You would be right in considering this a somewhat strange topic to write about, but it sure beats adding yet another post of Valentine craft ideas to the crowded internet. Right? St Valentine and home education have a lot more in common than you think! And besides, consider it an exercise in critical thinking and analysis as you explore this topic with me.
First, let’s cover the basics.
Who was St Valentine?
He was a Catholic priest during the 3rd century when the Roman prefect Claudius Gothicus persecuted Christians and banned couples from getting married because he needed the young men to go to war without fear of what would happen to them (obviously a poor reason).
This particular priest had a mind of his own to do what was right according to his faith in God. He had a conviction and acted on it by marrying couples anyway.
He’s also said to have healed the blind daughter of Judge Asterius who had him under house arrest at one stage. Consequently, Asterius and his entire household became baptized Christians.
Claudius didn’t like St Valentine and had him clubbed and beheaded on the 14th of February for trying to evangelize him.
So where’s the LOVE part of St Valentine’s story?
In the fact that he married couples.
The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer may have helped turn Valentine’s Day into what it is today, thanks to a poem he wrote around 1375 called “Parliament of Foules” in which he describes 14 February as the day birds (and human) court for love.
What do Valentine’s Day and home education have in common?
A few things… Let’s see:
1. A crazy society
At the time that St Valentine lived, the society he found himself in may well have been as crazy as ours is today, minus the internet. Think polygamy, paganism, idolatry (in the really tangible idol sense of the word) and more.
The world is rather a crazy place today as well, with everyone pushing their own agenda and their own concepts of the truth and what is right, with rather disastrous (and occasionally ridiculous) results.
2. Claudius Gothicus probably felt threatened
He felt threatened by Valentine’s honest convictions, courage, and relentless dedication. Prefects in those times loved to lord it over others – they tended to care more for their own interests, power and wealth than the people they ruled.
The same is true today. People are threatened by the freedom, incredible opportunities and excellent education available within the context of home education. Threatened leaders push agendas and policies to regulate and/or squash this growing movement that succeeds in equipping children with critical thinking skills for the future.
3. St Valentine was able to articulate his faith and live it in a powerful way.
As homeschoolers, we teach our children to articulate what they believe, why they believe it and how to live by their faith and values. The mainstream school system is no help in this area and in fact often only contributes confusion to this crucial area that forms part of every developing person’s identity.
4. St Valentine was persistent.
Home education is relentless because all of life is a learning experience! Homeschooling parents are persistent in their pursuit of the very best education they can give their children, in ways that match their children’s needs, learning styles, pace, interests and career choices. Homeschooling parents are (usually) also persistent in both getting and giving encouragement to others on the same journey.
5. St Valentine was persecuted for his beliefs and eventually, martyred.
Homeschoolers are frequently judged for doing home education because it’s “not the norm”. We fight many prejudices, assumptions and “boxed” thinking as we carry on. In some countries, it’s illegal to home educate children and those who do, do so at significant risk of hefty fines or imprisonment. In other countries, home education is tightly regulated, making it a real challenge to follow through with it.
When you begin homeschooling, you may lose a few friendships. But you’ll also make new ones.
You may get criticism from family members. But you may get support from others and eventually win the nay-sayers over when they see your children learning without stress and anxiety.
You may choose to make significant sacrifices to follow through with your choice to homeschool, like giving up your career, your business or other plans you had. But dreams can change, and you might well come up with something else that works for you and provides twice as much fulfillment as you had before, because your family is now involved in the cause of making it work.
6. St Valentine did it for love and for truth.
So do you. You home educate your children because you LOVE them more than anything in the world. You want them to learn BETTER things than a public school has the capacity to teach them.
St Valentine wanted to join hearts in marriage. You join your children’s hearts with yours, with a love for learning and to a deep understanding of what real love is all about through your example.
7. St Valentine left a long-lasting impact.
You are doing the same. Being a parent is the most important thing you could ever do with your life, and homeschooling fits right into that.
You will be leaving your child with a long-lasting impact, and the ability to pass on still more of an impact on the rest of the world.
Does it sound daunting?
Does it sound fantastic, wonderful and significant?
It is. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.
8. St Valentine obviously felt that what he did was worth it.
Home education is worth the effort, too. It may be a very bumpy road at times, but it’s worth it. You’ll have so many extra memories to look back on and so will your children.
Your children will grow up to become well-equipped, confident, functional adults who will one day come to understand how big it is what you’ve done for them.
One final point:
St Valentine is still remembered, somewhere underneath all the silly cards, huge amounts of chocolate, bunches of flowers, kissing couples and first and hundredth date nights.
You will be remembered for taking the TIME to pour into your children all the goodness that is in your heart and all the goodness you can find to give them.
Which one of the above points resonates most with you and why? Share in the comments.
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