Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Of Cabbages and Kids

A married couple comes to a local potluck dinner. They bring a lovely cassarole of roast vegetables. In the course of conversation it comes up that the vegetables are from this couple's garden. They grow much of their food on the land behind their house. They also keep some livestock in their barn and a few chickens, from which they get a significant part of their meat and all their eggs. The reason, they say, is simply that they like to know where their food comes from, what is in it, and most of all, they simply believe that home grown food tastes better.

Most people would find this admirable. They might not want to do it themselves, preferring to run down to the local grocery store. Even so, they admire the industry and appreciation of good things that motivates this young couple to self-sufficiency.

On the other hand, another married couple comes to the same potluck dinner. They have several children. In the course of conversation it comes up that the children are taught their school subjects at home. The reason, they say, is that they like to know what their children are learning, to have a more direct hand in shaping their character, and they just like having children around.

For some reason, it is common for the second couple to receive many subtly raised eyebrows in their direction, and questions posed in tones carefully veiled to hide the skepticism lying behind the questions. It seems that most everyone understands why growing ones own food is a good and noble thing, even when it's all available at the store for just a little money. Nevertheless, to undertake the teaching of one's own children just seems like such a crazy thing to do when there are trained professionals right around the corner, who are already paid to do it for us. It's all just so much time, and so much work, and frankly, just a little strange.

What strikes me as strange is the double standard.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It's not a double standard if your body or your self-sufficiency is your god, while children are more like community property that are assigned to you.

Methinks you and your wife, the Olive Skinned Beauty (I think you should refer to her as the OSB on your blog) are more likely to err, if at all, in the opposite direction. Hence you noticed the collision of values.