Integrity vs. Loyalty
Sometimes, I worry that my children won’t learn enough. Or, rather, that, as homeschooled children, they won’t learn enough of the “right” things.
Of biggest concern is my high schooler, Ethan. He’s 14, and a freshman. He’s currently doing Sonlight’s Core 200, which is actually SL’s sophomore year program.* Since the bulk of the history portion of this program centers on Christian church history and apologetics, I’m unsure if I can actually count it as a history credit. In addition to church history, he’s also reading some serious lit: Jane Eyre, Hamlet, Pride and Prejudice, Oliver Twist, and Robinson Crusoe are all books he’s read this year. Still, I sometimes wonder if we’re on the right track for him.
Then, some days, like today, I’m certain that — no matter if it is the “right” thing or not — there is SUCH VALUE in homeschooling. We discuss topics that, in all likelihood, never reach the ears of a typically-schooled child.
The curriculum assigns readings from an anthology of poetry. I have long held that poets are at least as interesting as their writings, and we’d be remiss to not become acquainted with each poet from the book. This extra discussion makes the “poetry” section of his day take extra-long. I don’t feel badly about this, but we’re just now finishing out week 16 of the poetry assignments, while the rest of his work is in week 30.
Today had us read one of James Henry Leigh Hunt’s poems, Abou Ben Adhem. The poem is all right; not fabulous in my opinion. The basic premise of it is that even if you don’t excel at loving God, it’s all right; as long as you love others splendidly, God will bless (and ostensibly love) you the more for it. That warrants discussion in itself. However, we didn’t much discuss that. What we did discuss was the nature of balancing integrity with loyalty. Too much loyalty without integrity reaps a harvest of brown-nosing and spin-doctoring, sweeping sin issues under the rug. Leigh Hunt, though, seems to have erred too much on the other side: integrity over loyalty, which is rather ironic, given the topic of Abou Ben Adhem. In other words, he was fond of speaking the truth, but not in love, not out of necessity, and often biting the hand that had fed and befriended him, publishing scathing critiques of his contemporaries’ works, and writing exposés of famous people of his day (leading, at one point, to a two-year jail sentence, for criticizing the Prince Regent)… Unsurprisingly, he (and his wife and his ten children) frequently found themselves friendless and penniless…
Ideally, one would have family, friends, employers, et al, to whom one could be loyal, yet still retain one’s integrity.
I presented to Ethan the best example of both loyalty perfectly balanced with integrity that I know: his father. In our itinerant society, my husband has remained with the same employer for more than 20 years. An integral part of our church (and on staff at said church) for nearly 23 years. Married for 17+ years. Each of those take commitment and loyalty. Yet, he is also integrous to the nth degree, sometimes exasperatingly so, as he seeks to follow both the letter and the spirit of a law. I was particularly pleased to show Ethan that one can excel at both integrity and loyalty.
It was definitely one of those learning experiences that I know Ethan wouldn’t have had elsewhere, and it made the whole day feel worthwhile.
*It’s not that Ethan is remarkably advanced; it’s that we have already so extensively covered American History, which SL slates for freshmen, that I wanted him to learn something different.
Posted on May 2, 2012, in Books for children, Character Development, Christian Living, Christianity, Family, God/Christianity/Church, Homeschool, Homeschooling, Marriage, Poetry, The Dear Hubby, The Kids, Vineyard Phoenix and tagged James Henry Leigh Hunt, literature, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.