The lead article in the Christmas edition of the Spectator continues in the time-honored tradition of deriving pretty much any lesson you care to think of from the gospels.
"The awesome mystery of Christmas is contained in the dual nature of the infant Jesus: the knowledge of His almighty power, juxtaposed with the spectacle of His absolute vulnerability in the crib..." blah.
However, in order to avoid being too Scrooge-like about the spirit of Christmas, I thought I might join in. According to this site, Jesus was probably home educated.
"Supposedly, universal education for Jewish boys from age six wasn't initiated until 63AD, by Joshua ben Gimla. So Jesus's early education was probably mostly in the hands of his father, and the other men of the village."
OK, you wouldn't want for your child to end up the way He did, but He didn't do so badly along the way. From the pulpit therefore: emulate the holy family. Home educate your child.
The Spectator leader does pull itself together however. They write that in response to the Unicef report that British children are having the worst time of all children in the developed world, the government has launched the ten-year Children's Plan:
"...when such policies are announced, it is wise to step back and ask who is truly responsible for the welfare of children - and to remember the sage warning of Sir Keith Joseph that 'the very first words that a British baby is apt to be taught to utter are that "the government should do something about it" ' "
"...better child-care is hailed as the answer to everything. ...The government wants all primary schools to provide facilities between 8 am and 6 pm. Thus will these public institutions of learning become a network of glorified creches. "
"Of course, for those who have to work to make ends meet, child-care provision is essential. But is should be treated as a second-best necessity rather than a cause of celebration. There is a growing body of research that demonstrates the adverse consequences for children - emotional and educational - who spend too many hours a week away from their parents and their home. The pioneer in this field is the controversial Professor Jay Belsky of Birkbeck College, London. But more familiar experts, such as Dr Penelope Leach are reaching similar conclusions. Their findings do not sit easily with modern liberal values. But parenthood is not designed to suit the lifestyle preferences of the adult. It is a sacred, lifelong obligation, as well as an unparalleled blessing."
Amen to that!