Homeschooling Teenage Boys

Homeschooling Teenage Boys

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Today is Saturday, June 19. And I’m receiving more and more requests for these walk talk topics, with questions being sent in every day. And there are a lot of really good topics and questions, and I’m going to try to spend some more time producing some more videos so I can address them. Because like I said, there are some really great questions, great topics. And topics lead to new topics, and that that snowball is starting to roll now. And that’s what I was hoping that these talks will do. And I’m going to have to get to work and make more of these videos. But the question I received last night, which is a very, very good one is whether I have any specific advice for homeschooling teenage boys. So we could say, what are the special needs of teenage boys? And how can homeschooling best serve teenage boys? The underlying assumption here is that homeschooling is ineffective for teenage boys and teenage boys present some kind of unique problem or challenge to homeschooling. Just before I even say anything, I’d like to say I absolutely disagree with that. I think the way that people go about homeschooling the curriculum that people use for homeschooling, is actually the cause of that problem. And it has nothing to do with teenage boys. I would argue the exact opposite, that homeschooling benefits no one better or more than teenage boys. I think teenage girls are actually in a much worse situation today, just because of the pressure that’s on girls to leave home and work and be independent, and all of these modern ideas. And our society has reorganized itself around these ideas. And young women are really left in a difficult situation where they almost have no choice, but to go to college and try to create careers for themselves. And I think that the real challenge in Christian education has more to do with teenage girls and young women than with teenage boys and young men. But anyway. I want to say also, as I get into this discussion that these are my These are my judgments and opinions. In response to a question that was asked to me. What I’m going to share is going to be very different than what you’re going to hear from existing or other Catholic homeschool speakers. I think that the advice that they give is unrealistic. It’s fine. If you’re going to, you know, pick isolated success stories and then put those kids up in a video on your website and say, See, look, look at look at Tommy, he’s doing well. But if you’re, if your advice serves one student well, and 99 students poorly, it should be called bad advice. And I’d like to share some thoughts on this question of raising teenage boys. And as I said, My advice is going to be unlike what you’re going to hear from other Catholics in the homeschooling circles, but I asked you to hear me out. And reason, don’t respond with emotions. don’t respond with concerns about peer pressure and what other people are doing. If you want to respond, respond with reasons respond with proof, not with emotions, or with appeals to the crowd. No, I for one, don’t even pay attention to most of the responses and criticisms negative responses because they’re I rarely ever face any responses or criticisms that come with any evidence or reasons. And I frankly don’t care what other people’s individual opinions are. If you’re going to share your opinion, I have a right to have my own opinion, if you’re going to share reasons and evidence, I don’t have a right to have my own truth. And I’m not concerned with having my own opinion. I want to know the truth. And I want that to be my opinion. So let’s talk about homeschooling teenage boys. This is a real challenge. Just to give some background, I have 10 children. And of those 10 children, seven are boys, three daughters and seven sons. My eldest two sons have finished their years of homeschooling and have moved on into adult life. My eldest son at age 18, or 19, chose to enter the US Army Reserves as a military police officer, my second oldest son, at age 18, chose to do the same thing but to work in combat engineering. My eldest son is currently enrolled at UNC Charlotte, which is the closest University here to us, where he’s studying criminal justice with his tuition paid living completely independently, at 21. My second son, who I said has also joined the reserves is currently in his AI t training out at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. He’s finished basic training and is now in his engineering training. He’ll be home next month, and we’ll be starting at UNC Charlotte with his brother probably pursuing studies in engineering. And so that’s where my two oldest sons are. My younger sons growing up what they say plan to do similar things. So I have some talking about being Marines and, and one son in particular who is has more intellectual gifts and may do something else. But that’s the situation with my boys. We live on a farm out in rural North Carolina, boys are raised. On the farm, they study in the classical Liberal Arts Academy. We use no other curriculum programs or materials for their studies. And they live outdoors, they spend a lot of time outdoors either working on the farm working in the gardens, working around the house, helping their grandparents with work that needs to be done, exercising and playing. And studying when they’re indoors. In fact, I usually tell them, if you’re in the house, you need to be studying. If you don’t want to study, then you need to go outside. That’s how our boys are raised. We live with a very light diet. They eat healthy light meals, I teach them to exercise as recreational activity when they have recess time. And we’ll talk about that all in a little bit. The difference between raising boys and girls and this is where if you have if you have sentiments that agree with modern fashions, about men’s and women’s roles rather than ancient philosophical and biblical or Christian notions of these things, you’re going to be offended by what I say. But the cause of your offense is your prejudice and your assumptions for which you are really not going to be able to give any reasonable support. Your offense is not with me. These opinions, as I can prove are not my own personal opinions are my own created ideas. These are traditional opinions that you can read in any of the ancient philosophers or doctors of the church all through history. The difference in the education of boys and girls is that there’s a fundamental difference in the end of their vocation and their life’s work, women and we’re talking about women