25 March 2010

Perseverance Creates Opportunities

When we were homeschooling our youngest daughter, we became involved in 4H. 4H is a wonderful organization and we have many fond memories from our involvement with the children and our local 4H officials and volunteers. They are truly a community oriented organization. My wife and I formed a 4H club to involve homeschooled children and other kids from our area. We involved the children in numerous activities - raising livestock and competing in fairs and shows, field trips to Richmond to lobby legislators, as well as trips to museums and other historical sites in Virginia. One of the events we sponsored was a spelling bee, giving our group of homeschooled kids an opportunity to participate in the National Spelling Bee. But we were met with opposition. Some local officials who were employees of the public school system were opposed to allowing homeschoolers enter their local bee. When my wife started exploring how to go about this and get our group of kids involved, she was told, quite bluntly, "no."

"Why?" my wife asked. 

"Those are just our rules" was the response.

Wrong answer.

These folks had never tangled with my wife. If I've not learned anything else after 30 years of marriage, it's this: if my wife is convinced she's right about something, you may as well yield. You're gonna lose in opposing her. Her mixed Scots-Irish and Monacan Indian blood combined to create quite a determined and fiery constitution. Refusing to accept a no, she was determined that the children in our group were going to have the opportunity to participate. After all, their parents were lawful taxpayers - why should these children be discriminated against? Needless to say, my wife's perseverance paid off and my daughter, along with another child, were both able to advance one step toward the National Bee, though neither made it to nationals. 

Now comes the recent news that a homeschooled child from Waynesboro, Virgnia (where we were initially told "no") has won our local spelling bee. Congratulations to this young lady and kudos to another lady, though unrecognized and forgotten by some, for standing up to those government officials back in the '90's. That young lady who recently won was all smiles when she correctly spelled "finesse." When my wife heard the news, she smiled too.

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