“[T]he children belong to all of us.”
~Paul Reville, former Massachusetts secretary of education, Common Core enthusiast, and Harvard professor
Mr. Reville (and I’m trying very hard not pronounce his name as “revile” in my head) recently stated the above about who the children of America belong to (read an excellent discussion in Forbes about this here), and as a mother of nine, I’m baffled.
What, exactly, does this mean: my children belong to the country? The government?
So you will now change my toddler’s diapers? Drive my daughter to lacrosse practice? Take my son to his doctor appointments? Why, thank you!
Will you now make their meals, help with their school work, and take them shoe shopping, one of the most horrible experiences a mother and child can endure?
Yes, I’m being facetious; you—whoever this nebulous “you” is that constitutes “all of us”—certainly don’t want the daily grind of parenthood.
So why does Mr. Reville and others claim to have part possession of my children?
This question has weighed on me for years now, and I think I have a few answers.
The short answer is, because they want the capital my child may potentially make.
That’s all it is: money. How much might my child be worth someday. Yes, I realize this sounds crass and simplistic, but I’m afraid it’s true. As a citizen who’s watched the progress of education since I was an education major in college 25 years ago (I gave that up to become a college instructor instead, at the urging of some of my professors), I’ve tracked the changes in theories, especially as they applied to my children.
I’ve come away with one discouraging conclusion: Public education is not about improving the humanity of our citizens; public education is about producing the best workers to make the most money for our country and our leadership. You see, good workers make more money, which brings in higher taxes, which means those with a stake in product development (i.e. Bill Gates, et al.) and government (primarily the federal) make more money.
The children belong to “all of us” because the children are needed to make those in power more powerful.
Yeah, dismal story.
And while it’s a true story, I refuse to let it be the story my children will be forced into.
Mr. Reville, and Melissa Harris-Perry who also believes that “we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to their communities,” you’re wrong.
You see, we are faced with an ideological split, here; I believe in God (yes, here it comes—I already see you rolling your eyes, but there are still a few of us God-nuts around, so you better learn to deal with us civilly), and I believe that God has sent my children to my husband and I. And I also believe that He has given us responsibility to raise them.
As a bold proclamation on families states, “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another.”
Ah, there’s a sticky word: responsibility. You see, Mr. Reville, children are not possessions, they are not future capital, and they certainly are not to use for your own means.
They are personalities, ancient and precious, sent here to embark on a most remarkable experience: mortality. The purpose of mortality is to test their will, develop their understanding, and see what choices they will make in the face of trials and temptations.
You happen to be in the exact same situation—you, too, are an old soul trying on a new body and seeing how well you do in this remarkable Test.
But Mr. Revill, you do not own my children. I don’t even own them. They are my stewardship, which is a very different thing than ownership.
Stewardship requires an accounting to be made to Him who gave you responsibility in the first place. Mr. Reville, I fear that the only person you and others with your mindset think you are accountable to are yourselves. That makes you akin to your own god, and I can’t think of a single human that was ever a worthy god.
You may claim that my children belong to you, to the state, but I will not give them up without a fight, I assure you. Already I’m showing these arguments and theories to my children and telling them how “all of us” is trying to control their education and futures.
Yes, everyone, I freely admit it: I’m indoctrinating my children to what I believe is most accurate and correct. I call that “teaching.”
And public education, especially the kind that Mr. Reville is promoting, is also its own brand of indoctrination.
So my friends, we have a battle brewing—one that’s actually been around for thousands of years. Education and who “owns” the children is just its front; the real battle is about who has the power, and how much we’re willing to let happen until we begin to fight back against that power.
“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands, and at whom it is aimed.” ~Joseph Stalin (Yes, the bad guy in the Soviet Union)
Every revolt, every revolution, every call to arms has always been about power. And this time, the battle is beginning in our very homes and schools, by those laying claim to our children, and those of us refusing to let them go.
Lew Rockwell, a politician with whom I don’t always agree (I’m currently a political agnostic: I don’t really believe in any political party) nevertheless makes this excellent point:
“It isn’t a coincidence that governments everywhere want to educate children. Government education, in turn, is supposed to be evidence of the state’s goodness and its concern for our well-being. The real explanation is less flattering. If the government’s propaganda can take root as children grow up, these kids will be no threat to the state apparatus. They’ll fasten the chains to their own ankles.”
No, Mr. Reville; my children do not belong to you. I hope that someday their humanity, knowledge, work ethic, and values will benefit you and their communities, but those benefits will come because their parents were concerned first with raising people who respect God and feel a sense of stewardship to take care of the world and each other. Their purpose in life is to become warm, thoughtful, loving humans, not obedient worker bees. And Mr. Reville, I’m sure that in your old age, you’ll hope you’re surrounded by the former and not the latter.
In the meantime, please leave my children out of whatever schemes you’re devising, because frankly, I have no faith in you or in others that clomp around to the same dull drummer.
Consider these two thoughts from another celebrated university professor, C. S. Lewis:
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.
Parents–hold tight to your children. I used to think I only had to worry about shady characters driving slowly down my street holding out candy to my kids. Now, we have all kinds of folks trying to take possession of something none of us truly own.
Perrin turned to his wife. “This morning I told you our most precious possessions were safe with Zenos. But they aren’t—”
“Our babies AREN’T safe?!” Mahrree squealed, twisting absurdly to look behind her as if she could see her children sobbing from miles away.
“Mahrree, Mahrree,” he chuckled, “I mean, they aren’t our possessions.”
Mahrree breathed deeply and patted her chest to catch her breath.
“Sorry,” he kissed her on the cheek. “Zenos is fine with them, I’m sure of it.” His face grew solemn. “But it’s been pressing deep into my mind, ever since I called them our possessions. It’s just that . . . Mahrree, we’re told in Command School about the duties of soldiers and citizens. One thing we had to recite was that sending children to school was the citizens’ responsibility to the government.”
Mahrree blinked at the odd phrase. “Our duty to the government? To hand over our children to their care?”
“That was one of King Querul the Second’s statements, and the Administrators never abolished it. After all, citizens earn money which is then taxed and given to the government. In a way, the government—and it doesn’t matter whose—sees themselves as owning the people. They don’t serve us,” he whispered harshly, “but instead, we work for them. Without our taxes, they’re nothing. They’re especially interested in the children, because if they’re successful, then so will be the government. Or perhaps I should say ‘wealthy,’ instead of ‘successful,’” he grumbled in annoyance. “It all comes down to riches and power.”