who grow up not to, not to live in a religious vocation or in a religious community, but But secular women, secular women, live the majority of their life dependent upon the work of men. This is this is natural. This has to do not with any intellectual or physical weakness or inability that exists in women. But in the simple fact that women, their children, they go through pregnancy, which limits their ability to work they have to nurse and care for, for babies and infants, they have to take care of toddlers and raise children care for the children. And that work the reality of that activity allows women to not be able or disallows women from working with the same freedom and consistency that men are able to work with. So women have built into their nature, dependence upon the work of men, and that’s why throughout history, women weren’t given the priority in education. The priority was given to boys into men. Because society, the family depends on them being able to work skillfully and profitably. Men by nature, must be independent, they must be able to do work that turns a profit. They must be able to cultivate skills that are marketable and profitable, so that the life of a man is a profitable life, he produces more than he consumes. And young boys and young men need to be raised to become adults who produce more than they consume. And that’s a great challenge. That’s a great challenge. Many in modern society consume more than they produce. And they’re actually supported by all kinds of artificial systems and programs. That ideally wouldn’t even exist. And we talk about the welfare state. And when people talk about the welfare state, they often talk about a stereotypical welfare recipient know some idle man who’s living on unemployment or welfare, food stamps. And we picture him living in some apartment project in the ghetto or something like that. But the welfare culture extends far beyond that stereotypical welfare recipient. And really is true of any man who, as I said, consumes more than he produces. Man is to be raised to make a profit, to be able to provide not only for himself, but also for those who by nature, depend upon him for their needs. In the married state that includes his wife, who through much of their married life, will be unable to work profitably in a competitive market, and also for all of his children, who obviously cannot work profitably. So the challenge of educating boys is that their end is not the same as the end of girls. In my family, I like to say that a girl one of the reasons why girls like school and like work and things like that is because in the back of their minds, they’re working with an option to hit the object button, or the eject button. They know that in the back of their minds, they really don’t have to work and earn a living, they have a right, a natural right to be provided for. And they know that in the back of their minds, and they can pursue studies and careers. With a different kind of freedom with less pressure than boys can because they know that they can hit the eject button and it will be perfectly fine. If they do so, a good example of this can be found in my sister in law, my sister in law, who is probably 17 years younger than me, went through medical school, received a medical degree. And then after doing all that, decided that she wanted to be a housewife, and has never pursued her medical practice. She just hit the eject button. And now she’s pregnant with her first child, and she’s going to be a full time housewife, who may never work in medicine, again. That’s the difference between men and women, in terms of education, career preparation, and so on, women can hit the eject button, and they have a natural right to do so. And that’s an advantage for girls in school, in college, even in the pursuit of careers, they have a freedom because they know that they don’t have, they don’t have to pursue the things they’re pursuing. They can pursue what they want to as long as they want to. So in the education of boys, we’re dealing with a different situation, they have to grow up to become independent, profitable, individuals who are able to generate enough profit not only to provide for their own needs individually, but for the needs of dependence around them. That’s a great challenge. That’s a great burden. It’s a heavy burden to bear growing up. And as as one enters into young adulthood, it’s very challenging. And helping young men to navigate life and bear that burden is one of the challenges that Christian parents have. It’s important, again, to remember that boys and girls are being raised and educated for different ends. I’m not going to get into the arguments about how girls in modern society have to have careers they have to be able to provide for themselves. All of those things are conditional and circumstantial, not universally true. And so I’m not going to talk about those things or respond to those arguments. Those are the same kinds of arguments that are raised when people say, if everyone became religious, there would be no more children as if that would be a problem. So we’re not going to talk about all of the circumstantial problems that women face often because of their own bad decisions, disobedience to their parents, disobedience to the faith and so on. We’re going to focus in this talk on homeschooling of teenage boys. Now, the immediate difficulty that arises in homeschooling is the reality that the work of homeschooling is normally carried out by the mother. And so we have this difficulty introduced where the mother is being asked to educate future young men, and the mother herself is not what these boys need to become. The mother is not what the boys need to become an mother needs to be conscious of this reality. I talked to my wife about this a lot. Because when we disagree on things, it’s often because we look at things from two different perspectives. For me, as the head of the household every decision made in the household is made with regard to sustainability. I have to provide for every decision that we make I have to pay the bills. The money has to come from the profits that are gained through my daily work. When I consider a question or problem in the household, my options are limited to those options that I can see to be sustainable. My wife, on the other hand, often looks at questions and problems with a set of ideals That doesn’t always take into consideration whether or not those options are real options. And whether or not they’re sustainable. And this is one of the differences between a father and the mother, father who takes the work of providing for the family as his responsibility, not only today, but also into the future. And and a mother who is provided for by a husband, and acts as it were with house money. That’s the way I like to explain it to my wife. So there’s differences between the opinions and viewpoints of independent fathers and dependent mothers. And this introduces all kinds of challenges into homeschooling and mothers have to make a conscious effort to be aware of this reality. Again, circumstantially, if we’re talking about a family where the husband doesn’t take this responsibility seriously, and isn’t neglectful or is content to have his wife also work to pay the necessary bills, there are just going to be 1001 problems introduced, that have nothing to do with any homeschooling issues, or philosophical ideals, it’s just when the husband is not responsible for the provision for the family, the situations that result are never good. So I’m not going to get into the million and one different circumstances that arise in an individual family where, let’s say dad doesn’t work or dad doesn’t make enough to pay all the bills for the family. And we’re talking about necessary bills, not mom’s fantasy Instagram life that she’s pursuing. There are going to be all kinds of problems. And those problems have nothing to do with homeschooling, and nothing to do with teenagers. We have to get all of those things right. Or we’ll never be able to deal with the issues of teenagers. So the first problem and challenge in homeschooling is that normally mom is the one directing the daily work. And the teenage boys are being directed day by day by a person who doesn’t do what they need to be able to do. That’s a challenge that homeschool mothers have to be conscious of. And always keep in mind that they’re not raising boys to be like them. They’re raising boys to be like their husband or better than their husbands. And that has to be kept in mind. We have to raise independent adults. And this introduces us to all kinds of questions about vocation. And I strongly recommend that you study what the Baltimore Catechism teaches on discerning vocations, because it’s very important. And much of the talk in modern circles, about vocations is ignorant and false. the means by which we discern vocations are not by watching st movies, and then saying whether or not we think it would be nice to be a priest or a monk. The way that we discern vocation is by our actual abilities, and interests. I think it was Bill Gates who said one time, whatever a person is obsessed with as a teenager, is probably what he could be successful in as an adult. And that kind of idea of interest and ability. While it may not apply directly to the future vocation, will definitely be a part of that child’s vocation. I can give you a good example from my my oldest son Jonathan’s life. Here I am. I’m a Christian father, who loves Classical Studies, philosophy, theology, I love to garden. I love sacred music, Catholic culture. I love Sacred Scripture. And I have a son who growing up, loved to read the Bible. And I was happy about that, but there was a problem. My son would read Only one portion of the Bible. Anytime I found him reading the Bible, he would be reading one portion. And it was the books of the Maccabees. He would read the Maccabees, again and again and again. And he’ll tell you to this day that he loves the Bible. But when he says that, he’s talking about the books of the Maccabees books about these heroic Jewish warriors who died for their country and for their faith. That was true of him when he was 12 years old. 13 years old, 15 years old, always interested in the Maccabees movies, he would watch. He was interested in Henry the fifth by Shakespeare, he was interested in all of the great military movies, he was interested in Alexander the Great, on and on. Today, he’s in the military, happily, and successfully settled into a military career in ROTC program, in college with plans ahead for work as an officer in the army. But that vocation was visible when he was 12 years old. I tried as much as I could to encourage him to consider religious vocations. And he did so he did so he would do what I asked him he would attend vocations, retreats, and so on. We talked about it. But there was this underlying, undeniable interest and ability in him for military pursuits. And the same was true of my younger son. My younger son, David is in for combat engineering. This is a boy who when he was eight years old, would climb 4050 foot high trees to get mistletoe at Christmas time. This is a boy who could build bows and arrows out of sticks he found in the woods that looked like something that you could purchase from a Cabela’s catalog. He was always an engineer, he was always mechanical. He’s boy who would redesign the electrical system in his car as a teenager. Always mechanical. Always an engineer and here he is, as a 19 year old settled into military engineering. daughter Elizabeth just as another example, for the sake of talking about vocations. When she was 13 years old, she was breeding purebred Great Pyrenees dogs. She had to give them vaccination shots, she had to take care of their health issues to deliver puppies take care of take care of the mother dogs as they were in labor without with any health problems that arose. totally comfortable with injections, blood, any kind of physical care the dogs needed. That was her at age 13. And today, she’s also in the military, like her brothers working as a combat medic in the reserves. So in our family, the toughness, the physical hardiness and toughness of our family living in rural North Carolina was the foundation for or a foreshadowing of their future interest in military occupations, but within that general toughness that they grew up with. There were these different individual abilities and interests, and all of them have manifested themselves in their adult occupational or vocational choices. vocation is discerned by an individual’s ability, and interests. Now, these abilities and interests emerge. When the children are going into puberty and beginning to develop into adult men. We start to see signs Have these interests and abilities. But these signs are often wild. And they need direction. They often get interpreted wrongly, and are demonized, because the right direction of them can’t be discerned when they emerge. And I’ll give you an example from the garden. If the soil is fertile, and the seeds are good, a tomato plant will grow. And once that tomato plant is a foot or so tall, it’s got this principle of life in it, its nature is to produce tomatoes. That’s just what it does by