The middle of the road is the place for me. You can see both directions pretty clearly, and there’s plenty of time to get out of the way when something big comes hurtling toward you.
Extremism in politics, religion, weight loss philosophy and just about anything else, is disruptive and causes a lot of unnecessary anger, angst and frustration. When I was a homeschool mom, I saw many extremes.
One group I discovered early on called themselves “HELM”, Home Educators Like Me. This group believed in an unschooled approach, in which they trusted that their kids would naturally pick up whatever knowledge they needed in their lives, without formal instruction.
When I realized that some of the teenage boys in the group couldn’t read, but could play video games for hours at a time, I decided the group wasn’t for me.
Then I discovered “HUG”, which sounded nice. Who doesn’t like a hug? Hugs are good, especially when you are trying to teach a houseful of kids how to read. In this instance, HUG stood for Homeschoolers Under God.
Don’t get me wrong, I like God. And I believe a strong spiritual background is important for everyone. But this group went to the opposite extreme. Those kids had to call their parent’s ma’am and sir. I think they wore hand made uniforms, too. They spent a lot of time on rote memorization of everything from the U,S. Constitution, to the Bill of Rights, to the multiplication tables (all the way up to 20x20) and bible verses in the original Hebrew.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. I’m sure both groups had a lot to offer, but their extremism was a turn-off for the average Joe. Back in the day before computers, I opted for a mix of educational materials from a variety of sources. And I’m glad to say that four of my eight children are in college, while the other four are still finishing various levels of elementary, middle and high school. The middle of the road served us well, in a number of aspects.
I consider myself a pretty average Joe. The middle ground offers compromise, negotiation and cooperation. These are all things I can get behind, and they are all skills I want my children to learn. Extremism from either end of the spectrum rarely produces tangible results. Instead, it is often divisive, disruptive and contentious. Life is too short for so much anger.
I understand that many may view the middle of the road as a cowardly place, where wishy-washy new age thinkers hang out — and maybe it is. But, the good news is, we have chocolate here, and coffee and wine. And we have conversations in which both sides of an argument are evaluated for their validity.
Here in the middle of the road, you will find a compromising group of people who may not believe as you do, but who will defend your right to believe as you wish.
And here in the middle of the road, we let the voices of the masses be heard, not drowned out by anger. In the middle of the road, you are free to speak without fear of being drowned out by an angry mob.
Wyoming is the perfect place to be in the middle of the road. There isn’t too much traffic here, so you can see for miles. And as the Equality State, people are theoretically inclined to engage in intelligent discourse. I think we ought to start a middle of the road political movement. We could call it common sense.
Common sense works for Wyoming and it could work for the rest of the country too. And if you’d like to join me for some chocolate and a glass of wine, I’ll meet you in the middle of the road.