Why Home Ministry Beats Home Business
by Mary Pride
As you probably recall, I promised to get out 16 pages of this newsletter quarterly. As you also probably noticed, issue number two took a L-O-N-G time to get ready.
Now why was that?
Part of the reason, undoubtedly, is that I had been feeling somewhat boastful about "accomplishing
so much." You know how it is-- people say nice things about you and if you aren't careful, you
believe them! We received lots of flattering letters from readers praising us for "doing so much,"
and not even one warning us not to become overbusy.
So I found myself
Business magazines confirm that this state of frenetic overwork is common to those starting new businesses. Frequently, a successful business start is accompanied by bodily and/or family breakdown. I had known this, and was being careful not to neglect the family, but had been overconfident about the state of ye olde parents' health.
This story does have a moral. I think another reason the Lord allowed us to wipe out (to the extent of being late with this issue) is to curb my overzealous pushing of home business. The brutal fact is that, in today's economy where one's only lifestyle choice is between dirt-poor and flagrantly rich, starting a little family business requires an awesome amount of work. Meanwhile, one's personal (as opposed to public) ministry tends to suffer. We, for example, are much less hospitable than we'd like to be, simply through not having time to spare. I run no Good News Club, teach no Sunday School classes, and pass out no tracts. Neither has Bill had time for street preaching or other forms of outreach.
I still think home business is the ideal, but home ministry is even more ideal. Assuming one's husband can make enough money to keep the family afloat at a regular job, if that leaves enough time left over for your family to be truly hospitable, you may be better off than us with our five or six businesses.
Of course, most people don't feel the need to launch out in six directions at once, and this overcommitment may be part of our problem. We have found it hard to resist new opportunities, mainly because so few people are saying the things we'd like said. Still, we will be trying to cut back. I think we can safely say we have found our limits.
As a friend pointed out to us long ago, there are seasons of life. Young parents are primarily called, in the normal course of events, to devote ourselves to our families and thereby learning our way into a ministry. The skills gained during this time are part of the capital available to start a business with later on. During times of war, of course, these rules don't always apply--which is why we, personally, have found ourselves with a business instead of a job.
Don't let me discourage you from launching a home business if you have a real calling and the capital in both money and TIME to pull it off. But make sure the business itself is a ministry . . . or the loss of ministry won't be worth it.
The Lazy Mother's Guide to Home Education
by Mary Pride
Of course, you're not really lazy. Really, you're tired. And sensible. And that's why you don't
want to work any harder at teaching, or make your children struggle any harder with learning, than
Good for you!
First of all, Lazy Mothers understand the education game. Our devoutly-wished-for goal is to see our children totally independent learners--as they will have to be someday soon, when they leave the nest.
Of course, you can't just throw a pile of textbooks at a four-year-old and say, "Study these!" But I am convinced that a lot of home schooling families burnt out unnecessarily because they fail to recognize the two stages of teaching.
THE TWO STAGES OF TEACHING
The first stage we are all familiar with. This is the Input stage. Mom or Dad plans lessons, lectures, gathers materials for projects, and in general carries the bulk of the educational burden.
This tough, but temporary, stage lays the foundation for the second stage, which I like to call the Momentum stage. In second-stage learning, the child's own momentum propels him to gather materials, research, do the work, check it himself, follow up interesting sidelines, and so on. The problem is that many parents think the Input stage will go on forever! They can't face the prospect of working that hard for years and years with more and more children, so they give up. And yet, even the Input stage can be passed through more swiftly and painlessly by using the next principles.
ACCESS TO THE TOOLS
The best way to teach is to not have to teach at all. Ideally, our children should learn how to
learn and begin to teach themselves.
How can we help our children reach this stage? In part, by giving them access to educational tools.
Access does not mean simply having educational items available somewhere in the house. It means having them ready to hand, right where the child can get them when he wants them or when you want to direct his attention to them. Children blessed with access to the tools of learning will tend to use them on their own much more frequently than those who have to climb stairs, navigate stacks of clutter, or ask you to get out the items in question.
