Would My Response Backfire? Part 4: What to Do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted

Lisa Cherry —  May 29, 2013

Operation_Castle_-_Romeo_001By Lisa Cherry

My daughter was in a tinderbox. I wanted to step in to help, but if I did, would it explode and destroy her chances of passing her first college class?

Hannah had been working overtime to try and make the grade on her English paper in which she was arguing against the acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage.

It was not going well with her in her class, and I was watching her put in exorbitant amounts of time. 

The teacher did not agree with Hannah.  I was not sure she would ever give my daughter a good grade on a paper she clearly did not agree with.

I was in Michigan for an Acquire the Fire speaking engagement when the challenging month of paper writing came to a climactic finish. I was at the Ford Museum with my traveling buddies, Lydia and Josiah, when I realized my phone was almost out of battery power. That's when I received Hannah's desperate call.

"Mom, I just got the final suggestions from my teacher. I only have a few hours to submit the final draft and she is still saying my logic is falling apart! What am I going to do? Should I just scrap the paper? But how can I do that when I only have a few hours? Mom, I don't want to fail!!!!!"

I calmed her down the best I could and asked her to forward me the comments. I said I would take a look and call her back.

Now remember, she had already gone waaaaay beyond the amount of effort I was certain anyone else had done for this assignment and the teacher was well aware of Hannah's views. As I read her final comments, my temperature began to rise.

I had no idea what else one would argue IF one was to argue that the book should be banned except for Hannah's arguments. Her logic looked solid to me. And her documentation was in line. Even as someone with graduate level experience and publishing documentation experience, I couldn't figure how Hannah could be much clearer!

Ford museum josiah under carSo.....with my last little bit of battery power, I decided to try a new tactic while I watched the kids play at the car museum.

Maybe it was time for her teacher to hear from mom. I had to send a first draft if I was to send one at all. See what you think of my note......


Dear ______,

I so appreciate your class that my junior in high school student is allowed to enroll in. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback that is making her a stronger writer.

I am writing you to ask clarification of her current writing assignment. She came to me today concerned that she is not able to complete the assignment in a satisfactory manner. I've been watching the progress and work on this paper for the last couple of weeks. I was pleased that she chose the topic from the list that you suggested. This is of course a very controversial and heated issue.

As I understand it, the topic she chose was on a list of suggestions you provided. I am assuming that your students are free to choose either opposing viewpoint in their papers.

As I've watched Hannah shore up her research, I think you've made some very viable suggestions for her. However I'm confused as to what further evidence you would be asking her to provide related to the issue of homosexuality. The nature of the suggested topic will, of course, involve fundamental differences of view that will cause the issue itself to seem inflammatory. As I have looked with her at the issues of the origin of homosexuality, the research is definitely divided. Are you wanting her to state the research on both sides? Both the research that suggests a genetic origin which of course does not line up with the argumentation of her paper, and the research that says that it is environmental? If so (which I have not personally done in an argumentative assignment) where would that be placed properly?

She's now down to a few hours to make the deadline. And I'm not sure that she is clear as to how to pass the assignment correctly. I feel that she's gone way above the minimal requirements for the number of citations indicated so I would like to help her be able to succeed.

Thanks for your help.
Lisa Cherry

I thought it was time for the teacher to know someone was behind this student watching the saga.

But would my involvement backfire? Tune in next time for the results!

Image source:  United States Department of Energy

Gratefully linked to   Soli Deo Gloria  Faith Filled Friday  The Better Mom

You can find the other parts of this series here:

What to Do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted Part 1

What Would You Have Done? Part 2: What to do if Your Christian Child is Persecuted

How Much Should we Intervene? Part 3: What to Do If Your Christian Child is Persecuted

  • Jen

    I'm visiting from Faith-filled Friday. Kudos to your daughter for sticking with a difficult assignment. She is learning much more than writing techniques! I also like that you waited to step in and gave her a chance to wrestle with it herself a little. I'll be interested to see how the story ends! :)

    • http://www.frontlinefamilies.org/ Lisa Cherry

      Good to hear from you, Jen. She certainly did learn so much....and so did her mom!!
      Sent from my iPad

  • Melissa

    I'm looking forward to the end of the story!

    • http://www.frontlinefamilies.org/ Lisa Cherry

      Coming up soon!

      Sent from my iPad

  • http://www.hollicareylong.com/ Holli Carey Long

    I think I've caught up with your series of posts here. Typically, in a persuasive paper, the writer should present both sides of an argument in order to strengthen his/her own point. So, I think the teacher was giving some good feedback in encouraging a closer look at the evidence on both sides and at considering the latest studies, etc. For example, if a paper addresses a study that has since been discredited, then the paper itself loses some credibility. I've seen the Spitzer study cited many times in papers/essays/conversations, but as it has been discredited and the author has publicly recanted his work and methods, it is not necessarily a good or current study to use for an environmental link to homosexuality. (Not saying this is the case here, just as an example.) Addressing and acknowledging the points from the other side help make the writer's argument more sound. All things considered, I hope that, that in the end, the paper was graded on the standards or rubric rather than personal views. I agree that it may be difficult given this topic.

    • http://www.frontlinefamilies.org/ Lisa Cherry

      Holli, you are on top of it here! That is exactly what Hannah learned to
      do at the teacher's suggestion. Obviously, you have some experience
      here. Are you a teacher? Yes, the topic got rough but I was so pleased
      we had the opportunity to debate such an important topic! God bless.

      • http://www.hollicareylong.com/ Holli Carey Long

        Yes, although to be fair, despite my degree in English, I teach/taught high school math. (I'm on odd combination, I guess you could say.) I give a lot of credit to English teachers, though. While I love being a student of the subject and writing myself, the thought of grading papers is partially what has kept me in the math classroom. :)

  • http://3dlessons4life.wordpress.com/ Lyli Dunbar

    Gotta love a cliff hanger -- and your fierce mama bear heart! :)

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    This is a wonderful opportunity for your daughter to solidify her stand and learn how to effectively argue a controversial topic. I applaud her willingness to push through to the end and the support you give her.

    • http://www.frontlinefamilies.org/ Lisa Cherry

      Sent from my iPad

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