Monday, May 12, 2014

Parental Control

     I have had the topic of "parental control" on my mind a lot lately.  I think this stems from a few main issues, one being that of public education and the ever pervasive changes in mentality that the schools are really the guardians of our children and that parents don't need to know everything, etc. And the other being in the public healthcare settings - where ideologies of the need for children to have the capability to make personal medical decisions regarding their health without the consent or even the knowledge of the parents.

     I am not all out here to start a very controversial debate about the merits or follies of Common Core or the data mining that accompanies it. I am not here to debate about the blessings or the evils of free and private birth control for young teenagers. I merely would like to express my thoughts about how it feels to be a mother in a time when many organizations and many people in the world feel that parents need to stop vying for 'parental control' and let those people who are 'trained' or who are 'experts' just do their job, because they know what is best for our children.

     Now, for the fear of offending or alienating certain parties, let me begin by saying that I fully understand that there are those children whose home lives or whose available parents are subpar at best and neglectful or abusive at worst. Those children truly do need the assistance of outside parties to help them succeed in life. I am grateful for the services provided for just such cases. However, I feel that as a whole, society is leaning way too far away from letting family's be in control of their own lives and respecting the parental rights for their children.

Case in point:

     My children recently had some testing going on at school. Basically, they are piloting a new program of computer tests that haven't even been proven and they (teachers, parents) are not going to get results from it at all. They are essentially just being lab rats. Basically it seems like a waste of time, and is most definitely a loss of hours upon hours of instructional time in the classroom. So, I chose to exert my parental rights and "opted out" my children from these insane tests.  So far I have not had to deal with an excessive amount of backlash (albeit I have had a bit) from people who for some reason feel that I am wrong to pull my kids out, or that I am 'going against the system' or that I am anti-pubic education'. 

    The crazy thing is that this system already doesn't allow for parents to have much, if any control over what they see in their kid's public record, or who else sees it for that matter. Now they are proposing a BAN against any parents being able to opt their kids out in the future. WHY? Because, guess what? I am not the only parent who chose to opt my children out of that testing. Not by a long shot. There were actually thousands and thousands of other parents across the nation who did the very thing I did.

This great article is written by a current TEACHER and PARENT here in Idaho who supported Common Core:

It feels like now they are doing all they can and as swiftly as they can to get parents 'out of the way'. The ideas and the thinking that parents don't know what is best for their children's education or that they should not have a say in it at all is truly scary for me to imagine.

The second area that I have seen an issue with this, as I alluded to before, is in the arena of Public Health. While we all know that birth control and abortions are on the rise - even a sharp rise - throughout the world, it seems that little is known about how parents are often not made aware of those very things happening in their child's life. I have recently seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears as a young teenager was seeking help in case she was pregnant. The counsel was given to her to begin taking prenatal vitamins just in case. Then she was told that if her mother found out or asked about it, she should just tell her that she was taking them because she heard that they help with hair and nail growth. I am not kidding. Not only are we talking about concealing important aspects of a child's life and health from the parents, but now we are teaching them how to lie to the parents?!

If you don't believe me, here are some actual laws:

Cal. Health & Safety Code Sec 123450 states that, "An unemancipated minor may obtain an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian"
Cal. Educ. Code Section 46010.1, states that, "The governing board of each school district shall, each academic year, notify pupils in grades 7 to 12, and the parents or guardians of all pupils enrolled in the district, that school authorities may excuse any pupil from school for the purpose of obtaining confidential medical services without the consent of the pupil's parent or guardian."
66 Ops.Atty.Gen. 244 (7-28-83) states that, "Public school officials have the authority to excuse a pupil from regularly scheduled classes to obtain medical services for which they may legally consent, including abortion, without notification to a parent of guardian."

I hear and see things on a near daily basis that seem to confirm to me the fact that 'parents are overrated'  or that children need to be raised by those who are outside of the home. I see indoctrination happening on a subtle and a not so subtle basis throughout all walks of life, from advertising to educational textbooks to music to publicly funded government programs.  It made me start to think about it all.

Why is this happening? Have the last hundreds and hundreds of years of parents raising their children and calling the shots and knowing what was best for them just been a waste of time?
 Has the answer always been found in letting society raise the child and in letting the young child chose for himself? Or is this taking us further and further away from where we need to be?

I started to think about the loss of parental control in general, and whether there are any applicable gospel analogies I could derive from it. I began to ponder about it. I concluded that there is a sense of  Heavenly Father's influence in our lives being diminished. There is a sense of us trying more and more to be independent of God in our mortal lives and to try and let the world tell us how we should live -
To feel more and more like we are the ones that are truly in control.

What would happen if each of us, as children of our Heavenly Father were to turn over control of our lives to Him? What if we were to let our will be swallowed up in His? Would that make us weaker? Would that make us more vulnerable? Or would that make us stronger, albeit vulnerable at the same time... as we humble ourselves to His ways and choose to follow His eternal laws for us?

In conclusion: I am not looking for feedback, I am merely asking you to question these things in your own heart and mind as a parent:

Is there a loss of parental control in our society?
     Are we as parents scared to speak up for what we feel is best for our own children, regardless of what the world tells us is best for them?
   Is there a loss of Heavenly Parental Control?
Not because he isn't fighting for that. Not because He isn't wanting us to turn to Him and to listen to what he has to say and to seek His guidance.
     Are the two correlated? Is there a type and a shadow in these things?
Who knows what is best for our children?
And who knows what is best for us?

It has been said that "Man plans. God laughs." While we all go through our own phases of trying to figure out what our role in life is, let's not lose sight of the fact that our lives are, in very fact, not 100% controlled by us, nor should they be.

For the record: I'm all for increased Parental Control - both mortal and Heavenly!

"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"