"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Intellectual Friendships (Part 3 of 4)

For our husbands...

In the everyday course of intellectual friendship, friends share with each other their moments of insight, present them to each other for testing. Such moments in turn require us to reconsider not just that discrete matter, but everything else in our view of the whole that touches upon the matter....As Socrates knew twenty-five centuries ago, the normal mean for penetrating further and synthesizing our knowledge is dialogue. Intellectual friendship consists in a great ocean of dialogue and discussion and those who have tasted it know it is among the highest human pleasures. - Mark C. Henri

As home schooling families go, I think we are pretty normal. Mom (the teacher) plans and executes most of the school activities with Dad (the principle) giving his approval to the plan and execution. The kids enjoy (or perhaps not) the fruits of the above agreement. Usually (not always) this is the arrangement. I have a few friends where the Dad is the primary teacher. I also have friends where one or more of the children attend school outside the home.

As part of this arrangement, Mom belongs to a support group of some type to help further develop herself and get some support on this journey. The kids may belong to a co-op, attend book clubs or other home school activities with an educational emphasis.

Who is left out of this equation? Dad. Well, perhaps Dad works outside the house. Is it fair to say he will find someone at work with whom he can discuss the books he just read about by G. K. Chesterton or Rod Dreher? Perhaps he wants to discuss religion or politics? In the current economic situation where jobs hang precariously on the brink of being outsourced, it seems that our men have to hang their conservative hats at the door and be "politically correct" at work or risk being disciplined for harassment or discrimination.

So where's the dad to go? I hope the church or political party of choice provides some outlet, but that is not always the case. I think the home school dad feels a pull and uneven responsibility compared to dads of kids that are schooled. Maybe I am wrong. I think the Dad feels obligated to get Mom out of the house because she's been there all day long with the kids and she deserves a break. Dads deserve one, too, because besides working all day, dealing with the demands of providing for a large family (at least in our case) as well as trying to maintain or advance their careers takes a toll. Then, once they are home they feel the pull to be Dad and Husband. They, too, need time to read, silently reflect, pray and discuss things intellectually with other men.

They deserve time to foster and develop intellectual relationships. However, my husband has found that difficult. Most dads are in the same spot as my husband. I think. Work (Employee/Manager/insert-work title-here). Home (Dad and Husband). Repeat 4 more times. Home (Dad and Husband). Church (Dad and Husband, still) and Home(Dad and Husband). Perhaps things will improve as our children age. One of the few hobbies my husband has is watching "guy movies" in the "man cave." He invites other dads over to watch. He would like to discuss them, but the other men are Dads and Husbands that feel obligated to get back home to their families rather than stay and discuss the movie.

So, what does the man of your family do for intellectual friendships? I'm all ears. I would like to see what others have done to satisfy this important need.

No comments: