Governor Chris Christie is a Hero, and so is Brian Aitken

Yesterday, the tough on unions’ governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was a hero to all who believe our 2nd Amendment rights must be upheld. 

This is an amazing story. It is a story of courage, injustice, despair, hope and triumph. Brian Aitkin was moving, and had to transport his guns across state lines. Brian was moving from Colorado to New Jersey. After a dispute with his parents, a mother, worried about her son, called the police.  Rather than protect and serve, they searched and arrested.  He did everything he was supposed to do to make the transport legal. Guns were unloaded, and locked in his trunk. However, he was charged anyway. 

COURAGE: Brian did something courageous. At 27 years old, 

Brian Aitken

 

he didn’t cave to pressure to plea bargain. He knew, down deep, he had done nothing wrong. He knew that somehow justice would prevail. He has no prior record at all. So, he let the case go to trial. 

INJUSTICE: But then something unexpected happened. A judge did not give the jury all of the rules that gave exemptions for possession and transport of firearms and ammunition when you are moving. With what the jury knew, this man seemed guilty. 

DESPAIR: Jail. Unbelievable. A man who had no prior trouble with the law is in jail. No one was injured, no property had been damaged, no one had been threatened, no crime had been committed, but there he sat. Brian was jailed on August 27, 2010, to serve a 7-year prison sentence for possessing 2 firearms, which were legally purchased in another state. 

HOPE: Governor Chris Christie is the hope. Seemingly, the only person in America lately that understands how to say, “Enough” to the bully’s of the world, Governor Christie was Brian’s hope and our hope as well. Thousands of people called, emailed and wrote to the governor asking him to commute, pardon, or grant clemency to Brian. Brian was our hero. This was huge for Brian, but this was also huge to millions of gun owners across America that believe their 2nd Amendment says it all. 

I wrote to Brian just about 2 weeks ago. I received a letter last week from him. He seemed in good spirits, but he also was very worried for his family, and what they were going through because of this sentence. 

TRIUMPH: December 20, 2010, Governor Chris Christie becomes a hero. He commutes Brian’s sentence. Brian will be home for Christmas. Justice, although slow, prevailed. 

For a more detailed article on the events before his commutation visit: http://www.the-912-project.com/2009/07/26/brian-aitken-follows-new-jersey-gun-laws-and-now-faces-7-years-in-prison/

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Freedom vs. Compulsion in Education

It’s time to rethink education.  Here’s an entertaining video that discusses it well, and then you can read the post from Carrie Piper about one mom’s experience with education.  You can see her blog at http://learningandlivinginliberty.blogspot.com/ 

Reposted with permission from Carrie Piper

I have been evaluating how I REALLY feel about freedom & the use of compulsion in education & life in general. A few weeks ago I read “The Leadership Education Continuum” by Diann Jeppson & Jodie Palmer (in the appendix of Leadership Education:The Phases of Learning by Oliver & Rachel DeMille) and listened to the free workshop you can download at Leadership Education Family Builder.

This really got the thinking! This continuum is a cyclical diagram that shows how the stages, 7 keys & 5 environments of Leadership Education all work together.  I cannot reproduce it here, but it is on page 301 of Leadership Education. The diagram shows the Freedom Agreement running across the center. I interpret this placing as a hinge of sort. It is the unifying practice that holds everything together. The mortar of a brick building, the eggs in a cake. So I ask myself. Just how am I living this principle? Have I fully accepted it?

Well, let’s define it first. It is basically the idea that personal freedom to pursue one’s own education works. It produces an individual who knows freedom.

WARNING! Soapbox Rabbit Trail Below

 (I do not mean having a head knowledge of the definition of freedom. I mean knowing it deep down in your bones so that it becomes a part of who you are and it sickens you when you see freedom being violated for yourself and others. These types of people are far and few between these days! It’s obvious they are a minority in elected officials if they are there at all. We allow our freedom to be hampered everyday.  For example, you cannot build on your own property without permits and paying the permit fees. You cannot start a new business without some sort of licensing, fee and government oversight.  This is not freedom. I read recently that 1 in 5 jobs in the USA is involved with monitoring the behavior of other people in some way. That is just wrong! )

 It also produces a person who loves learning because all they have learned has been intrinsically motivated, not coerced. Compulsory education makes an assumption here. The assumption is that freedom does not work with education. Reading, math and the like must be learned using coercion, a closed environment from which there is no escape, rewards for compliance & punishments for non-compliance (aka independent thought). The Freedom Agreement assumes that freedom in education does work and with superior results!

 Now when I read this I thought I agreed totally! I am a TJEder! We’ve been home educating this way for almost 4 years now, and even before I found TJEd, I was very relaxed in our methods. But then I hit a bump in the road.

I wrote here about how La had said she wanted to work on her math facts in order to be able to do Life of Fred. I thought, “Great! This is working! I can stop worrying about whether or not she will ever learn her math facts and move on in math!”

 ~ Here comes the road bump ~

This lasted less than one day when she burst into tears saying she doesn’t want to do this anymore! So no more work on math facts!  I confess I was shocked and disappointed.  I tried to figure out what went wrong.  After some soul-searching and prayer this is what I discovered.

  1. I was emotionally invested in her accomplishing this which made it my goal, not hers. 
  2. When we went to practice the math facts, I used a method that I thought would produce the quickest results. I failed to take into account her learning style and temperament.

This was inspiration with string attached. You see, it became all about me. All about relieving my silent fear that, she will never learn _________, if I don’t require it. I had crossed the line of freedom in her own education. I was pushing and using compulsion techniques. This is when Inspire not Require becomes manipulation and I need watch this in myself.

So, I still need to work on accepting the Freedom Agreement. I need to daily remind myself that it is my job to expose, inspire and help our home to be a learning environment. It is her job to learn, grow, and move through the phases at her own pace.

So why do this? It’s much easier to buy a curriculum, make sure your child is “on track” with everyone else, or yield the freedom to an “authority” of an online school.  I struggle through this because I want something better for my daughter. I want her to know freedom in her bones, to function within freedom, to have a deep love of learning that will last a life time, and be practiced in the skills of a scholar.

I need to trust freedom, trust my daughter & trust the guidance of my Lord God.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 
2 Corinthians 3:17