Thoughts on where we’re headed with this life.
By wisdom a house is built,
And by understanding it’s established;
And by knowledge the rooms are filled
With all precious and pleasant riches.
Proverbs 24: 3-4
I happened across this tonight and it struck me as poignant.
This is how I want my family life to go. This is what I want to do as a parent. This wholly sums up my reasons for homeschooling.
As I sit back each night and reflect on my day I sometimes feel panicked that I’m doing everything wrong. Are we doing enough curriculum? Is Rosie learning the right things?
Did I make sure my children felt loved today? Did I make them feel shamed or negative about themselves?
Am I correcting their behavior and attitudes properly so that they turn out to be kind, considerate, passionate individuals?
Why is this parenting thing so hard? Is there some automatic switch in me that needs to flip in order to make things smoother, for me to get it right 100% (or maybe at least 99%) of the time?
Why do I feel so much doubt and anxiety over parenting and homeschooling? Does that mean I’m not cut out for it and I totally suck at it? I mean if I were great at it then it would be easier and I would be filled with self confidence, right?
But you know what? I think the answer to that last line of questions is a resounding NO.
By understanding it’s established.
You can’t gain understanding without questioning. You can’t question unless you have doubt or concern.
Understanding my children is difficult. It takes a lot of questioning and commitment, prayer, and compassion, and love. It doesn’t just happen automatically for me.
The more I come to understand things, the more I realize that homeschooling is not just about curriculum. Yes, learning is important, but it’s so much more than that. Whatever I invest in my children they will reap the benefits of. I have to be willing to invest love, and joy. Not just memorization and facts, or rules and chores. Homeschooling is about living our lives together, instead of separated by age and grade and careers.
Beyond basic curriculum there is so much more knowledge. I want to make their minds and souls into rooms filled with precious and pleasant riches. Wonderful memories, books and literature, exciting experiences, beautiful music, science, and the wonders of nature. I want to fill them up with loving, kindness, helpfulness, compassion, and happiness, and joy.
Those are lofty goals. The hard part is breathing life into my words. How do I successfully accomplish all of that?
With a lot of prayer and meditation, I suppose.
It’s difficult because I don’t feel as if I was raised like this, so I have little experience to draw from. I feel like I’m learning and growing along with my children, which is a jumble of exhilarating and terrifying all at once.
I keep thinking, this must be what it means to live and enjoy life for each moment. To fill your soul and the souls of your family with wonderful things. That means you have to spend your days actively seeking out what is good and lovely rather than dwelling on frustrations and negativity. That is hard, especially in our culture. Everything is negative, from the news to the check out lady at the grocery store. We’re brainwashed to find the negative and glance right past the beauty.
I try to find ways to refocus my thoughts on the sweetness of each moment. (Though I will admit I often fail and have to start over. I am only human, of course.)
Photography is the best way, for me, to find the beauty in small things. I can search, I can find, and I can capture via the glass of my lens. And I can hold those moments forever, come back to them if I need to remind myself of things that are good.
I guess the answer to my questions–about whether I am doing enough–is that it is a continual process. One that I should be finding joy in undertaking. If we aren’t feeling the happiness, then it’s time to refocus and start over, and that’s ok.
There is doubt, yes. Doubt does not equate with failure, instead it leads to seeking out the best path, which is a good thing, right?
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees,
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes,
Over the prairies and deep trees,
The mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clear blue air,
Are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely
The world offers itself to your imagination,
Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
Over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
Wild Geese by Mary Oliver