Proposed Homeschooling Regulations for Michigan Families Could Create a Cascade Effect

Earlier this month, I was horrified to read of a woman in Detroit who murdered two of her children, and had been keeping their bodies in the freezer for well over a year.  It is tragic beyond words, and now, Michigan legislators hope to use the children’s deaths as an opportunity to tighten homeschooling regulations, as the children were said to be homeschooled.   Proponents of the new bill say it would simply require homeschool families to register with the state, and have an inspection by a social worker, police officer, or Physician two times per year.  The grandfather of the victims feels that legislation like this could have prevented the children’s deaths.  If children aren’t in school how can they know for sure that they haven’t been murdered?  (by the way, it was reported that some of the neighbors knew that she had murdered her children, yet remained silent)

But what about children who aren’t old enough to go to school?  should they be subject to twice yearly inspections?  What if there is a disabled adult in the home, or an elderly person who no longer works?  Without state inspections, how can we be assured of their safety?  What about people who have freezers big enough to store two bodies?  Or people who have kids and are taking Anti-psychotic medications (as this woman reportedly was).  It seems odd to limit the inspections to families who homeschool their children.

Michigan State Senator Pavlov, in his open letter to Michigan parents says that “this legislation would not have stopped Ms. Blair from killing her children. Blair was willing to break every law on the books, and routinely and effectively lied for years to hide her crimes.” He also says, “This tragic situation is not, and never was, however, a homeschooling problem.”

If this law is passed, this could quickly become a homeschooling problem.  At first glance it seems fairly innocuous, just register with your local school district, and have social worker pop in occasionally to make sure the kids are still alive.  However, this bill would bring to life policies that currently can’t be enforced, such as what material must be taught, how records should be kept, and the fact that anyone who wishes to teach their own children must have a teaching certificate or bachelors degree.  The many requirements (as well as the states ignorance of how homeschooling works) are outlined in a document from the Michigan Department of Education.  There is hope however.  Senator Pavlov says, “As the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee I wanted to write you today to assure you that this anti-parent legislation will not see the light of day in my Committee.”

I don’t have the words to describe my sorrow for the children, their family and friends, and especially their surviving siblings.  I just don’t want to see their death used as an opportunity for a power grab by politicians.

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Andy Weir’s “The Egg”

So its been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  To get back into the swing of things I am going to do something that requires absolutely zero creative amperage.  I will be regurgitating the creative fruits of another persons labor (well, more like copying and pasting.  In order to regurgitate something you would have to gurgitate it first, and I haven’t even really done that)  I was prowling the internet, in search of that feeling you get when your mind is absolutely blown.  Nothing I stumbled upon was particularly interesting, and I wound up on “reddit” (I guess its some kind of social media website?) Where someone had posted, in its entirety, a short story by Andy Weir: “The Egg.”  I’m pretty far behind pop culture, so you have probably already seen this, but I thought it was neat (although a bit cheesy at times).  Anyway, here it is.

The Egg

By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

A Lasting Legacy

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Billions of people have tried, or are trying, to make a lasting legacy.  Many humans struggle with the idea that all too soon they will be dead, and eventually forgotten.  No matter how generous you are, no matter how heroic, no matter how many libraries you name after yourself, what office you h0ld, or how many records you break:  You will be forgotten.  After 100, 1000, or 10,000 years your name, your face, your life, will be wiped from history.

Forgotten but not Gone

While the details of your life will fade into obscurity, you will by no means be gone (Where would you go?).  Going on all around us is a constant exchange.  We breathe in the air taking in oxygen.  We breathe out releasing carbon dioxide.  Rain falls to the earth, enters the soil, and is taken up by the roots of a tree.  The tree uses the water, the carbon dioxide, and energy from the sun to create fruit.  We then eat the fruit, and its digestion is aided by trillions of micro-organisms living inside of us.  Nothing is stagnant.  Nothing stays still.  Matter and energy are constantly changing shape, changing hands, changing form, mixing, and melding.  This process continues after we die, the only difference is that there is no longer an entity that is notably and recognizably ‘you.’

Our bodies leftovers, however, will not be the only part of us to remain.  Every breath we take, every action, every thought, and every word, has an impact.  Each day we shape and change the world around us.  We all do, in fact, leave a legacy.  The legacy is not one that can be easily traced, nor one that is easily perceived by our fellowman.  But the earth knows.  and the earth will never forget.

So, if you want to leave a lasting legacy, be mindful of your actions.  Live each day with purpose, and take time to recognize your connection with every creature on this planet.  Headstones will eventually crumble, but the earth, and her creatures, will be around for some time.