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Living in Liberty By Diana Waring

Freedom in relationshipsthe amazing impact freedom brings to relationshipsthats where we are going in this column, but we have to start with a brief history lesson from Russia. When we talk about a family living in liberty,! "uestions inevitably arise concerning parentalor even churchauthority. #o, before the "uestions begin, consider a real$life e%ample of what can happen when authority and freedom collide outside the bounds of love. &n the '())s, an ancient political theory known as anarchy an absence of government and the absolute freedom of the individual!became popular, especially in Russia. *elieving that authority and freedom could not peacefully coe%ist, and given the brutal conditions of life under the tsar, many Russian anarchists chose to use violence against rulers in their attempt to gain political freedom during an authoritarian age. &t is fascinating to note that the tutor of +sar ,le%ander &&& viewed the Western form of political liberty -defined as free from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on ones way of life, behavior, or political views!. as dangerous/' +he end result of the rising tensions between individuals and groups who were seeking freedom! and authoritarian rulers who were keeping control! of the masses was the destabilization of Russia, a ma0or factor in the overthrow of the tsar and the success of the 1ctober Revolution by communists in '2'3. ,ssuming that you do not reign as a tsar in your home, your children are probably not going to seek the absolute freedom of anarchy/ 1n the other hand, if your children are born free and running wild,! will they discover the safety and 0oy that come from a *iblical model of parental authority4 +he challenge we each face is to discover the middle ground5 appropriate liberty for our children with an appropriate authority for us as their parents and to develop both of these with ' 6orinthians '7$style love. +o help with the discovery process, heres a bit of our storylessons learned in the homeschool of hard knocks.! ,s a young parent, having never been around children much, & was astonished by all the ways my kids could find to upset my apple cart. From accidentally breaking a hand$thrown bowl -my one victory in a semester of learning how to use a potters wheel. to intentionally leaving a mess in the kitchen, from arguing over whose turn it was to sit in the front seat to criticizing each others singing, the number of things that could go wrong when kids were involved was mind$boggling. #o, being the mom in a mess, & decided that what my kids needed were rules/ 8ots of them . . . rules for every common condition and every potential problem. &f they invented a new mistake outside the current set of rules, & would "uickly invent a new rule in hopes of covering every trouble and circumstance. & was actually starting to feel good, en0oying the sense of being in control through enforcement of my limitless lists of rules. 9y children, however, were not feeling as good. &n fact, they were being increasingly wrapped up in a strait0acket as & added new rules at every turn5 From now on, you must always . . . ! and From now on, you will never again . . . ! and :urry up/! and #low down/! etc., etc., etc. &m not sure how they would have actually made it to adulthood if my husband had not wisely stepped in to deal with the situation as it was getting out of hand. *eing a man of few words, *ill simply looked at me one day and said, ;iana, too many rules.! :uh4! +oo many rules.!

&m not getting it. ;o you mean to say a person can have too many rules44444! Well, according to <alatians =5'>, there is really only one rule we actually need for life5 8ove each other.! &t was too simple. 6ould love actually be the one and only, the rule to cover every situation, circumstance, difficulty, disagreement4 9uch to my amazement, as we began talking through the concept of putting love into practice and addressing the issues & was facing in parentingand our children began learning to put love into practice with each other, not only to solve problems now but to learn how to handle life as adults& discovered that it was, in fact, the only rule that we actually needed. & had to look at the children as persons made in <ods image, not as crowds to be controlled? as my dear ones, not as anarchists. Which is more relational, to scream #low down and dont be so clumsy/! or to suggest When we deal with precious things, there is a carefulness we need5 me for your stuff and you for other peoples stuff!4 +he freedom is in learning to love, and learning to love gives rise to care for others and the things others care about. Rules that come from truth without grace harshly demand, ;ont touch pottery/ ;ont touch/! +hose kinds of rules give birth to resistance and defiance. When the "uestion What have you done4! is yelled with anger, the answer is hard to find. 8iving in liberty asks, with kindness in ones heart, Were you being careful and looking for a loving way to do things4! When the "uestion is asked with the fruit of the #pirit, the answer can more easily be voiced. What we will discover over time is that using our freedom to love is powerful. When & have shared this story at homeschool conventions, often someone raises the "uestion of whether or not we had rules governing what time our kids went to bed and whether they brushed their teeth. 1f course we had practices in place for everyday life. *ut what had been my ever$growing set of rules for handling conflict and resolving troubles was wisely replaced by the 1ne Rule for human relationships5 8ove your neighbor as yourself. @ndnote5 Aenneth #cott 8atourette. 6hristianity in a Revolutionary ,ge, Bolume &&, 9ichigan5 Condervan, '2=2, page >='. Diana Waring, author of Beyond Survival, Reaping the Harvest, and History Revealed curriculum, discovered years ago that the key to education is relationship. Beginning in the 80s, Diana homeschooled her children through high schoolproviding the real life opportunities to learn ho! kids learn. "entored #y educators !hose focus !as to honor $im !ho created all learners, and !ith an international #ackground %#orn in &ermany, B. '. in (rench), Diana has #een enthusiastically received #y audiences on four continents. 6opyright D)'D, used with permission. ,ll rights reserved by author. 1riginally appeared in the Eune D)'D issue of *he +ld ,choolhouse- "aga.ine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.+1#, to read the magazine on your mobile devices.