Thursday, January 15, 2009

Education Must Precede Activism

I am posting this article because it pretty much sums up the most important reason why I homeschool my kids, and, more specifically, why I attempt to follow the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd) model in doing so.

I know and completely understand that homeschooling is not for everybody. But whether parents choose to educate their kids at home or in public schools, I think we all owe it to our children and grandchildren to spend some time educating ourselves where we may be lacking. There is nothing more important to our future and that of our posterity than our liberty.

I am going to host a dicussion of The 5,000 Year Leap by Cleon Skousen in my home on the evening of Friday February 20th. This book is a great starting place for discussing Freedom. It is easy to read and uses a lot of the Founder's own words to define 28 principles of Freedom.

If any of you agree with what Stephen Palmer suggests in the article below, please consider joining me for this discussion. I appreciate your taking the time to read and consider this. :)

Education Must
Precede Activism

By Stephen Palmer

"Force without wisdom falls of its own weight." -Horace

A few years ago, I was teaching a class on the constitution where I witnessed a sad, though interesting, phenomenon.

To give context, this was a room full of people wholly dedicated to the cause of liberty -- the people who "get it."

I asked the class, "How many of you agree with William Gladstone's quote that the Constitution is '...the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the mind and purpose of man'?"

100% of the attendees raised their hands.

I told them to keep their hands raised, then asked, "How many of you have actually read it?" A few hands dropped.

"Of you who have actually read it from beginning to end," I continued, "how many have read it within the last six months?"

Still more hands dropped. I persisted. "Of those who still have their hands raised, how many of you can tell us what Article III talks about?" More hands dropped. By this time only about half of the room had their hands raised.

By the time I asked who knew what habeas corpus means and what bills of attainder are, not a single person in the room had their hand raised.

Mind you, these are the same people who had just said that they agreed with Gladstone's quote, yet very few of them could answer the most basic questions about the Constitution.

What would you guess is the most recurring criticism I receive from subscribers and website visitors?

Contrary to what you might think, it's not from people who take polar opposite positions from the Cause of Liberty content. It's from freedom-loving patriots who believe that my recommended action steps are "benign." For example, they tell me that reading classics will do little to solve our looming problems.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for these devoted people. We need many more just like them. But I do have a different perspective on what needs to happen for our Republic to be restored.

America is primed for a French Revolution scenario. To take it even further, we exhibit many of the qualities of German civilization prior to World War II.

We're a highly-trained, yet poorly-educated populace. We've lost our sense of true education. Furthermore, we have staggering discrepancies in wealth distribution. We're primed for a lot of chaos and pain.

Plainly put, we don't have enough widespread education to sustain an anger-driven revolution. The People trying to fight Washington and other power interests right now is like replacing a strip club with a flea market.

There's no use in fighting unless we have quality replacement options. It's not enough to just be mad -- we must also be wise. And turning inward is the beginning of wisdom.

Confucius said it best in his classic essay The Great Learning:
The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things.Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
Not only does turning inward lead to wisdom, but it also leads to power. This is the core message of the Cause of Liberty. Fixing ourselves as individuals is what fixes the world.

If this sounds "benign" to you, I probably can't convince you otherwise. But I would point out that the most influential leaders, from Jesus Christ to Gandhi, have taken this approach. And they seemed to have done a pretty good job of improving the world.

There are others who say, "Yeah, we get it. But what do we actually do about it?"

To those I humbly repeat, "Continue working on yourself and your education." If our education was deep and broad enough we wouldn't have to ask that question.

I accept that this message may disappoint many. It may seem too simplistic. It may seem to be too little, too late. I'm probably starting to sound like a broken record.

But it's the light that animates everything that I do and everything I aspire to. It's the spiritual beating of my heart, the passion blood flowing through my veins, the mission muscles that keep me moving forward.

I'm fed up with the Federal Reserve. But I also don't have a complete grasp on how our monetary system should operate in the 21st Century, nor do I have a solid plan for making a transition.

So I don't march on Washington to spit at the Federal Reserve; I stay at home and read everything I can find on monetary policy.

I'm sick and tired of weaseling, compromising, ignorant, money-and-power-grubbing politicians. So I prepare myself to be a political leader with integrity, knowledge and wisdom.

I'm dismayed by the decay of the family. But I'm further dismayed by the times when I'm angry and impatient with my wife and children. So I focus my dismay on doing all I can to improve as a husband and father.

This is what the Cause of Liberty stands for. This is the message you'll hear for as long as I have breath.

And when you see me march on Washington, it won't be because I'm "angry as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." It will be because I actually have real, sustainable solutions and the ability to carry them out.

Until then, I'm working on myself. Care to join me?

