They are a fact of life, and, in some ways, vital to our ability to function. Without stereotypes we would be forced to experience everything as brand new, completely unique, and utterly foreign. Every encounter would be a jumble of questions and discovery that would leave us exhausted at the end of the day.
"Will that two-year-old speak to me as an informed adult, or in gibberish?"
"Does the girl ringing up my purchase want a hug, or should I just smile?"
"Does that kid on the skateboard with piercings all over want to be engaged in a conversation about Calculus, or should I keep things 'chill' instead?"
Granted, the child may be eloquent, the girl may actually like hugs, and the skater boy may be very adept at Calculus. In fact, there's even a wildly popular TV show based around building up stereotypes and then taking them apart.
And so, while very useful--and the foundation of quite a bit of comedy--stereotypes aren't always accurate or helpful.
There are many of these less than ideal stereotypes surrounding homeschoolers... and Christians... and as a Christian who was homeschooled and then went off to a Christian University, sometimes I wonder how many of those stereotypes are closer to reality than would be ideal. And how much of a positive impact do I have on others, especially since I know my own foibles and failures all too well? How much real, positive change has my life had because of who I am, what I believe, and what I've been through?
Today I read about a book that seems to provide some interesting insight into the Christian side of things (sorry, it's not really about homeschooling at all). This book is written by a young man raised in a liberal secular home who decided to spend a semester at Liberty University. The review is fascinating enough, but I'm guessing the book will really open our eyes.
May all of us--Christian, atheist, homeschooled, public school teacher, or otherwise--learn that we may be wrong about our assumptions and our stereotypes may be off. And may we all embody the good aspects of our particular groups' stereotypes in a way that inspires love and good-will.
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father