There are few things that make me feel like an incompetent parent and homeschooling mother, than watching my child having a meltdown while doing schoolwork at the kitchen table. (Maybe you share my feelings, even if your kids take the bus to school!)
This week, my youngest learned that saying “Me and Bethel are going to the park” is considered incorrect grammar. She had a hard time understanding why, and in no time, she was alternately wailing and storming about the makers of grammar rules.
Actually, all my children have had tears from time to time. Some months seem more tearful than others. Sometimes it’s a week here and there. In good seasons it’s an occasional day. Regardless of when the wailing starts, one thought of mine usually rises to the surface.
“They would never do that if they were in school.”
The fear, of course, is that because my children are at home and doing school, something I’m doing wrong is perpetuating the tears. Why does homeschooling have to be so tearful? Am I harming my children’s development because of this seemingly uniquely homeschool-ish reaction to everyday routine?
Actually, what’s happening is far from failure. As my husband pointed out, what typically keeps kids from bursting into tears at a surprising assignment or unexpected difficulty is social pressure. That is, the awareness that nobody else is crying over schoolwork, and that people might think kids who wail on the floor are kinda weird.
Sadly, my children don’t seem to care if I think they are kinda weird. They don’t have the same desire for approval (or, fear of man) at home that they do in front of their peers. Instead of covering up their emotions, they reveal them, giving us the opportunity to actually address them biblically.
Over the months, we’ve talked about motives, finding encouragement, perseverance because God has given each of us a measure of intelligence and we are stewards of that gift. We have all been challenged to remain faithful even in the face of difficulty. We trust. Pray.
It seems it’s a lot messier learning to manage emotions this way, but I think it’s a fantastic opportunity that I’m thankful for. Praying that God would give me patience and joy, with an eye on the goal rather than wallowing in the process. (Isn’t it interesting that I’ve got the same challenges as my wailing child?)
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Hebrews 12:1-4
What an encouraging reminder to keep my eyes and heart fixed on the goal. It’s tempting to look at the messy process, throw my hands up, and wallow miserably in a meltdown laden day. I have to remind myself that labor and delivery was a noisy and messy process too-with beautiful results! Thank you for redirecting my thoughts to what really matters!
That’s a great metaphor– Thanks for sharing it. And thank you for YOUR encouraging words!
Children in school will cry too. Usually over homework and sometimes because of unfair situations. Then I think maybe I should be homeschooling them not sending them to Christian school. 😉
Good point! I think it’s easy to doubt the choices we’ve made, even when they’re right for our family.