Our son Tamas will soon turn 16. In the predominantly blue state of Illinois as well as the purple-turning-red state of Florida, Tamas has been exposed to in person, online, and televised political or other events. Tamas (sounds like “Tah Mash”) been homeschooled most of his young life. As political independents for the past decade plus, we made political or other happenings into homeschool educational events. These included state or national intra-party or inter-party-political debates spanning the left-right, two major party-political divides. If a parent is failing to educate their son(s) or daughter(s) in the reality and truth about politics, they are arguably not properly preparing their child(ren) for the real world. Let’s note that the usefulness of providing an informative look into political realities applies to all children, be they educated in public, private, parochial, or home-schooling environments.
A few years ago, pre-COVID19, we were seated at the bar area of a popular local restaurant one evening. Seating everywhere else was packed and the bar had 3 open seats side-by-side. So, we grabbed that seating. My better half ordered one of her favorite beers. Our son and I drank water (mine had slices of lemon to add flavor) with our meal. Sitting between my bride on the left and our son on the right, even in the busy bar, I could hear our son and a man perhaps in his 50s talking to Tamas about a politically related topic. The look on the adult’s face was clearly one of shock as the gentleman heard my son’s reply. He looked at me, smiled, and commented how obviously well-versed Tamas was in political issues.
I’d like to think Tamas knows more about politics now than he did then.
In the last couple of years, Tamas has had a better basic grasp of English grammar and spelling than yours truly. From time to time, I ask him to edit something for me. He earns a few shekels doing so while picking up some useful insights on a given article’s topic(s) and something for his future resume. The topics may include our profession’s segment of the affordable housing industry, broader politics, historic, or whatever the article happens to be focused upon. Meanwhile, I get the benefit of his second set of eyes on an article before it is published.
Having taken a standardized national test about 15 months ago prior to starting 9th grade, Tamas ranked in the 94+ percentile group in the U.S. (top 5 to 6 percent nationally, depending on the subject). Mom, the primary homeschooler for our son – and sometimes dad – have taken Tamas to various places for fun, scenic, recreational, and other types of educational experiences that include opportunities for him to interact with other youth as well as with adults. As we attend or occasionally host social events includes the popular ethnic Magyar Szabadság Kör. Therefore, Tamas’ ‘social’ skills are good too, as his political and spiritual education are ‘fed’ in public settings where he interacts with others of all ages. Last month, Tamas and dad were allowed to regale the Magyar Szabadság Kör with a song from Fiddler on the Roof. Dad fumbled part of a verse, Tamas did not. The applause came just the same, as the accompanist is a gifted musician, and a member of the team at the respected Plant City club was gracious enough to join us and hum along.
Our son isn’t perfect, but then neither are his parents. Tamas is a fine young fellow who is steadily moving toward adulthood.
More Local, State and National Events
We asked for, and were given, the green light last May to bring our son to the AMAC.us annual event in Orlando, FL that the adults were invited to come to this year. He and his dad also attended a voter integrity event which AMAC was involved in that focused on issues such as poll watching. That one included a talk by popular Governor Ron DeSantis (FL-R). Much to my surprise and delight, after the recent Hurricane Ian, a member of the team from the approximately 2.3-million-member strong Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC – arguably a center-right alternative to the AARP) called my cell. She wanted to make sure that our family was all right after the hurricane. I have no idea how many such calls were made. But it spoke volumes to my bride, our son, and myself about the kindness, quality, and impressive character of the AMAC home-office team.
As a storm-related aside, the left-leaning Washington Post said on 10.5.2022 that “Ian is likely Florida’s deadliest hurricane since 1935.” Stop and think about the odd headline statement when you ponder the claims from the left about ‘climate change.’ How can climate change (since the climate has always changed since the dawn of human history) be ‘getting worse’ when even the billionaire Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post headline obliquely admitted that there has been worse hurricane events decades ago? Don’t forget that thought. Because our son doesn’t miss such logical disconnects.
Tamas has been schooled in notions which include keen insights from thinkers like the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King’s many insights into life include the point that it is the content of a person’s character, not the color of their skin, that matters more.
