Last week I referred to the legal responsibility all parents share to educate their children but most parents today aren’t even aware of the legal stuff. So let’s go over some of your legal considerations. In fact, this is such an important topic and so complex I should probably break it up a bit. Let’s start with rights then look at responsibilities.
Rights come first in this topical mini-series because there’s no point considering anything you really can’t do. So what can you do? A lot, actually! Think about it: nobody argued with you when your babies learned to walk, practised handling spoon and fork, or did potty training, right? So how is it the state gets to decide what and how your kids learn everything else? That joy upon seeing those first wobbly steps is your right. The sense of accomplishment gained when the diapers are retired you get to share with your kids…that belongs to both of you! Those are probably your beginning collaborations in a long series of steps. Don’t give up the joy you’re entitled to share with them!
Once they reach that compulsory school age it gets more complicated. A lot depends on the laws in your state. I’m fortunate to live in Texas where I’m free of all but a minor amount of regulation. That discussion is coming up when we delve into responsibilities but what everyone has the right to do regardless of location is instruct your children in your family, your faith, and your politics. We all have belief systems we wish to provide to the next generation and a constitutional right to hold and teach those beliefs. You don’t even have to be affiliated with a church or other institutional structure. Basically, you have the right to have beliefs/opinions/traditions and to provide instruction on morals and character. Maybe it’s a Texan thing but I have an aversion to the idea the government gets to have that part of my children’s upbringing. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Being Texan is something that’s as much part of my identity as being an American or a Christian. My parents had the right to inculcate me with those identity markers and I’m sure I passed those along; some intentionally, some not.
Maybe that’s something to consider when forming your mission statement or school identity. And consider too what parts of your child’s thoughts or beliefs you won’t wish to cede to the school district. That takes us to next week’s article: responsibilities.