nature. That’s what God created this plant, which existed in potentiality. In that seed, this is what God created this living thing to do. And when it emerges from that seed, and rises up out of the soil shoots its roots down into the soil. Its nature is to produce tomatoes. And what will happen is that this plant, once it starts to grow, will begin shooting branches and shoots into every different direction. The principle of growth and tomato production is present in this plant. And this nature is emerging as the plant grows. But this, this nature needs to be cultivated and directed by a gardener who, by the aid of reason, can prune and direct this growth into the fulfillment of the end or the nature of this plant. The nature of the plant is one thing. But that plant is intended to exist in a context where it can be directed by an expert, gardener, or caretaker. But what I want you to see is that the nature of the tomato plant is wild when it emerges shooting in every different direction. And those those shoots and all of those suckers that it sends out and so on. They’re not good for the plant. But they’re good in the sense that they’re, they’re the outworking of that nature, which is to bear fruit. And they simply need to be pruned. And this is a process that teenage boys especially need to go through. When they get to puberty, their nature, which is not only to work and do and produce in the world, but also to physically reproduce, this nature that’s in them is going to emerge and just explode in all directions. Normally, when this happens, and parents observe all kinds of bad instances of this nature, parents is leap to all kinds of conclusions that are false. For example, we may find a teenage boy who hits puberty, and all of a sudden he has this inordinate interest in sexual things. He may be seeking out pornography, he may be interested in all kinds of things that shock his parents in our bed. And the parents interpret these things as signs of horrible immorality or reprobation. Like this, like this boy is some kind of serial killer or future rapist. We’re all this is, is this nature, in this boy shooting out into every direction. It needs to be cultivated. It needs to be pruned. And this is the work of parents. This is why God doesn’t allow children to be dropped out of the womb and left to themselves in the world. Just like God doesn’t intend for the tomato plant to produce tomatoes with no work from a gardener. The teenage boy needs to be pruned by not only by his parents, but by all of the influences in his life, even influences outside of the family. You’re going to see the boy goes through this pruning, which is directed by God Himself throughout his life until he finally bears the fruit that God intends for him to bear. And this is the challenge that I believe most Catholic parents, especially homeschool parents, especially homeschool mothers are troubled by. Now, here’s what happens in many Catholic families, Catholic parents, and again, especially Catholic homeschool mothers, watch st movies or read st biographies. And they choose to read the biographies of famous saints who were holy as children. So they read about Maria goretti. They read about Dominic Savio, they read about Aloysius Gonzaga. And they read these stories about these holy little boys who loved to pray, who loved to go to Mass who fasted who were who are sacrificial, who loved to talk about heaven and saints and so on. And these homeschool parents pretend like that’s the normal Catholic boy. And so their sons are held up to Dominic Savio and Aloysius Gonzaga, and when their chutes start firing out in all directions, wild and out of control, and their interests are found to be in all kinds of things that no saintly boy should be interested in. The parent who’s convinced himself or herself that Dominic Savio and Aloysius Gonzaga are the default Catholic boys. Imagine that they’ve given birth to some kind of monster, some Absalon. And what they do is they panic. And they react badly to the situation, they exaggerate the problem. they desire immediate resolutions to the problem. And they don’t have a realistic vision for their work as parents. And what they do is they abort those children, intellectually and spiritually, and they release them into the world thinking that something’s wrong with them. So you’ll see boys sent to high school, when they turn 15. Because the mothers will say, Oh, he’s got this and this for this and this, and I, I don’t know how to deal with that. So I think school would be best for him. And if you think about this growing tomato plant, sending him to a place where he’s told that those bad shoots and suckers are okay, is not good for him. They need to be pruned. The work of pruning for the parent is not pleasant. And it’s especially not pleasant when the mother is the one who has to take care of it. But that’s part of the problem in the family, something that needs to be dealt with. There’s pruning that needs to be done. The pruning is not pleasant work. The results of the pruning do not come immediately. But that pruning is the work of parenting. And when those quote unquote bad things emerge. That’s the time when homeschooling and the influence of Catholic parents is most necessary to those boys. And yet, we often find Catholic parents doing the opposite, sending them away at that time. And then the results speak for themselves. And when those bad signs, then grow and bear bad fruits. The parents go back to their false idea about the Catholic boy and say, yeah, you know, we saw those signs in Tommy back when he was just a young boy. He was interested in pornography. He was he was nasty. He had a hit get a Houston fight with his father and he cursed at me one day and he wouldn’t listen and he all of those signs, which are signs of an emerging independent adult, male life were misinterpreted. And they were not taken care of by the parents. But the parents will imagine that those signs were actually signs of some kind of permanent reprobation or evil. And instead of giving more attention to them and learning how to deal with them, they chose to abort that kid, spiritually and culturally. And they gave him over to those wild branches that went on to never be pruned. And the fact that that boy goes on in most cases, and doesn’t bear fruit. they interpret it as a reason for supporting the decision that they made because they have this false sense of destiny or predestination, that actually grows out of a false idea of what Catholic boyhood ought to look like. Because they’re basing their ideas on extreme isolated st stories, where these saints