Our family just watched Invictus – a wonderfully inspiring true story of how, after apartheid, Nelson Mandela used the rugby World Cup to unite South Africa. The most poignant part to me is that Mandela chose to forgive his captors after being imprisoned for 27 years. There is a haunting soundtrack song entitled “9000 Days” which refers to the “days of destiny” that he spent in prison.
For the last 9000 of my days, I have been homeschooling. Homeschooling here in middle Tennessee has changed in amazing ways over the last 27 years. When we began with our 4-year-old, homeschooling was illegal in Tennessee. We joined with Claiborne and Lana Thornton and several other families to lobby our state legislators for the potential efficacy of a third education option in addition to public or private. We were there when home education was declared legal in our state, and we were there when our governor declared a week in March 1986 the official “Homeschooling Week in Tennessee”.
In the second and third years of being president of MTHEA, our membership increased from 200 families to 1200 families. At that point, we knew it was necessary to establish communication within our organization. The families we were serving needed to be kept aware of crucial happenings within the homeschool community: sports teams, pending legislation, graduation deadlines, banquets, field trips, and articles of edification. We felt strongly that we needed to create a newsletter or magazine as a tool to inform, educate, and encourage within our homeschooling community.
We, along with then-editor Brenda Phillips, decided on the name “Jonathan’s Arrow” for our newsletter for many reasons. First of all, an arrow can serve many purposes: to point toward safety, to point away from danger, to send messages, to hit a target, and to stop an enemy. All of these uses can be helpful to families on our path, whether to bring messages which can encourage, share articles from veteran homeschoolers, give reminders to keep us from trouble (requirements, deadlines,etc.), or to emphatically point us toward the goals of homeschooling success.
And why did we choose Jonathan? In the Old Testament, Jonathan had a unique relationship with his best friend, David. He risked much to ensure David’s safety and loved him authentically. We “aim” with Jonathan’s Arrow to be connected to the families we serve as an accountable messenger of encouragement.
Much has changed in the last 9000 “days of destiny” to the betterment of all of us still involved in homeschooling. Our 13-year-old has so many more resources than were ever available to our 31-year-old. These resources were begun and improved by countless volunteers who were also teaching their own children. Remember to take the time to email a message of thanks to the many servants you know who are currently tirelessly working behind the scenes to make homeschooling here in Middle Tennessee the blessing it is today.