Copyright © 2008 by The Cause of LIberty. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Smooglies: The Breakfast of Champions

I love love love making smooglies (we thank Bridgie for coining this term) for myself and the kiddos for breakfast! It's a super easy and complete breakfast that (almost) everyone in the family loves (Garrett being the only exception). Here's how we make ours:

Blend until liquified:
8 oz yogurt (we love vanilla or banana flavored)
1 banana

Then add to blender and blend well:
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen strawberries
(if needed, add milk to help with blending)

Finally, I add 1/4 cup Sunridge Farms vanilla protein powder (I get it from the bulk section of HEB Plus) and blend until it's...well... blended.

I love this protein powder for several reasons.
1. It doesn't make the smoothie foamy, like others I've tried.
2. It tastes good (to my kids and me, at least).
3. The protein makes this a complete breakfast. And,
4. It has some other nutritional extras in it, like brewer's yeast. (I can't remeber the others and unfortunately it doesn't get printed on the label when I buy it bulk.)

Also, sometimes we use canned coconut milk (bought at Walmart near the Asian food, I think) in place of regular milk, and that's also very yummy! I read a while back in the book "The Healing Miracle of Coconut Oil" ( that coconut has a lot of health benefits. It reads a bit like an info-mercial, but the science seems to make sense to me, so I enjoy coconut when I can.
As Kellan loves to say...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

So today Garrett and Gracie wanted to play "Catch Phrase" a "Taboo"-like word game where you give out clues to get the other players to guess your word... sort of like the 10,000 dollar Pyramid game show. 
Garrett and I got on a pretty good roll.  We must have been thinking on the same wavelength for a while because we were guessing each other's words like crazy!  He was doing better than I could have done on some of the clues he was giving.  Then it came to my turn and my word, or phrase actually, was "I Love You".  How easy can it get, right?  So I shouted out my first clue without hesitation:
"This is something I say to Dad all the time!"
Garrett (with confidence) says:  "Pick up your socks!"
Me:  "No...  Something I tell YOU all the time.  Three little words..."
Garrett:  "Morning Routines... (counting the words in his head he realizes he needs to add a third) time?"
Luckily at that moment the timer buzzed... before we could go through the rest of the list of things I say to my family more often than "I Love You"!
I was laughing and trying not to cry at the same time. 
Today's lesson:  Next time you see socks, pick them up, and let them be a reminder to say "I Love You" to the next sweet little face you see.  :)  Don't just say it, but think it and feel it and truly be grateful to have a family... with feet.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today's Pictures

Notice Garrett's one upside down cursive G.  :)

Today's Activities

Today I got out the marker board to try my luck at giving Garrett a lecture on The Hero's Journey (AKA The Path of All Success). We made a deal that he can watch a movie if he will write down when the "hero" faces a Roadblock; finds a Mentor; overcomes or endures Tests, Trials, or Traps; or faces their Ultimate Test. Unfortunately (or fortunately), Indiana Jones: Temple of Doom didn't show up in the mail yet today. Garrett named great examples of Heroes from the Scriptures, Greek mythology, and his favorite movies. He said, "That was really interesting." Even though it was called a "lecture".

The girls could hardly wait for it to be over, though, because I promised them they could draw on the marker board when they were done. Gracie practiced her cursive "G"s for the first time. I was pretty impressed with how quickly she caught on. After a while she started doing perfect backwards cursive Gs, so I am making a mental note to call the Austin Eye Gym to see what an eye exam would cost.

Bridget drew a very mad girl. I wonder why she always draws mad girls? Something to think about. Nevertheless, I thought it was a great piece of artwork!

During "dinner" we listened to a tape the kids recorded in the summer of 2006 of themselves singing and answering questions (What's your favorite food, book, etc.). It was precious! That is one item that must go in the fireproof safe. :)


Brooke Flanigan
EarthLink Revolves Around You.


In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey illustrated the difference between Management and Leadership in this way:

"Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish? In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, 'Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.' Management is effeciency in climbing the ladder of sucess; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

"You can quickly grasp the important difference between the two if you envision a group of producers cutting their way through the jungle with machetes. They're the producers, the problem solvers. They're cutting through the undergrowth, clearing it out.

"The managers are behind them, sharpening their machetes, writing policy and procedure manuals, holding muscle development programs, bringing in improved technologies and setting up working schedules and compensation plans for machete wielders.

"The leader is the onle who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, 'Wrong jungle!' "

Clearly, both leadership and management are important for reaching our goals or achieving our mission(s). But it seems to me to make a lot more sense to put leadership first, to make sure you're in the right jungle before you start hacking away with machetes, whenever possible.

This is where I am on my journey right now. This week I have a goal of writing a rough draft of my personal mission statement (see 7 Habits for more info). Then I will work on getting our family together to write our family's mission statement.

Right now I at least know I'm in a Jungle.... now if only I could get to the top of that tree!