Growing up in the 1970's and 80's, we saw examples of how communism both came to power and retained power over the people. It produced “art” that was actually propaganda, telling stories and revealing a world view of bold human progress through great effort together against all comers. Schools, state run, of course, taught a world view that necessitated compliance to the great vision and did not tolerate deviance, even and especially from parents. Education did not teach children to think, as did, supposedly, our education system, or reason. Ideas outside the state world view were not to be entertained. “How could that happen?” we wondered, “How could they be so foolish?”
Yet we have witnessed, if not understood, the very same happening in the United States test past few decades. It is the modernism the Church and her popes of the late 1800's into the early 1900's warned against. It is the danger we forgot to pay attention do in our own midst as the world fought two wars and a cold war and celebrated the fall of communism, but the poison was already in our air and water: the heresy of personal “truth.”
Perhaps, now that parents and children are home and parents are seeing how their kids do, and do not, think, what has been taught, and not taught, and what propaganda infiltrates modern shows, movies, social media ... perhaps we can see the greater danger facing humanity is to the soul.
The western world, the United States included, is about as secular, agnostic, and atheist as when Christianity was spreading across Europe. It has been over a millennia since society at large did not share a Judeo-Christian moral foundation, including a general belief that death was not the final word. Now? Now it is fairly common for people who self proclaim as rational to declare they know oblivion is the only rational reality after death, never mind they can't explain the reasoning behind such a conclusion other than not believing in “fairy tails.” Nor can they name a “first cause” prior to the Big Bang, to explain the existence of the mega-dense matter of all the universe that ... goes bang. But they declare two certainties as rational: there can be no God, and death is the end. How terrifying, death without faith!
Many countries, the United States included, have culturally turned away from multi-generational living. COVID-19 is exposing some of the weak spots in this change. Among the weak spots is young families with rent/mortgages who just lost their jobs and have no family nearby. Chances are, we will emerge from this with more young families living with their parents or aunts and uncles. Elderly parents/grandparents often live in a retirement community of some sort. COVID-19 prompts separation and two-weeks quarantine if one leaves. This can leave a grandparent suddenly alone if their spouse needs medical attention, regardless of if it is coronavirus related or not, and hard choices regarding to stay on their own, or stay with family for the duration.
Prayer brings peace. Peace brings clarity. Clarity frees the mind and soul to see with eyes of innocence, as God sees, and to act in concert with His will, even and especially in unprecedented times. May God startle you with joy, and the healing balm of Christ's peace through prayer!
Families together in a whole new way may revel understandings taught your children that are counter to our Catholic faith.
Think about the hours of exposure your kids have to moral and formative teaching from others outside the Catholic Church. Public school system? 8 hours a day. Shows and movies and social media and video games and books? 4-8 hours a day by some measures. How many hours do you talk with them about faith and morals in a given day? A given week?
Now, all of a sudden, families are thrown together close to full time, and conversations about when life begins, how many genders there are, climate change, just be you, and you can be anything may collide with a new awareness in parent's minds that what their kids understand is different than Truth. It may be time to step up as your children's primary educators.
Thrust into the space called home near twenty-four-seven? Budget realities setting in that while buying take out daily helps local restaurants survive, it's expensive without the same income coming in? Getting tired of the poor quality of entertainment, riff with promotion of sin? Seeing the clutter of your home pile up? It's time to create hearth, the way hearth was created by so many of our grandmothers or great-great grandmothers.
Teaching public school curricula at home directly as a parent or through distance learning online is vastly different from homeschooling.
Parents are scrambling to get a computer or tablet so their kids can school at home, with the packet (curricula) provided by their child's teacher. This is not homeschooling; this is schooling at home. It is important we name the difference because educators are already trying to claim parents aren't qualified to teach their children, and after the dust settles and if parents and students who had schooling at home forced upon them underperform or no-show, public educators will, in a massive show of inability to think critically and logically, will conflate that with “see, parents are not qualified to teach.”
Search and Rescue are amazing first responders and they, like all first responders now, are stretched thin, caring for families and ... first responding.
Please, be humble enough to know your limits and not engage in activities that are unfamiliar; and be extra conservative in activities that are familiar, so you can get yourself out even if something unexpected goes wrong (this used to be the norm for outdoorsmanship ... let's bring that standard back!). The consequences for you and possibly dozens if you do not, could be life and death, as this article from OutdoorOnline makes clear.