Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Decision on Pre-K

I know a lot of you have wondered about our decision not to put Cade in Pre-K this year.  We've talked with some of our friends and family about it, but wanted to clear the air for those of you who were still wondering.

A church discussion in Sunday School one Sunday got Tyler and me talking about whether or not it was right to enroll Cade in the state funded pre-k program that Georgia has.  Since it is funded by the lottery, Tyler was absolutely against it after we talked about the evils of gambling.  I felt uneasy.  I was thinking of our son.  For months we'd been telling him he would get to go to school.  I was looking forward to having a little more one-on-one time with Ali.  Plus, I thought it would just be good for him to have that social interaction with other kids his age.  I really wanted him to go to pre-k.  

In fact, I was so stubborn about it that I went out the next day to register him.  Tyler decided it wasn't a fight worth our marriage, so in a compromise, asked that we put him in a Montessori school (which I totally agreed with).  I thought I'd feel better after doing that, but I still felt uneasy.  There were a few things nagging at me about the discussion we had.  First, the church does not accept money from gambling winnings.  Why?  Because it is wrong.  There is a lot of good that could be done with that money, but it is the principle of the thing.  If they don't use it, should we?  That was a question that kept popping up in my mind.

Also, any time I would say to Tyler, "What difference is it going to make?  We are one family.  It's one kid that won't be using the money that is ALREADY there.  It is not going to make a bit of difference if we use it."

"True," he said.  "It's not going to make any difference to the school or the state if we use that money or not.  But what kind of difference is it going to make in our family?  To our children?"  Hmmm.

All day, those thoughts were going through my mind.  I finally decided to do a little research.  I went to the Church's website and found a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks entitled, "Gambling - Morally Wrong and Politically Unwise."   The entire talk is very enlightening, but there was one part in particular that stood out to me.  He says, "A related technique of the adversary is to get people to focus so intently on the desirability of ends that they ignore the morality of means. Screwtape [from The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis] and his helpers could undercut the moral base of an entire society if they could just persuade citizens, bit by bit, to ignore or justify immoral means on the basis that the ends are good."

I felt this was the answer I had been looking for.  Immediately I knew that just because we are not the ones gambling, does not make it right.  The ends are good.  It is a good thing to put your kids in school.  BUT, pre-k is not required.  Right now, we have a choice.  And though we are not making one bit of difference with the legality of it all, we have an opportunity to teach our son about right and wrong.  I called the school and told them right away he would not be attending before I had time to talk myself out of it again and felt at peace - something I hadn't felt since this whole thing began.

We talked to Cade about it, and of course he was upset that he wasn't going to get to go to school.  But, eventually, he was ok with it.  Having had more time to think, I realized how happy I am that I get to keep him home for one more year before I send him out into the world on his own.  There is so much I have not prepared him for.  I know I'll never feel like he's ready for everything, but I've decided he's too young to be gone away from me all day.  In the meantime, he has his primary class on Sundays, play dates with friends, story time at the library and "pretend school" at home.  

I know that probably all of our friends are still going to be putting their kids in pre-k, and that is fine.  This was just a personal decision for our own family.  We in NO WAY think less of anyone who chooses to do pre-k. 

We also know that there are a lot of other programs the lottery sponsors that we don't know about.  We will cross those bridges as they come.

*This post is strictly to confirm to those of you who think we are crazy that we are.  Please do not leave nasty comments.  You are not going to change our minds on the matter.  


Jessica on July 3, 2009 at 8:28 AM said...

Good for you for researching everything and making a decision that you feel good about. That is admirable. I'm still not sure about Pre-K but it is for different reasons than you have. We'll see.

Cassidy on July 3, 2009 at 7:23 PM said...

Wow... I didn't even know that it was funded by the lottery. That just seems odd to me.

Some of my friends with older kids actually do a trade-off preschool at eachothers' homes. So you get the benefit of having him in a "class" but you take turns teaching a lesson or whatever. Maybe you could get together with some moms in your area/ward and do something like that. If you get enough involved you might only have to teach once every other week or something like that.

I guess that sounds a lot like a playgroup... but maybe focus more on learning numbers/letters/and all that other important stuff you learn in preschool...haha

Just a thought. Love you!

Winn Family on July 5, 2009 at 2:52 PM said...

Can I just say how pure you guys seem to me. I mean the activities you do, the choices you make, the conversations you just strive to live right no matter what...I like you guys lots!

AIMEE on July 13, 2009 at 1:19 AM said...

Just wanted to say Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading about what you guys are going through. 8)

Jay and Sherrie on July 26, 2009 at 11:09 PM said...

You guys are our heroes!

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