Monday, December 20, 2010


It has been the perfect storm here the last week.  Daddy has been working lots of hours, Mommy was recovering from gall bladder surgery and then--surprise!--came down with pneumonia and a sinus infection, we(finally) moved upstairs, leaving the downstairs in complete disaray, we had the fly car for the fire department, meaning one of us was responsible to respond to all calls from 6pm-6am for two weeks(in case you're wondering, we are a volunteer fire department, but we run about 800 calls a year), and in the middle of all this, Baby decided now was a perfect time to cut his first tooth.

Translated: I haven't slept in two weeks, and Baby has come very, very close to being an only child.

That last sentence isn't hyperbole.  We actually discussed, these last few weeks, limiting our family to only one child.  They were serious discussions.  We've truly thought about it.  I'm not a good homemaker; I can cook fairly well, but I don't really keep the house very clean and I get overwhelmed(um...and bored with) quickly anything even remotely domestic.  I know it drives my husband crazy that even being off work totally for 3 weeks, the house was still a mess and dinner was all-too-often takeout(in my defense, we have been really sick here).  More than once he not-so-subtly-hinted that sterilization might be in everyone's best interest.  But each time it came up, the discussion always ended with what we know to be true: our family is not complete yet.  We know there is someone missing.  How many someones?  We don't know, and we won't choose that.  We will continue having children, on whatever timetable they come, until we know that our family is complete. 

We are not Quiverfull(the term, loosely, meaning those who believe in never using any form of birth control, sterilization, natural family planning, etc, and having as many children as come until the wife naturally cannot conceive).  We may choose not to use any form of family planning, but we are both convinced that when all of our children are here, we will know it.  My parents had eight children.  They were not in any way, shape or form Quiverfull; children just kept coming.  And when my youngest sister came, they knew they were done.  It was nothing more than a peaceful, contented feeling--the feeling of oh, we're all here now. And my parents made sure that there would be no more children after that.  And we feel the same way--there is no predetermined amount of children we have in mind.  Perhaps we will have another child and know in our hearts that we're done.  Perhaps there are five or six or seven more children in our future before we know that our family is completed.  I don't know.  What I do know is that when we have that peace about our family, I will probably have a tubal ligation done(since I have to have c-sections now, it makes the most sense).  And we will go on with our lives, and there won't be any regrets.

I bring this all up because I have been watching the Quiverfull movement with interest for some time.  I have two major concerns with it: firstly, it isn't Biblical.  Whether people like it or not, the Bible really doesn't talk about birth control.  This movement takes two verses out of Psalms and builds an entire theology upon them. 

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:

and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

I don't have time here to detail why it is ridiculous to build a lifestyle and theology on two verses plucked from poetry, but the fact of the matter is that these verses are not talking about birth control.  They are simply stating that children are blessings.  To extrapolate from this that God does not ever desire one to use birth control is a stretch, especially since the subject of birth control is never really addressed.  God was very detailed in the Levitical laws, and nowhere is birth control(of which there is much archeological and historical evidence of use in Biblical times) mentioned.  If God could be so detailed as to what kind of fibers were okay to be mixed in clothes, I honestly think that pregnancy prevention would have found its way into the laws if it was that high on God's list of important subjects.

Besides the lack of Biblical evidence, the Quiverfull movement leaves out another important piece of Christian theology: the will of God being expressed to a particular individual.  I subscribed to the Quiverfull digest for two years while researching this subject.  Often on there someone would bring up that the Lord led them to move to this or that area, or to a certain job, or laid someone's needs in particular on their heart.  Often, women would write in terribly upset that their husbands(or the woman herself, or the couple) felt strongly that God had told them their family was complete.  Invariably, the responses back would be simply that they were not trusting God enough, that they were just afraid of finances or another pregnancy or what have you.  The logical disconnect here boggled my mind.  How can one be so sure of God's leading in one area of life, but completely a similarly strong leading in another?  Why could God tell one family to move cross-country, but be incapable of telling that family when their family was complete?  Eventually, of course, I realized that it would not fit in with the predominant theology, so the leading from God would be tossed out.

And this is my main concern about the Quiverfull movement: You cannot make your own doctrine.  If you accept God's leading in one area of life, you cannot reject it in another area because it doesn't match what you want the Bible to say.   If God is telling you that your family is complete, that you are all here now, and that perhaps you need to think about sterilization, then you need to listen to God--not a book, not a website, not your favorite blogs, not a pet doctrine or theology, not your best friend.  I find that QF'ers tend to like to twist Scripture and make their own theology and throw out all evidence to the contrary. 

So someday, our family will be complete.  We're pretty sure God will tell us when that is, and(sadly) I will have surgery done to prevent any more childbearing.  We don't know how many kids we'll have, but we do know that God is so much bigger than we are, so much bigger than any man-made doctrines or theologies or legalistic rules, and that if we toss out everybody else's opinions and listen to God's alone, we'll know when it's time. 
And it will be God's time, not ours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Homeschool dropouts

About a year ago, Vision Forum produced the movie, "Homeschool Dropouts." It is described as a movie discussing the alleged problem of second generation homeschoolers choosing different educational options for their children.  It is written, directed and starring the Botkin young adults.
The documentary begins with quotes from numerous young people citing dire statistics from their lives, stating how many(or few) of their friends plan on homeschooling.  "Many of my friends would look at homeschooling as a...scholastic option," one young lady says.  This seems to be the basic viewpoint, that homeschooling should not be viewed as an option, but "Biblical homeschooling and education" should instead be viewed as mandatory.  However, there is no source for these statistics, and it seems to be nothing more than anecdotal evidence.  After this, they attempt to make the documentary scholarly by looking at history. However,they once again drag out the old idea that "up until 150 years ago, home education was the norm." This is a
myth perpetuated constantly by homeschooling proponants.  The Botkins discuss early American colonial education, saying that "they had a vision for family education that was faithfully perpetuated by the Puritans."  They then go on to blame humanism, atheism, socialism and transcendentalism for the decline into "statist" education.  In all actuality, colonial children were not educated in the way we think of now.  Boys were taught how to read and write, and sent to dame schools taught by uneducated women in order to teach them basic literacy and prepare them for the town's school.  The reason for the dame schools was that the town schools would not accept students until they could read at least two-syllable words.  As for girls, if they were lucky enough to be sent to the dame schools, that was where their education would stop.
(Monaghan, E. Jennifer. "Literacy Instruction and Gender in Colonial New England." American Quarterly 40 (March 1988): 18–41.
Sugg, Redding S. Motherteacher: The Feminization of American Education. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978.)
Historical inaccuracy aside, Homeschool Dropouts never addresses the real question: what are the reasons for homeschool graduates for not homschooling? If it is such a superior educational method, then wouldn't second generation homeschoolers be the most likely people to homeschool? In fact, however, Elizabeth Botkin actually states that this documentary is not going to explore why second generation homeschoolers are not planning on homeschooling.  That doesn't matter.  What does matter is that we "look at our own sins and infidelities," according to Benjamin Botkin.  "If the ball falls, it is because we dropped it," he says.

