“Don’t wish away the season you are in.” ~Marilyn Boyer
Recently I attended ICHE’s mid-winter renewal at which Marilyn Boyer shared from her wisdom and experience from 30 years of homeschooling her 14 children.
She spoke of savoring the season you find yourself in. Whether it is a busy time with little ones, toddlers, and morning sickness, or the sometimes emotional teenage years, or maybe even a combination of the two, these years pass quickly and we need to find joy around us. She even shared about some of those heartbreaking times, like the loss of her teenage son to Leukemia. Even then, she found it important to not just “get by.”
For myself, I often find it easier to find joy in the seasons I already passed through, or I finding myself yearning for a certain phase to pass, I needed this reminder to look around me and enjoy what I have about me right now.
Recognize that God takes us through seasons of life,
Know that some seasons are just more enjoyable than others,
Trust Him through those difficult seasons.
As I considered this quote, I thought of ways to continue to build a joy and contentment in the present season:
- Step back and look — I enjoy looking with my children through pictures (recent), look for growth in my kids, write down the funny things they say and do, remember who they are and the unique qualities they each bring to your home.
- Laugh and smile — Yes, sometimes I need to choose to do these things. But, as I make that choice I find my emotions changing for the better as well.
- Remember that time passes quickly — When I do look back to those baby days, I cannot believe how recent they seem, and yet over a decade has passed since our second child was born. The years ahead will just gain momentum. Whether full of joys or struggles, these days will soon be over.
- Focus on the positive — Always two sides to the coin. No child, that I know of, is a challenge 24 hours a day. Find the good and choose to dwell on it.
- Pray — Sometimes I just need a supernatural change of heart. I cannot be the mother I want to be on my own.
Whatever works to restore your joy in the present season you are in, jump on it, and don’t wish these days away.
Although not directly concerning homeschooling, and not even speaking of true motherhood really, I found this quote from Amy Carmichael’s biography (A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliot), quite thought provoking. These words, printed on a card, encouraged her from the inside cover of her Bible:
These children are dear to Me. Be a mother to them, and more than a mother. Watch over them tenderly, be just and kind. If thy heart is not large enough to embrace them, I will enlarge it after a pattern of My own. If these young children are docile and obedient, bless Me for it; if they are froward, call upon Me for help; if they weary thee, I will be thy consolation; if thou sink under thy burden, I will be thy Reward.” The words are followed by a picture of the Shepherd, reaching for a lamb while a vulture hovers overhead.
How fitting for the homeschool mother! Our children most likely did not experience the dreadful situations these temple children had faced, but we can still grow weary and feel stretched. When the days go well, praise Him! When we struggle, cry out to Him. Even when we sink, He remains our reward. Those vultures circle, but God protects.
We have a critical role as parents, as more than parents.
Let children alone-…the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions – a running fire of Do and Don’t ; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way and grow to fruitful purpose.
With a strong resemblance to Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it,” this quote reminds me to stay the course, especially with the little ones.
Lax discipline comes much easier in the short term. Intentional training takes consistent effort, but reaps immeasurable dividends in the end. As I work with my four and five year olds, I cannot let up. Not with harshness, but working with kindness and compassion, I need to capitalize on the teaching moments that erupt throughout their days.
Humility, obedience, gentleness, self-control, attentiveness, diligence. The lessons they have to learn far outweigh the Algebra that will come soon enough. They will eventually learn about great personages of history, but for now, I cannot neglect their life lessons. Now I must model and instill in them the faith that will give them the backdrop for all of that.