Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dakota's Dad, My Dad...

I read this article today. It was posted on Facebook by the Christian home school organization in our state known as HEAV (Home Educators Association of Virginia). There was no stated position by the organization concerning the content, but I'm sure that all over the country, homeschoolers who are FOX News junkies are getting a high off of this article. Unfortunately, it supports my opinion that people have to prove the superiority of their home-schooled children in order to justify themselves. I have had a bad taste in my mouth all day after reading this from Dakota Root's dad. She is the daughter of a braggart father and a "devoted Christian" stay at home Mom. This is how Dakota's dad advises us to raise our children.
My advice as the home-school dad of a Harvard superstar scholar and athlete? 
Take control. 
Take charge. 
Take action. 
Be pro-active. 
Become the CEO of your child’s future. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” 
Only through self-reliance, personal responsibility and rugged individualism, can a parent change their child’s direction and super-charge their future.

What did we teach Dakota that isn’t being taught in the public schools of Nevada? Since almost the day that Dakota was born, her mom and dad taught her the importance of work ethic -- that to succeed she would have to out work, out shine, out smart, and out hustle every other student. 
Talk is cheap. 
There are no short cuts. 
The foundation of all success is to get up early, do the work, make the sacrifices, live with discipline, fight passionately and relentlessly for your dreams.

We taught her that she must relish competition and embrace winning. 
That she must build her life around detailed and specific goals. 
That she must set the bar high and aim for the stars (in New York where I was born, we call that "chutzpah"). That along the way she must risk courageously to turn her dreams into reality. 
Without risk, there is no reward. 
We taught her that she will sometimes fail, but she must learn from that failure and get right back into the saddle again. 
And we taught her to never settle, or accept anything less than her definition of success.

The bar was set almost from birth for Dakota’s acceptance at either Stanford or Harvard. (oh, puhleeze! Parenthetical emphasis mine.)
 This is how my Dad advises me, and I am to teach the same to my children:
Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
My 10 year old son was reading the article over my shoulder a bit. I turned to him and said, "If Harvard is your highest goal, then you haven't set it high enough. What should your goal be?" and without hesitating he said, "God." Right. I have said all along that I don't care if my son is a bus driver, as long as he loves the Lord. I know that there are people who would peg me as being a very "driven" person and overly concerned with academics. These things are by-products of my desire to be a good steward of the intelligence with which my child has been gifted, not to produce some Ivy-League trick pony. I don't care where my children go to college, or even if  they go to college. I care that they are good stewards of what God has given them, and that they become the man and woman that God intends for them to be. That is my whole duty as their mother. I want them to walk humbly with their God.

What this means is that rather than "self-reliance" as Dakota's Dad suggests, I teach my children to throw themselves on the mercy of God and rely entirely on him. Rather than "out-hustling" every student and "embracing winning" I would rather they love showing mercy to their fellow man and embracing the cause of the orphan and widow, the outcast, the downcast, the broken and the sinner. I would rather them carry the cause of Christ and identify with his estate than climb over every obstacle by "rugged individualism" and stand in the halls of the most elite, the most intelligent, the most sought-after in society. This is  idolatry. The counter intuitive result is that they become powerful individuals who can overcome any obstacle before them, but not in their own strength, but by the quiet, humble inner strength that God so graciously gives.

I am not suggesting that self-discipline and hard work are not of value, because they are,  but unlike Dakota's Dad, I am not the CEO of my child's future. God is.


  1. amen! amen! amen!

  2. I did not read the article you mentioned but I am in total agreement with your philosophy and it is how I am trying my hardest to raise my children, also. Simply reading how you put that into words encouraged me - thank you!

  3. Kelly, Totally agree-love reading your article.

    1. Thank you for the comment! It has been a while since I posted this, and when your comment came through I re-read the post. Every word of what I wrote still stands. Thanks for reading!


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