As announced at our April 2015 convention, the Alberta Home Education Association has invited Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar to be the keynote speakers at our 2016 convention.
The AHEA board today affirms that decision after careful consideration of the facts of the recent controversy concerning one of the Duggar children.
The reasons for the board decision include:
- The controversy surrounding actions taken by Josh Duggar is really "old news". The events happened more than a decade ago and were dealt with legally and morally at that time. AHEA does not condone Josh's behavior but wishes to follow the example of the victims in this situation who have expressed a desire to "forgive and forget".
- The people who are coming to speak are home educating parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and not their son Josh. Since all parents are prone to blaming themselves when their children make a mistake, it is AHEA's hope that Jim Bob and Michelle will share what they learned as parents from these difficult experiences - learning of Josh’s behaviour then and now living through the recent media hysteria.
- AHEA does not choose speakers because they are perfect or nearly so. In fact, AHEA tries to choose speakers who have been through difficult times and learned from them, who have made mistakes in parenting and can share their experiences, who have been "in the trenches" of home education and have persevered. In this way, AHEA chooses speakers for the annual convention who can connect in "real life ways" with AHEA members, who can be open about mistakes made and lessons learned, who can speak of forgiveness. Learning from our mistakes makes a compelling story.
The decision made by the AHEA board was not an easy one and we do not expect all AHEA members to agree with it, but that is why AHEA brings in a variety of speakers for our members to choose from at the convention.
In addition the AHEA board listened to the response to the controversy from AHEA members. That response has been almost unanimous in support of the Duggar family.
If you wish to express your opinion on this or any other matter, please email:
The AHEA board thanks all members who voiced their opinion on this matter through email and other methods and we thank our members for their prayers and their patience. We look forward to seeing you at the 2016 convention.
- From the board of directors for the Alberta Home Education Association