My son recently got the part of Buonragazzo in a local production of Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio”. It’s a great part, and he is very funny in it. He plays a brilliant scientist who creates artificial children who never do anything wrong. These children beg to take the trash out at their friend’s houses, and insist that their friends choose the games that they will play. They are the model of the fruit of the spirit, a kind of a pre-snake version of Adam and Eve.
This reminds me of a time in my own life when I was raising my oldest son. He was dealing with some difficult challenges, and I thought that at least some of the problems we were all going through were due to the Public School system. Indeed, there were some aspects of it that didn’t meet his needs. As a result, we decided to home school him from 7th grade on.
Things at home would be as great as I possibly could make them. The house would be clean all the time, I would spend a lot of individual time with him going through his studies; what I didn’t know, we would find out together. I can honestly say that for a time it was very much like that.
I realize now though, that some of the families that I gravitated toward seemed pretty perfect to me, or I thought it seemed that perfection was expected. Everything was on a much higher level; my thoughts were that people in those families might be really creating perfect children. In a sense, I thought that I should mold my children into my idea of perfection. I’m afraid I was one of those people.
In the musical, Gepetto seeks for control, perfection, and appearances. He wants good reputation above real life. He desires that Pinocchio be a glorified version of himself, and for Pinocchio to act, do, and become an idealized version of the perfect child. As we know, that doesn’t work out so well. Pinocchio rebels, makes a donkey of himself, and Gepetto comes to the realization that he is as imperfect as all the parents that he judged to be unworthy of parenthood. He arrives at an understanding of his own faults and failings. It is only then that Pinocchio and Gepetto build a relationship worthy of true father and sonship.
Although my home-schooling days are all but over, I’ve learned a great deal. There are no perfect children. There are no perfect parents. Realistically, there are no perfect educational choices. Each person is an individual. Children, if they are lucky, will eventually be who they are. Love is beyond the boundaries of expectations.