June 10, 2013
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director

Beaming with Paternal PrideMy daughter, Ashton is a lovely 17 year old whom I affectionately refer to as mini-me.  For years she rejected the idea that she was like her dad.  Over time, she realized it was unavoidable.

She is a younger, female version of me.  Sure, she is her own person, but we share very similar personalities – we are both aggressive, abrasive, loud, obnoxious, and very, very opinionated.

Since we’ve lived outside the USSA for a few years now, we decided last year to enroll her in a private online school for expats.  It is much like online university that is so popular nowadays, but this is for the grade-school crowd.

Last week I was paid one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.

You see, Ashton received an email from her US History teacher that read, “This sounds like you have been raised by an anarchist.”

This note was in response to one of Ashton’s journal entries she made answering a question from the teacher. 

The question from the teacher read, “Explain reasons why the business and labor practices of the Robber Barons were unfair.”

My little mini-me’s response was;

“I believe that the business and labor practices of the Robber Barons, or leaders of the corporate world, were undoubtedly vicious, but I do not believe they were unfair. Many of these men came from humble beginnings, slaving away at their dream of controlling a particular industry. Is that so unjust? They came from the same background as many of their workers, but somehow managed to make it to the top. They should be commended for their perseverance and hard work. Our country has this obsession with “what is fair” and making everyone feel good about themselves by placing a metaphorical gold star on everyone’s work. I believe that many people in the media back then, just as they do today, would twist the truth in order create villains out of these successful entrepreneurs and find someone to place the blame upon. Wake up, America. Life isn’t always fair.”

This is the moment every parent waits for.  The moment you realize your offspring actually starts to “get it”.  All those years of discussing economics and entrepreneurship at the dinner table seems to have finally paid off. 

I do find the nature of the teacher’s question a bit humorous though.  It was clearly written to lead the students toward a desired answer.  The teacher is asking the students to explain WHY – not IF, but WHY – the labor practices were unfair. 

Let me say that overall, I do think this online school for expats does a pretty good job. It is a private school, not state funded and run by expats who have a much more worldly view than the state indoctrination camps, also known as public schools.

But this type of questioning is just plain irritating.  This teacher is subtly (or not so subtly) trying to project their own personal views on the students and help “guide” their minds as opposed to allowing them the ability to disagree with their viewpoint and dispute their claim.

Luckily my stubborn, opinionated daughter didn’t fall for the teacher’s ploy and took the opportunity dispute the claim regardless.  And this is where one of my best compliments ever emerged – although I doubt it was intended to be complementary. 

My view, as a parent, is it’s my job to raise my children to be curious.  They should question everything.  (Except me, of course, because I’m always right.)

I just don’t understand the mentality of those who can be satisfied with the “status quo”.  How can one listen to a politician, preacher, teacher or anyone else sitting in a perceived position of authority and just accept the garbage that spews from their mouths?

Beaming with Paternal Pride I cannot fathom the idea of raising my kids to just “accept” and follow like a good little sheep. 

This broken way of thinking is a huge burden on human progress.  Looking back in history, all great breakthroughs came from people who refused to just “accept”.  They were thinkers and doers. 

Not sheep.

And yet we still send our kids to these indoctrination camps to “educate” them?  Really? 

Do you also teach your kids to talk to the invisible man in the sky who grants magical wishes as long as you follow his rulebook and give him money?

These indoctrination camps do nothing but create the next generation of worker slaves.  The entire concept of public education today was created at the dawn of the industrial revolution and its stated purpose was to train workers for the factories. 

Hello, people!  We don’t live in the industrial age anymore. 

Do you really want to educate your kids for the world ahead? 

Teach them foreign languages.  Take them to different parts of the world to experience different cultures.  Have them read great literature and thought provoking non-fiction. 

Teach them to ask questions.  Teach them to be curious.