Tuesday, April 01, 2008

God's Harvard

I finally read God’s Harvard by Hanna Rosin, about Patrick Henry College.

If you are a conservative Christian, especially a homeschooler, and you want to know how the average secular Joe views what you believe and do, you must read this book! It was enlightening, to say the least.

This book really took me by surprise. I thought I would probably disagree with Rosin’s perspective in most instances but I found myself agreeing more often than not.

Of course the book is tainted with her view that it’s entirely bizarre to want to “reclaim culture” for Christ. No doubt the author took the most outlandish quotes (which, of course, are the more interesting ones) to put together her story. I felt like things could have definitely been presented in a more reasonable light. But that wasn’t Rosin’s goal. Having said that, I did feel like she was at least trying to be fair and she did say many good things about the kids at PHC.

In any event, this book really made me think about what I believe on a deeper level. In addition to Patrick Henry College, the author also addresses certain “movements” in homeschooling, such as ATI, David Barton, and courtship.

It was weird to read about some of the people I used to know—I started working for HSLDA the week before the first class at Patrick Henry started. Our lives intersected a bit and I became friends with some students and administrative staff and acquaintances with numerous others.

On a personal level, this book also brought to surface the person I used to be. When I was single and living on my own, I was a fairly ambitious person. I used to want to live in D.C. and work in government or public policy. One of the young women in this book reminded me of that old Amy.

It just so happened that, on the day I was reading about her life, my life was SOOO stay-at-home-momish. It was one of those days where I felt like I had been doing laundry non-stop for three days. What happened to that young woman I used to be, so full of life and energy?

It also didn’t help that my single 26-year-old sister had just been in town, full of vigor and adventure, without a care in the world, and with a fresh California tan.

Then there’s me. There are times these days that I feel so old and haggard.

Ultimately I wouldn’t change my life for anything and I’m really glad for my family and my current calling. But, at the same time, I won’t say that there aren’t disadvantages and everything is rosy all the time.

5 comments:

Ben, Kyri & Rachelle said...

I was very impressed with Rosin's book. There are things she can't "get" about Christians and I thought she had trouble with the real issues involved in the career/family debate for women. But she was very accurate. Generous. And fair to the debate(s) that is(are) going on in conservative evangelical culture today. I know of only two inaccuracies (she states that Bob Stacey said he was no longer going to homeschool which he says he never said and she said a female faculty member was forced to quit when she had a child--never happened). There may be more but I talked to several people who were interviewed and they were very impressed with her work.

And I totally relate to feeling very "stay-at-home momish" and reflecting somewhat nostalgically on all that youthful ambition and energy. But I wouldn't really change anything. Well, I wish I didn't look so haggard. :)

Heather L. said...

I'm glad you read the book! See what I mean? She's really good at getting you to agree with her perspective! We'll have to discuss this in person sometime...so fascinating!

Catherine said...

Great recommendation, I want to read this book!

And I also identify with your points about feeling haggard and wondering where your energetic young 20s self went. I find myself feeling that way a lot now that I see my old college friends on facebook, and I wonder what happened to that girl they knew!

Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation, there are those of us working in big firms, getting plenty haggard and fat and pale, making no difference in the world, working 60 hour weeks and most weekends, and getting our rears chewed by bosses for not toadying up to clients enough and not billing 70-80 hours a week.

What you're seeing is the end of youthful idealism... life will catch up to you no matter where you are.

Tony and Natalie said...

Well, as I am approaching my 30th high school reunion, I look back on my homeschooling days, when I left the system engineering world at IBM behind, and have very few regrets. Other than, maybe I should have taught this subject differently or, when my college age children tell me how they worked out of an assignment. I realize they outsmarted me from time to time, but perhaps that was part of their education as well. Now, my son is engaged and applying to med schools. Both of the older children are heading to Uganda this summer for a mission trip. My daughter is studying abroad in Lithuania next fall. And, I am still in the same place I was 10 years ago, doing the same thing with their little sister. In hindsight I can see the impact that I have had on their lives and others simply because I was here and available. I know my children. This is priceless.
Oh, and IBM hasn't missed me; their computers and services and products are still being delivered, but not at the expense of my family.