I guess I’m getting older. I find myself shaking my head more and more as I watch the parenting skills of today’s young families. Whether in church on Sunday morning, at the grocery store check out, or in a public restaurant, it seems parents are afraid to be, well – PARENTS.
Where did this philosophy of being your child’s friend take precedent over instructing a child in doing what’s right. At the risk of making a scene, wanting to be liked, or worse yet – being accused of child abuse, parents are simply too timid to make their toddlers mind.
Yes, years ago before the invention of the wheel, I grew up in a family where Mom and Dad loved the Lord, each other, and then their children – in that order. In today’s world, it seems parents are living for their kids and trying to provide them with whatever they want to make them happy. Perhaps that is the culprit. Parents think their kids need to be continually happy or they’re not being a good parent.
Wow, nothing could be further from the truth. Character building comes when going through the tough times – doing without, delayed gratification, and being thankful for what you do get when you are blessed from above. Parents need to take on the tantrums and realize the best thing they can say to their child from time to time is “No.”
Call me an old fuddy-dud, but what I see today is a generation of children with an entitlement mentality that far exceeds their size. Can you picture what they will all be like when they turn 16? Scary!
Have you ever heard the story about the young boy who almost failed to complete his first year of homeschooling? His father was the pastor of a small country church, and his mother had given up her nursing career in order to teach him at home. Every day throughout the school week, the young boy’s studies were distracted as his father practiced his Sunday sermon from his study adjoining the schoolroom. In addition, the young boy’s medically-minded mom spent countless hours teaching him health, anatomy, and personal hygiene.
Like most small boys, sitting through a Sunday sermon once was hard enough and washing his hands several times a day was drudgery. One evening after his mother exhorted him to wash his hands again before supper, the young boy couldn’t take it any longer. Mumbling to himself, he said, “Germs and God, germs and God, that’s all I ever hear about and I can’t see either one of them!”
I knew something was up. For days, everyone had been piling heavy boxes on top of me. The extra weight felt strange and I stood amazed at all the things my homeschooling family owned. “I can’t hold much more,” I thought. “What project are they doing now with all this stuff?” My concern about the extra weight went unnoticed, however, and the boxes continued to pile up around me.
The next morning I discovered the reason for all the boxes. A large yellow truck sat in our driveway and it appeared that moving day had arrived at our house. After sitting in the same kitchen for eighteen years, I was excited about the possibility of moving to a new home. I watched as the boxes were packed and was surprised to see other familiar items being tossed away into the garbage dumpster.
Finally, the last box was carried outside and the weight was off me at last. It was my turn now and I could hardly wait to be packed. As I felt my owner remove the screws from my legs, I noticed tears in her eyes. Her face held a contemplative stare as I heard her say, “Good-bye old table. Thank you for supporting my children all these years as we homeschooled.” Good-bye, what in the world was she talking about! Wasn’t she taking me with her? Before I could think any further, I felt myself being carried away. And then I knew – I wasn’t going in the yellow truck.
Homeschooling memories were manifested in many items in our home. Although this old table had seen its better days, it conjured up a magnitude of memories in my life as a homeschooling mother. I could still hear the voices of my children and see their smiling faces as they sat around it each day. Covered with scratches and scars, it had been the major tool that brought our family together to eat, to learn, and to play for years, but now I had just tossed it out like it meant nothing! What was I thinking – why did I ever throw it away?
Every now and then you see a ray of hope in the mindset of the general community in regard to homeschooling. Such was the case when I read Michael Pakaluk’s article, “Should I Homeschool?” This Cambridge University philosophy professor presents his arguments in favor of homeschooling which we can all appreciate. Check out his story here.
Everyone likes to be appreciated for the work that they do, including homeschoolers. Sometimes, however, we have to wait years (somtimes 25 years) before we hear those words of affirmation. Such was the case this weekend when visiting a family member. I’m not sure how the conversation turned to homeschooling, but in the course of our interaction, a surprising compliment was given. “Yeah, when you first started that homeschooling thing years ago, I thought you were off your nut,” my brother-in-law told me in his off-handed tone. “But you have four of the smartest and nicest kids that I know.”
Wow, I wasn’t quite sure what to say and thought he was teasing me at first. When I realized that he was serious, I said “Thank you, I think they’re wonderful kids, too!”
Not willing to concede to the fact that homeschooling was actually a viable educational alternative, however, he went on to share, “Yeah, but you’re probably the exception to the rule as far as homeschooling goes.”
Taking advantage of the moment (and what homeschooler in their right mind wouldn’t), I said, “Oh, there’s plenty of other homeschoolers that do a wonderful job educating their children.”
Avoiding that remark, he quickly changed the subject. I guess it will take a few more years before he admits to that fact. Too bad it take years before others see what God showed you from the very beginning – homeschooling your children is fun, fulfilling, and a blessing to your own family and to others.