Therefore, be it at the beach, church, store, event, or a park, Tamas interacts freely with people of all backgrounds and ethnicities.
Our son has also been versed in the notion that it is important to know how to think and not to simply be indoctrinated into what to believe. At the end of a long day recently, we sat down to watch a program together. Tamas likes to do a periodic-to-steady commentary on what is being said or done. His ability to discern something counter to what a plot line is stating is encouraging to a father who cares deeply about what type of world his son will be operating in as an adult.
For Soheyla, English is her fifth language. Magyars say her Hungarian accent is far better than mine. But it is as it should be, as she attended university there for years. That’s mentioned because for those who may question their ability to properly home school, take heart. You don’t even have to be born in the U.S.A. in order to successfully homeschool.
Recall that Tamas’ English grammar and spelling are arguably superior to mine (alas, English was not my strongest subject in junior high or high schools). One of the lessons of Soheyla’s experience is that you don’t have to be an expert in a subject in order to teach it successfully, so long as a parent has the right supporting materials. We’ve purchased videos, books, and accessed online items that have given Tamas high-level and solid instruction. Perhaps as a result, last year, he started getting invitations from various universities around the country to attend college preparatory summer classes. He took an AP class and very did well on a subject that could count toward a given university’s requirements for graduation.
It doesn’t have to be super expensive to do homeschooling. That said, we have made investments of thousands of dollars annually in the process for our son. Ideally, every state should make the education dollars follow the student rather than go to this or that ‘public school.’ That’s what true choice in American education should look like.
Because Tamas has been going to manufactured home industry events since he was a toddler, he also has a reasonably good grasp about our profession.
Sometimes, when we are driving through a part of a city or town that might have older site-built housing, I’ll ask him what type of foundation a given house has? He’s quite good at saying, this one is built on a slab, or that one is built over a crawl space.
On our way to a political rally last night that featured local officials such as popular Sheriff Grady Judd (Polk County, FL-R), and was headlined by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R), we took a wrong turn. As a result of that wrong turn, we drove past a site that was fenced off, but apparently having some type of development underway. There was a metal-sided, factory-built unit there. You could not see the bottom half of the unit, due to the fencing. I asked Tamas, what type of construction that unit was? He answered, ‘It is modular.’ He was correct, and in the ensuing discussion, we talked about how the presence of that unit at a commercial building site made it 99.5 percent likely to be a modular unit as opposed to a HUD Code manufactured home. I missed the opportunity yesterday evening to ask him about what was clearly a pre-HUD Code mobile home that we drove past. It looked like it might have dated back to the late 1950s or 1960s, but we were busy talking about another subject at that moment. He’s been informed of the similarities, historic evolution, and the differences between a pre-HUD Code mobile home and a modern HUD Code manufactured home.
While we are political independents, we are also mostly conservatives in the best sense of that term. The original conservatives were good stewards of creation who wanted to “conserve” the best, most pristine qualities of the land, sky, and waters. We go to scenic places so our son can appreciate the glory of God’s creation. Our relatives and family include people from a range of backgrounds, including several Muslims. However, my son and I are counted among the believers of the ‘original Christians,’ something that can be unpacked at another time too. Jewish, native, various Christian or non-Christian, plus various Eastern faiths are among the beliefs and traditions that our son has been exposed to through our friends, colleagues, and of course via education.
I could go on, but that outline is sufficient to make these points.
- Freedom is never free. Freedom and the tenants of a just social order must first be understood. For those who don’t yet grasp this reality, freedom is difficult to achieve absent a moral order that includes a solid grounding in spiritual realities. That being so, it is as or perhaps more important for a child, youth, or young adult to be properly exposed to politics and spiritual matters as it is any other foundational subject.
