Always Be Honest With Yourself

Rounding the corner to my 18th year of life has been quite the whirlwind of emotions. I have made it this far; but how far will I go? What is important to remember, and what would the future me be better off forgetting? Among all of the questions however, I have found an overwhelming amount of answers. Maybe too many for my own good, at times.

Most of the questions we have in our teens years, are, presumably answered by our own trial and error. Unfortunately, nobody is truly capable of warning us of the dangers we will set for ourselves ahead. Most likely, we will repeat our parents mistakes; we will say and do the same exact things that all young adults did before us (but good luck getting them to admit it). We will go on through life believing that we have all the answers already; until, one day, we realize we don’t. That will be the day that we turn back to those who were once like us; those who partied and made the wrong choices but will never admit it. And our parents and grandparents, and for some like me, great-grandparents will fill in those question marks with wise answers. They have lived our days already, and believe me, they had the same questions too.

As someone who spent their entire life running away, I find myself lost in the past quite often. For many years I wondered what it would be like to have a dad. I’d bask in the realm of imaginary childhood memories, and I’d piece together the person I could have been today. Most of all though, I would imagine asking my father the questions that accumulated throughout my life.

In the movies, I would see little girls. They were much too young to sit up front, but they were always comfortably seated in the passenger side nonetheless. The wind would toss their beautiful long hair as they glanced at their father endearingly. It was always at this point in the film that the solemn and cherishable fatherly advice would be graced upon the daughter. These car rides were always the best and worst part of the movie for me, because they were the moments I dreamed of all my life, but would never experience.

As each year passed, my family fell apart more and more. By the time I was fifteen I had lost my mom (she didn’t die, she is just gone from my life), and I was separated from my two younger brothers. I met my biological father, and shortly after beginning to build a relationship together, he left me again. I never felt enough love or trust for my biological father to ask him the questions only a Dad could answer…so I didn’t; and they built and built.

At fifteen, I fell in love. I mean, I really fell head-over-heels madly in love with a handsome gentleman named Carmine. After almost a year, we got engaged in the very same place that we met! What I didn’t realize when I fell in love was that I fell for every part of Carmine, including his family, whom always welcomed me with open arms and gave me all the love they possibly could. God had quite interesting plans for Carmine and myself, and shortly after getting engaged we moved across the country to Florida, to move in with his parents.

Carmine’s dad (whose name is also Carmine) has always been a ball buster. He is a trouble maker and an instigator; just like me. We clicked the minute we met, and we have always had a strong unspoken bond. After moving in with his dad, we only got even closer. I don’t drive so he would often drop me of at work, and I began to look forward to our sunrise drives more than anything else in the day. We would stop at the gas station, see our friend Bob, and be on our way with coffee in hand. I loved our morning routine, and so did Dad.

One day, as I was getting home from work, I walked in and yelled “Carmine, I brought you your favorite, a double fudge cookie!” and I’ll never forget the words that came out of his mouth at that moment. He sat up from the couch, turned around, and stared at me with a tough-yet-sweet look in his eyes. “Whats with all this ‘Carmine’ nonsense?!” he barked (as he quite often does). Confused, I responded “well, what am I supposed to call you…?”. “Dad” he said. And even though fireworks were going off on the inside, I just smiled, gave him his cookie and said “Okay, Pops. You got it.” and walked into my bedroom.

I had thrown around the use of “Pops” or “Dad” here and there but it was by no means a regular thing; it was more experimental than anything. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, and I didn’t want to make Carmine’s parents uncomfortable either. Yet, here I was, on a Tuesday night covered in cake flour from work, beaming with pride that this old man wanted me to call him Dad.

From then on, our morning rides were different. Almost magical. After all these years with unanswered questions, God gave me the father I always needed and I didn’t waste one second taking advantage of it. I must have asked him so many questions that he wanted to duct tape my mouth shut but he didn’t. He didn’t even ask why I inquired about his childhood dreams and plans, he just answered me.

Fast forward to last Thursday evening. It was muggy and hot, but the sky was absolutely breathtaking, so I cracked my window anyways. As the sun touched down on the earth and the wind tangled my hair, I found comfort knowing that this was my father-daughter-movie-moment. This was the day I waited my whole life for, and I was ready for it.

“Dad?” I spoke half confidently half nervously. “What is the one piece of information that you need to pass on (to me) in this life? What is the key to success?”
I looked over to the driver side and Pops was thinking. I mean, he was really thinking. I know when he is searching for just the right thing to say because he takes his time, and he puckers his mouth on his chewing tobacco like it helps him focus. He kept his eyes locked on the road even as I pressed him with my yearning stare, and he said to me “always be honest with yourself.”

