For those of us who view history as an already-learned lesson that we can benefit from as well, it is important that we remember the Spartans.
I learned about the Spartans for the first time as a teacher. Somehow my schooling before then hadn't touched upon this refined culture and their strict practices.
Under the rule of Lycurgus, the Spartans became a prosperous, war-oriented people. Each child was raised for the service of the country. Babies who were born with any differences were destroyed, and not long after infancy did they begin learning patriotic songs and ideals. They remained with their parents until they were seven, then taken away.
Young boys were placed under the care of a male warrior, who would teach him how to be a brave fighter, steal (yes, steal food in case they were every in a war-time situation that required it) and live a disciplined life. Seven-year-old girls were placed under the care of a respected woman where she learned household skills and how to navigate life with courage.
I was a new mom when I first read these words, and it made my stomach turn to think of someone taking away my child, pulling my duty to raise her out from under me.
And so, as a panel prepares to meet at Harvard next summer to talk about possible homeschool reform, those of us who are paying attention remember the Spartans. A one-sided group will meet and discuss problems with homechooling, like the very rare possibility that homeschooling is used to cover up child abuse.
When people mistrust if we, the parents, are capable to raise children and educate them, it feels very much like the rule of Lycurgus. We hear about "child rights" and although our children's health and well-being are of the utmost importance to us, we think of Dr. Leonard Sax's words in the book The Collapse of Parenting: "...the authority of parents, and, even more significantly, the importance of parents, in the lives of their children has declined substantially."
We are paying attention when laws are passed that prevent children from seeing Christian counselors, or parents from approving medical procedures. When a politician says that he will provide universal pre-kindergarten for all three and four-year-olds, we feel little warriors being taken away. When we hear the plan to send "professionals" into our home to help us raise our children, we wonder what the world would have our children brought up to?
I am not a very political person, and I don't wish to engage in a political conversation, but my eyes are wide open. And with a thumb in a history book, I pray that we don't repeat what has happened before. I don't want to have the right to raise my children to know Jesus taken away. But with too much government intervention, it will be.