When you choose to educate yourself or your children, there is always an investment. “If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return.”
Be generous with your children and invest in them, they are the future. The monetary cost can be minimal, but there are other costs associated with stepping out of the Education Matrix and assuming responsibility for your children’s education. From within this Matrix, there are some commonly held beliefs of what those “costs” or sacrifices might be. Educational systems that are designed for centralized control often promote fallacies about other educational models in order to deter individualized thought. These include comments like “If you don’t already enjoy having your kids home all day, you will hate having them home more,” “You don’t have time to do everything,” “Do you have a teaching degree?” etc… Many of these ideas stem from a lack of understanding and an abundance of fear.
On this journey to uncover the Education Matrix it is interesting to note how observant the fictional character Morpheus was when he said, “The [Education] Matrix is a system [outside of real local control], Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very … people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that [can make] them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
The following discussion defines the real costs and dispel the imagined costs of a parent led, agency based, purpose driven, leadership education:
Courage is required to defy the very real Education Matrix. A web of control, power and money binds this system in place. Allowing students the freedom to pursue a purpose driven education is a new concept for most people and it is a direct threat to the established Education Matrix. Criticism frequently accompanies attempts to do something different. When you follow the modern educational system taught by well-meaning individuals who are steeped in the philosophy of the out-of-date Industrial Age, you receive praise from the world. Students receive letter grades, graduation ceremonies starting at Kindergarten, accredited diplomas, ribbons for attendance, etc.. Much of the world was built around that old system and many people haven’t recognized how it is crippling the economy, society’s family values, and freedom. It is a shame, but it is true that you are likely to receive criticism as you move to support the building up of family relationships and purpose driven education.
Hard things can be expected, but take comfort in knowing that attracting a few good critics is a key indicator that you are on the road to success!40 “You will face your greatest opposition when you are closest to your biggest miracle.”38 “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most do.”39 Remember, it is not the critics who were given the responsibility to educate the children in your family; YOU are accountable for their education.
Time: When faced with the decision to choose an educational option that is off the beaten path, some might feel like they don’t have enough time or that they might not enjoy spending more time with their children. It is true that if you choose a parent-led education for your child, more of your time will be spent attending to educational matters and you will likely be spending more time with your child. Depending on the current state of your relationship with your children, this might not be seen as a positive; however, relationships can grow and heal. Outside of the pressure and stress of the Education Matrix, they often do. You might feel like you don’t have the patience, but experience shows that outside of the compulsion and coercion of that system, parents and children are more relaxed, tempers are calmed and tensions are dissipated. As for not having enough time to begin with — a shift in priorities will find you and your children wasting less time in activities that do not build family relationships or move the student closer to their purpose. Children often spend more time in academic pursuits and helping out around the home than developing more meaningful family relationships. They learn to govern themselves when it comes to accomplishing their work and pursuing their studies.
Comfort Zone: You might see a purpose driven education as “outside your comfort zone” and you are probably right. Relatively few families in this modern age feel comfortable or capable of providing for their children’s education. The good news is that you can expand your comfort zones! It is challenge and opposition that creates interest in your life. If you are a parent or school teacher, you are constantly asking children to grow and expand their comfort zones. Shouldn’t you do the same?
When left at rest for too long and without regular use your muscles weaken and lose strength. Your minds are much the same. If you are educated in an environment without challenges, the things you have learned are easily stripped away. Parents and children alike can grow by stepping out of their comfort zones and facing new and exciting challenges head on.
Not everything that is hard has value, but rather that most things of value are hard. The rewards of meeting these challenges far outweigh the initial discomfort of taking your family in a different direction.
Hard Work: You might initially feel that being more responsible for your child’s education is going to be overwhelmingly difficult. While supporting your students in their agency based, leadership education will be hard work, you will not have to do it alone. There is an ever expanding community of freedom loving, agency respecting, self educating people who are coming together to reap all the benefits of learning in a group. Children belong to their parents and not the state or their community, and yet there are benefits to community based learning. This can be accomplished without lessening the influence parents have with their children and the control of their learning environments. Commonly a parent has more influence and control when participating in an American Family Education group or school.
It is hard work to establish a positive learning environment and routinely show interest in and guidance for a child’s education, but this work comes with many blessings. Often changes need to be made at home to allow children to learn the most important lessons and to build strong relationships with their family. These actions are hard work, but they build character in students and parents BECAUSE they are not easy to do. The benefits of this work include a deeper relationship between parent and child, greater unity within the family, and patience for each other. It is well worth the work.