Here is how the access principle works.
FOR A TODDLER: Is the piano lid often left rolled back so he can plink away at the keys? Are there lots of hard-to-destroy books around that he can "read"? Even better, have you trained him how to handle your books properly so he doesn't have to be shooed away from them? Do you have special places for his toys so he can find one easily when he wants it, or are half of them lost and the rest scattered all over? Have you taught him how to put cassettes in the cassette player or just stuck them up high somewhere? Remember, if a child is taught how to use it, he won't abuse it.
FOR AN OLDER CHILD: Do you leave that expensive pint-size violin out between scheduled practice sessions, or is it carefully put away in some hard-to-reach spot? Is art material a mere drawer pull away, or is it locked up in a cupboard somewhere? Is the encyclopedia in your family room (or whatever favorite reading spot your family has chosen) or displayed under glass in the den?
Human nature being what it is, you can be sure that if it is hard to find, hard to get out, or hard to put away, children will avoid it. But when parents make the materials of learning accessible, amazing things start to happen!
You've heard of "timesharing." In computer lingo, timesharing means doing more than one thing at the same time. How? By keeping large "background" tasks running while interruptions are handled as efficiently as possible.
Timesharing was a major leap forward for computing. On large computers, it has permanently replaced the old "one thing at a time" way of handling jobs.
So at home why do we so often get stuck in the rut of "one thing at a time" teaching? We make up little charts with time marked off for phonics, math, science, and so on, and then consider ourselves failures if we don't get through the planned-on material without interruptions. It's time we faced facts. Children are interruptions! And wasn't one of our reasons for taking on home schooling or after schooling that we wanted to give our children the individual attention that they need?
One-thing-at-a-time teaching works well for "input" teaching like reading literature aloud or lecturing on science concepts. But when children range widely in age and abilities and are working independently on a lot of different subjects, timesharing makes a real difference.
The secret of success in home schooling is how you handle the interruptions. It works best if interruptions which will take a long time are put off until you finish your present task. Only highest priority interruptions (feeding the baby, changing him) are an exception to this rule, and during those interruptions you continue to monitor the children's work. In this way you can keep on top of an amazing amount of different projects at once.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could hire a private tutor for some minimal sum like, say, 5¢ an hour, to drill your children on all those memory facts and to tell them fascinating stories? You want it, you have it. Introducing... the Tape Recorder. Faster than a speeding mother! More powerful than a tired father! Able to leap tall buildings on either Fast Forward or Rewind! This remarkable visitor from our own planet has powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Perfect recall of every story. Perfect patience. Talks at mealtimes without ever having its mouth full. Yes, the humble audio cassette recorder can teach us and our children how to sing or play a musical instrument, how to speak a foreign language, or how to win in business. It can give math drill set to song in stereo or read us the entire Bible. Art instruction, phonics courses, great literature, even sports tips are all available on cassette direct from the famous people who invented them. It's like having an army of tutors! And the best part is that we and our children can learn together or separately as the fancy takes us.
ENCOURAGEMENT AND JOY
As Ruth Beechick points out in her masterful Biblical Psychology of Learning (Education Services, 6410 Raleigh, Arvada CO 8003, $9.70 postpaid), learning is first and foremost a matter of the heart. If your heart isn't in it, you're not going to learn well no matter how wonderful the teacher or material. Conversely, if a student is enthusiastic and determined, he can learn almost anything.
Home education burnout, like all other burnout, comes from too much work and insufficient rewards. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, but when you're hating what you're doing all the time it's time to stop and rethink your position. If you're trying to teach or learn from a resource that you have no fondness for at all, perhaps you should pitch it and try another.
I don't mean that we should expect to play all the time. Learning can be hard work. But it should lead to the pleasure of success and be as pleasurable for our students as we can make it. If it's nothing but unalloyed drudgery, the fault is almost certainly to be found in the teaching materials or method.
