The Un-Neighborly Neighbor

Back to School?

Imagine moving into a new neighborhood with your family and immediately having your children invited to the neighbor's house on the corner.

Everybody in the neighborhood raves about this family. You notice that they live in the biggest and most expensive house on the street and pay someone to mow their lawn. One day you take time to visit this family and discover that they are actually pretty nice. Not only that, you notice that almost all the kids in the neighborhood come to their house on a regular basis, so after some consideration you finally agree to let your children spend some time there like everyone else.

The first few visits seem to go nicely. Your children come home all excited about the fun things they got to do and the really neat playmates your neighbor has. They talk for hours about what they did, who they met and how much they like the neighbors.

But after awhile you begin to notice a change in your children. It seems that following each visit with the neighbors, your children come home a little more morose and a little bit withdrawn.

Eventually, when you ask them what they did at the neighbor's house each day they just shrug their shoulders and say, "I don't know."

Now, time you used to spend together in the evening is spent alone. Your children's free time is taken up working on projects your neighbor has asked them to do. Even your weekends are interrupted by games and parties your neighbor has planned for them without consulting you. To make matters worse, your neighbor has begun to ask you to chip in for the expenses he has had as a result of your children's visits.

One day you are having a meal with your children, and you remind them of church the next day. Suddenly, your son blurts out, "I don't want to go to church anymore. Our neighbor says there is no God. He says people who believe in God are morons and that they will believe in anything, even fairies and leprechauns."

You are shocked and cannot believe what your child has just told you. You then ask, "Just what else is our neighbor filling your heads with?"

For the next two hours they tell you.

Your neighbor doesn't believe in creation; he believes that people evolved from slime. The earth, according to your neighbor, is a living, breathing god that must be worshipped and cared for at all costs, even if it inconveniences or hurts the human population.

He believes that there is no right or wrong, no absolutes and no such thing as judgment. He has told the children that they alone must make their decisions and choose what is right or wrong in their own eyes, no matter what anyone else thinks, including their parents.

He believes being married is an old fashioned concept and that sex apart from marriage is the sensible approach. "How else," he argues, "can you be sure that you are compatible?"

He even believes that sex is fine with anyone, anytime and anywhere. And if that isn't enough, he has been telling your children that men having sex with men and women having sex with women is perfectly acceptable. He has even encouraged your children to think of it as a viable option for themselves!

When your children have expressed opinions contrary to your neighbor's or questioned his belief system, he has informed them that they are narrow thinkers and intolerant.

As a matter of fact, during several of their visits, your neighbor was kind enough to use a banana to demonstrate to your sons and daughters how to use protection when on a date. He has offered counseling, free products and finally, his generosity overflowed as he offered to drive them to an abortion clinic and get them an abortion if ever the protection broke.

What would you do if you were the parent? Would you ever let your children go near his house again? Of course not!

Then why are we sending our children to the public school? The very scenario I described takes place every day in the public school system, subjecting our children to a daily dose of this "neighborly" kindness.

I am convinced that parents love their children"so why would they tolerate this abuse of not only their children, but their family autonomy and parental authority?

Is it because they have gotten used to the free time they have had while their children are at "the neighbors"?

Has convenience won over common sense and moral outrage?

Having our children visit this neighbor daily provides some undeniable benefits. Parents can use this time to shop, go back to school themselves and even get a job to bring in some extra money to spend on their kids.

They can fill up this time with charity work and provide extended family care to their own parents. There are benefits to be sure. Yet, there is a price.

Even when parents realize that the friendship and bond they shared with their children before they started going to the neighbors has been systematically destroyed, they refuse to cut off the visits.

Just the thought of keeping the children at home and away from the neighbor is unsettling because parents realize their children are strangers to them.

The affection and devotion that was once reserved for only the parents is now poured out on "the neighbor" and the many playmates that daily gather in his home. They don't communicate well anymore. They don't see eye to eye on major issues anymore.

There is a wall or barrier between the parent and the child that seems impenetrable and the thought of trying to break it down is frightening.

What's more, for years the "neighbor" has convinced parents that the time spent with them is superior to what could be accomplished if the children spent the same time with their parents.

So the easiest thing is to ignore what your "neighbor" is doing to your children and hope for the best. And that is not too difficult to do. After all, they are "nice people" who mean well!

How could you hope to compete with such a wealthy neighbor? You can tell yourself that by letting your children go to your neighbor's house today, they might someday get an invitation to an even bigger and better neighbor's house further away.

And you convince yourself and them that going to your neighbor's house is the only way they will be able to get a good job when they are adults.

You rationalize, justify and moralize until there is a "Columbine" and nothing could have prepared you for this. Children are screaming, parents are searching, SWAT teams are positioning and administrators are backpedaling.

As you watch the images of children lying in their own blood on the sidewalk and being dangled out a second story window of their neighbor's house you thank God that nothing like that has happened at your neighbor's house... yet.

For the weeks and months that follow you listen to the experts. Surely they will give you answers. Instead, this is where common sense gives way to the ridiculous.

The experts recommend metal detectors, tougher gun laws, armed police stationed at every door in your neighbor's house and the solution to beat all solutions: mandating that the neighborhood kids who visit the neighbor must wear pants with a waist size not to exceed two inches of their actual waist.

"This!" declares the experts, "will protect our children while they are spending time with 'the neighbor.'"

Has it occurred to anyone that it might be time to stop letting our children visit the neighbor's house?

Our children have been massacred for years at our neighbor's house with the systematic destruction of their moral, spiritual, emotional and sexual beings, but we did not see it until there was blood.

Has it occurred to anyone that it is time to end this 150-year-old experiment with our children?

For thousands of years families successfully educated their children at home without a "neighbor."

And with the advent of the Internet, correspondence schools, satellite schools and hundreds of curricula to choose from, parents are without excuse.

Vicki Brady is the host of "Homeschooling USA," a national radio broadcast, and the author of The Basic Steps to Successful Homeschooling and Quiet Moments for Homeschool Moms and Dads.

To get a copy of her free newsletter and find out about affiliates near you, call 1-888-459-1717.