As a teenager, one who obviously knew it all, I believed I would be a certain way as an adult. I was one of those people who believed I knew how to handle whatever life had in store for me. This included parenting.
*Insert slightly insane laughter here*
There is a meme floating around the internet that states: “I was a perfect parent. Then I had children.”
It would be funny if it weren’t so incredibly accurate. Too many people (me included) believe they’ve got it all figured out–life, fitness, parenting, their make-up; only to have reality kick them solidly in the solar plexus. My old friend, Reality likes to remind me of its presence regularly.
When I was still a perfect parent–living under my parents’ roof, wearing clothes they bought for me, talking on the phone (a landline!) they paid for; I swore I would never treat my children the way my parents treated me. I wouldn’t keep my children from doing what they wanted, make them do chores, or tell them no. I would be different. I’d understand them, and treat them with “respect”.
I’m sure God chuckled at my plans. My parents did.
Before the birth of my youngest my niece and I spent some time sitting on a bench overlooking the Puget Sound. The sun was warm, the sky was clear, the seagulls were begging scraps of our lunches, and it was a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle we’d been dealing with for the last few months. Taking a few moments to enjoy the beauty the LORD has created, and to truly appreciate it helped to relax my anxious heart.
It also helped me to understand something about myself.
I’m not a perfect parent. In fact, teen me would spend a lot of time rolling her eyes at adult me. I might have thought my parents were strict, but they were nothing compared to how I am as a parent. Part of this stems from a moderate battle with anxiety, but not all of it. Simply put, my priorities have changed, as have my views.
God is the Perfect Parent
God has blessed us with three beautiful children, not to be perfect parents, but to teach them and train them up in what is righteous. Much to their dismay, that includes horrors like sweeping, making their beds, and cleaning bathrooms, and picking up toys. It also requires them to spend time with us, to not put their friends above the LORD or their family, and to forgive each other when we stumble.
Something else that comes along with this is the amount of freedom we allow our children to have. Our eldest is only nine, and regardless of how my husband and I were raised the world is a much different place today than it was twenty years ago. Yes, she can play outside without constant supervision, but there are rules that have to be followed, and consequences if those rules are ignored. This is a relatively new freedom for her, and I still have several bad moments where I want to keep her in the house away from any chance of getting hit by a speeding car (see, anxiety). I’m taking it a day at a time, and maybe I’ll be more relaxed when they’re visiting me in the retirement home.
The point is, there are no perfect parents on Earth, except God, and of course those who have never had children. We as a society (especially women) spend so much time judging the merits of one person over another that we seem to forget we’re all just stumbling along doing the best we can. Have some people lost their way? Yes, but that isn’t for us to judge. There are people in this world who have been called to help those who have fallen. Instead of casting blame and pointing fingers, it’s time for us to come together and build each other up, and to raise our own children with love, compassion, and grace.
Homeschooling is a very new adventure for my family, and everyday we find something new to learn about it. We spent a month working on a unit study of volcanoes and working on a lapbook of them. That seemed to work well. During that time my daughter also worked through Life of Fred Butterflies for her math. We snuck in grammar and history through various things, but I just didn’t feel it was solid enough for us.
So I did what I do.
At the beginning of this journey I did a lot of reading. I read everything I could get my hands on that had to do with the homeschool highway. While reading I noticed people talking about “The Well-Trained Mind”, and it didn’t sound like anything I was interested it.
Until, after days of praying for a better way, I was.
So I bought the book and read through the chapters dealing with the Grammar stage. This is the learning stage my daughter is currently in. Then I borrowed the book, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I was floored. This is it. This is exactly what I was looking for, but didn’t realize it.
It’s the Classical Approach to learning, and it is what I know in my heart we need. At least for this season. I’ve prayed about it, and like with the knowledge I needed to homeschool, this feels right.
On Monday, we’ll be beginning our first official day of learning in the Well-Trained Mind. We’ll learn from FLL and from Story of the World Volume One. We’ll continue with Life of Fred, and all our reading we do. We’ll begin learning about animals as outlined in TWTM, and we’ll continue to spend time with our Lord.
This is just another step in our learning process. It may not be forever, but it is for this season. I’ll continue to turn to God with my questions and problems, and he’ll continue to guide me along this path for as long as is right.
Do you homeschool your children? If so, what approach do you use? Please share with us in the comments below.
The public school here has been in session since the 5th, and every day I am thankful for the Lord placing homeschooling on my heart.
I’d love to say each day is a picnic on the beach (one where sand doesn’t get all up in your potato salad), but really, what part of life ever is? Miss K and I are finding our rhythm and learning how to learn together. This is made a little complicated by the now walking and getting into even more mischief, Mr. D.
The Mister has been away at another school for the Marine Corps, and our little family has felt a little smaller without his larger-than-life presence.
While we deal with the responsibilities of daily life, as well as the new found availability of snuggles in our home, we have the Lord to thank for all these blessings.
Every night my heart grows a little happier as I listen to Miss K saying her prayers. She always prays for her daddy and that he will do well on his tests and will stay safe while he is gone.
We are all growing in our prayer life, and when we say grace we have started adding one thing each we are personally thankful for. Little things like being thankful for the sunshine, or being thankful for the game we got to play.
So, while we are always growing and changing, and with those things often come discomfort, we are grateful for the new closeness and love that is flourishing within the walls of our home.
I’ve fallen behind on chronicling my walk of Faith, not because it isn’t important to me–it truly is. The last several weeks have been crazy, busy, and emotionally draining.
My father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer, so we’ve been going through the steps to start treatment. There has been a lot of prayers coming from me in recent days, but there are truly times when I’m not sure I’m as good and faithful as I should be.
I’m never sure if I’m leading my children to the LORD or if they’re just along for the ride. I’m not sure if my actions are showing the changes the LORD is making in me, or if it is only something I see. Each and every day, I give the day to Him and ask that He blesses me and opens my heart to His word. To allow His light to shine through me so others may find His grace.
Each day I read about Christians who are making a difference in the world, and I wonder if there is more I should be doing. I’ve been active in my church, but as the days go by I wonder if I’ve taken on more than I should have, and if being involved in so many things is truly what the LORD had planned for me.
My daughter and I have slowly merged onto the Homeschool Highway. We’re reviewing the things she ‘learned’ in first grade. In most things I’m very grateful to her first grade teacher. We’ll be going full swing as soon as I’m sure we’ve got a good footing. This is a new adventure, and with everything else going on, it has made for some really stressful and scary moments.
I don’t often second guess myself, even before I realized our Heavenly Father was with me, but there have been days when I’ve had to send my kiddos to their rooms so I could have ten minutes to re-center myself with His word. There has been many, many moments of asking God if He was certain this was His path for me. Am I really doing the best thing for everyone?
So far, we’re still with it, and until the time when God opens a different door for us, it’s where we will stay.