I don’t think there is an emotion to describe this milestone in my life. It is a moment that my old man will likely forget, but I will cherish it forever. This, the day that I unlocked the secret to life, success, and happiness, will live forever in my heart and mind. Thank you for being my father, and loving me like your own Old Man. God was keeping you for me all of this time.

Having a Dad means knowing that one day, this person will live on through you. To be able to take this one answer from him, the most important thing he will ever pass on to me, was worth waiting more than a thousand years for. There is something about the safety of a father that makes you feel like they hold the answers to every question in the universe. And suddenly, once I asked this one, crucial question, the other ones didn’t matter so much anymore. I worry less, and I live more. Dad gave me freedom in this moment that will inhabit my soul until the end of time.

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(L115) Why Should I Choose The Ron Paul Curriculum?

NOTE: If you are looking for an accurate and honest recount of what the RPC is like, please see my article/essay The Truth About Gary North & The Ron Paul Curriculum

1.) The ability to incorporate lessons/courses that are important to you or your child (which are not already included in the curriculum), and the ability to learn (or teach) through experience.
This is not to say that the RPC is lacking courses in any sense, however should you have a child interested in studying something specific, then you have the ability to meet their educational cravings. This means going into the real world and allowing your child to do exactly what it is they are learning about. If you pair this hands-on-learning with a years worth the essays, projects, research, etc. it could end up counting as a high school credit.
This ability to personalize your own (or your child’s) education is something that cannot be found anywhere but in a homeschool environment. Thanks to the RPC specifically, I was able to create my own entrepreneurship course with all of the information of I acquired about starting a business in my junior year. I designed the entire course myself, and with supervision from my guardian I set my own goals and regulations as well. I created my own business; this meant I had to create a written business plan, make a custom logo, advertise on a budget, manage a schedule, be in charge of tracking and allocating my own expenses and profits, serve my clientele, and so much more. It actually became a good source of income for the time I was running it, and I ended up expanding my services after a few months. (Had I not moved across the country, I would still be in business today.) Not only did this custom course offer me real life experience, but it gave me an understanding of entrepreneurship which has helped put me on a path to be a successful adult.

2. The ability to learn (or teach) at your own pace!
We all learn at different speeds and in different manors. Some people like to do one course each day of each class. Others (like me) like to focus on one course per week. The Ron Paul Curriculum offers the ability to learn and teach at your own speed for the entirety of your K-12 duration because the parents are 100% in charge of the deadlines! No rushing, no lost sleep, no stress; for you or your children! Sick child? Family emergency? No worries! School can wait until tomorrow – there will be no catching up to do, and no negative repercussions. You as the parent are in control; what better way is there to make sure you are satisfied with their progress and growth?

3.) A like-minded community of families and children, all at your fingertips.
The peer-run feedback boards of the Ron Paul Curriculum offer a broad range of constructive criticism, as opposed to getting one opinion from a single teacher. This allows your child to expand their own understandings of what they believe and why. It will also build your child’s conversational and debate skills, all the while connecting them with kids like themselves all around the world.
It didn’t take long for me to build both academic and personal relationships with other homeschoolers through our blogs. I learned how to put my knowledge into conversational practice, simply by offering and receiving feedback from other students.

4.) Flexibility
Every family dynamic is different, as is each individual child. No matter the work hours, travel abilities, and physical limitations of you or your child, the RPC can fit your needs. All you need to get class done is internet and a computer. In today’s day and age, these things can even be accessed for free at a library if need be.
During family emergencies, I have still been able to reach my own personal deadlines and goals because I do not need to be home to do school. I can be on the train, a plane, or even at the hospital completing certain tasks.

5.) Christian, and liberty-based: all in one!
Not only will your child get an honest and true education, but they will also get a morally sound education. I think that this piece really does speak for itself considering how hard it is to get top-notch educators living by the freedom philosophy.
The first year I was a member of the RPC, I was not religious. I was not offended, or crushed with Christian standpoints. I was simply educated enough to understand the morality of Christianity. By my second year in the RPC, I had been born again. I did find my new understanding of God to be quite helpful and enriching when it came to some of the things I was hearing, however this is not only a curriculum for Christian families by any means. The RPC suited my needs when I was both a Christian, and an atheist; it also gave me my first real life lessons about freedom, and liberty. I don’t know what more I could have asked for.

 

(L95) In 20 Years I Will…

“The lifestyle I want 20 years from now”

In 20 years time (if we all survive on earth that much longer), I will be 37 years old. By this time, I will hope to have accomplished the majority of my goals (and maybe some dreams too)!

First and foremost, I would love to have a big family! This would mean as many kids as Carmine and I could comfortably afford, (no grandkids yet, but hopefully they wouldn’t be too far off in the distance). They will be raised in the outdoors, making forts and mud pies rather than downloading apps and begging for the latest trending toy. They will all be homeschooled, and our children will learn through true experience like we all should have!