Six traps that await the second generation:
1. We Don't seek God for ourselves
Benjamin Botkin blames "false piety," people who are not moral reprobates, but not "good kids," either.  From what I can tell, this means people who not feministic, atheistic socialists, but normal Christians who don't buy into the Botkins radicalism.  Audri Venier, now Benjamin Botkin's wife, states here that it is not enough to love Christ, but that one must live a life according to Christ's word. 
2. Deliberate lawlessness
I am not entirely certain what they are discussing here.  They attempt to differentiate between "good" and "righteous," but again they simply seem to say that if you're not desiring to live like them, you're good, but not righteous. Anna Sophia does seem to say that you can dress a certain way, think a certain way, and do certain outward activities, but if it doesn't come from a conviction from God, it isn't real.  This I actually agree with, but she doesn't go far enough to actually come out and say it. Ezekial 16:49
3. Pride
A focus on superiority because one was homeschooled as opposed to their public schooled peers.  Here, I could actually agree with it, but it goes against what they stated early, which was that second generation homeschoolers are ashamed of having been homeschooled. They also state that homeschoolers, since they may be more educated than their parents, may think they know more than their parents.
Another interview with Audri.  She states that recently she developed a theology that allowed her to pursue her own interests, in her case, performing cello.  She felt that she needed to go to a big name school in order to do that, since God has given her a musical gift.  Audri thought that using her talent and performing cello would bring glory to God, but has since realized that dream was prideful and self-glorifying.  She has, presumably as she is now married to Ben Botkin, realized that the only thing she can do to bring glory to God is to be a stay at home wife, submissive to her husband, and homeschooling a multitude of children. 
4. Not knowing how to engage the world
Becoming distracted and absorbed by a fake world, so we can get loss in fake action, fake dominion and fake battles.  They cite video games.  They also cite music, and homeschoolers who listen and perform what is popular and cool, instead of...what? The Botkins never say, but I can only assume classical music and hymns.
5. Laziness and complacency
Pursuing a liberal arts education, wage slave employment, and a non challenging church environment.  They cite these as the "easy way out."  They interview a friend, Jordan Muela, who was public schooled.  He blames public school for him not knowing time management as an adult.  David Noor then states we are to glorify God with our bodies, and that we have to be completely committed...but to what? They keep using war terminology, but they never say what they are at war against.
6. We are bitter instead of grateful. 
Audri, again, states that she had an atittude problem, since she despised and resented the homeschool culture(look, community, and activities).  She realized, she said, that there was a standard and it was not what she wanted.  But again, this is never drawn out.  From what I can read between the lines, they are decrying children who think differently from their parents, children who want to "leave their parents and chart their own course."  One of the Botkin boys adds on, "We think that by not following in our parents footsteps, we are not in total support of them." And this is not biblical according to the Botkins, and will have consequences, which according to them will lead to the destruction of the third generation of children. Their point here requires quite a stretch of logic--if by not following our parents' lives in all decisions, then we are not respecting and honoring our parents.  How can this possibly even make sense once thought about rationally?  It doesn't.  God never once calls us to be clones or even obey our parents as adults; the word He uses is honor.

Besides throwing around the word "research" but never citing sources or explaining their methods, this documentary makes some very grandiose claims. The first, as referenced in the beginning of this article, is that they sidestep the whole question of why. If someone is choosing something different than what they grew up with, whether it is a different homeschooling method, different lifestyle or whatever, the first question should be why?  What complaints and issues did you have with homeschooling?  Did you find that it didn't prepare you educationally and socially for life?  The vast majority of parents want the best for their children, and if a homeschool graduate decides that a private or public school is the best choice for his or her children, then I would ask, what went wrong in your homeschooling experience?  But the Botkins blatantly refuse to ask this, perhaps because they are afraid of the answers. 
 The second issue I have is that academic homeschooling takes quite a beating in this film, deriding those homeschoolers who win spelling bees and get into selective colleges.  The Botkins and their interviewees keep referring to "principled, visionary, Biblical homeschooling," but not much to the actual process or goals of education.  The goal of homeschooling is not to produce a child of good character, strong values, or similar religious beliefs.  That is the goal of parenting, not education. But the Botkins don't see that, instead, they retreat back to their all or nothing position--either you homeschool their way, or your child will grow up to be an atheistic, feministic, socialist adult.  The goal, which Kevin Swanson repeats multiple times during the documentary, is not to give your child a solid, academic education.  Early on in the film, he laments, "Early on, parents were concerned about concerned about a biblical education. Now over time the movement has...drifted towards a more secular, humanistic approach to educating children.  The initial movement was not so much interested in educating children, nurturing character in the lives of their children...preparing their children for Heaven, not for Harvard."
And perhaps, in that last statement, the Botkins answer the questions they blatantly refused to ask.  Maybe the real, underlying reason that many second generation homeschoolers are refusing to homeschool, or refusing to homeschool the Botkins way, is because they discovered that the Vision Forum and ATI form of education did not lead to a solid, academic education.  Perhaps they have discovered that the way they were brought up is a lie straight from the pit of hell, and desire something far greater for their children than the childhood they remember.  Perhaps the truth of the whole matter is simply that the experiment of character-based, legalistic homeschooling has failed, but in order to keep from admitting that in this documentary, the Botkins, once again, neatly sidestep the hard questions.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


