Her knees -- pushed up toward her chest -- barricade her face behind the couch pillow. Another pillow perches on her head. She's hiding while she talks. Silly as it may be, it makes her feel safe. "I feel like I'm being replaced," she says. "It's like high school all over again."
I've started calling these socialization ills. These are problems that arise from bad socialization. Frequently the wounds are inflicted in middle and high school. Today, years after graduating, she still feels threatened any time someone copies her, intentionally or not. Why? Because she felt pushed out of every group in high school. Unwanted. Replaced. Worthless. The pain still clings to her.
She's not alone. My wife becomes visually distraught when she has to walk the halls of a high school. She was homeschooled but her bad experiences with the church cliques in junior high and high school haunt her even now. And if my level-headed wife who can put up with my antics is indelibly scarred by her experience in youth group, homeschoolers aren't automatically safe. The problem is a social one.
I am not advocating that you keep your child home without any outside input. Multiple teachers are fantastic. I'm not suggesting that you hide away from pain or bad ideas. We have no need for a bunker mentality. And I'm certainly not suggesting that your kids shouldn't have friends. Homeschoolers can make plenty of friends. But I am saying, once again, that groups of peers left to their own devices can cause harm even to the popular kids.
This post is more about my ongoing observations. I don't think I have any brilliant conclusions to share. My purpose is not to convince you to do one thing or another. But as I see more clearly the serious damage inflicted on us by silly social lies, I find it ever more important that we speak truth to our kids -- both our biological offspring and the young God brings into our lives.
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian