There have been times, as a parent, where I’ve thought that I have had everything figured out. Moments where I mistakenly concluded that I had mastered the art of parenting. Looking back on old photos, I realize now that I knew nothing. The older Wyatt grows, the more I feel unequipped as a dad. Each day presenting a new challenge, a new set of decisions on how best to guide my child.
Parenting an almost 9 year old, I have been learning about freedom and letting go. Making what feel like hard decisions in the moment, like sending him to summer camp for a week by himself. Emotion versus logic battle it out:
Emotion: He is too young to be gone for a week by himself. What if he gets scared or wants to come home?
Logic: We can always go pick him up if need be. He’ll be in a safe place. Our Children’s Director, who is amazing, is going to camp/loves the camp they are attending.
The instant gut reaction of “lets wait until next year” gives way to questions of why. Tab and I are learning to push through these gut reactions, compare them against non-emotional truths, and then ask Wyatt what he thinks. Giving him voice and a choice in the decision at hand has helped us both make a final decision. Big decisions, such as “let’s try this!”
Parenting is not easy. But I’m thankful for the grace that is given to parents which allows us to grow up alongside our children. Grace that allows me to admit that I do not know everything about parenting, but I know a little.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. I was homeschooled from the fourth grade all the way through high school. I had been falling behind both academically and socially. Public school was failing me by passing me on from one teacher to the next. I had trouble with reading, math, etc. My parents realized what was going on and brought me home. I’m thankful.
Tabitha and I have always said that our children would attend public school. As long as the teachers and the overall district were willing to work with us, we’d stick with it. Our children would be good examples for others to follow. Salt and light.
Enter our son:
Helped teach his fellow students in kindergarten
Excelled through first grade
Has continued in second grade to consistently earn high grades
Reads on a middle school grade level
(I can brag as a dad, right?)
The boy wants to be pushed. He wants to learn multiplication and how to write in cursive. Our fear is that his enthusiasm for learning is going to be snuffed out unless he is challenged. We realize that public school can only do so much for him. A teacher has to teach so that all students are on the same middle ground. That means that the higher students in the class are often ignored. Not the teacher’s fault at all. Teaching is hard.
So how do you make the decision to homeschool?
Throw some dice?
Spin a bottle?
I know the challenges that are involved with it. I have seen them firsthand. I know the impact it has on a family and on a marriage.
Social outlets are essential. Support in the form of a homeschool group help a bunch. The kids never leave the house… ever. Mental fortitude is a requirement.
Indeed, for years after my “What should I do with my life?” conversations with God, I did not realize that what I had been actually looking for wasn’t so much “God’s will for my life.” What I was really looking for was a way to be relieved of the anxiety that comes with taking responsibility for making a difficult decision.
Note: My wife and I made a rather difficult decision last night. One of those “burn the ships” sort of decisions. I thought this post from the past was appropriate as its truth is timeless.
This morning I read in Matthew 7. Something that really stuck out to me was in verses 7-8:
7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)