Dominic Savio and Aloysius Gonzaga, Maria goretti, and others are not representative of any Catholic population. what’s so amazing about those saints is that they’re so unique and rare. And as we say the exception proves the rule. The reason we talk about Maria goretti is because she is not normal. The reason we talk about Dominic Savio, why john Bosco raves about Dominic Savio is because john Bosco, even though he raised many boys who would grow up to become good men, priests, bishops, and so on, knew that there was no one like Dominic Savio. And Dominic Savio was unique and isolated. And that’s why he celebrated his celebrated as an isolated example of grace given to a child to be extraordinarily holy and spiritually minded at a time in life when it is not natural to be spiritually minded. That’s what makes Dominic Savio so important. I had one student who, who stands out from all of the students I’ve ever had, who had this spirit of Dominic Savio, he came to me at the boarding school. He was maybe 14 years old. And he wanted to be a saint. He wanted to pray every day. He wanted to study all day, he wanted to talk with me about spiritual things all day, every day, never changing. He didn’t go up and down. He didn’t waver. He wasn’t spiritual one day and then found to be doing something bad The next day, he was constant, constantly interested in spiritual things, 24 hours a day, every day. And he went on to become a member of a religious community. And he’s doing wonderful things. Now, as a religious, I’ve seen that spirit. In a child, I’ve seen that grace in a child. It’s extraordinary. And it’s incredibly rare. In fact, it’s none of our business. Because we can’t produce that spirit. We can’t produce such a child. All we can do when that child is brought to us is direct him to where he belongs. And that’s all that I did. I just put the resources in front of that boy that he needed to get where God was bringing him. And that was all he needed just to be shown what to do, and he took it from there. That boy is not rare. That boy doesn’t even need parents. And that’s why that boy can’t be considered as a norm for Catholic parents. The Boy Who needs Catholic parents is the opposite. It’s the Catholic boy with branches shooting out in all directions, with all kinds of confusion and errors in interpreting his natural desires and inclinations, and he needs wise, diligent Catholic parents, to cultivate virtue in him by helping him to channel all of that natural energy and life that’s in him, which is good and, and normal and helping to channel that into good works. That takes time, that may take years that may take decades to achieve. And that’s the normal growth and maturity process for a human being. That’s normal. Let me give you an example. And I always look to this example, in parenting, but the parable of the prodigal son, what we find is that this boy was raised in a good home, he had a good father, the good father produced another son, who is a perfectly good son. So there was nothing wrong in the household of this man, or in this boy’s experience growing up, the tree of his father’s household was able to bear good fruit. So we know it’s a good tree. But there was a bad fruit on this tree. Or at least, there appeared to be a bad fruit on this tree. The father performed his duty as a father to this son, but the son wouldn’t have it. The sons desires and inclinations were so great that he chose to leave home and pursue them at his own cost. These desires, consumed his whole life, and left him in the gutter. The boy realized that people who he thought would be his friends in these things, took from him and left him with nothing. And what I want you to see is that for this particular son, the pruning process was carried about not by the father alone, but by the boy’s whole life, by the boy’s friends, by the boys experiences by the market and how it works by life and how it works. And this boy, was pruned over an extended period of time until he, quote, unquote, came to his senses. The pruning was finally finished. And the effect of that pruning was finally completed. And that boy, at long last began to produce the fruit that he was intended by nature to produce. And his father then finds him returning home with the right disposition, everything his father ever wanted, which was just to make tomatoes. And his father sees him coming home, no matter how he grew, but at last covered with tomatoes, and his father doesn’t care about the process, doesn’t care about the time that it took, doesn’t care about the cost that it required. But because that father had his desires, fixed rightly, on that boy, he rejoices when he sees him return with those fruits. Now, you may say, but wait a minute, you just contradicted yourself, before you said, sending a boy to school, because he’s bad, or because homeschooling doesn’t seem to be working for him, was a bad idea. But now you’re talking about the prodigal son who left home. And that worked out to be good. You’re talking while I’m talking about two different situations, I’m talking about a boy growing up and receiving his education in your home. And you choosing while he’s still a minor, to send him away as influenced from non Catholic sources or inferior Catholic sources will be good for him, versus a boy, a son who leaves home as an adult, which a parent can do nothing about. The two different scenarios. But what I want you to see in the life of the prodigal son is that his pruning took a long time. He was stubborn, and his final correction and repentance came long down the road. And if someone would visit that Father’s house after that event, and they would look at the father’s household, they say, Man, look at this household with these two great fruits. No one but the father and the other son and the servants would know that five years ago, the tree looked bad because one of the fruits look bad. But now those coming see two good fruits and everything looks good. Are we willing to do the work as Catholic parents and persevere Till the end when those fruits are finally produced, or do we just hit the abort button and quit on a kid because he embarrasses us. His behavior isn’t what we want it to be. He’s disturbing the peaceful little house that we were hoping to have. He doesn’t act like Dominic Savio, he distracts. He doesn’t like to participate in family prayer. He’s interested in bad things. Do we take that to be normal? And do our work as parents to patiently wait with our eyes focused on the long game. help the child prune those disordered desires, those irrational and wild instincts, understanding where they’re