It happens occasionally in the military. Suddenly wires are crossed, movements mixed, and a group of soldiers faces ‘friendly fire’. How terrible for the ones shooting to realize they’ve killed or wounded those on their own side. How heart wrenching for the families to know their loved one was killed in the line of duty by their comrades.
The homeschool community is facing friendly fire. We’ve spent so many years fighting for the right to school, against the skeptics, and shooting down the erroneous ideas about socialization and testing that we’ve got a militant mindset. Now that we’re not surrounded by a great cloud of naysayers, we’ve turned on ourselves.
Curriculum companies shred the reputation of other companies. Christian business owners hold bitter, and sometimes inaccurate, feelings about other business owners. The reality of the cost of homeschooling has created a large market of discount home school suppliers. The ‘little guy’ can’t compete and begrudges the apparent ‘takeover’. Rather than understanding the need for people to spend their dollars wisely (especially those on limited budgets), they create snob-like cliques that denigrate those who do not support the ‘little guy’.
The discounters often, initially in self-defense I think, retaliate with accusations of unreasonable expectations, elitism, and self-righteousness. It is a vicious circle that ultimately ends in hurting all those around including the principle players. The result is a fractured front.
These aren’t the only areas of course. Who found the old grammar series first, who published the integrated science curriculum first, who has the best quality of the biographies… It goes on indefinitely. Friendships are formed and then smashed over co-written curriculum, business websites, and homeschool groups.
It is time to put a stop to this kind of ugliness. It is time for us to join hands and FORGIVE the pain that another may have caused. So many are sitting around nursing wounds and waiting for the ‘other side’ to apologize. The other side is often sitting around thinking, “What happened?” It’s time to ‘be the better person’ and forgive. It is time to consider one another better than ourselves. It is time to wrap our hearts and arms around our brothers and sisters in Christ and say, “We’re in this together. I don’t agree with everything you’ve done or do but I can love you, I can respect you and I can move on from this place with love in my heart for you and pray for the best for you.”
I do not believe that opposite personalities who clash at every turn must stick together when the ‘partnership’ does not work. I do believe that we are called to be at peace with all men. I do not believe that we must ignore blatant sin. I do believe that we are called to think the best of one another and recognize that what seems to be one thing can be another. I do not believe that all curricula is created equal. I do believe that everyone has different needs and therefore will desire different curriculum than the person next to them.
I pray that soon we’ll see ‘friendly fire’ disappear. We’re weakening our lines. The gaping holes that our rifts create are allowing those who oppose homeschooling to creep into our ranks and discourage the troops. It’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to turn the guns away from one another and promise one another that “I’ve got your back.”