reported being openly picked on there for her courteousness, her modesty, and even her faith. One teacher (who loved to wear occult jewelry) was said to have openly ridiculed our dear daughter for quietly praying over her own lunch. Even other kids who told us they had been encouraged to mistreat our little girl, said they felt bad about what was going on. When I asked for more respect for what we were teaching our daughter, I got silly replies about how courtesies made them feel 'old' (and her faith might make others feel bad). Oh, Really? so... rudeness make them feel young? & I thought it reasonable that the teacher in question should receive respect for her faith BUT she also needed to show respect to other people's belief systems. The purported behaviors & attitudes (as reported to us) indicated a religious bigotry toward our baby that was intolerable (as well as intolerant). Besides, their arguments against showing respect were bogus at all levels. Seriously, it became very obvious that Rebecca's personhood (let alone her feelings) didn't count with these people in the slightest. Even as a general argument I found it truly weird that they wanted the younglings in their institution to address those in the teaching & administrative hierarchy as tall kids... or head kid at most. You'd think they'd appreciate, at the very least, that the respect for authority that went with those mannerisms had the potential to make their jobs much easier.

After we began homeschooling our daughter, many of these principles became solely a blessing to her for some years. Sadly, now that she is grown, this is not always the case.

Meekness/restraint is sometimes mistaken for weakness. So many people play false that other kiddos online don't always realize my daughter's courteous kindnesses are quite sincere. (Or mine either, but I am grown enough to be familiar with this reaction.)

Now, I truly believe she is better as she is than how the system here would have made her (had she been forced to accommodate it). I believe it will set her well for a happy life, hopefully with a similarly raised partner. I know kind teens are out there. Some days, though...

Similarly, we told our dear son he should save up for a toy he deeply desired that was a bit on the pricey side. What he wanted was a limited release R2D2 'droid that was a truly interactive little robot.

Given the trials we've had, this saving process was slow.

Sadly, the longer it took for him to raise the money, the higher the price seemed to get (and the harder it was to find.) When we finally persuaded a small local store to order it for him this fall, there were only 6 left in stock & the cost had gone up 50%. By the time R2D2 came home to us, the supplier was out entirely! Even more scary was the fact that our poor R2 seemed to have a problem with one limb. (R2 knew it too, poor thing.The only one making sadder noises than R2 was our son.) After all this waiting, it didn't look too good for the home team. Thankfully, God blessed my husband to fix it the misalignment issue & save the day. R2D2 has been a happy presence ever since, in spite of the fact that he and our bird don't entirely get along

*cough**cough*R2D2cancheepmoreloudlythanourpeach-facedlovebird.*cough* andhesoundsbetter*cough* *cough* OH!the jealousy! *cough* *cough*LOL*cough*cough**cough*

*typing pauses while Susan finds a Ricola drop*


Anyhow, I found myself reflecting on the near disaster for 'moral fibre'-ing that might well have resulted. . . Seems like "saving for what you really want' sometimes can mean not getting it at all in this day and time. PC/Video games, electronic toys, and similar gear have a horribly short shelf life. There is usually neat stuff out there at any given time, so once your money is saved, you can find something sorta like what you wanted (usually) but saving up for 'model-xz3345' doesn't work so well now. I am so very God blessed our son's willingness to save up and wait this time.

& The principle is still good. You shouldn't go into debt for trivial reasons. It is good to defer desires that will cost you dearly until you are sure the object is worthy of your labor -and that your affection will last. I can see for myself that having to save up & pay for R2 himself has resulted in our son being more careful with where he leaves R2 in between sessions. He's far more protective of it now than of many other expensive gifts he's gotten over the years. He's even become more careful of those toys too, of late. It seems he has learned something good from it all...but he could just as easily have ended up with no R2 at all - the way things were going.

Things like that have happened to me, of course, but again, I'm grown. There's less capacity for life-altering trauma in my not getting a drool-eriffic toy. Well, actually, I say that.. but I was just thanking God again lately for letting me have back all those toys I wanted so badly when I was kid. I've seen everything from my toddler-hood favorite 'hickory dickory dock' clock that came out in special edition just as my son was old enough to appreciate it, to great deals on lost favorite albums (last seen on LPs) that I'd never thought I'd see again, let alone put on cd (only Kol Simcha is now missing). Even my favorite old perfumes have reappeared online. & My favorite games have unprecedented comebacks all over the place. I remember well the early video games that I wanted so badly as a young teen, but could only play at my wealthy relations' houses. Some were so silly, I was sure I'd never get a chance to see them again. Wrong! I was playing Atari's Air-Sea Battle with my son just last month & having a blast! We've got home AND arcade versions of Donkey Kong, Mario Bros, Frogger, Columns, Joust and so much more available to us now. I remember how happy I was in the 90's to get all those old 80's Infocom text games back that I'd missed (& on cds too! I've still got 'em. woohoo!) Even Chronotrigger was re-released for the playstation, allowing me to finally get my own copy. I had saved for weeks for the SNES cartridge back when Chronotrigger when first came out, only to find it was undersold and therefore unavailable. I was grown then, and 'only' disappointed not to be able to finish it after renting & finding it wonderful, but how happy I became to have that small sadness reversed. Soon even Uru may make its big comeback.

{& I've become a big fan of retro releases. Goooooo..... Gametap! :-D }

So God CAN make old dreams come true, old saved-for toys can reappear, and good people to come into our lives when goofs make a point of not appreciating what virtues we try to live by. Praise God He often does intervene this way! I just feel its important now not to kid our kids that virtue will always be rewarded here on Earth. The results are worth it, in terms of character, capabilities, and the soul's final destination, but sometimes living by your principles can cost rather dearly.

R2 says "beep boop"

(I think he's agreeing :)


Anonymous said...

yeah. Manners aren't what they used to be.

Its grate you got the robo running :)


Lehsa said...

Well I know what you mean.
I have a tendency to say Ma'am and Sir even to the students who are younger than me at work. Some of them give me a funny look like "I'm not a Ma'am" LOL I think a few have even said something like "My mom is a Ma'am...not me!" :P

It feels weird in a way to be called Ma'am as even I think of it (polite as it is) as sounding old but I know it's atleast a sign of respect to some degree with most people.

But manners as Liz said: "aren't what they used to be." I work with alot of ghetto talking people which is kind of irritating.

Hey... and thanks for the package.
I haven't had a chance to really thank you for that. *hugs*