Education means leading our children forth into the adventure of learning. How do we do that?
By giving them someone to follow.
By allowing them to accompany us on ever-expanding hikes along the paths of real life.
Like mother ducks, there is a season for nurturing our young ones in safety, but there is also a time for leading them out into the world—out of the nest, across the grassy bank, and to the water's edge. The mother duck goes in first and calls to the ducklings to follow. Some hesitate, cautious. Others tumble in without regard for risk or danger. Before long, they are all strong enough to swim against the current.
Swimming against the current—developing moral integrity—is as important as developing mentally. I would submit that integrity is more important than academic achievement.
Strangely, developing the ability to swim strong in all kinds of water is a pretty good definition of what it means to be truly socialized. In school we are taught to stay in line, follow directions, and do what we're told. Unfortunately, many young people are also conditioned not to break rank against peer pressure, not to question the prevailing ideas of the majority, and not to trust their own hearts and do what is right.
When we spend considerable amounts of time living life with our children, we encounter wonderful opportunities to persuade them of the skills and values we consider important.