I was born independent. My mom will swear to it. It was nature not nurture (I am sure my mom would have paid good money to get me to stop at many points during my life). Starting in third grade, I had a run-in with every principal of every school I attended.

Interesting story – in third grade the issue was fighting. I was in a fight. The principal called me in and as it happened, that day I had brought my brand new Bible to school with me. It was white with gold letters on the front that spelled my name. And I was so proud of it – I had earned it by singing in the church choir. Anyway, she leans over to me a quips, “Interesting that you were nice enough to bring your Bible to school but you weren’t nice enough not to fight.” I smiled back and said something to the effect, “I had to fight, everyone was hitting my friend and someone had to protect her. I think that’s in the Bible.” If only then she had admitted I had a point, things might have turned out so differently!

So you get the picture. I was principled and righteous and driven from the get go. And as I look back, I have often been caught up in a battle between what is required by the status quo and what I “know” to be true. Alas, I had to no choice but to be an entrepreneur. My glorious mentor will tell you that I became truly valuable to her when I stopped being her employee and became her consultant. The reigns were off and I could deliver the goods and worry less about all the constraints.

And I think this is one of the reasons home schooling is making my heart sing. All the crap has been removed. We are down to the chewy nougat and it allows me to align Katie’s education with our values. I had the “a ha!” moment when I read this rather remarkable article in YES! Magazine:

Parker Palmer: Know Yourself, Change Your World: In the work you do each day, how do you distinguish truth from fraud, build community, and speak up for what’s right? Read it here.

Here’s the premise: “Acclaimed educator and author Parker J. Palmer says most of us lack an understanding of our inner lives. If we learned in school how to navigate the inner landscapes of our lives, we might gain the tools to make it through difficult times, and clarify and act on our deepest values.” Okay – this is deep. I highly recommend you read the article – slowly – you’ll need to really think about what’s he saying. Then think about how true it is.

The more we align ourselves and pursue our education in a way that reinforces that alignment, the more harmony we experience and possibly – probably – the more good we can do. What a gift to give our kids if that’s how we help them pursue learning!

Alright, maybe you won’t agree with me. But if way back when, in all those scuffles with authority, if just once one of those adults had said, “Jennifer, you make a valid point. I understand your position and I can see it’s important to you and based on fairness. Let’s see what we can do to change things.” Wow. It would have been powerful.
It would have been life-changing.