To go along with our large and well functioning household, it would be a dream to carry out everyday life self-sustainably. (I’ve always lived on a farm in my heart!) We would have goats for milk and cheese (it is much healthier for humans than cow milk and/or cheese). Horses for riding and plowing fields. (Not only are they good work animals, but they are extremely therapeutic; knowing how to ride, care for and work with horses are fantastic skills to have.) I certainly wouldn’t complain if I was allowed to have a donkey or mule either! Chickens (and roosters) would certainly be a must; I’ve had them before and not only are they great for waking you up before your alarms do, but the eggs are delicious. There is a difference between meat chickens and egg chickens contrary to common knowledge, and it would be possible we could have meat chickens to sell to others. I just don’t think I would be able to eat an animal I raised, and I am not huge on meat anyways.

Last but not least, I hope that Carmine and I may have both achieved our career goals and fulfilled our callings. This would mean, most importantly, that we will have our own liberty based church. Carmines indisputable calling from God is to be a preacher, and I couldn’t be more proud of his persistent studies and growing relationship with The Lord. We have both grown so close to our Creator since we were born again in May of 2015 and I can’t even imagine the things that could happen within the next 20 years! As I am still unsure of my calling, I do know that it is either to bake, or to work with animals. I have always had a special relationship with animals, mostly dogs, and God has used them to touch and greatly affect my life since I was born. On the other hand however, I feel that I am being drawn to bake, and decorate. I am not quite sure of the significance of this yet, and only time will tell. I sure hope that 20 years is enough to find out! It would be beyond my wildest dreams to have a dog rescue animal rescue in general); a farm would make fantastic space for a dog sanctuary as well.

The one thing that I am sure of is that God will grant Carmine and I exactly what we need in this life, and that is all that I could ever ask for. Only time will tell quite what that means!

(L80) Admitting When You’re Wrong

What would be the most difficult technique in this book (How to Win Friends and Influence People) so far for you to learn how to do well? Why?

The single most difficult life skill offered in this book for me to master would be the art of avoiding argument. Carnegie puts great stress on the importance of discussing rather than arguing; this is something I have knowingly struggled with my entire life.

My argumentative nature is not due to being easily offended, because quite honestly, I’m not. It is however more likely than not, due to my automatic defensive system. My childhood was traumatizing to say the least. My teenage years were abnormal, distressing, and to be honest, just messed up in every imaginable way. My life, while much better now (by my own, and my husband-to-be’s doing), is still much more complicated than that of any other 17 year old I have ever known or heard of. I got used to being kicked while I was down, and as I got older I learned to kick back.

The downside to picking up verbal and physical self defense was not always knowing the appropriate time to use it. Someone who is used to being attacked tends to anticipate one at all times. It is hard to admit, but even when someone has the best of intentions, I can easily become a guard dog to my own emotions. This is an issue I have corrected time and time again, and I certainly am getting better, however we all have our moments. With everything I have been through, it is hard not to lunge when people make assumptions about me.

Besides avoiding arguments, I must also listen to Carnegie pertaining to his statement “if you’re wrong, admit it”. This is something that most people have a hard time with, and so I have decided to take a step towards correcting it right here in this essay:

I am more argumentative than I would like to be, I do get defensive, and I do get pushy at times. I am not always going to be right, because I am only a human. I make mistakes and that is okay, but the only way that I can learn from them is by accepting, acknowledging and correcting them. I am willing to do what it takes to reduce the amount of fighting in my life, especially if that means admitting when I am wrong.

“Is the Family a Legitimate Form of Government?” (L5)

When brought the question of whether or not the family is a legitimate form of government, I reluctantly answer yes; however this does not apply to every single family out there. There is the aspect of ‘regular’ or normal families, and this entails that two sound of mind adults (or one) function as a team in raising their children (or child). They make decisions together, and choose to exercise their authority as well as control the sovereignty of their children through discipline (without physical abuse). This is clearly just a small-scale proficiently functioning government. However another aspect of a family is one of children raised anarcho-voluntaryist; in some of these homes children might be found making every decision for themselves, without punishment nor reward. There is no law, there is no hierarchy. Every man or woman is a sovereign human being making decisions for themselves and handling the consequences as well, even at the young age of 14. It is in these homes, like the one I live in, that people are taught responsibility, and decision making skills; most of all you learn that life does not have to be win-loose. “peaceful parenting” is another branch of family styles that I would not consider a government because, the upbringing of the child is all about compromise – rather than the parents just telling their kid no all day. It is about communicating and being on the same level, rather than exercising power over your child. My conclusion being that, although family does not have to be a form of government (and in my opinion shouldn’t be), these days (in many places around the world) that is exactly what it has become.