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Power in a Pandemic

2020.05 Power in a Pandemic

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of
a sound mind."

2 Timothy 1:7

Circumstances beyond our control tend to make us feel powerless, and it is fairly safe to say that most of the world has experienced this feeling to some degree over the last few months. Reactions have varied from docile to outrage. But as time wears on, it is apparent that the current situation also tests our underpinnings – what are we made of and in whom we trust. There is also the stark realization that we must question whether or not we are indeed powerless.

Having plans and purpose is a good thing. Knowing that our plans are subject to change is, perhaps, a necessary lesson for most of us. "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand." - Prov. 19:21. Now some may read this verse and think that there is no use in having a plan. To the contrary, it can actually be a wonderful reassurance that the purposes of God are being born out through our efforts, and that we cannot mess them up so badly that the end result is not His will. We know this is true because Prov. 16:9 says, "The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."

Being on the move helps us see how to accomplish these plans. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we are instructed to stay in one place and not take action. There is a time for everything, Ecclesiastes reminds us. This passage is wonderfully weighted with action verbs, and contains the thought that even at rest you will be accomplishing something. G.K. Chesterton had this observation, "A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it." In response, you may ask, "What can I really do?"

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“We’re All in This Together, Right?” - Respecting the Freedom to Choose -

We're All in This Together, Right?

It has been interesting to see more people being news-watchers lately, since people-watching has fallen out of fashion. We were already used to slogans being used by companies to try to make us believe something or other about their product and convince us that we cannot live without it. Critical thought being applied to sloganeering was in vogue in many circles, as it should have been in all. However, recent events have taken this type of communication to a whole new level.

Daily repetition of anything makes it hard to process. Reservations that you may initially have had are submerged below the constant restatement of information by the press or others ad nauseum, until it seems that you must be the only one questioning the message. And that is only looking at the bald face of it. What of the intent, purpose and result of the message which may not be obvious? Do you even have time to think it through between hearings?

There are two things I think we need to consider as we realize there is a challenge with the current day's messaging. Then, I'd like to address the costs that we are seeing and how they relate to home education. We need to be awake, aware, and well-informed citizens.

Propaganda Has Never Gone Out of Style

We are too often ignorant of the propaganda which constantly surrounds us and its varying levels of access and success. Currently we have reached an interesting point in the history of the free world, as we see the government using the 'free press' as a proxy to carry a government's message. We have seen the government issue bailout packages to press that are carrying the 'right message' and withhold funding from those who carry the counter-cultural message. Not that these groups would even accept funding from the government because it makes them vulnerable to influence and they wish to be free, and seen as free, from any obligation to toe a party line.

Where the free press used to be the watchdog of government and act in the assumed interest of the people, it has slowly transformed into a producer of opinion-driven news articles which do not hide their biases. When I was a child in school, we were taught to eliminate the bias from our factual writing, and save our opinions for the proper assignment. This was the mandate of journalism, but even journalists have seen this as a professional debate. As journalist Jen Gerson observed in an article published in Nov. 2018 titled 'Canada's media bailout will weaken trust in journalism. We should reject it.' "How this system is expected to strengthen press freedom, I have no idea. From what I can see, it will only lead to a national professional standard or credential that will inevitably centralize control over the media in a country where the media is already profoundly consolidated." Sadly, the ones getting the money, and more likely to survive, are those who have compromised.

So how can you spot propaganda? There was a book written in 1965 by Jacques Ellul called Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes that was partially covered in a 2015 article called 8 Frightening Characteristics of Propaganda on Intellectual Takeout's website. I'd suggest that you take the time to read it to understand how each of the eight characteristics mentioned are used. However, here is the short list – see what is all too familiar.

Propaganda:

  1. Prevents dialogue – no time for details, excludes contradiction.
  2. Focuses on the mass – an isolated unit presents too much resistance to external action.
  3. Is total – utilize all technical means of media at their disposal.
  4. Takes over education – no contrast to propaganda. Utilize to condition to what comes later.
  5. Takes over literature and history – rewritten (past and present) according to need.
  6. Must be subtle at first – seeks to create a favorable preliminary attitude before direct prompting.
  7. Must be nonstop – eliminate outside points of reference, filling a citizen's whole, and all, days.
  8. Aims at irrational action – the aim of modern propaganda is to provoke action not modify ideas.

Please note that this list is not new, nor is the objective observation on the subject matter. The use, and the effectiveness, of propaganda is very, very real, and left unchecked, it is a world-changer. Spotting it, and calling it what it is, gives us the ability to think outside a rapidly shrinking box that prohibits free thought. This is critical to preserving what we hold as personally important, as all things become subject to government objectives instead of personal objectives.

Freedoms Are at Stake

There have been numerous articles that highlight the rapid changes coming provincially, federally and internationally. But we must realize that this didn't just start. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has a section on their home page titled "Freedom Under Attack – Canadians Tell Their Stories" where you can watch videos going back to 2013. There is also a section now dedicated to Covid-19 and Constitutional Concerns, which means that within the last two months there has been an extreme uptick in Constitutional concerns that warrant legal attention. And the team at the JCCF is not alone, as there other firms just as busy, and alarms being sounded from numerous sectors. As I write on May 3rd I count four hundred and fifty five (455) separate emergency measures that have been enacted and are being tracked on this site, or you could follow this Repository of Canadian Covid-19 Emergency Orders. One of the best articles I've read lately that lays out the need to stand for freedoms is by a law professor named Bruce Pardy titled Even During a Pandemic, the Needs of the Many Do Not Outweigh the Rights of the Few. He states that "Rights protect individuals from the whims of public opinion."

