The Princess and the Pack Mule
- Friday, March 05, 2010
After twenty-nine years of marriage and twenty-five years of raising kids, I've put in a lot of miles in my adventure as a wife and homeschooling mom. And although I spend a good deal of time these days traveling and speaking to home educators, you can put away the pedestal, because I live where you live. Behind my dusty window blinds I'm washing dirty dishes while debating brilliant teens, still working out difficult issues with my husband of nearly thirty years, and watching the laundry breed, just like you.
In the middle of the muddle, we moms can have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. We can begin to think we're "just" preparing one more meal, changing one more diaper, breaking up squabbling siblings (again!), nursing whoever is sick this time around and correcting—double ugh—algebra papers at 1 a.m. But I'm here to remind you of who you really are and what you're really doing as the dailies try to blur your vision.
You are not only teaching history; you are writing history on the hearts of your impressionable youngsters, and you are making an impact on multiple generations. "But it doesn't feel so glorious," you might say. I agree. It often feels mundane, tedious, exhausting, and utterly demanding. Some days, I must confess, the big yellow school bus that lumbered down my street looked awfully inviting.
Six students have been home educated at our house. I've been busy training five sons, and God's been busy training me. Married life and child rearing have proven to be God's Extreme Makeover for my character. That point brings to mind an email I received from a woman in Canada:
I have been thinking about homeschooling for about a year now (it's my second choice as the Christian private schools are just unaffordable for a one-income family), and I was wondering if you could give me the hard facts about successful homeschooling. No flower, please. My husband doesn't think I can do it because of my temperament. Can you give me some insight?
Here was my response to her:
Your hubby's got a good point. The hard facts about homeschooling boil down to three little words spoken by Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:31: "I die daily." That's why a commitment to homeschooling based on the weak foundation of it being your "second choice" most likely won't take you all the way to the finish line. Home education is not expensive, but it will cost you pretty much everything.
You see, as a twenty-first-century Kingdom woman, my "life is hid [somewhere!] with Christ in God," (Colossians 3:3), and as long as it remains there, I'm a success. I've only ever "found" my life as I've laid it down. (See Matthew 16:25.) Jesus said, "He that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11), and seeing that we've been called to untiring service (yawn), we have numerous opportunities 24/7 to display our greatness.
Let's face it, moms: we're a lot like pack mules. "Mama, can you put this in your purse?" "Honey, can you hold my keys and BlackBerry while I toss the ball to Junior?" "Mommy can you carry the baby? I wanna go swing now." U-huh, pack mules for God.
I've never lived on Easy Street, and that's probably worked a lot of muscle into me, which I've needed to sustain the battle. I said "battle." Our very lives as home educators are a declaration of war. First, we're fighting against our own selfishness and materialism as people choosing to live within our means so Mom can stay home where she belongs and train the children. (See Titus 2:4-5.) Then, we're facing off with our nation's worldly system of public education fed by 500 billion tax dollars a year,1 generational segregation in our families, peer pressure, societal compliance, the enemy called "average," and even the powers of darkness. (See Ephesians 6:12.)
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