I titled this column after Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s famous song because it properly reflects the story I’ll tell, and because I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one on the planet who has realized the truth about home schooling. Folks, we are all products of home schooling. It doesn’t matter if you went to Exeter or Miss Claire’s School for Wicked Teens, your biggest learning success or failure was under your own roof. My parents schooled me in manners, ethics, fair play and a collection of lessons, courses, and learnings that weren’t taught with chalk or books or those supposed “teacher’s dirty looks.” Each day, parents teach their children, but too many lessons are the wrong ones. I witnessed a father of three teaching his children. He smiled when they fought over the one toy they had among them. He occupied himself with banalities as his kids whined and hit each other and disrupted a waiting room full of strangers. He taught his children. He home schooled them, even though this particular home was a public setting where others could see his failings and suffer from his mistakes. He taught his children that manners are irrelevant, that you hit to get, that whining and crying are more powerful than words. Those kids learned from him that day, and that’s what scares me.
I fear a world that doesn’t understand where the most important teaching takes place. Our children will grow to vote and drive and run businesses, but what will they bring as a personal standard for their dealings? How hard will they have to fight to undo the lessons they learned in the home? Parents can change; they can recover and repair their families. Even if they can’t, children can come to a new understanding, and overcome years of bad training. We are resilient. But, why stack the deck so much in favor of failure?
This week’s offering isn’t much of a humor column, but it’s hard be giggly week after week as you watch society crumble. If there’s any humor to be found in this column, let it be a hug and a laugh with someone who “home schooled” you: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends. If you were taught wise and wonderful lessons, thank your teachers, whether they are the chalk and lesson book variety or the angels whose words still guide your daily walk.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.