Home educators can relate to this, as our decision to educate our children at home has never been that of the majority. The right to home educate relies on the other rights we have under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 2 of the Charter outlines the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. Given that every freedom challenged puts the others at risk, it is beholden on us to support them all, for our own sake. In this spirit I say that no matter our personal opinion on different topics, we need to see that freedom truly is being threatened and this issue deserves our most sincere support if we want to see our home education rights survive in the scrum freedoms are now involved in.

A Cautionary Tale

"It has been pointed out that very different events took place in France and England in the latter decades of the eighteenth century. The French Revolution was a revolution of power. The French citizens drove out the aristocratic rascals and put their own leaders in. But the Age of Reason gave birth to the Reign of Terror and finally led to the tyranny of the Napoleonic era. At about the same time, when England could have fallen into a parallel situation, the Wesleyan and Whitefield revivals took place. As the Word of God had its sway in the hearts of thousands and thousands of people, instead of violence and bloodshed, a moral transformation of the land eventually expressed itself in the laws and culture. But those changes did not happen in the world's way."[i]

A friend shared an observation on that quote and how it relates to our current situation. "These are two concepts of liberty. France was the god of reason. England was liberty of conscience as bestowed by the God of the Bible. France's path results in bloodshed and we are treading that path again."

I would advocate for the moral transformation that is possible when we have the personal liberty to teach our children our values. I would advocate for us being able to speak in the public square with all of the conviction that having a biblical basis for our conviction allows us, and that we speak not just for ourselves but for our fellow man. I implore us to not be passively apathetic or fatalistic, as action is surely the point of being the hands and feet. I pray that during this time, when we are living history instead of studying it, that we will set an example for our children in doing what we ought. What we can do, as we are each called, is to be the voice of faithful confidence in our circles, knowing that God holds our lives and days in His hands, and thus we need not be afraid of anything.

                                                   "Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90: 12)


[i] James Montgomery Boice, The Life of Moses: God's First Deliverer of Israel, p. 47. 

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Please Support YOUR Non-Profit!

Please Support YOUR Non-Profit!

Dear AHEA Supporter,

Today, May 5th, has been designated a special day by some, where people can show their support in their local communities, food banks, churches, non-profits, and businesses, who will be suffering due to the effects of Covid-19 on our lives.

AHEA is a non-profit organization and would love to have your support! 2020 is sure to be a challenging year for us as we have faced the loss of our annual convention, which has been a yearly event for over 35 years. Losing this will affect our ability to function over the next year, and we will be relying on donations as never before.

The work of your AHEA volunteer Board in defending and promoting home education interests to government and educating the public is a year-round job, and we work hard for you throughout. We depend on a small group of contractors to provide services that are irreplaceable, as well as the costs involved in running a society.

Would you please consider making a donation at https://www.aheaonline.com/donate? We exist to serve the needs of our members and the home education community, and cannot do it without your support. However, we know that this situation has left many with the loss of income, and other uncertainties, and only wish you to do what you can, if you can. Thank you, in advance, for considering AHEA in your giving this year.

Your AHEA Board

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Lacking Confidence for Home Educating - Are We Giving Our kids Enough?

lacking-confidence-for-home-education

I'm probably one of the least likely ones to be writing about this topic, but when my husband said someone was asking if I'd be interested in doing so, I thought that maybe it might be something God would have me do.

Ironically, just when I started writing, the program I was using decided I'd done enough, and shut down on me. Maybe I'm not supposed to be doing it, but at the same time, I didn't want to give up that easily.

I'd first like to give some background as to why I lack confidence as to whether I'm able to give my children what they need. I was home educated myself, but never felt that what I received was very thorough. And, yes, partly that was my own fault, in that I was pretty "scatter-brained", and had a hard time focusing on my lessons…. I'd far rather be outside building a treehouse, or something like that. Nonetheless, beyond getting the basics of reading, writing (could I even do that?), and arithmetic, I always said my science consisted of my dad pointing out the north star and the big dipper; and my "social studies" was lived out in that we traveled all over the place. I knew very little history, and, well, just always felt I was lacking in many ways.

Fast forward 30+ years, I'm now the mother of 11 children, half of whom are adults, and all of whom we've homeschooled from the start. I've believed from the first child on, that God gave me these children, knowing my weaknesses and shortcomings, yet He still chose to give them to me, along with the responsibility to raise and educate them.

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How Home Education Best Leads to Key Educational Goals

How Home education Best Leads to Key Educational Goals

Over my fifteen years as a home educating father I've come to see how home education is a great method for achieving key education goals. This list of goals comes from Colorado Home Education leader, Kevin Swanson in his book Upgrade: The 10 Secrets to the Best Education of Your Child. I will briefly list them and share quick personal examples of how home education has helped my family work towards achieving these goals. You will see how my wife and I, having been educated in public and private school respectively, strongly believe home education method is superior to the school model in achieving these goals.

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