- Mom and dad are perhaps busier than most adults, as we have our own business (LifeStyle Factory Homes LLC, which is the parent company to ManufacturedHomeProNews.com, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, and other internet platforms). Mom has her own personal interests, which are not lost as homeschooling, work, faith-life-social balance are achieved. As a successful friend of ours likes to say, authentic success requires a 360-degree balance of all aspects of living. They recently downsized from a 22,000 square foot home into a 4,000 or so square foot dwelling in an exclusive gated golf-course community east of the Orlando metro. I think our entire home would have been swallowed up if it could have magically been dropped into their former living room. Segue aside, one point is that if we can do home schooling and our son can thrive in that realm, others can too.
- But be your child educated in public, private, parochial, some type of hybrid or home-schooling scenario, it is arguably vital to have the faith and political components totally integrated into their upbringing. When you wonder why crime, drugs, alcohol, violence, or teen pregnancies are among the most prominent problems in our society, you don’t have to look much beyond the faith, family values (or the lack thereof), political, social, and other aspects of a person’s life experience. Things often begin to go right or wrong at home. If something at home isn’t going right, don’t run from it. Grab it with both arms, and work on it as best you can. One of America’s founding father George Washington put it as follows.
When this writer was in 4th grade and in public school, I could recite the names of all the U.S. presidents in sequence from memory in about 4 seconds. I wonder, how many public-school kids today could say the same?
True, there were fewer presidents at that time than now. But when we are young, we are able to learn and retain all sorts of things. I can still recall some of the memorization drills we did in my junior high school French class (and I can recall my French instructor too, as a Frenchman might have described her, she was “ooh, la, la” – or en Français «Oh là là»).
Anyone with a memory can recall the jingle to some commercial from decades earlier.
Those are examples of the power of media and music, which arguably ought to be taught and safeguarded against intellectually, spiritually, and on other levels too.
Our Republic’s daughters and sons are being exposed to one of the most intense, manipulative, intrusive, and all-too-often harmful societies in human history. People can talk about ‘progressives’ – and our circle includes several, so this is not meant with disrespect – but it is hardly ‘progress’ if our children are being groomed to be the sexual playthings of adults. While it helps to be a believer, one can be an avowed atheist and realize that youth need to be protected, not subjected to premature or inappropriate indoctrination.
When Jesus mused “I tell you, he [God] will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18.8 RSV, per Bible Gateway). For the context, the prior verse (Luke 18:7) said: “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?” For those who fail to grasp the need for ongoing prayer (ora) that is coupled with the proper ongoing human efforts (labora), that parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) is revealing. “2 In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.” There have long been so-called atheists and agnostics. There have long been those who tried to conquer, manipulate, or otherwise rule over others. My son – our son Tamas – can tell you about miracles from ages past and from modern times too. So, faith is not some abstract notion. It isn’t pious beliefs about an era that has long ago come and gone. What has happened before can happen again, that is a lesson of history. Not only can what happened before occur again, it can do so in sometimes subtle, yet surprisingly similar ways. We must, therefore, be people about what the ancients said in Latin, “Ora et Labora,” people of both prayer and work (the correct effort).
We must pray like everything depends on God but work like everything depends on us. That widow in Jesus’ parable obviously both prayed and made the necessary efforts.
We must pray with and for our children.
We must work with and for our youth.
We must not merely hope that they turn out right.
We have to do our part to give every child the best chance to be honest, faithful, and dependable citizens who are now cowed by their government, public officials, or some celebrity.
In our last trip to Washington, D.C., my son and I were walking in the tunnels under the U.S. Capitol complex. At an intersection, we spotted Trey Gowdy, former Representative of South Carolina (SC-R). We were not quick enough (my bad) to catch him for a photo with our son. But Gowdy looked our way, knew he had been spotted, and knowingly smiled our in our direction as he briskly whisked off down the corridor, perhaps to lobby some fellow lawmaker on behalf of a client (that’s part of how D.C. works).
Sherriff Judd is a rock star in this part of the country, certainly as far as last night’s crowd was concerned. It wasn’t a state representative or some other ranking official who introduced Senator Marco Rubio (FL-R). Rather, it was Sherriff Judd.
