My daughter is suffering in school, and damn me for being so reasonable with her absent father. Technically we still share custody, but he has moved out of town and has not seen her or spoken with her in over a month. He has always been against homeschooling, and only recently have I gotten him to agree to “let” me homeschool her… but he wants her to finish grade 4 first.
She goes to a decent school. The teachers she’s had have been very kind, reasonable, gentle, understanding, and motivated to do their very best. But they all share the point of view that children belong in school, that you need to externally motivate children or else they’ll never learn, and that it is society’s duty to prepare children for the “real world,” which to them means university, a career, marriage, and the inevitability of taxes and death.
What about following her passion? What if she wants to work a crappy, minimum wage job that allows her the freedom to be herself, to not be in huge debt, and to paint, or act, or read, or study physics in her spare time? What if she wants to write a novel at 15, and then go on a multi-city book tour? What if she wants to move to Africa and help people end genital mutilation? What if she wants to sail the world?
Anyway, I sent an email to her father today, asking his “permission” to pull her out of school immediately. School lets out for xmas break on December 19, and hopefully that will be her last day Why do I need his permission? Because I am too damned nice, that’s why.
I have worked for years on becoming more assertive. I have survived debilitating depression. I have overcome the hurdles of the label of a diagnosis of “Borderline Personality Disorder.” But I am still struggling with standing up for myself and my daughter. I would fight off a physical assault like a mama bear should. I would take on any pain you asked of me if it meant it would spare her the same. But I still send her to an institution every day that I have no faith in. An institution that I know is causing her harm. And why? Because I am afraid of her powerless, gutless father!
Honestly, this man has never paid off a debt in full in his life. He drinks much of his money away. He truly has no resources to come after me if I pull her out of school against his will. He has been out of her life since the end of June, despite my willingness to facilitate visits and keep to our custody arrangement. (Okay, I wasn’t very willing, but I knew that if he asked to keep that arrangement going that I would have no choice but to comply. But he never asked, so I just kept her with me.) Why am I afraid of his wrath?
Ah well. Three more days of school, and my girl will have two weeks of freedom.