A. Ray Lee ss

Gatekeepers 

A. Ray Lee

Columnist 

My oldest daughter Laura and I were finishing our evening meal at a small restaurant. It had been a long day for her as she had spent the day working in Birmingham. She had not arrived at my house until 6:00 pm. Deciding to eat out we left her little dog Letty at Dogie daycare with my Sophie for another hour so we could enjoy a meal that neither of us had prepared. 

We were finishing our food and sipping the last of our tea and coke when the hostess ushered in a group of five. The restaurant was crowded and she rearranged two small tables near our booth to seat them. As my eyes turned their way, I did a double take as I looked at a neatly dressed group obviously celebrating a special occasion. It did not take a genius to recognize the group was composed of a mother and her four daughters. Each of the daughters, which I estimated ranged in age from about fifteen to six years, looked like a mirror image of her mother and sisters. 

As they were seated, and began discussing the menu, I wondered what the occasion could be. They were not carrying any gayly wrapped packages so that ruled out a birthday party. Without prompting they had seated themselves in order of age next to the mother from the youngest to the oldest as if this were a permanent arrangement so the oldest daughter could assist with her younger sisters.  

Thinking upon these things as we drove away, a moment of inspiration convinced me this was a home school group celebrating the end of another term. Their mother was their teacher and their siblings were their classmates. A few days later I knew I had been right when I spoke briefly to several mothers and children of homeschoolers who had come together as the end of the semester drew near.  

There are some families who for various reasons choose homeschooling over public education. For some, this is a satisfactory arrangement while others do not find it satisfying. At any rate, it changes the activities of an entire family and places a great responsibility upon the designated teacher to ensure the children receive a quality education. There are real challenges to be faced that a home school teacher may find daunting.  He or she becomes what Laura calls “Gate Keepers” through whom all things educational-wise must be filtered. 

Public educators are also charged as Gatekeepers for the minds of those whom we send to them daily. That includes matters of morality and character to guide them in life. The fact they do not always succeed has been graphically illustrated in the past weeks with events happening on the campuses of the nation’s so-called great institutions of education. 

As parents, you must be a gatekeeper of your children regardless of the method of schooling you choose.  

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