coming from understanding what their nature is and what they’re for, and why it’s perfectly understandable for the boy, not to know what to do with them. And to help him learn and understand what these forces are within him and where they’re leading him in life. I don’t think Catholic parents understand accurately enough the true nature of a human life and soul, the nature of man, when do parents study these things? When do parents take time to study in detail the nature of man, the different phases of life, the developmental process, the natural developmental process of a human being. Imagine if all of the effort that was directed at the study and arguing about when an embryo becomes a person, the development of the person in the womb Imagine if all of that attention given to that what’s called installment. For the sake of political arguments, imagine if that attention and energy was invested in understanding the process by which a boy grows into an independent man. For the sake of parenting rather than political action. Imagine how much better parents would be doing raising Catholic men. If they focused on the work of parenting, rather than political campaigning for an issue, as grave as it may be, that doesn’t affect their immediate duty as Catholic parents. Many parents are eloquent on pro life arguments and explanations for political use, and completely ignorant of the nature of the life of their own children growing up in their home, whom they’re personally responsible for, as parents. That’s part of the problem. So when our boys hit puberty, all hell breaks loose. And were to roll up our sleeves and realize that everything we see everything we see, no matter how shocking how bad, how embarrassing. Everything that we experience and see is normal. It’s normal. Every kid will be different, you’ll see that some kids will have some unique, perverse interest in one specific thing. The next kid will have no such interest, and will have some inclination to some other evil. And the work of parenting is understanding those things, controlling the causes, eliminating any influences that that promote those bad things. And pruning, that child’s growth. That’s the work of parenting. That’s not the work of education. That’s not a school’s job. It’s not something that you can just throw some money at and ship that kid off and have somebody else take care of. That’s the work of parenting. That’s the parents job. Schools are not going to take care of that. A school is responsible for academic instruction. That’s not going to address these issues. And besides, academic instruction is only going to help students who are under control physically and emotionally and able to profit from instruction. Read the book of Proverbs instruction is only valuable For a soul that’s rightly disposed to receive instruction, you can’t ignore these problems that as a parent, or imagine that some school is going to take care of them. This is the work of parenting. And most Catholic parents are simply unprepared for it. They haven’t studied to understand these things. They haven’t prepared themselves personally, to handle these challenges. They’ve got themselves wrapped up in all kinds of foolish things that actually cause them to struggle in their work with parenting, like concerned about friends and social relations. They wish that that bad kid would just disappear because he makes them look bad in front of their so called friends who are no friends at all if they put that kind of pressure on a Catholic parent and don’t understand these things. And so these parents have all kinds of problems. And they’re completely unprepared for the challenges of parenting. For the ugliness of real family life, because it’s a war. They’re not prepared. They think that by having five children, God is going to send them five Dominic savills, or maybe three Dominic Savio is in to Maria goretti. And even though through the whole history of the church, we can only find a handful of such children, they assume that the same number is going to be given to them because they’ve decided to have children. And once they realize that they don’t get to raise saints, but their actual work is to raise sinners, who by God’s grace, May, by their own free will, at some time in the future, become saints have no interest in the actual work of parenting. I could talk about this problem for six hours. Because it’s a terrible problem. Parents are completely unprepared. In modern society, modern education doesn’t prepare anyone for the work of parenting. How many parents have studied moral philosophy, how many parents have have studied the nature of man and the phases of human life. They go into parenting, thinking that having babies is fun, not realizing what a war they’re entering into. And they’re unprepared for it. And sad to say, many of these parents, like I said, just hit the abort button. And while they didn’t abort the child in the womb, they abort him as he becomes a man, and needs their help the most because of all of the same reasons that a woman gives for aborting a child in the womb. The same things come out of the mouths of the parents of teenagers who send their children away and give up on them. The same things come out of their mouths that are in the mouths of women, aborting children in the womb. Go ahead and test me and see if what I say is true. Now, that’s the problem. And as I said, we can talk about that for hours on end. And there’s no easy solution. But I’d like to talk a little bit positively because we’re already hitting the hour mark and I want to wrap this up positively. Parents need to realize that they’re raising boys who need to become independent men. They need to become skillful, independent men, whose profit is able to provide not only for their own needs, but for the needs of their dependence for a wife and children. And whomever else becomes dependent on them as they go through adult life. That work is rarely going to be understood or managed well by a homeschool mother. Most of the famous homeschool most of the famous Catholic mothers, you can think of raised religious sons. Take john Bosco, his mother, she was a great mother to a boy who became a priest. But john Bosco, his brothers weren’t very happy. Was she a good mother to them? You see, that’s a different dynamic. That’s something different to consider. We know her as john Bosco his mother. But there are a lot of women who could have been a good mother to john Bosco. The real challenge for that mother was the other brothers, they were the ones who needed the special help of a godly mother. As for this rebellious spirit