I Just Don't Have the Patience...
We are by no means a "veteran" homeschooling family by our definition. I suppose when I think of veteran homeschoolers, I think of people who have some children at least in middle school. With our short 5-6 years of experience, though, we have gained some perspective and a view of our goals for our family and our children. As I have gone through this journey as a homeschooling mother I have, like most homeschooling mothers, gotten a lot of pretty typical responses to what I do. The most common one that I can think of is, "I could never homeschool, I don't have the patience." Anyone heard this before? Raise your hand! How do I respond to such a thing? I used to be in agreement that it certainly must be true and perhaps I am more patient if someone tells me they don't have the patience. I took it is a nice underhanded compliment of my wonderful virtue and gave kudos to the proclaimer for knowing themselves so well. I did this silently, of course. No one likes someone who boasts. Know what, though? I am not. I am not patient. I don't have the patience. I may never have the patience. Know what else, though? This journey is not just about the development and education of our children. This is about my development, as well. I am not referring to reclaiming my education (though, I certainly am doing that), though, I am referring to my development into who the Lord wants me to be. God gives us children to raise up in the way that they should go so when they are old they will not depart from it. This is true. But, we are honed by our parenting, are we not? We see the gigantic, redwood forest planks in our own eyes as we watch (no pun intended) and guide our children.
This journey is not JUST about educating our children. This journey is about our family, our interpersonal skills with one another, conflict resolution, etc. Those are the worldly terms for these things. Ultimately, this close connection with our children shows us our own sinful thoughts, desires, and actions. Do I put others before myself? Do I exude fruits of the Spirit when I am listening to a new reader painfully sound out every single letter? When a child announces that four times eight is thirty-six for the thirty-sixth time? Patience is one of those fruits and I can assure you that I do not exude them. I often embody all that is not love, patience, or kindness. The beauty of this is that God is showing me this in myself. In ministering to my children in their learning, it is revealing my sin to me. The Lord has a high calling for those of us who choose to educate our children at home and teaching them the way they should go. This is not only guiding little lives, but to show us our own shortcomings so that we may grow in Him. When we are around each other so closely for long stretches it really forces us to take a good look at ourselves often and to start to pray that the Lord does works in us to help us be more Christ-like. My response has morphed over the years when presented with this comment when I tell someone we homeschool and they say, "I don't have the patience." Instead of taking it as a superiority play, my response is, "me either." That response is not meant to be a witty retort. It is the absolute truth. Me either, but it is a war worth waging, for both the children, and myself. Truly "ourselves" for my husband is just as involved with the children's education as I am.
So, I ask you this. What are your goals for your children? Where do you "see" them in 20 years? Our prayer is that our children will be Christ-followers, will hold God's Word dear and have it hidden in their hearts, and will be passing on that legacy to their children. That is daunting. Praise God for his sovereign plan and that we can pray for our children as we disciple them. How do we disciple them? Educating them at home with God as the center of said homeschool is one way. In addition are service activities we participate in as a family and our family being in the Word of God daily with one another. I just cannot fathom sending them off to be nurtured by anyone else. How will they know they can never be "good enough" for eternal salvation? How will they know it is only by the blood of Christ that we can enter into communion with the true and everlasting God of the universe? Our children are around us constantly. They see us fail and they see us ask for forgiveness in humility. They see our faith live out. I am not blogging about this to condemn those who do not homeschool. It is the route we have chosen to live out Deuteronomy 22:6 and we are constantly growing right along with our children as we do so. I am blogging about this to encourage you, if you are someone who says, "I am not patient enough, but I wish I was," that more patience comes over time as the dross is removed. No one is truly patient enough.