My homeschool NEVER. EVER. EVER looks like this.
|Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
But, I have to admit, many--no MOST--days, I think everyone else's homeschool looks like this (well maybe like this pic with a ray of sunlight cascading across the spotlessly polished table and bird song and a fountain bubbling in the background).
I especially believe that a smiling child hugging their books in a sunny Spring meadow is normal if I read too many curriculum catalogs, websites, and blogs.
But we've been blessed to be a part of our church's homeschool co-op for a few years and there are some wonderful people who show me reality and talk me down from my curriculum catalog fantasy.
One of those reality checks happened last week.
A friend and I were talking about life and kids and school and struggles and in just a flash of a moment she cut to the quick of a lie I didn't even realize I was believing when she wisely said:
"When I used to hear all the good things that other people's kids were doing I used to get so discouraged and compare my children because they didn't measure up to these other children. But through the years I learned that children are basically children wherever you go. And eventually I learned that usually, when you hear something out of the ordinary like children choosing to do amazing things, it was because their mom told them to, or encouraged them, and helped them do it."
I really want you to get this... because this one fact here was a truth I didn't realize in all the younger years of raising my boys.
It is NOT that most kids are amazingly insightful and mine aren't.
It is NOT that all other kids have servant's hearts and mine are stunningly selfish and petty.
Kids are kids.
Your kids are not broken or messed up because they hate math and occasionally (or daily) break down in snot-tears over it.
They are not the only kids who snicker at their sibling's problems, or deliberately pick fights.
Your kids are not the only ones who can't cut a straight line and paste correctly for the school project.
They are not the only ones who get sent to the Principal's office for a melt-down of nuclear proportions.
Really get this.
Don't accidentally absorb this lie and let take up prime real estate in your head.
Kids are kids.
Yours, mine, and that kid above, who was getting paid to smile at his textbooks.
We're all just doing this thing called life, the best we know how. We NEED to support each other. Speak truth to each other. TELL EACH OTHER ABOUT THE UGLY HARD STUFF you struggle with as well as the blessings. I can't even tell you how much closer I feel to moms who will honestly share their struggles. To know there are others out there who GET IT. Because even though I know no one lives a perfect, trial-free life, there are still those thoughts at the edge of my mind when I see families that never seem to have a problem, fight, or bad day. I bet you can think of one of those families right now too.
But, we all have ugly. We live in a fallen world. Even THAT family has bad days and needs the grace of Christ and love of friends.
Arm yourself with truth.
Keep fighting this fight.
Open up and be real.
Share your struggles, share grace, share truth.
That is living a brave life.
(And that kid above? And those smiling kids in catalogs eagerly leaning over piles of books? So. Not. Real.)