I went to the graduation of a young friend at the homeschool co-op centered at an Assemblies of God congregation. The pastor's address to the graduate started with "You're in it to win it," and how God wants you o be successful, and there's a specific plan for you. I thought Yep. That's a typical AG approach. Catchy cliche, theology veering close to New Thought but drawing back.
I soon got worried that the evening was going to go insanely long. I had originally worried that it might be only a few graduates, rather an embarrassingly small affair, but there were three dozen - larger than the graduating classes of my sons' Concord Christian Academy years. So I got nervous when there was going to be a short video about each child, narrated by the parents. It didn't turn out to be that bad.
People just naturally get carried away telling you about their children anyway, and they aren't always very conscious of their audience, unaware that it's going to be fairly standard and obvious you were happy and amazed when you first brought Elizabeth or Zachary home, and how it seems like just yesterday - or how that's going to sound the twentieth time through. That is the hive approach I described in Conference Behavior - the inside references and the obligatory verbal rewards to tribe members, all delivered with the complete innocence of folks who haven't even considered that it's not universally appreciated.
Next, as the size of a group dwindles, the presenters start feeling they have more and more leeway as to how long they can go on about each child. I have sat through HS sports award presentations that were nearly unendurable, as the coaches go on about the development of each girl and her wonderful character and the important bonding experiences the team went through...the boys' coaches do less of this, but still too much.
Third, I think Evangelical parents are extreme in that. My standard example is morning dropoff for a very small Christian elementary school. We waited in line, and each child was to stay in the car until we got to the dropoff point, where the door could finally be opened, the teacher greet the child and hoosh him into the building, and the next vehicle come forward. Except some mother waited until they were at the head of the line to kiss their child goodbye and say a few words of encouragement, often looking directly into the child's face and delivering a little speech. It's not just inefficiency, that it caught them by surprise every day and (face palm!) I could have kissed her many times and given five little speeches while were were crawling forward in line, but that they wanted the last thing that happened to Nathan that morning before going away from the nest to be an expression of how much his mummy loves him. It's somehow just not as valid if it's not the last image in the child's head.
Then a few nice words might be exchanged with the teacher as well. It can make you homicidal. This approach to parenting persists through highschool - no, college too, come to think of it. Lots of nonevangelicals do it too, of course, but I think it's worse over here. It may be a cost we have to bear, a side effect of the intense theology of the individual's importance to God, and the importance of every moment and action to God.
But this set of parent videos held to a much higher standard than that. They kept it to 90 seconds each. Sure, there were cliches and the same childhood pictures with different heads on them...but they were 90 seconds each. This is a disciplined group of parents. I like them.
A few culture notes. One can sense the influence of earlier eras at Christian schools more than at secular ones, and that apparently goes double for homeschoolers. The dream of the 50's/80's is alive in Auburn...Auburn...Auburn. There is plenty of the 00's and 10's as well. The accusation that Christian kids are not connected to the current era has always been just silly. But other times are allowed into the atmosphere whereas only the 60's can get away with that intrusion in most of society. I would approve, except I would choose different eras - different centuries, actually.
Related to the presence of the different eras, one could also see a very strong American culture continuity. This is the group where most kids have two parents, where there are Eagle Scouts (and Royal Rangers, of course) and concert pianists and perennial robotics teams and competitive shooters/ice skaters/dancers and Young Marines and working with all manner of disadvantaged or hurting people.