When you find yourself working too hard, stop and ask
Our goal should be to do the essential (teach Johnny to read, clean the kitchen before the Board of Health condemns it) and to get to the rest when we have time. Don't wipe yourself out trying to imitate all the success stories you read in home schooling magazines. (Who knows what the authors ain't telling!) Forget the fancy projects and the field trips that need two weeks to plan. You can always get to them later when your children have more enthusiasm for them and you have more time.
At various time I have had to give up piano lessons for the children (too young, not enough interest), art appreciation (overdoing it, neglecting more essential subjects), and French (not enough time, not needed at the moment). In the meantime I have learned a lot more about teaching each of these subjects and located better materials. Art appreciation and piano are now being handled by the children themselves and we have substituted Latin for French. The world did not end because we let some things slip that were giving us no joy for the present.
If it's something basic, like reading or math, that's giving you the willies you need to check out some other resources for these subjects. But even these subjects can be laid aside for a bit while you all recover.
Prevention is naturally the best cure. But laziness, in the proper dosage, can work almost as well. Take the time to get perspective, to plan things out more carefully, to pray for wisdom and direction, to bake some cookies and read a book together. Kids get "learning blocks" just like writers get writers' block. Often, just a little time away from the difficult area (be it algebra or learning to read phonics blends) is all a youngster needs to "get it" without difficulty the second time around.
Parts of the above were cribbed from my Next Book of Home Learning (due out mid-October, God willing). I had originally only promised the Lazy Mother's Guide to readers of HELP, but began thinking that perhaps some of these simple tips would be helpful to others as well. If you have anything to add to this, let me know, and perhaps we can put it in the next edition!
WITCHES AND HOUSEWORK
Strong stuff from the pen of Alida Gookin
In ancient Rome, spinning so symbolized feminine devotion to the home that in the Roman marriage ceremony, the bride carried a spindle and distaff. Girls in ancient Rome, as well as in other cultures until the Industrial Revolution, were taught to spin and weave. Hebrew and Christian cultures saw the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 as one who "stretches out her hands to the distaff and her hands grasp the spindle."
Not all women accepted spinning as dutifully. Some women, notably witches and prostitutes (both of whom the Bible explicitly calls "rebellious") sought to be "liberated" from childbearing and women's work.
Since spinning was an important symbol of the good wife we see it attacked frequently in literature of old.
The Brothers Grimm told a tale of "The Three Spinners." In this story an idle girl refuses to be taught spinning by her mother. When she gets a chance to be wed to the prince by spinning an impossible amount of flax, she employs three spinners who win for her the prince. The three spinners each had an enormous physical deformity which had evolved from such spinning. When the prince discovers that spinning causes such malformations he orders that his new bride never spin. Thus, the rebellious and lazy girl was "liberated" from women's work and those who did women's work were assumed to be or become "homely".
The tale of the Three Spinners is still told by feminists today in an updated form. Feminists warn that women who bear children will lose their Jane Fonda figures and thus be "deformed". They also propagandize that smart women aren't fulltime homemakers; only ignorant and stupid women are.
The witch in "Sleeping Beauty" was another women's liberationist. This anti-baby female put a curse on the newborn princess and thus tricked the king into making a law that every spinning wheel in the land be burned. She didn't want other women to do "women's work" either. Today's feminists perform the same political stunts, lobbying for bills, such as parental leave and state-sponsored daycare, which penalize the families with fulltime mothers.
Historically, witches and prostitutes did not want children. If they did become pregnant, abortion or infanticide often followed. In some cases they may have even eaten their babies. Such cannibalism is mentioned in the Bible (Deut. 28:57, Lamentations 4:10) and some old stories like "Hansel and Gretel" portray witches as child-eaters. (Watch for cannibalism to be the next evil promoted on TV.)