This is a project I have had tumbling in my mind for over a year.  I have been hesitant, because I've seen so many other blogs dissipate when the author changed views.  Blogs and writers and psuedo-celebrities who, for example, spent their time advocating courtship and no kissing before marriage who are now divorced and want nothing to do with their former selves.  Writers who had huge websites and articles and newsletters talking about homeschooling, no dating, no college for girls, and home churching who are now divorced and advocating the extreme opposite.  It is a shifting world, and what is on the internet stays available, long after it is officially deleted.

I, perhaps, am someone who on the outside might very well fall into the patriarchy lifestyle and all it brings with it.  I was homeschooled all the way through high school, I come from a large family, my parents are extremely conservative.  My mother subscribed to all the "right" homsechool magazines, which I devoured. Gentle Spirit, Quit You Like Men, Homeschooling Today, The Homeschool Digest, and Far Above Rubies.  I had New Attitude, my best friend subscribed to Hope Chest, which she lent me after she was done.  My mother bought me and my sisters Beautiful Girlhood and I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  I read the Quiverful digest online.  I am married, and work only one day a week so I can stay home with my baby son, whom I plan to homeschool.
But here is where the story changes.  Even at 11 or 12, when I was reading those homeschooling magazines, I knew it was crap. Sitting at a homeschool conference at 13, listening to a speaker on courtship, something inside told me this was, plainly, nuts.  I went to college, which my parents fully supported.  I have degrees in philosophy and writing, I am working on  a master's in education.  At the age of 27, I married a man that I had dated(gasp), and we have a happy marriage, even though we had dated others before each other.  At 28, I had a son.  I did not live at home until marriage, but went away to college and graduate school, though I did move back home to get a jump start on paying off my college loans.  I work, albeit only 24 hours a week, in a career that is masculine dominated and that I have to wear a uniform to do.  I am smart, educated, enjoy a career, have an egalitarian marriage, believe the instruction to women to be silent in the church was a cultural mandate only, plan to have a tubal ligation after my next child, and though I do want to homeschool my son, it isn't because the public schools are evil, but because I believe I can give him in a better education.  In short, according to some of the homeschooling leaders today, I am a complete homeschool failure.
 A few years ago I started wondering  what happened to those big homeschool names and writers I remembered from so many years ago.  Like anyone else in the information age, I googled them.
I discovered that in the last ten years, much had changed.  Some, like Cheryl Lindsey and Vyckie Bennett, had done a complete turnarounds and were now vocally decrying the lifestyle they had left.  Others, like Vision Forum and No Greater Joy, had sunk deeper into the weirdness, teaching things that can only be described as father-worship and child abuse.   No college for women, in fact, not even leaving home until marriage, is a rampant teaching.  And courtship, which I remember Joshua Harris described as not much more than waiting until you're ready to marry to date and involving your parents, has dissolved into something bizarre, rule-laden and often harmful. 
In short, the homeschooling world had changed, and not for the better.

So after two years of debating, much research and thinking, I decided that I needed to write about it.  Much of what is written on the quiverfull and patriarchy movement falls into either those proponants of it or those who are completely against it.  Perhaps I can analyze this culture differently, since my toes have already been dipped into it.  Perhaps I can lend a unique perspective as one who remembers the beginning.  Perhaps I can add a personal touch, since I do plan to homeschool my son, and worry greatly about the dangerous influences that seem to be permeating the homeschool community.

