Jenny Wells blogs at Jewellspring. She is a teacher and a writer. She educated her own three children full-time and others’ children some of the time for 17 years until 2012, she stopped and placed her three children into public school. The following was originally published on her blog on November 4, 2013 and is reprinted with her permission.
For ten years, I homeschooled my three children full-time.
And during that decade, I came across all kinds of families, systems, philosophies, and curriculum. I went to the conventions, read the books, did my research. And during that decade, I learned who the big-wigs were, the poster families, the ones “we” the homeschooling community most wanted to emulate. I wanted it at certain points, too…the family-centric lifestyle. The clean-cut gender lines. Perfectly behaved and courted children, mainly for my sake. But in my heart of hearts, I knew I could never be like “them”. I just received their shiny catalogs in the mail and wondered how they pulled it off.
I knew we couldn’t be like them; I wasn’t sure I even wanted to be, but the temptation was there. Why? Because a faith and lifestyle that gives answers feels so much safer than a life of mystery and questions and any mother gets afraid, whether they can admit it or not.
Give me a formula to keep my children “safe” and I’ll follow it.
My views and life have changed so much since the days of being handed books like, “Beautiful Girlhood“. So when Doug Phillips (the patriarch pictured above) resigned last week because of an “inappropriate relationship”, my first reaction was, “A-HA! No one is immune, not even you Mr. Father of Many in Shiny Catalogs.”
But here’s the real reason for my post.
This story has stuck with me and I wake up thinking about it. I read his apology found everywhere (just Google it) and spent some time online last night trying to research the story. I am now even more grieved.
No one. No one, not one supporter or stick-it-to-him writer wrote about her.
Who was the girl he was involved with?
I don’t need a name. But I need an identity, an acknowledgement. Because I know her heart is broken.
She hides in obscurity.
Doug Phillips apologizes as I have heard so many apologize before, as virtuously as he can sound, but not to her.
He goes home to restore with his wife and family. But I would guess the chances are more likely that she has none. How will she be restored? How will she recover?
I am so sick and tired of these stories being about Him. The man of power.
If you have never experienced it, you can’t know what is like to be given attention from someone of power in a system that encourages it. Oh, but I do. It’s heady, confusing, and so very scary, to be given the attention of a man in a position of power, especially in a system like Vision Forum and many, many circles I came across in my home-schooling and church-attending days where men have been given the greater authority from God.
Dear Sister, whoever you are, I don’t care if you started it. I don’t care if you were his peer or a young woman. I don’t even care all that much that his family was hurt. They still have each other and families have survived worse. But you have to go away. You can have no contact with a man you felt deeply connected to. You have to stay in obscurity. You don’t get to heal with the man who broke your heart. And no one is talking about you and this pain that I imagine is greater than you can imagine surviving. I’m so sorry.
And I care.
If you know of anyone else writing about the real victim, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks.