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Public Schooling, Revoice and Laura Ingalls Wilder

Letters to the Editor

I continue to receive letters from readers. Here is a small collection of some especially noteworthy ones. Readers add their comments to my articles on public schooling, the Revoice conference, and the renaming of an award given in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilders. I hope you enjoy them!

Letters on Honestly Assessing Our Decision to Public School Our Kids

I read with great interest (and some trepidation) your post on schooling your children. I love that you also shared your son’s answers as well. I also absolutely love that you have (correctly) assessed that schooling is not a “one size fits all” situation. We have had experience with public schools, homeschooling and Christian education. When our children first started school, we were in the South. Our son had a learning disability that was ignored, so early on, he became the class clown and spent much of his time “in the hall.” I had been a teacher before our children were born, so we opted to pull him out and homeschool him. By grade 3, he had such a poor opinion of himself, he would bump his head against a wall and ask why he was so stupid and why he couldn’t learn. My job was mainly to let him know that he could learn! We homeschooled for 3 years. By that time, my husband’s job providentially moved us to Dayton, Ohio where one of the best Christian school systems in the country was located. God placed us in a house down the street from one of the school administrators! From grade 7-12, our children were in the Dayton Christian School system. God also provided a man who had felt a calling to leave his position at IBM to work at the Christian school in technology and Mr Wilson took our son under his wings. Upon graduation we discovered our son had learned how to build computers and was instrumental in setting up the first internet system within the school system… even training the staff. What a Godsend! Yet, we know not all Christian Schools (and public schools) are created equal. Different kids thrive in different environments and God gives the grace needed for each situation and for each child. My advice would be for parents to pray and pray fervently. God made your child and knows what is best for him or her.

— Linda D, Canal Winchester, OH

It’s wonderful that public school turned out to be a great experience for your son. As a home schooler, I am not against public school, but you have to make the decision that is best for your kids. My oldest was bullied at school and experienced anxiety every day. She is an extrovert and a very social girl. At the young age of 8, she was already taking a stand on certain things that made her a target.

She is now 28 and plans to home school her own children. I would say, a majority of home schoolers do not keep their children at home away from the world. There are plenty of opportunities to do cooperative learning, field trips and just social times with other families. There is also playing with the neighbourhood children. My daughter went to a public college, taking an art program and had to face many worldly things there (she was able to stay at home and was glad to come back home each day to get away from those situations). In high school, she took worldview courses as part of her curriculum. My youngest two are still being home schooled, one entering high school level in the fall and the other in grade 6. My high schooler has processing issues, which make home schooling ideal for him (affirmed by a psychologist who diagnosed him).

It would be difficult for anyone who hasn’t been home schooled or gone to a public school to honestly assess whether their choice was the best, because you cannot know what the other situations would be like, (except that we did experience public school with our oldest for 5 years). As parents, we have to make the best choice for our children and sometimes that may change over time. The most important thing is to seek God’s guidance continually as time goes on.

—Christine T, Brampton, ON

Letters on The Controversy Behind the Revoice Conference

While I think your article on the Revoice conference was excellent, I do believe the conference is more dangerous than you, or anyone else, is being led to believe. In looking over the conference website it is clear it is not just about those Christians who experience same-sex attraction, but more of a conference designed to normalize homosexuality and encourage Christians to accept it as good and wholesome and normal. I believe a stronger response is necessary.

— Robert T, Max, NE

Do you know why Side-B is even a thing? I encourage you, Denny Burk, and all the other pastors that are against the Revoice group to come down out of your ivory theological towers and figure it out. Look at queer history within the church (your own or similar denomination) – meaning what was taught – not “homosexuality is sin” that was said from the pulpit, but what was counseled in private when a person admitted that they were gay. What did that person do? Did he follow it? Did he leave the church? What happened? How did the pastor and he describe the situation? Unfortunately, you’ll find no history about it. If you do, I’d like to see it.

My personal experience and the story I hear over and over and over again is that the counsel that queer people followed in the church was useful in maintaining celibacy (at various success rates, of course), but had no impact on sexual orientation. Some guys balked at the idea of celibacy and left the church, but a few stayed and are eking out an existence there. They struggle not only with maintaining celibacy, but being treated fairly, being understood, having concrete language to describe themselves and their situation. They are a lone person or just a few people within a church body and they are grossly misunderstood and yet they stick it out. They refer to themselves as gay Christians because that most accurately describes themselves as they understand their relationship with God. The stories and experiences of these few are rejected by people that haven’t walked even an inch in their shoes. C’mon, even dogs are allowed to eat crumbs dropped from the table.

— Nathan, Seattle, WA

I found your article googling Revoice conference cause I heard about it but didn’t know anything. I’m glad the conference is happening. It hasn’t worked till now to talk at or talk down to each other, so yeah talk is good, and respect too, especially when we disagree. I’m gay or SSA or whatever you wanna call it. Church was a hard place to be growing up trying to figure out things as a kid. I mean, I knew it was wrong but I didn’t know how to get to straight and it turns out honesty wasn’t valued much. It was punished. Probably other guys handled it better, but for me, church was where hope died that things would be ok. It’s been a journey since then and I’m not anti-church, more like pro church being church better. Conferences like this are a good place to start.

— BA, South of New York City

Letters on On Renaming the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal

I wholeheartedly agree with others who lament the destruction of historical shrines, statues, and other articles and things representative of periods and eras in our sordid past as a nation. Political love-me points, and quick gratification neener-neener-neener quips meant to shame anyone within geographical grasp into the swirling, sucking whirlpool of submissive compliance isn’t progress, or moving past a thing AT ALL. This overreaching, hyper-partisan eraser and red-ink strike thru of history is merely pretense. To smear, stain, or blemish such a morally decent author is criminal, stupid, and one that I reject on its face.

— Mark C, Pearisburg, V

I’d be interested in hearing from those of Native American descent on how they feel about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books. I wrestle with the racist passages/themes, as it sounds like many of us do, and while all of the arguments in favor of them being good fodder for discussion with or families and needing to be taken in historical context make sense to me, I’m also aware that I’m reading them as a white woman, to my white children. How might those passages read differently to me if my family’s history was on the other “side” of the story? Do Native American parents feel they can read them to their kids and use statements like “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” as thoughtful conversation starters? I love the books and I don’t want to dismiss them, but I also want to think not only of how they feel to me but how they might feel to my brothers and sisters of different descent.

— Emily W, Newberg, OR

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