So we begin, here.  With book reviews and movie reviews and critical analysis of each.  I hope to delve into the beginnings of this movement, to trace where it came from and why, to discover through personal interviews and blog readings why women, especially, are so drawn to a movement that seems to rip them of their rights.  Do I think there is any danger of being drawn into this movement myself, as I feared two years ago when I started thinking about it?
No. I have what these women don't have--a husband who thinks patriarchy is ridiculous, a son to raise into a strong man, a career that I love, and, most importantly, the ability and education to think critically and analyze ideas.

Will you follow me through this journey? I would love to know what you think. What your stories are. When you agree and when you disagree with me.  It will, most assuredly, be interesting.

Elsie Dinsmore

I have a Nook. I love my Nook, and recently I've discovered that I can download old books with expired copyrights--for free.

I love free, too.

So while searching for free books, I ran across the Elsie Dinsmore series. Way back in early high school, my grandmother bought several of the books for me to read, since they were highly recommended by high-powered Christian homeschool leaders(code for:Vision Forum and Doug Phillips. I am also very disappointed to see that Mantle Ministries and selling them, since I have usually found the materials from the latter two organizations to be of higher quality). I remember vaguely enjoying them then, but thinking that they were not particularly well written and, past the first two, didn't really have a plot. For the uninformed, they follow an exceedibly beautiful, incredibly rich, and overly pious young heiress in pre-Civil War south. I downloaded the books, since they were free and are being marketed as good books for young girls, with most of the marketing blurbs proclaiming Elsie as a role model.

The more I read, though, the more I was certain that Elsie Dinsmore Travilla would never, ever be a role model for my daughters, and, as far as I was concerned, my daughters would never make her acquaintance.


First, and most importantly, is the overt racism. Yes, I understand these books were written by a Southern women in the late 19th century. I understand the culture. But just because I understand the culture and the times does not mean I would allow my young child to wallow in the ideology. I understand the current culture and times, but there are many parts of it I have no desire to expose my young child too.
Among the more bizarre and disturbing examples, Elsie, in teaching her young slaves about Jesus, assures them that they will be white in Heaven. There is a strongly disturbing scene where Elsie comes across the overseer of her plantation, a man she employs, brutally whipping a slave. He explains that he has to use physical punishment in order to "make them work." Elsie's father cautions her against immediately firing the man, saying that the overseer is from the north and is accustomed to long days and hard work. He states that their slaves are naturally lazy, due to their skin color, and that he and Elsie must just explain to the overseer that he has to make allowances for the "natural laziness of the Negro." And so Elsie does, and there is no punishment for the brutal overseer.

Another issue is the seemingly incestuous overtones of Elsie's relationship with her father. The criticisms that it was a more innocent time and that displays of affection were often described in such seemingly sexual terms are, to me, not valid. There are a number of passages that describe Elsie's father kissing his grown, about to be married daughter, "fully and passionately, deep kisses on her ruby lips." This, to me, is just plainly icky. There is also a comment from Mr. Travilla, when Elsie is a child of 8, that he wishes she was ten years older and he were ten years younger. Ugh. When Elsie is grown and does marry Mr. Travilla, he states plainly that there has been no woman for him other than Elsie since she was a child of 7. What kind of man looks at a 7-year-old girl and has those sort of feelings for her? Not a man I want my children around or reading about.
Elsie's father, it is plain, is only about 16 years older than she, and since he and Edward Travilla were childhood friends, it is likely that Mr. Travilla is only in his early 30s or so when he becomes engaged to Elsie in her late teens. The age difference isn't what strikes me as disturbing, but the numerous comments about how he has been in love with her since she was a little girl. Again, this is not a man I think my children need to read about.

