Sacrifice as a Saving Grace

May 31, 2021 Updated: May 31, 2021

When I was a young professional woman, I recognized that a husband and children would fulfill me. I desired a committed relationship and the opportunity to parent. I had matured within a society that taught me self-reliance and independence at the cost of relationship and mutual support, but I recognized value in forming a partnership, so I searched for a suitable man.

It took several years for me to meet (and recognize) my intended. It was not before I hit upon what seemed to me an undesirable fact: I needed to sacrifice. I assumed the compromise would be relinquishing one of the aspects of the man I desired. I petitioned God. Would this husband be short? (I’m tall.) Short-tempered? (I’m patient.) Bald? Insecure? I acknowledged the impossibility of finding perfection. But, I asked God, what’s the compromise going to be?

Then I met Kevin, who would have been the man of my dreams, had I ever dared to dream. He was better than perfect, for me. Tall, strong, and good-looking never really impressed me, but he checked all the boxes I had been too afraid to draw. He had moral character, powerful wit, and conservative values. In addition, he loved me and wanted me. I was in heaven.

He proposed, I said yes, and we set a date. At the same time, we juggled seeing each other while living continents apart, each pursuing our careers individually. Society says you shouldn’t have to sacrifice, right?

Then, tragedy struck. Kevin suffered three strokes after battling a hidden aneurism and landed in Intensive Care at Cedars Sinai Hospital. Two days into his week-long hospital stay, I landed the job of a lifetime: a national network commercial for ice cream (my favorite). I asked Kevin if he wanted me to not go, and he said, “Yes. Stay.”

At that moment I looked to the heavens and realized the great compromise would be that I’d trade my career for my marriage. I surrendered unhesitatingly. Instead of pursuing my acting career, I cared for a man in crisis for a few years and was blessed with a marriage not burdened by conflict.

Years later, my toddler proposed another such binary choice, chasing me down the hall upon my return home from work, yelling in her tiny little voice, “No, no, no, no!” I picked her up and she turned to the nanny. “Bye bye!”

I walked away from my career again to devote myself to raising her and her two brothers. That decision eventually led to my homeschooling them, with its innumerable, generous, and beneficial repercussions. Choices are blessings disguised as sacrifices.

Our society fails to appreciate sacrifice for what it offers: a deeper, more meaningful version of whatever is selected.

Society says you can have it all: career, power, money, marriage, children, love, happiness, and everything else. Yet more people struggle with unhappiness and depression than ever before. Social media fans the flames of inadequacy and insecurity. We tell adolescents they’re perfect as they are, hoping to build in them false self-esteem when they are as-yet-incomplete human beings. While they’re in the throes of hormonal imbalances, growth spurts, and social anxiety, we reassure them with obvious lies, intimating that this is really as good as it gets. It’s no wonder teen suicide is up. The seemingly endless, fear-driven lockdowns are not helping teenage angst either.

The good news is that there’s hope on the horizon, because parents are understanding better now the binary choice before them. The materials offered in our public schools are now on display via Zoom conferencing. A group in Texas is staging a “SICK” day, “Stop Indoctrinating our Children, K-12,” to encourage parents to keep their children home on a school half-day. The videos the group assembled evidence multiple examples of outright pornography in the public school classrooms. The warning reads, “This video contains offensive content from Leander ISD curriculum.”

Adding to disgusting and even harmful coursework, the antagony between teachers’ unions and students/parents is evidenced in the several states whose schools remain closed. Pandemic-inspired teachers’ union demands ranged from federal bailouts, Medicare for all, and instituting wealth and millionaire taxes, to defunding the police. Perhaps most transparently, they sought to delegitimize any competition in their bald calls for a moratorium on (typically better-performing) charter schools. They don’t want parents to have choices.

Then there was the disdain on full display that school boards have for parents, where an entire school board summarily resigned after their unabridged comments mocking the very parents they serve went public. After one perhaps incredibly self-aware parent/board member derisively accused parents of wanting “their babysitters back,” wide-eyed witnesses began to face their dilemma more boldly.

If students won’t be educated in schools, because either they remain closed or the curriculum/methodology is suspect, what’s a good parent to do? If, even worse, the students are learning wrong or damaging content, what could be the next step?

Luckily, it’s a binary choice, and it involves—gasp—sacrifice. The good news is that sacrifice often comes with inestimable rewards. Homeschooling offers the very best option for parents across the United States, these days. Even better, for the kids.

Sam Sorbo is an actress, talk radio hostess, and author of “They’re Your Kids: An Inspirational Journey from Self-Doubter to Home School Advocate.”