My four children were all homeschooled, which means that they hear, as adults, sentences like this a lot:
“Oh, you must have been homeschooled. You’re such an overachiever.”
“You try too hard. You must have been homeschooled.”
“Why are you always asking questions? You must have been homeschooled.”
Having gone through public school myself, I can attest that you don’t have to be homeschooled to be weird in today’s society, you just have to value things like finishing the job, working hard, thinking independently, and setting goals. There are plenty of children in public and private schools, whose parents are valiantly trying to instill these values, who are regularly attacked for being different.
We live in a society where a lot of people are forced into cubicles — like
rats — or struggle to make ends meet in a “service economy” (and anybody working in “service” knows that you spend a lot of time and effort not retorting when a customer or a client or a middle manager says something well worth retorting to), so it is important to the controlling business and political echelons that our populace is educated into a sense of conformity, acceptance of leadership, and an unwillingness to step out of line.
And sadly, the place where we proudly talk about being sheep — our churches and religious establishments — is where we really need to be more like goats — not quite so obedient, submissive, tractable, and compliant.
Lest I sound like some anarchist revolutionary, let’s remember the Great Shepherd whom we follow — Jesus — and observe that, while He was incredibly popular among normal, ordinary people, He didn’t get along especially well with the leadership sect. If you are an independently thinking Christian who reads the Bible for yourself and talks to God a lot, you may find that you don’t play well in groups, and before you start believing people when they tell you that you’re difficult, confrontational, unwilling to be taught, uncooperative, and not a team player, ask yourself:
Am I so very, very bad?
Is it wrong to ask questions about things that don’t make sense?
And if the answers don’t satisfy, should I just shut up?
Did Jesus ever use the term, “team player”?
Years ago, we found ourselves returning from church, bedraggled and bemused, always vaguely depressed but convinced that it had something to do with us somehow. Even when we realized that we weren’t the problem we continued to overstay our welcome, and it wasn’t until our six-month sabbatical from church attendance turned into several years, that we finally realized that we were homeschoolers, only from church.
You may or may not still be attending regular church services — that isn’t the issue. What is the issue is that — no matter where you spend your Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, and Saturday afternoons, you are a vibrantly thinking, active Christian — well read, conversant in many matters, willing to listen, free to agree or disagree, and not cowed by peer pressure, whether it comes from the office, the pews, the pulpit, the television set, or the Internet.
Your leader is Christ, and anything anybody else tells you to do or believe is filtered through the words of the one Voice that matters.
Despite conventional wisdom to the contrary, thinking Christians are essential to civilization, because as children of the Creator, we are in close alliance with most knowledgeable, intelligent, powerful — and loving — Person in the universe, and by learning from Him, we pass on good things to society around us.
But we can’t learn from Him if we depend upon others to do the learning for us.