I may be dating myself, but there used to be a classic idiom or common expression, which goes, “every cloud has a silver lining”, which is to say that even the worst events or situations in life can have some positive aspect to them.
Owing to the seventeenth century quote of author John Milton, ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ means that you should never feel hopeless because difficult times always lead to better days. Tough times are like dark clouds that pass overhead and block the sun, though a bit of light (‘silver lining’) may shine through.
Some of you may prefer the “cup half-full” idiom, which also emphasizes the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface. In other words, if we look hard enough, you can find some good with the bad in any given situation. All that pseudo-psychology aside, God’s word revealed through the life of Joseph (Gen. 50:20), that good can come from evil within God’s sovereign rule of the world.
Half-heartedly, I can find the silver lining in at least two post COVID-19 developments that have come forth from our current, dark cloud of a pandemic season.
Welcome to Homeschool
The closure of local public schools as a mitigation effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, providentially forced the government run education system to adapt and turn in part, to its self-admittedly, bitter rival method of homeschooling, as a means of concluding the current school year.
Yes, the evil scourge of parents overseeing their children’s education in the security and comfort of their own homes (at least according to many a public school activist) has come to interrupt the authority and leadership of school elites as the prime parent or guardian over the education of children. Being that homeschooling was the norm for civilized society over the many millennia of human history up until the dawn of the 20th century, I say, “Welcome back!”
Before conservative, Christian, homeschool supporting parents get carried away, they must keep in mind that this adaptation came as the result of a temporary, public health crisis, rather than an epiphany given to public education elites.
Moreover, many children continue relatively unabated in the academic indoctrination of their secular, anti-God curriculums and content though safely ensconced on the keyboards and internet connections of their homes.
Indeed, nothing can replace the efficacy of face to face teaching that takes place between a teacher and student- particularly, when that teacher wields the word of God in everything from reading, writing and arithmetic, to civics, science, history and the arts from a biblical worldview and perspective.
But the silver lining here is the next best thing, in that hundreds of thousands of families previously ignorant of homeschooling, its culture and history, have discovered or at least been exposed to, a safe and family-friendly alternative to the government run, K-12 monopoly over children.
And don’t you know that the education establishment is sweating classroom sized bullets over that! Recently, Harvard Magazine published a story, “The Risks of Homeschooling.” The argument there doesn’t even touch the academic comparisons between public and private education, but rather the threat to democracy, believe it or not, that more mainstreamed homeschool presents.
The article’s author says, “”Homeschooled kids now account for roughly 3 to 4% of school aged children in the United States,” which Interestingly, enough she tells us, is roughly equivalent to the number of American children who are attending charter schools and she adds “larger than the number currently in parochial (Catholic) schools.”
The real story is ideological, as this Harvard Law Professor writes, “.. that parents choose homeschooling for an array of reasons. Some find local schools lacking or want to protect their child from bullying. Others do it to give their children the flexibility to pursue sports or other activities at a high level.
But,” she says, “surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families, by some estimates up to 90%, are driven by conservative Christian beliefs and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture.”
According to a podcast by evangelical Albert Mohler, “The next statement by the professor is key, arguing that some of these homeschooling parents are ‘extreme religious ideologues who,’ as explained, ‘question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”
Well, how do you like that connection? This Harvard elite labeled Biblically minded Christian families who believe that they have a God-given responsibility for being the primary disciplers and educational directors of their children – which they do (Deut. 6; Psa. 78; Eph. 6; Col. 3), as essentially, illiterate and bigoted racists, for insisting their children be taught with a like-minded worldview to their own.
Make no mistake that education is yet another front of the culture war that rages between secular humanists holding on dearly and tenuously to students as families – Christian and otherwise, fight to remain the ultimate authority over their child’s education.
May this taste of homeschooling savored in the mouths of parents and children- a silver lining in the Coronavirus cloud, lead to a revaluation if not a revival, of elementary and secondary education.
Weekend at Bernie’s
He was here and then he was gone. But for how long?
Former Vice President Joe Biden found a clear path to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination after his final opponent, the notable and self-styled ‘democratic socialist,’ Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, exited the race this month.
Though Sanders did well in the first three primary contests and temporarily was the front-runner, Biden came on strong in South Carolina and solidified his lead in March’s first Super Tuesday, as amazingly, the Democratic party moved its support from an elderly, white, liberal if not radical socialist, to a more moderate, life-long, elderly white politician.
That’s notable since Sanders seemed to embody the new, ultra, hip and racially “progressive” direction of the Democratic party.
Did COVID-19 affect Sanders’ campaign? Some pundits think the pandemic shut down in-person campaigning and Sanders’ massive and enthusiastic rallies.
But news reports confirmed he had already stopped accepting donations by the time most bans on large gatherings from COVID-19 went into effect. Though he failed to broaden his support base of mostly younger, millennial and liberal voters, Sanders has successfully pulled the Democratic Party even more leftward on environmental issues, healthcare, and income inequality during his presidential bids in 2016 and 2020.
What will his legacy be? While it may be too early to tell at this point, the silver living of this Coronavirus cloud in my view, was the providential rejection of a neo-communist gaining further legitimacy in this year’s election and in the hearts and minds of American voters, as the contrasts of our nation’s red and blue moral divide becomes clearer all the time. The big question as November nears, is what will God do next and what does he have in store for this nation?