Witches sometimes raised a child which they trained in witchcraft. One modern witch, Zsuzsanna Budapest, who heads Susan B. Anthony Coven No. 1, says she is a descendant of witches going back at least 700 years. (Susan B. Anthony is the feminist who led women's suffrage movement in America.) In 1971, Ms. Budapest found acceptance in the women's movement. She says, "The goddess movement is perfect for women, restoring to them the dignity that patriarchy stripped from them."
The animosity of witches and prostitutes to the family and children has exerted considerable influence over the mind of every American woman, including "Bible believing" Christians. It starts early in life as idle girls refuse to learn culinary arts and other home-related duties. Rather they idolize immoral television stars and want to be "sexy". Away from parents at college they can consummate that attitude if they haven't already. They must prepare for a career because they are convinced that every woman must be something other than a mother. If she marries, It's certainly not assumed for life. If she is a Christian she may bear the socially-prescribed two children, but those two are such a burden (since she has her sights on doing something "greater" or easier when they go off to school) that she does almost any unnatural thing available to keep from having more. She hates housework and cooking, but she loves "socializing", or as the Apostle Paul puts it, "to be idle, wandering about from place to place; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things when they ought not."
The Bible tells women to reject witches and their lifestyle; "bear children, guide the house" lest one be "turned aside after Satan." (1 Timothy 5:13-15)
No, feminism is not new. It's been here ever since Eve decided she'd rather socialize with a serpent than work on her garden.
THE CHILD ABUSE INDUSTRY ABROAD
Jean van der Linden, Glen Waverley, Victoria, Australia
You may be interested to know that our government is getting increasingly into the child abuse industry. Our Department of Social Services minister, Carolyn Hogg, asked for a report on the child abuse problem in our state. She asked Lesley Hewitt (a feminist) to prepare it for her. The report has been published and states the reasons for child abuse in Australia as these:
My husband took up the cudgel, and wrote a letter to our leading newspaper here in Melbourne. He entitled it, "The Real Reasons of Child Abuse." It was not published! I enclose a copy of it, and you will notice he quotes from your book. We sent a copy to our local members of parliament. Are you interested in receiving information from other countries?
. . . IN ENGLAND
N.M. Gwynne, London, England
. . . You might be interested to know that in the last few months the child abuse industry over here has been switched into a higher gear, with the institution of a phone-in service under the banner of a major TV "personality" called Esther Rantzen.. . .
Mr. Gwynne and Mrs. van der Linden both sent us clippings from London newspapers about the Cleveland child abuse scandal. Seems that a lady doctor in that town in England took hundreds of children away from their families in just one year on grounds that they were sexually abused. Interesting sidelights--only two or three children per year had been removed before, and the doctor refused to allow a police surgeon to examine the children to validate her charges. It's been front page news for several months, all the more so as the children have not been returned to their families, even after examinations by Harley Street doctors revealed all but a few children had NOT been abused in any way.
We sent copies of The Child Abuse Industry to seventeen London papers, urging them to become aware of the other side of this issue. The London Daily Telegraph's New York correspondent contacted Mary and asked many questions. We will be contacting the others to follow up. And we are examining the possibility of a quick trip to Britain to raise the issue in person.
. . . AND THE CHILD ABUSE INDUSTRY AT HOME (some good news)
. . . Also enclosed is a sample recruiting brochure for the Foster Care Review Board program here in Wayne County, Michigan. The Boards here deal with child abuse and neglect cases of children who have been in foster care for six months or more. Your book, "The Child Abuse Industry" has been an invaluable tool for me and I have begun passing it around to other Board members. (I have been a Board member since 1985). If you would be interested in learning more about this program or know of someone else who would, please feel free to call or write.
Elizabeth M. Stucki
Dearborn Heights, MI 48127
We are also beginning to notice child abuse industry spokesmen SOMETIMES taking more care with their statistics. A recent U.S. News & World Report article quoted industry representatives as admitting that most reports are unfounded. However, when I debated a National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse rep on the Moody Bible Institute radio program, she seemed completely ignorant of the facts. It really is important to let these people know YOU know the facts, so they will be forced to stop propogating falsehoods. Letters to the Editor, calling in on talk shows, and giving out copies of The Child Abuse Industry to journalists (available at discount through Home Life) all really do make a difference.