Entertainment Media and Mindset: One of the adjustments many households find useful in this transition is limiting the influence of entertainment and media. In the average American home, there is a daily inundation of information, opinions, commentaries, gossips, slanders, misinformation, propaganda, and just plain “junk food for the brain” that is piped into your homes. True education does not merely consider what should be included but also focuses on what should be left out. Choose to control the amount and quality of the media that is allowed into the brains of your family. Start with better controlling your own media habits, and then focus on the habits of your family.
Most media consumption is an enormous waste of time. The time you gain by turning off media and entertainment is time that can be better utilized listening, acting, thinking or planning.
The predominant message conveyed through the bulk of the national media is one of celebrating mediocrity. Another one of the lies of the entertainment media is the message that everything should be fun and easy. You and especially your children learn the fallacy that if something is “boring” or “hard” it must not be worth your time and that it is less important or less right. This message leads people to seek instant gratification. There’s nothing wrong with fun but there’s something very wrong with entertainment being heralded as more important than learning. You should not use fun or ease as a measurement of value. Things should be judged by whether or not they are good, true, valuable, meaningful, wholesome, important or right. Learning can absolutely be fun, but the fun cannot be the focus at the expense of the learning.
Remember, current and future generations will be affected by what you choose to do with your time and energy. “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Controlling the flow of media into your mind can help you control the thoughts on which your mind dwells.
Control: Some believe that giving children more freedom in their education might result in not choosing to do “the right” things or choosing to do nothing at all. Allowing a child to own and direct their own education does not mean letting them do whatever they want. “Un-schooling” or other nontraditional forms of education create a sense of anarchy, depriving young children of needed guidance and instruction. Balancing control and freedom has great importance in a purpose driven, leadership education. This is similar to the contrast between anarchy at one extreme, tyranny at the other extreme, and limited government in the center. Guidance by parents and educational mentors actually create more freedom in a student’s life, while keeping them safe. A great visual for this is the string of a kite. Cut the string and the kit crashes to the ground, but with it, the kite is grounded and can take full advantage of the wind to soar.
Picture a balance beam with a single center point holding it level. A baby is born far out to one side of the figurative balance beam. Parents need to have a firm grip on the opposite side to keep their child from falling. That baby starts out just newly learning to act or “Do,” but do not have any grasp of how to “Plan.”
The “Plan” side of the beam represents the responsibility to set goals and schedule time. The “Do” side of the beam represents the ability to act, to accomplish goals in the time given.
A purpose driven, leadership education helps the student walk towards the center of the beam, gradually assuming more responsibility for planning their goals and learning to use their time wisely. As the student sees the option of having parents “let go”, the student’s desire to self-govern and then seek inspiration becomes an exciting motivation.
These students understand that being in control of their balance beam means the ability to set their own goals and schedule their own use of their time. This is true academic “freedom.” With that visual in mind, what would happen if the student is still learning to “Do” and doesn’t have a foot on the side of “Plan” when parents let go of the beam? That’s right, a steep fall would soon follow!
Keeping with this analogy, there are tools and communities that parents can enlist to help hold the bar for their children. There is no need for parents to feel unsupported or alone in their role. However, there is no one better suited to know the correct time to loosen or release their side of the balance beam than the parent. Giving up control of this stewardship to the Education Matrix is detrimental. The modern educational system lacks an effective mechanism for gradually shifting control to the student as they become ready to self govern. There are those that break free from the dependence on being governed, but many do not ever attain full control of their lives. This is why there is are nations where owners and entrepreneurs are the minority. More than ever in history adults are convincing themselves they are happy to be managed and directed instead of eager to freely think, creatively solve problems, and purposefully contribute meaningfully to their communities.
Selflessness: Many are afraid to start on the path of parent led education because they falsely believe that taking on responsibility for their own child’s education would mean giving every part of themselves, sacrificing their own needs and dreams. However, holding on to the things that you are interested in and allowing children to watch you pursue your passions and goals can be incredibly inspiring. Setting the example of lifelong learning and development is the best way to show your children how valuable identifying their own purpose is. Let your children learn alongside you as each member of your household works towards developing their talents and accomplishing their purpose.
Building up servant leaders who are willing to develop character and improve their communities benefits everyone. When you focus on building children who are watchful, looking for opportunities to use their talents and have a desire to make a difference in the world, there is a ripple effect forward in time that will be felt by the old and young.
Please remember that if a roadblock seems insurmountable, there will be a way to reframe the situation and find a viable solution. There are many people who have been where you are now and can help you get to your desired destination. If you are new to alternative education or if you are a seasoned veteran, there will surely be a constant flow of learning and adjusting, stretching and growing as you all learn to overcome obstacles and implement agency based education for the rising generation.