Standing next to me at the event was a lady who offered up that she moved to Florida from California last year. She was cheering this and that remark by the female or male speakers. She would look my way and occasionally mentioned how bad living conditions in California had become from the vantagepoint of her and her husband. She was happy to be living in the “free state of Florida” where people can still “get things done.”
The LARC event was in a walled and gated community. Some arrived and drove off in their golf-carts. But there was an array of vehicles from outside too, and those rides ran the gamut from modest to elite.
We do not all have the same economic or other circumstances, believe me, I get that reality.
As a kid, I threw newspapers to earn money (yeah, newspapers didn’t used to be digital – and they were or are on ‘newsprint!’ – we still get a paper tossed daily on our driveway, but that may change soon as I prefer them digitally).
I’ve worked at McDonalds when minimum wage was $1.25, and still know their old jingles from that era, because I would occasionally sing behind the counter to the delight of customers, to the mixed or surprised reactions from coworkers (management loved it). After putting in time as a white and then blue hat, I was offered and accepted a promotion to a ‘red hat.’ McDonalds, in those days, had toss-away hats for each shift that revealed someone’s rank-at-a-glance. A hat that was red=management. The more trained employees wore blue hats. White hats were rookie trainees. I helped manage shifts, while working beside or training others. On numbers of occasions, I had the responsibility for closing or opening the store, though I was only making ten to fifteen cents more per hour than the white hat trainees or blue hat employees earned that might have been older than myself.
Did I feel cheated? No. It was a wonderful experience. One of our neighbors works some for a Mickey D’s. As we compared notes the other day, she said it isn’t like what it used to be when I was a youth. Hmm…
But one point is that our youth are the future. Almost every experience can be potentially useful. Our son was taught that we routinely learn in two ways. From our own mistakes or from the mistakes of others. Which is the better way to learn, I asked Tamas one day? ‘From the mistakes of others,’ he replied.
Our time on planet Earth will one day come to an end. We must pass along as much as we can to prepare our child(ren) not only for the world that is, but also for the world that could be, and most important of all, for life in the world that is yet come.
The Biblical phrase, “Fear of the Lord” doesn’t mean what many think. Fear Biblically can mean “reverential respect.” When we have reverential respect for God, who teaches us to love our fellow humans, our society tends to be more just and peaceful. No one thing is the solution to our nation’s various ills. Yes, we should pray. But we must also be doers. Ora et Labora. Prayer and good efforts. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t ask God several times during the day for help, mercy, or to bless someone. We have to raise our youth to think about God more often than they do some singer, actor, cultural icon, political, or business professional. We are not just what we eat (physically consume), we are also what we intellectually and spiritually consume and to too. My son has seen his dad on his knees numerous times. That too is part of their education.
For those who may think otherwise, it is never too late to embrace something that we may have missed before. Abram, before he became Abraham (see Genesis 17), was called to journey to a distant land when travel was dangerous, and he was already old. Abram took God at His Word. Jews, Muslims, and Christians all hail Abraham in their own way. Why? In part, because he was a person of prayer and a man of action.
Few if any things are more important than our child(ren). I’ve made my share of goofs, don’t get me wrong. But I try to apologize for my shortcomings, and then also to turn bad choices into a teachable moment.
All Hallows Eve (a.k.a. ‘Halloween’) is behind us. All Saints Days (“the hallowed”) awaits with the break of a new dawn today. Election day – November 8, 2022 – is a week away. There is a nation – our American Republic – that must be set aright.
There are children to raise.
There is work to be done.
There are prayers needed.
Our profession needs mending so that it will reach its true potential to serve perhaps tens of millions of Americans who need affordable housing.
Let’s put our hands to the proverbial (or actual) plow, and with hearts ever-mindful of the blessings of heaven and the curses of hell, let’s do whatever we can by God’s grace day by day. It all starts, progresses, and hopefully ends within the context of family. ##
PS: Tamas A.R. Kovach provided editing for this article. On some items, for reasons of style of whatever causes a dad to make a different choice than a fine young editor suggested, where a n apparent glitch exists, this writer is solely responsible. ###
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By L.A. "Tony" Kovach - for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He's a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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