A third issue I have with this series is that an 8-year-old child is pitted against her father. Elsie is very concerned about Sabbath-keeping and what books and songs and pleasurable activities are allowed and not allowed. Her father does not hold to the same scruples, and in the second book a scenario is set up where he requests Elsie to go against her moral beliefs and read to him a book she does not approve of on the Sabbath. This conflict takes up most of this book, and never once is it suggested that perhaps Elsie is not wise enough at 8 years old to make her own decisions like this, instead she is applauded for refusing her father. Do I expect my 8-year-old child to decide for him or herself what is right and wrong? Absolutely not. Do I expect my 8-year-old child to listen to his or her parents and obey them? Yes, I do. My child may hold very strongly to the belief that eating all peas is bad, but he still may be required to finish dinner. In short, a child that young does not yet have the knowledge or ability to decide the gray areas of right and wrong for himself--he may know that telling a lie is wrong, but I certainly do not expect or want my young child telling me what he is and is not going to do on the Sabbath. That is a grey area that needs to be left up to the parents to determine what is right for their family, and not left to a young child to determine for herself.

Do I understand the cultural context that these books are written in? Yes, I do. And again, just because I understand the cultural context of the Twilight series does not mean that I will allow my young daughter undiscriminated access to those books, either. We can understand the culture--a culture that was blatantly racist, a culture that described innocent affection in ways we now think of as sexual--that a piece of literature was written in, and yet choose to keep it from our children until they are old enough to also understand that someone can be as pious as Elsie, and yet still have many, many beliefs that are wrong. But that is not the age group to which these books are being marketed--the age range on the above-mentioned website is "great for the whole family," and they also market an Elsie Dinsmore doll. To me, this is marketing a series of books to children who are too young to understand the context and realize that just because Elsie seems to love Jesus and be pious does not mean that everything she says or does is correct. If I have a late teenage daughter who has the ability to think and read critically, and she wants to read these series, I would then allow it.

In short, simply because something has the label "Christian" on it does not mean it is worthwhile. If the Elsie Dinsmore series were less sensational and better written(I haven't even touched this, but there is no plot, and the characters are either good or bad, with no character study or rounding out), I might be more willing to let it slide. Instead, I see no value in placing in my daughter's hands a book that, as far as I'm concerned, has no redeeming qualities, either in the value of its writing or its character content. Too often, though, I've seen people see the label "Christian" and hear accolades from homeschool leaders, and never once evaluate the book or movie in question on its own merits. There is a lot of Christian junk out there, and just like secular junk, I plan to keep it away from my children until they are old enough and mature enough to sift through the bad and find the good.

Training Dominion Oriented Daughters

First of all, I was a little disappointed.  This had nothing to do with the title, but instead was a question and answer period with Geoff Botkin, whose daughters I would not want mine emulating.  So I already have a bias coming into this, but have tried hard to put that aside and give this a fair review.
In order to do so, I will examine the questions asked of Mr. Botkin and his answers.  This is not exhaustive of every question, as some were repetitive, but enough to give you an overview.

Did you have a vision for them before they were born?Here, Geoff shares a rather disturbing story about how his wife had a very difficult labor with his eldest daughter and almost died.  He held his daughter after this traumatic event, and thought about her ovaries. Yes, and how women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Geoff put his hand on her tummy, his 25 minute old daughter, and prayed for the future of tens of millions of her descendents.   Seriously, your wife just almost died, and you're busy thinking about your infant daughters' ovaries? Where is CPS when you need them?
Now there is certainly much laudable about praying for your children's future.  But instead of praying that they would marry young, bear many children, and basically fulfill your dreams for their lives, pray that they would fulfill God's dreams for their lives.