Jean van der Linden, Australia
Women working outside the home is also a problem in this country, and in the church. I challenged one of my dear friends who is working at night, twice a week, as a nurse, concerning her working. Of particular concern is the women who work at night when their husbands are cozily sleeping in bed! The Lord reminded me of that Scripture "work while it is day, the night comes when no man can work" - I do not believe I am taking this out of context, as there is a principle involved here of working in the day! The night is for sleeping! My friend understood what I was sharing with her, but her husband has the dollar signs in his eyes as he wants to buy land in the country so he can retire there in five years! It is so sad. There needs to be some straight teaching to the men also!
My husband and I have long believed all you share in your book about children and families but have also felt silenced many times as even some good friends of ours would think we are off the wall. (Even with scripture back-up, etc.) Also our backgrounds are Catholic, so many people have said, "Oh, it's just your 'Catholic beliefs.'" But when we would say, "No, it's our Christian conviction," people would look at us cross-eyed.
One request we have of you - and your husband!? We need a book like this written by a man to couples that talks about the same topics basically, but written basically toward men. In my church about seventy percent of the women are home with their children, but families are being cut short or stopped more as a result of husbands who don't want more children as opposed to wives who want to work outside the home. . .
DOCTOR DISAGREES ON STERILIZATION
Jim Brown, FPO Seattle, Washington
I am a surgeon, and previously did vasectomies and tubal ligations as a routine part of my practice. I never felt good about doing either procedure, but was never able to work through why. It was not like taking out a bad appendix or a life-threatening malignancy. But I believed that responsible people had the right to make these choices for themselves, and I felt an obligation as a physician to meet their expectations in this regard. I was bothered by the number of people I saw who regretted being sterilized. After reading The Way Home, I stopped doing sterilization procedures except in very rare occasions, and began to tell my patients why. It has led to some very rich and meaningful discussions, and a change of heart in several patients. I have also bourn the indignant wrath of those who felt I was infringing on their rights to be sterilized. I cannot relate to you the deep relief I have felt by resolving not to yield to the pressure to participate in sterilization procedures.
Since reading The Way Home I have performed two vasectomies on the husbands of women with medical conditions in which pregnancy literally threatened their lives. One was a 30 year old mother of two with an end-stage cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure. The other was a 28 year old mother of five who had recurrent deep vein thromboses associated with pregnancy and a pulmonary embolism after delivery from which she almost died. I believe there is a place for sterilization procedures, but it is extremely rare. In these cases my motivation in agreeing to perform the surgery was the preservation of life rather than preventing it.
As a physician (and hopefully not a defensive one), two issues bothered me in your recent edition of HELP. The first has to do with letters from M.P. and Alida Gookin under Children and Birth on page 9. M.P. writes that Bill Gothard says sterilization "... is no different than abortion - as it is killing off a godly seed." Although both procedures have the similarity of decreasing the number of children born, it is not true to say that they are the same thing. One prevents life from starting, the other kills a living human being. Alida Gookin says that, "forty percent of women with tubal ligations have gynecological problems (excessive bleeding, etc.)." What does she mean by problems? About one hundred percent of women have some type of gynecological problem from time to time whether they have had a tubal ligation or not. The vast majority of gynecological "problems" are unrelated to tubal ligation. She says that one half of these problems are so serious as to lead to the need for hysterectomy. If she is saying that tubal ligation leads to a need for hysterectomy in twenty percent of the women that have them, this simply is not true. I know of no frequent complication related to tubal ligation except for those that can occur in the peri-operative period of any surgical procedure. I am not saying that no complications ever occur, or are insignificant when they do occur, but I am saying we must be careful to say what is really true or we ruin our credibility with those who know better. The major complications associated with tubal ligation have to do with the loss of fertility, and, as you well know, these are very common and often heart-breaking cases. Hormonal balance is not altered by tubal ligation, contrary to what Alida implies. But by far the most outrageous statement of all is the association she makes of vasectomy with AIDS. It is true that sperm are highly antigenic cells that incite a local immune response when released from the vas deferens into the adjacent tissue. But that has nothing to do with AIDS. Unfounded, sensation-seeking untruths like these belong more in The National Inquirer than in HELP. They undermine the validity of the liberating truths you have helped so many of us see. As an editor, I encourage you to publish articles and letters that are true, not merely sensational.
