One of the things that became very clear during the battle over our right and duty to educate our children was that there are very different views on what constitutes legitimate authority.
We live as a family first and then within our community and I expect my children to treat other’s with respect regardless of their age or societal position. Respect is partly earned and partly expected from the fact that each person is made in the image of God and has inherent dignity. However, respect can be lost especially when a person willingly dehumanizes himself through his behaviour.
Authority is not something to be taken lightly, those who legitimately have it need to work hard, do what is best for the other and that can mean, does mean, not always doing what you want. A father has authority in his home, but he is not there to get his own way and bully. This is where power corrupts the proper place of authority. We see this all the time where people do not understand that authority means service to, not lording it over the other.
Just as the Christian family is called the domestic church because it is a microcosm of the Church, and is supposed to reflect Her. I can’t help wondering if all the stuff about children being abused and the push to have more taken into care institutions (there’s nowhere near enough foster families) is a reflection of the power structures stamping their identity on our culture.
So it is that home education comes smack up against illegitimate authoritarian notions of the Powers that Be.
It is the grasp for power at the expense of others that has brought about the attack on the rights and freedoms of families and especially home educating families over the past few years. The terrible fear that the German Government still expresses that there might be a parallel society, a shocking group of people who will not simply live the grey life set out for them by suited clip board carriers.
I have the authority of a mother to decide what is best for my children and as they learn to make choices I not only can be but I am there to support them and guide them. I don’t feel the need to bow to the 1970’s god of “the expert” or “the professional” to make my decisions. For a start I have found better places to look for inspiration and guidance in my parenting. I am not buying into some of the silliest psuedo-psychology that insists children are fully programmed by the age of 3 or 5 or 7 (depending on which “expert” is s’perting). Our children grow and change and find new ways of doing things. They are allowed to try things out, experiment and learn. This just isn’t allowed in institutional learning or institutional care.
Authority has natural limits, and those with legitimate authority recognise this, so that true parents know they don’t own their children as material chattel, no matter how insistent the barren thought of Barenesses might be. Those who insist we do see our children like this understand neither family nor authority, but only their own materialism and power hunger. It’s projection because they can’t listen or see.
It seems to me that those who have to twist the truth, lie and bully to get what they want have nothing to offer. In fact, in having to resort to these tactics they loose whatever authority they did have.
Legitimate authority is naturally limited. I have the authority of a mother (I authored my children so to speak, although of course I recognise the True Author) but I don’t automatically have authority over other people’s children. And having authority over my children does not mean I can do whatever I like with them, I have a duty to them; to provide them with a loving home and education.
Parents have a duty to their children to help form their consciences and teach them the bonds of freedom. You see freedom does have bonds, just as a walled city can be free from it’s enemies. No one is free to murder, rape or steal and no one is free to teach their children to lie and bully and treat others disrespectfully; people do it all the time of course but that isn’t freedom it’s slavery.
People like Mr Balls and his mates think authority is imposing their petty opinions on others they don’t choose to understand. They are tied to their chains and can’t abide the freedom over there in the walled city where we HE families live.
Well, next time we will man those walls again. We know the limits of authority and we can show the limits of power.