When Questions Come Part 1
- 2004 20 Aug
Questions. It seems there are a million of them a day. Some are easy. "What do you want for dinner?" "Have you ever seen a Belted Kingfisher?" "Can I have another piece of celery?"
Some are more difficult. "What is the Pythagorean theorem?" "How do you figure interest when it is compounded daily?" "Has anyone seen my car keys?"
Some questions cause us to dig deep and learn something new, or re-think something old. Some questions have a tendency to cause us doubt or pain.
When our children were very small, we got questions from others like "Aren't you afraid that you'll make them mad if you say 'no'?" "Don't they cry and throw a fit?" "Don't you realize that sheltering children will make them weak?" Sometimes comments can be just as "interesting" as questions—"Two boys85you've got your hands full!" "Enjoy them now, once they're teenagers, you won't be able to tell them anything!"
Then we began homeschooling and new questions and comments came our way. "You're doing what?" "Is it legal?" "Shouldn't the state regulate homeschooling so the kids will get a good education?" "I could never homeschool my kids, I don't have the patience for it." "Are you a teacher?" "How will your kids learn to relate to others?" "How will they ever get into college or get a job?" "My kids would just sit around playing video games all day, I'd never be able to get them to do anything." "How can you stand having your kids with you all the time?"
Some of the questions were easy to answer—others were not so easy. We had researched homeschooling before we ever began, so we knew and understood about some of the legal and educational aspects. We had prayed and felt this was what God wanted our family to do. We had peace and assurance that God's ways are always best. Our children wanted us to homeschool and were usually quite happy. We were happy to be together as a family and there was just a feeling of "rightness" about our lifestyle. I must admit, however, that when we began back in the late 1980's and early 1990's, we were also well aware that we were treading a relatively "new" path in modern society. There were times that though we had an answer verbally for the questions and comments sent our way, sometimes my heart and mind were troubled.
Sometimes it felt like we alone were blazing a new trail, swimming upstream, or sailing in un-charted waters. Sometimes I got tired in this life. Tired of lesson plans, experiments, laundry, checking papers, cleaning, chatter, cooking. Sometimes I was simply tired! It seems that mothers are especially prone to feelings of guilt, doubt and insecurity where their families are concerned. I was no exception. Things would sail along just fine for a time. Then suddenly, out of the blue, a comment, question, or just a thought in my own head would take the wind out of my sails. I would feel guilty about my children's futures, or the gaps I was sure I was leaving in their education. I wondered how they would ever overcome my faulty parenting and teaching methods (or lack thereof!). I would begin to think that maybe everyone else was right. Maybe our boys should be in school with trained "experts" making sure of everything for us.
At those times of doubt, little things would seem large. One of the boys would have a lapse in their spelling or math abilities and I was afraid we'd never get over it. Laundry would pile up and I would feel that I wasn't being a good wife and mother. Dinner would be a quickly fixed, less than totally nutritious affair and I just knew I was a flop. The more the doubts and guilt piled up, the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the more doubts and guilt piled up. What was the answer?
One great answer is in II Corinthians 10:3-5. Here Paul reminds us that we walk in the flesh but we do not war after the flesh, and that our weapons are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Additionally, Psalm 19:14 says "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."
Kari Lewis and her husband, Frank, have been married for 27 years. They started homeschooling their two sons in 1990 and taught them at home until each graduated from homeschool high school. In 2002, the four of them founded Home School Enrichment, Inc.
This article was originally published in the Jul/Aug '04 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine. For more information, please visit http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com.