Tuesday, March 26, 2013
One of Those Days
Today my sweet Apple had ONE OF THOSE DAYS. The home school day that seems it will never end. She started out strong and fell apart somewhere around math. I never seem to have the right words in the midst of the meltdown. I want to say the one encouraging thing that will get her on the right track but it seems like my words always fall flat. When we get to this point it feels like I've tried it all- physical activity, a break, a snack, changing subjects, explaining the material again, staying in the room, leaving the room, praising her with positive words, getting frustrated, putting her on a time limit, giving her less work, giving her more work. Really I've tried it all. None of those tactics every seem to work. She digs in her heels and is still working on the same page 4 hours later. Eventually though she always gets it one. Mostly because I refuse to let her give up. She has to finish. It's her responsibility.
I know I hear the collective *GASP* from the unschoolers, hug it out moms, and others. Don't stop here. Keep reading.
The thing is that I know in my heart that my "job" as her mom and her teacher goes beyond the page she's working on. Our choice to home school her isn't really about memorizing multiplication tables or writing the perfect persuasive paper. We home school her to improve her character. We home school them to develop their character. Our "job" as parents (although many across the board have lost sight of this) is simply to PREPARE THEM TO BE PRODUCTIVE adults. Even if you are not a Christian, your job as a parent is to raise your child to be a productive adult. To guide them towards independence. To teach them RESPONSIBILITY. It's important. It is THE most important thing you will do in your own life and in theirs. Even if you don't home school, if you are a parent then your primary goal should be to have an adult child that will be responsible. Unless you're up for little Johnny living in your basement his whole life while occasionally calling you for bail money. For real.
So tonight when my sweet 8 yr old sponge sat down with me and asked,"Mom, why do you think I had a bad home school day today?" My initial thought was "That's what I'd like to know" but I kept that to myself. Instead I talked her through it. As we chatted God gave me just the right words to speak to my beautiful girl who wanted guidance.
We were impacted by a tragic loss last week. It affected all 4 of us and many around us. So I started talking with my sweet child about the difference between a positive attitude (we decided that means thinking "I can" or "I will") and a negative attitude ("I can't" or "I won't"). We discussed which of those attitudes are pleasing to the Lord. Then I reminded Apple of last week and I asked her how she thought I felt about what happened. "Oh mommy I know you were very sad and very tired," she said. I let her know that she was right. Then I asked her how she would have felt if I had come home and laid in the bed instead of taking care of them, doing school, and taking care of my responsibilities. She processed that idea and then began nodding.
My smart girl got it. I felt awful last week. I just wanted to sob into my pillow but I didn't. I couldn't. Now I'm not saying it isn't okay to grieve. I'm not saying we can't be sick or have a day when we just can't function like normal. In fact I reminded her that I wasn't my normal self those days. I was tired. I was heartbroken. I wasn't joyful or talkative. But I was present. I was praying and moving through the motions and taking care of as many of my responsibilities as I could. I let her know that I did that because I think that's pleasing to God.
Our example is Jesus. When Lazarus died did Jesus lay beside him and give up? No. He wept.(John 11:35) Then He went and raised Lazarus from the dead. When the Pharisees were ready to stone the adulterous woman Jesus could have shook his head and walked away because their minds were already made up. Instead he offered them an insight into themselves which saved the woman (John 8). When the time came for Judas to betray Jesus, He did not try to change the course of the events. Although He cried out for God to take away the coming events He reconciled that it was God's will and He took His place on the cross for our sins.
And she went to bed at peace with her day and ready to tackle tomorrow. And someday we will reap the benefits of teaching them the importance of a positive attitude and a drive for responsibility now.