in teenage boys, and this is what I’m going to close with. As for this rebellious spirit that sometimes develops or that I shouldn’t say sometimes, but it’s always present at some time in a teenage boy. I’d like to ask you to think about it a little differently. There’s one event in Homer’s Iliad, or I’m sorry, Homer’s Odyssey. In Homer’s Odyssey, if you don’t know the story of Odysseus, who is the king of Ithaca, leaves home to fight in the Trojan War leaves behind a young son, a beautiful wife, and the kingdom goes away. And after the war disappears, his whereabouts are unknown. And so word gets back to Ithaca that Odysseus may actually be dead. And so all of a sudden, men in His Kingdom, look upon his wife and his kingdom and desire it for themselves. And so all of these men begin approaching his wife, Penelope, and seek to woo her as suitors. And as this is going on, Penelope continues to hold them off, because she really doesn’t know what to do. She’s a dependent woman who needs a husband. And yet she has no idea if her husband whom she loves, is alive or dead. And she doesn’t know what to do. She’s stuck in this confusing situation, with pressure mounting, month by month, as no news of her husband is received. Well, while this is going on, with Penelope, fending off these suitors, Odysseus his son to lemma kiss is growing up. And this has been years and years now. And this boy to lemma kiss, is now approaching or and going through puberty and is becoming a man. And there’s a scene in the Odyssey where Penelope his mother speaks to him and corrects him and to lemme kiss, shouts her down and stands up against her. And everyone in the room is shocked by this behavior from Tulum, mcus. How dare a boy, talk down to his mother like this? Who do you think you’re talking to you don’t talk to your mother like that. But in the story, this event is a sign of something very important. And what it is, is a sign that that day, all the suitors knew that to lemma kiss, was ready to play the part of a man in that household. He was no longer Penelope his son. He was no longer a boy. He was now emerging as a man who would tell his own mother to sit down and be quiet. Because there was a man in the house to deal with these problems. Now, every mother I know would be offended and shocked to be talked to the way tell them because he talked to his mother Penelope. But in the story, that event is a good thing. That event is a sign that these bad times are ending. Because even if Odysseus doesn’t return to lemak, this is a man. And how do we know he’s becoming a man? Because he has a rebellious spirit. But that rebellious spirit is not an evil rebellion. That’s spirit. That’s intellect because that emerges. That day, is the spirit of a man who’s ready to become independent and take leadership responsibilities against other men. To lemma Chris is ready to be a man and what happens in the life of our boys is there comes a time as they get into their teenage years, where we start to see what I call this spirit of dilemma kiss, where they start to talk back this Start to want to be independent. They want to, they start to want to do things their own way, they get annoyed when mom talks to them about this or that or tells them what to do they get annoyed that they have to submit to dad’s rule. Or do this because dad says, so we start to see them getting annoyed when they’re taught to and treated like boys. And you know what that is, that’s not something evil, that’s manhood emerging in that boy. That’s manhood. That’s a, that’s a boy who’s ready to seek independence. That’s a boy who’s becoming what he was created to be an independent man. And while the boy is living in the household of his father, being given commands by his mother, as he approaches, maturity, that starts to annoy him and irritate him. And he starts to respond to it negatively. And when he does, so, the parents need to realize that that’s a good thing. That’s a natural thing. He’s becoming a man. He’s standing on his own feet, and he’s ready to branch off and create his own household where he makes the rules. He’s the boss, he’s the provider. And that spirit is emerging in him. And while he’s living with his father, in his father’s house, there’s going to be tension, because two men are living in a house. And that tension is not a problem. That tension is a sign that That boy is approaching the end of his childhood. Now, when that stuff happens in my house, I talk to the boys. And I make it clear to them that they are going to be able to have their way and be independent, when they’re actually independent. But as long as they’re in my house, and this house is dependent on my work, this house is going to follow my rules, because it’s my house, I’m the man of the house. And yet at the same time, I’m not offended by the spirit that’s in them. But I, I prune, I prune and cultivate that independent manhood that’s developing in them. And I help them to understand what it is that they’re feeling, so that they can channel it and direct it, where it needs to go. So we can bear fruit, where that energy needs to go, is study and work. That’s where that energy needs to go. What I tell my sons is the way for you to get out of my household, which doesn’t offend me, because it’s natural. It’s the end of my parenting, to make you an independent man. When you’re irritated with the life of a boy, and you want to become a man, you have to focus on those activities that are in your control that allow you to actually make that transition responsibly. those activities, one of them is joining the military. And that’s one of the reasons my sons have joined the military. joining the military gives you as an 18 year old the option to establish your own adult career in life. A simple decision, a choice to sign up in the military, and you have a career with 100 different possible options. You can be a full time soldier, you can be an officer, you can be in the reserves, go to college, you can serve four years, then leave the military, take your military benefits and live happily ever after. You have 1000 different options. And you’re paid in the military. And that’s one option in an 18 year old boys control. That’s one button he can push. There are other buttons but that’s the most common one, especially in American society. And it’s one that boys don’t push and having these idle dependent. Young men who want to be treated like men but who don’t become independent is a problem that needs to be addressed. And the boys need to be helped to understand that to be treated like a man. You need to live like a man one last thing Before