Faithful over a Little: Homeschooling Teens
- Monday, July 19, 2010
From the moment they first gasp for breath in the real world until the day they grasp their official signed-and-sealed diploma, our children are open vessels into which homeschooling parents pour our hearts. After graduating a student, many of us continue the usual rituals at the kitchen table, investing into our graduates' siblings. With our work still unfinished, we remain in the trenches day by day, perhaps losing sight of the world-changing accomplishments of the broader population of homeschool graduates.
Down there in the dirt, we long to hear the words of Matthew 25:21:
"And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." (Matthew 25:20-21, emphasis mine)
We want to face our Master, gaze into approving eyes, and hear Him say, "Great job! I gave you children; you invested your time and energy into each one and raised them up to be responsible, Christ-loving adults. Your efforts paid off, because you have equipped them to serve me with their whole hearts."
We do not always hear those words verbalized in this life. However, many homeschooling parents are seeing a dynamic return on their investment—among them the parents of Rachel Heflin and her teammates from Patrick Henry College. Earlier this year, Rachel became the only two-time champion in the history of the American Collegiate Moot Court Association's national competition. Patrick Henry College defeated teams from Harvard, the University of Texas, and Syracuse, among others, sweeping the 2010 ACMA Championship held in January in Miami. Heflin and her partner, Jenna Lorence, took first place overall in the tournament.
Another PHC team, James Mieding and Robert Kelly, took third place. Along with additional PHC teammates, they also won recognition for the top four petitioner briefs and the best respondent brief. James Mieding tripled his winnings by being named fifth in a list of the top ten orators at the competition.
In an interview with the first- and third-place winning partnerships, I asked the students if they have remarkable parents who possess extraordinary insight and parenting skills—or can ordinary parents lay such a foundation for success too? I found James Mieding's response appropriate and profound: "My parents are utterly outstanding, but they are the most normal, average . . . parents you'll ever meet."
He expressed a sentiment most homeschooled students eventually feel about their parents: "They're amazing!" Yet, at the same time, we parents can sense far-reaching hope in James's understanding that his parents do not possess unobtainable superpowers. Every parent has the potential to produce successful ambassadors, warriors, and leaders for God's kingdom.
In a recent discussion with PHC's founder, chancellor, and moot court coach, Michael Farris, I learned that he frequently encounters formerly homeschooled ambassadors filling vital leadership roles in their communities, including an Iowa state legislator, a Republican nominee for attorney general for the State of Iowa, an attorney with the trial division of the Supreme Court, a clerk for the Arizona Supreme Court, and a winner of the Best Oralist award at Harvard Law School, as well as a number now attending or graduated from Harvard Law School. With a little research, one also discovers homeschool graduates in such influential positions as congressional aides, associate producer for National Geographic Magazine, and executive administrator for author and conservative advocate Star Parker.
These represent only a few examples, and according to Farris, "Several hundred that I know of are on paths to really lead to significant positions in the years ahead. . . it doesn't mean that all of them are going to end up being governors, federal judges, and on the Supreme Court, but there are some that are going to get there."
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