Today, I finished reading The Book Thief. I loved this book. It was moving, and written from a unique perspective. But as I finished, I wondered if I would let my 13 year old daughter read it. And I am still struggling with that question. Why? Because I have been careful of what I tell them about the holocaust, and other events like it. I have, for better or worse, tried to shield them from how horrible human beings can be to each other. For no other reason than color, or ethnicity, or simply because you have something that someone else wants. I want them for as long as possible see the world in the way that only children can. I know it can’t last forever. But knowing that it will be me, and my husband, who takes that piece away from them breaks. my. heart. See, when you homeschool, there is no one else to blame it on. Nobody else to take the burden of spoiling a part of their innocence. It is us, the parents. This is when homeschooling is hard. When you have to bare the shameful, awful brutality of humanity. And then to help navigate them through the emotions it causes. The keep their faith in humanity. To keep their faith in God. And to help answer the questions that will follow.
Knowing that teaching my 13 year old, means that I will also have to break it down to a 10 and 7 year old. How do you explain the awfulness to a 7 year old? I still haven’t figured it out. I am still praying about it. Still trying to figure out how to handle the change that inevitable comes when your eyes are opened to the failings of humanity.
At the same time….I want to inspire them to change the world. To be better. To love people they way that God calls up to love them. To look past color, creed, background, past, possession, position, or occupation. To see that people are broken, flawed, hurting, and in need of love. To take the love of Christ that I have taught them, and put it into practice. To pray for those who persecute us, to love the unlovable. To take God’s love to all the world and stand strong for what is right.
So when I teach them about the horrible people, I also will teach them about the people who risked their lives to do what they could to stop it. Freedom fighters, resistance workers, individuals who stood up and said “This is wrong.” Even the ones who paid the price for it. If I have to strip some of their innocence, I want to leave them with hope.
What do YOU do when homeschooling is hard?