Watching Agendas

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I watched the pilot of a show last night. While the show was enjoyable overall, it was annoying to see the typical stereotypes regurgitated once again. Most notably for this blog: There was a homeschooled kid who was "socially awkward" according to the school principal and came from a religiously repressive background where the parents were "shielding him" from worldly evils which led to the current drama because he had developed the hots for one of his teachers. Just like my high school experience.



Not at all.

Now, as a filmmaker, I totally get that conflict is the lifeblood of drama. I understand that you need to have tension and that lust and murder are two very powerful forms of conflict. But... I don't know. There comes a point where the cliche is mundane and the stereotypes play out in monotone. Perhaps that's why they started writing shows about polar bears on topical islands...

Where was I?

Right: Agendas. I don't think the creators of this show have an agenda against homeschoolers or the hyper religious. They were merely using hyper religious homeschoolers as a convenient way to do what they wanted to do; namely, entertain the masses. But in so doing they betrayed a secret: They really don't know much about homeschoolers.

My fear is that, as religiously influenced homeschoolers, we may be betraying reality for many of the same reasons. We don't exactly have an agenda, but we're happy to paint a less-than-accurate picture to serve our end goal; namely, give our children the education we think is best for them.

And so our agenda may be something entirely other than the actual outcome. By focusing on quickly entertaining the masses, television producers almost accidentally push another agenda. How often have we, in our focus to teach our children truths we hold dear, accidentally pushed a different agenda?

It's certainly something to at least consider as we strive to instill in our children a life-long desire to learn.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

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  1. Katie

    You bring up a good point. There is a balancing act going on. Sheltering innocent minds from the junk that is going on in the world so they can learn to trust and love, but not sheltering them too long, not defying truth for the sake of shelter. It is not an easy task, and no matter how much is written into an instructors guide, we need the Holy Spirit first and foremost. :) But I still love the instructors guides.

  2. Mrs. C

    Not stereotypical enough, Luke. It would complete the picture if it turned out the entire "act" the child put on in school were a homeschool psychology experiment he needed to conduct before he wrote his thesis and Mom printed out his PhD at Kinko's. :)

  3. Robin E.

    The mainstream media (tv, movies, and books) showing homeschoolers as socially awkward is really starting to get old. Well... Now that I really think about it, maybe they are socially different compared to most public school student. I mean, I actually enjoy spending time with many homeschooled teenagers I know (and I don't just mean my own), and I can't think of a single public schooled teenager that I would seek out for a conversation the way I went out of my way to chat with a couple homeschooled teens this morning. Hmmm.

  4. bmtt

    Hi Luke,

    Thought I'd weigh in on "religiously influenced homeschoolers"? Earlier today, I heard two anti-vax Christian moms refer to themselves as "delayed selective vaccinators." All this
    "political correctness" from Christian conservatives?; I can't handle it - lol. :) I don't get it. Why run from the obvious? Homeschooling *is* dominated by the "hyper" religious (and not the lukewarm(?) "religiously influenced" types). It is what it is, right?

    Michelle just made my other point: Homeschoolers do a lot of stereotyping themselves. PS kids are mind-numbed robots; homeschooled kids love to learn, yada, yada. But, why provide more examples here when we have an entire "Bitter List." :(

    Anecdote: Years back, when I was a hyper religious hs'er, I enrolled my DD(7) in classes at a Christian homeschool ISP to which we belonged. We stopped classes because my daughter complained that too many of the kids were disruptive - and "talked back to the teachers." This from the daughter of parents who don't believe in spanking children. Woe to stereotypes.

    Sorry about the long comment <:O


  5. AnaChile

    Very, very, very good point.
    I wonder how able is one to see what is going to be the actual outcome of what one does, before it is "done"?

  6. Luke

    Katie, totally not an easy task. It is way too hard to see biases/agendas and their outcomes. May we all walk in the grace and wisdom we need.

    Hmm... good point, Mrs. C. What were those television writers thinking!?! <smile>

    Robin, that is an interesting idea: Perhaps homeschoolers are stereotype as "awkward" not because they are--necessarily--but because they are simply different. I like that.

    True, Michelle, "bias" is probably more accurate. Though, I think, our biases push us toward an agenda... even if we don't realize it. And that is the scary/important detail I was trying to convey. And you make a great point: Stereotypes, sadly, cut both ways. I've caught myself too often employing them myself and I should know better.

    Fair enough, Lynn. Homeschooling probably is overpopulated by radicals and wide-eyed fanatics. <smile> ...of course, not everyone who homeschools is such. I'm more radical and fanatical than some, and not nearly enough for others. So I tried to keep my wording within the theme and left it at "religiously motivated" because I was talking to those of us who, for one reason or another to whatever extreme, are biased by our beliefs. And I love long comments! So, leave them as often as you like <smile>.

    Ana, sadly I don't think we can know the outcome before it's done. May we, as I said above, have the wisdom and grace we need to do what is best and right.