. . .destined to grow up as an example to us all. Of — um —
Are you ready for some football?
(Olympic Excess coming up next!)
We homeschooling families like learning at home in our living rooms, especially for free. You could even say we celebrate it! But you’re a Thinking Parent as well, so think about this — is “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life” a sports message best taught on tv as multi-million dollar ad wars? Or is it paid political speech we’ve learned from real-world experience celebrates division and shooting to kill, the kind of combative warfare all learned people know that neither Christ nor America was ever about, despite false advertising through the ages?
What lessons are being taught in our living rooms, not by individual homeschooling parents or great literary characters like the Boy Who Lived but by corporate-controlled televised sports as entertainment, and is it sacred business, serious business, or funny business (if business has any business teaching any of us any of it?)
Our best entertainers and artists in any era help us conjure our own Patronus against the universally human fear of the dark.
Who in this story capitalizes, controls, one might even say conjures, this unarguably public education for which corporate America is unelected and unaccountable?
What if Tim Tebow had been born gay instead of gridiron-gifted? Would his mom still have been chosen for her choice to teach SuperBowl fans everywhere her ethics and how to define “family and life” worth celebrating? What if her unaborted son once grown to be a sports star, openly credited magic rather than miracles? Would he still have been chosen by CBS to dramatically break the network’s policy against advocacy ads mixed with hero worship? Is ignoring your doctor’s advice as Pam Tebow (and Sarah Palin) chose for themselves and apparently preach as mom gospel to everyone including the Supreme Court, a lesson CBS will be held accountable for as both profit-seeking and public broadcast system?
Here’s something your children will NOT learn about celebrating family and life watching the CBS SuperBowl:
“Women take decisions about their health very seriously. They consider their doctors’ advice, they talk with their loved ones and people they trust, including religious leaders, and they carefully weigh all considerations before making the best decision for themselves and their families.”
“My daughter will always be my little girl,” [the sports star] says. “But I am proud everyday as I watch her grow up to be her own person, a smart, confident young woman. I trust her to take care of herself. We celebrate families by supporting our mothers, by supporting our daughters. By trusting women.”
Upon which [the evil schoolmarm as minister of education] retorted tartly that students couldn’t be trusted to know what was good for them and they were a bunch of negative whiners . . .
Ethical? Educational? Christ-like? Good enough for your child at any age or stage?
Preparing for SuperBowl Sunday as a secular Gator up on cultural controversy, I’m reflecting on my own education through many years of bleeding orange and blue and watching UF sports, especially Tim Tebow as our most famous student-athlete ever. Yes, the most famous ever.
The Boy Who Lived has clearly surpassed even Steve Spurrier’s renown although the reasons seem murky and not merely statistical — perhaps because not even the most fanatical fan nor the SEC, the Heisman Committee or The Old Ball Coach himself, ever confused Steve Spurrier with Christ-like beatitude? 😉
I think my best self-learning on this subject was laid out in biblical allegory style, in What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head? Tim has had his last on-field performance as a Gator for God but his first as a bought-and-paid-for shill airs tomorrow. I’ll let you know if it teaches me anything new . . .
What Should We Call Christ as a Kick in the Head?
Just drove Young Son to Irish dance and musical theatre. Their performing arts studio is in a neighborhood shopping center with a sandwich shop and pizza place, a chinese food restaurant, a small computer shop — and a huge, very busy martial arts place with big glass walls across the front so you can watch from the sidewalk or your car, called Karate for Christ Ministries.
I’ve waited for the kids and wondered about this incongruous pairing of east and west before. School football players in the South seem very well-educated if Christianity is the standard and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is the measure. My favorite quarterback Gator Tim Tebow is always blessing the tv announcers and thanking his lord Jesus Christ for his touchdowns. His whole family goes on mission trips and he even convinced his coach to join him on one last summer. But school football and school religion are compatibly American — at least so I was taught — especially in the Bible Belt.
Karate though? For Christ?
So today as Spunky started a new conversation about what it means for a child to be “well-educated” I noticed it afresh and thought I’d mention some of what it makes me wonder, about what’s being taught and learned and why to our kids out of school, not in.
The phone number is painted on the glass, too: want your child well-educated in mind, body and spirit all at the same time? Who needs School OR Church? Just call 8-WE-KICK.
I called up wikipedia instead:
Hypothetically, any unarmed combat system could accurately be called “karate” since the Japanese phrase literally means “empty hand.” This is not necessarily an acceptable conclusion. To separate fact from fancy requires understanding issues of nationalism, lineage, primacy, and philosophy.
Open hand? Every time I go by, the little boys have long wooden rods in both hands, that they spin like batons and with which they energetically whack away at big dummies with men’s heads and karate clothes. There are as many attack dummies as pupils; does this mean anything, I wonder? (Are they rebelling against their own fathers, perhaps, or fighting their own future selves to avoid becoming their own worst enemy?)
Or is it more literal than that, are they all expecting to need to fight for their place in the world against the men who came before them? Or expecting a pre-ordained invasion force they’re being schooled to face, hmmm. . . whatever, it seems in karate a child could become well-educated in “nationalism, lineage, primacy and philosophy” but not linguistics or logic, because use of the open hand is not the idea at Karate for Christ. And philosophically, forget about the rod comforting or turning the other cheek. Nationalism? — well, I already asked if it fit with American tradition and I don’t see it. We shoot, we lynch, we box and race cars and play football.
Later each boy will spin himself in the air, leaping and kicking his personal menacing man-enemy-dummy in the head and solar plexus. Open foot maybe. Not open hand. And not very Christ-like from what I remember of my own Sunday School education, except I notice after they kick one side of the target head, they do turn (to kick) the other cheek.
Fencing was my own school sport of choice, and granted, swordfighting isn’t exactly Christlike either. But then I never said it was, nor did anyone I studied with, learned from or competed against (as far as I know.)
As Rachel Maddow says, does anyone want to talk me down from this? I’d ask Nance, whose unschooled son is an accomplished martial artist, but I don’t think religion east or west had anything to do with that. 😉
Reason may need a crash body-building course if it’s gonna face down the sand-kicking believing beach bullies. . .
I think Rowling’s genius is to see humans as carrying both hope and fear, both good and evil, to see us as magnificent, and animals, and facing new threats of extinction — to realize our ancient songs and stories need to be understood in progressively evolving ways, for anyone to win anything worth living or dying for.