One more issue, if you will bear with me - home deliveries. I understand and appreciate the motivation for this trend. The hospital environment robs families of the beauty and richness of this event. But home birthing is not without some risk that could be avoided by a hospital delivery, and people need to know that. I have witnessed three of my five children have respiratory arrests requiring intubation and ventilation in the delivery room, and need subsequent neonatal ICU care that saved their lives. Granted, all three cases were for prematurity, and any woman in premature labor should go to the hospital. But I have participated in several cases where a healthy baby was expected, but not delivered. Life-saving intervention was necessary immediately, often with a good outcome that would not have occurred outside the hospital. There are risks to the mother as well. My major point is that home deliveries must be done selectively in order to prevent the loss of life rather than the gain of life. People must be made aware that there are risks to having a home delivery that can be avoided in the hospital. Perhaps my judgment is clouded by my experience, but I personally would not be willing to subject my wife and child to these risks.
HELP is a forum. We pass on what we are sent and assume that our correspondents are sincere in what they write. It is of course possible to be sincerely wrong, in which case, I rely on you others out there to respond. This is your newsletter!
I hope Alida will answer on her own behalf. In the meantime, do let me say that, as I read her last letter, I did not see her saying that vasectomy causes AIDS, but rather that it does "incite a local immune response," just as you said. Obviously, with the increasing notoriety of auto-immune deficiency disease such as cancer (never mind AIDS), modern men will think twice before insulting their immune system unnecessarily. This is a good point worth expressing.
Regarding home birth, our own experience has been good. Our home births were attended by a certified nurse midwife, whose training and experience make her an expert on normal delivery. She has only had to refer two people to her backup doctor in all her years of practice and has had no problems otherwise. Of course, we would not recommend any practice based on just one person's experience (even ours). Risks do need to be weighed. However, what most people (including medical doctors) are unaware of are the risks associated with the unnecessarily interventionist hospital birth. In many cases, babies the doctors "saved" were only in trouble because of a doctor's intervention in the first place. Example: fetal distress caused by oxygen deprivation due to the mother lying flat on her back in order to accommodate the fetal monitor.
If any reader desires further information on the subject of homebirth, the best source is NAPSAC, the International Association of Parents and Professionals for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth. NAPSAC's mail-order bookstore carries a full line of books on both hospital birth and childbirth. Taken together, NAPSAC's materials prove homebirth is superior for the normal mother and child. Send large SASE to:
P.O. Box 429
Marble Hill, MO 63764
THEY DIDN'T GET STERILIZED
A year ago, a little longer actually, after our 3rd child was born, me and my husband were talking about him getting a vasectomy, and I was agreeing reluctantly, but I asked him to let me check around and find out if its really right. I wrote to people who were Christians and asked their views. I read Christian books and all pointed out that basically it was O.K. I still didn't feel comfortable because I wanted something really solid and I'd feel at ease about. Then I ran across your book, "The Way Home". I read it, then read it to my husband. He was all ready to dispute, but he found he couldn't and then he decided against the vasectomy and finally I felt at peace inside.
Then recently he was seriously considering it again because of other people's advice. Then I just received my first issue of HELP and read the report you had on the long range risks and both of us praised God you had this in at this time and he did not make the mistake of having a vasectomy.