Friday, April 29, 2011

Together as a family.. again

Reporting in live from St. Louis, MO.

Between enjoying all of the facebook and media buzz about the Royal Wedding, and the beautiful sunny day in St. Louis, we had the added pleasure of having our sleep-deprived college son fly in for the big National Robotics Competition.

So, we are enjoying the home of Scott (Will's brother) and Liz (his wife) and their kids.  Half of our family is downtown at the hotel, and the rest of us are here at the house.  Jamie finished his first year of college and took his flight here (instead of going directly home) and has been sleeping almost the entire time.

Joanna and Hudson are directly involved with Robotics, and their team (2039) is ranked 18th out of 80 as of tonight.  There is one more day of competition.

After lunch, Jamie, Nathanael, Emily and I went up into the arch and enjoyed the beautiful day.  Did you know you can ride a tram up (inside) of the arch and see the whole city?  Pretty amazing.  and clausterphobic. but great, all the same.

While we were waiting in line, there was an Amish looking family right behind us.  Is it possible to see one of these families and not think: cute?  I think not.  Anyway, I went ahead and started talking to them because that is what I do.

"So, are you Amish?"
"No. We are Mennonite."
"Oh, so did you have to take the horse and buggy all the way here from the farm?"
"No. We actually have a car."
"Oh.  We took a car also.  I suppose that is what you expected, eh?"

(I am a genius with words, you know..)

In the meantime, I am wondering where on earth they would park a horse and buggy downtown St. Louis.

So, then I asked them, "Do you homeschool?"
(Keep in mind that they did not initiate any conversation with me.  They just kept answering questions.  As my husband says: did they enjoy their interrogation?)

So they affirmed that yes, they did homeschool.

And then I added, "We homeschool also."

I know already what they were thinking. Do they let the heathen homeschool? I was wearing pants and big boingy jewelry.  The boys looked normal.  But Emily.  O.K. Emily dressed herself this morning.  She had on a  colorful top and pants, a toothless grin, a kitty hat on, and tennis shoes ON THE WRONG FEET, with a big beaded necklace and a large backpack.  The purple kitty hat was a knit hat with the big ears flopping and strings hanging, with little tufts of straw-blonde hair peeking out the sides.  A sight. indeed.

And if they had been listening to our conversation (BEFORE) the interrogation, I was grilling Jamie about his current G.P.A. and what teachers were leaving at Hallstrom, and how Nathanael needs to join Math Olympiad for "bullet points" for his resume/ college aps and all this other worldly "stuff"..  I guess we don't sound like homeschoolers, except that in this day and age, they come in all shapes and sizes and levels of heathenism.

And you all know that we are Christian.  My levels of heathenism extend into this: dressing as normally as possible and educating our children beyond highschool.  Well, I guess teaching pilates might put some people over the edge also, but that is getting more and more accepted.

But I'm not the kind of Christian who looks at the outward appearance except to the degree that it reflects what is in the heart.  And what is in someone's heart is very evident (to me, at least) more so on what they say and how they say it.  Their attitude will often be reflected by their clothes, but it can not be hid from their faces.  I can tell just by looking at someone's eyes what they are thinking or struggling with.  I can tell if they have Christ, or if they are faking it.  Granted, I am not 100% on my conclusions.  But it is scary the degree to which I can guess things about people.  But I digress.

When I told them that I homeschooled, they did ask what curriculum I used, which I assume was a round about way of figuring out if we had any faith beliefs.  And I hope they were pleased to find out that there are friendly people who love the Lord, even when they leave the farm and their community.  And strangers aren't such bad people after all--in fact, some of us are kind of funny!

So, the real moral of this story is that no one is safe from the organizing mommy, even if you are trying to hide behind a Mennonite outfit. LOL.


Ruby said...

Isn't it amazing ~ and wonderful ~how many folk one meets these days who turn out to be homeschoolers and the diversity among them. When I began nearly twenty years ago people where surprised that we did not were long dresses and waist length hair. That was the image of the homeschooler back then. Maybe not horse and buggy but definately piles of kids and living in social isolation. It is nice that the stereotype is fading.

Mrs. Parunak said...

I wouldn't be too quick to assume that other Christians (even the ones who look Amish, ahem, like at least one of your loyal readers) don't also have that sixth sense about other people and whether they have Christ or not. I think that the vast majority of true, sincere Christ-followers know that there is a big difference between a personal conviction about best practices and what is actually necessary for salvation. For example, I get the impression you are part of an assembly, but I KNOW you are well aware that there are lots of people who love the Lord who don't celebrate a Remembrance meeting every week or rotate through a bunch of different speakers. Those folks might have been tickled to meet another homeschooling family. I always am, despite my long dress and headcovering.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

How funny!

Cracking up about the stereotypes. Seems you either have to be the denim-jumper, long-hair, grind-your-own-wheat, prairie-muffin homeschoolers


you're supposed to be the totally isolated, socially inept, GEEK family,


the uber-intellectual, Harvard/MIT-bound (on a full-ride scholarship, brainiac.

So nice to know that there are a bunch of us who are basically just


The Boojes said...

Hey, sorry we missed you while you were here, but I figured you were busy, busy! We saw some robotics teams around town and thought of you all. How did your team do?

Organizing Mommy said...

the team finished 10th, but it didn't get picked for the finals. It was fun and exausting. Great time with family. Sorry we missed you guys.