we wrap up. So there, let me just say there are other options too for for young men, for example, going to college allows a boy to go live on his own, he can live in a dorm. But college costs a lot of money if you didn’t study because you chose to disobey your parents when you were 14. And now you can’t earn a scholarship. Well, now you have to pay for that car. Well, now you’ve got a problem as a young man, that’s your own fault. And you start to learn that the real world prunes all of your opinions and choices, and begins to discipline you and push you into a path that’s responsible. So all of those problems of adulthood and entering into adulthood are part of the pruning process. And parents need to explain them to the children rightly, or they’ll waste them. Or parents foolishly, especially mothers, like to spoil the children, and help them financially in a time in their life when they need to learn how to work and the difficulty of life. The difficulty of finding a job of getting into college of choosing a career of being successful in a competitive market, those are the challenges that prune a boy and help him to become a profitable man. And mothers or fathers who are artificially injecting money into that boy’s life are not only delaying that process, but maybe destroying that natural process. So this is a very complicated situation. And like I said, there’s a lot to talk about. And Catholic parents today don’t talk about these things, primarily because there’s so wrapped up in useless political controversies that are none of their business. So to wrap up here, I think the number one problem that might provoke someone to think that there’s something wrong with homeschooling and teenage boys, is that the teenage boys aren’t understood. parents haven’t prepared themselves philosophically or theologically, for the work of parenting, the boys are actually acting naturally. And as I said, I don’t care what kind of problems they have. And let’s be just like, extreme. If a boy is wrapped up in pornography, something that we consider so shocking and disgusting and terrible, can’t you understand why an emerging reproductive male creature is interested in sexual activity. That’s not that’s not unnatural, that’s natural. So now parents have work to do, we need to remove influences that are bad for him. But at the same time, we need to realize that these desires are natural and have a natural end provided for them by God and the work of parents is to simply cut off a bad route, prune a bad branch, and push that child in the direction he needs to go. not overreact to, it’s stupidly big, and gossip about the child to friends, and then be embarrassed. And then blabber on social media about how you caught your child. That’s what mothers are doing. And then they wonder why they’re having trouble with their teenagers. I can tell you why they’re having trouble with their teenagers, because they don’t love them. That’s why they’re more concerned about their friends. Then they’re teenagers. They do everything that the book of Proverbs tells parents not to do. And it produces all of the effects. Proverbs warns that it will produce and then they act like Something strange is happening when no such thing is happening at all. So there’s lots to talk about. And I hope that this talk gets all of these thoughts going in your head. I hope it helps you to look at your own experience parenting and understand it in a more positive light so that you can actually do something about it, rather than just complain or blame society or blame your child as if he’s supposed to parent himself. And I say most importantly, that you realize that this fascination with child saints can have a terrible impact on your relationship with your children. If you think for one second And that that’s how they’re supposed to be acting. And you’re supposed to merely take photos of a saint, growing up in your house and share them with your friends. So sure, the curriculum in your home may also be a problem. Maybe why the parents don’t know how to parent in the first place, because they were raised studying algebra and chemistry, instead of ethics and rhetoric. The curriculum also won’t challenge teenage boys personally, if it’s a silly K to 12, modern school education. You won’t challenge them philosophically won’t give them answers to the questions that they have, in their own souls, privately, won’t give them direction, won’t help them understand themselves, well keep them busy, because it’s too easy. And so instead of being challenged by rigorous studies, they have this light, easy Modern School program that they they get done and then have lots of idle time. And then you’re complaining about all of this idleness. And it’s, it’s because of the curriculum you use with the children, that doesn’t give them work to do. So all of these problems have causes. And there’s lots of issues I’ve focused in this talk on homeschooling mothers, and I apologize for that, if I, if I did so inordinately, I think I did. So I talked too much about the mothers, because the fathers get away with the same evils. by neglecting these issues, by just trying to throw money at problems by imagining that they can just send the kids someplace else to deal with problems that are their responsibility to deal with, by not setting good examples, by not being independent, responsible men themselves. And there’s another danger to watch out for that I’ll just mention really quick here. And I’m sorry, this is so long. But another problem is that self employed men often take advantage of freedoms that they have, that are not good for their children, for example, the dad can be self employed, and he can sit at a desk in his underwear and get paid. But that liberty that he has, because of his self employment is not good for his sons to grow up with. And I obviously use a ridiculous example there. But that’s a challenge that I have found in my own life because of my self employment, I have great liberty in my life. And I have to learn to discipline myself not because it’s necessary for my own work, or or professional life or provision for the family, but because of the example that it sets for my boys who may not have the opportunity that I have. So lots to think about. I think teenage girls have it worse, to be honest. I think their situation because they’re by nature, dependent on good men, and those men are like unicorns today. I think their situation is is more troublesome. But homeschooling is great for Catholic teenage boys, if we get it right. I hope that’s helpful. God bless

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