What toys did you give them?
A dollhouse.  A doll estate that Geoff built, so that they could learn how to manage a home.  And servants, which I feel probably clues us in to Geoff's feelings of superiority in life.  His children are not to have doll houses, but doll estates so they learn to manage children, home, and servants.  Because this clearly is what most of us will have in life.
He gave them tools for their "labratory" which would be the kitchen.  They learned how to cook, which Geoff feels is a "tool of dominion," as are sewing machines, fabric, and other sundry items.  These are appropriate toys for young girls, according to Mr. Botkin.  Again his main emphasis is that his daughters, and by extension all daughters, do not need "toys," they need "tools" to accomplish household tasks.

What age did you start teaching them to be ambassadors? How did you do this?
It took me a while to figure out Geoff's answer to this question, and then I finally figured out that the person asking the question did not mean ambassadors in the normal sense, or even ambassadors of God.  No, Geoff says that his children are to be ambassadors of "their earthly father and everything he stands for."  Again, we are not raising mini-me's.  My son does not represent me.  He may reflect my values and how I have chosen to raise him. But he is not my ambassador.  He is not an extension of me.  My son is, even at 5 1/2 months old, very much his own person.  And that is what I want.  I am not raising a mini-me.  I am raising a beautiful child, raising him to be a kind, brave, smart, thinking adult.  He may share my values exactly.  He may choose to think differently than I on some things.  That's okay.  That means I've succeeded in raising a man.

What examples of regal conduct did you put before them, to teach them to be princesses?
This so boggles my mind that I cannot even grasp what he is getting at here.  Dear future daughter of mine, you will not be a princess.  You will be strong and brave and bold and smart and ambitious and loving and hard working.  But princess is not an example I wish to set in front of you.
Again, I think this question is reflective of the way that Geoff Botkin feels about himself and his family, similar to the answer about a doll estate and servants--what, really, does he expect from his daughters?  That they will spend their lives sewing and playing the harp while managing their servants and estate?  This is delusional to an extreme.

Do you shelter your children from the harsh realities of the world?
He answers no, and here, I can actually partially agree with him.  We have to live and work in reality.  This is not a perfect world.  My son is going to come across things that I don't agree with.  But here we differ, once again.  Geoff states that they simply taught their children that there was wickedness and sins, but that was "out there," and that it was not a part of their lives.  I want to teach to critically think through things(why is this wrong?  Why is that activitiy a waste of time? Why do people act so cruelly?), to understand, and to make his own choice to not partake in those things.  I want my son, when he is an adult, to be wise, not innocent; to be critical, not accepting whatever comes his way as truth.  In order to do this, I have to be wise and discriminatory as a parent, but not sheltering.

These are just some of the questions.  I have attempted to be fair, but I truthfully think it is so important to critically evaluate the material presented, especially by people who claim to have all the answers.  Geoff Botkin throws out a lot of big words.  He uses "multi-generational" and "dominion oriented," but never explains exactly what he means.  He never actually addresses the title question, but focuses solely on what he did with his daughters to make them perfect.  He gives off an air of superiority, never once using an example of something he may have done wrong in parenting.  There is no humbleness here.  He also stresses that his children are merely an extension of him, especially while answering one question("Do your children have hobbies?") where he responds that "daddy doesn't have hobbies, so neither does his daughters."  He does mention that his daughters have interests, like cross-stitch, calligraphy, textile arts, and setting a proper tea service, all of which, again, seem to point back to his strange belief that they are royalty.

So in short, do I recommend this?
No.  While there are good generalties to consider(praying for your children, having a vision for your family, knowing what character traits you want to impart to your children), they are buried so deep in the ridiculousness and narcissism that they are hard to pull out.  Not once did I ever hear Mr. Botkin suggest that we as parents spend time in prayer, seeking God's desires for our children instead of our own. We are not raising princes and princesses.  We are not raising children to be the exact image of their parents.  We are raising precious little ones who will someday be adults, and not equipping them with the tools of reason, logic, faith and a solid education will only lead to more adults who blindly follow others.  And our dreams for our children's lives, in the end, have little meaning.  Our goal is not to produce carbon copies of us and what we think they should be, but to grow individuals who are interested solely in God's dreams for them.all