Once upon a time, the happy mother of three active, young boys planned out her personal dream.
I’ll send them off to school and write best-selling books while they’re out of my hair, she thought. Then when they come home, I’ll serve them milk and cookies and ask how their day went. I’ll be their hero, plus I’ll accomplish my goals!
The young mom’s lovely notion turned out to be a fantasy. What really happened was fourteen years of home schooling.
Fourteen years of studying curriculum instead of attending writers’ conferences. Fourteen years of teaching and grading and supervising. Of discussions about student issues with the school principal (her husband).
Today, that mom will tell you she would not have traded those years of the hands-on intellectual, social and spiritual formation of her sons for all the best-sellers on the planet.
I should know. I’m her.
This COVID-19 thing has thrust many parents into home schooling—parents who are even more surprised by this journey than I was back then.
I get the “reluctant home schooler” mindset—I really do. Allow me to encourage you with some things I’ve learned.
God’s plans are bigger and better than our plans. He made us, he knows why we’re here, and he knows how we can best make an impact. When our plans are interrupted or foiled, it may be that God wants to redirect our path.
Consider two questions which will help you gain wisdom and perspective during this unusual time.
1. What has God revealed about your family life during the stay-at-home order?
Part of my desire to send my kids to school years ago was to catch a break and not have to deal with character shaping and discipline twenty-four seven.
Looking back, I am confident our sons are who they are today in large part because God used those at-home-together years to work on ALL our characters—mine included.
He showed me areas of weakness in how I related to my children which may otherwise have gotten swept under the rug. He exposed patterns that needed to change.
God never exposes things just to shame us. He’s always about transformation.
It was painful for me to face my need to change as a grappled with how to raise and educate my children. I had to grow in patience and wisdom. A lot.
You know what? It was totally worth it.
As you think about being at home with your kids right now, what is hard about that—and wAre you aware of issues or patterns in your relationships with your kids that you didn’t see before?
Are you noticing a different pandemic many of us suffer from—the American pandemic of loneliness masked by our busyness?
Ask God what changes he wants you to make for a healthier family life.
Now for the second question:
2. What new habits do you want to keep going forward?
You may be enjoying each other in ways your overly busy schedule wouldn’t allow before.
One family noticed that doing grocery shopping only once a week is giving them more time together. They plan to continue that habit.
Another family noticed they have time and opportunity for family game nights now. They’re committed to keeping those up.
To carry your new habits forward, you’ll have to make space on your calendar and stick to your guns.
God will use this crisis to transform your family life—if you pay attention and participate with him.