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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Would You Lay Down Your Life for Your Children?

Would you lay down your life for your children?

I don't know a single homeschool mom or dad who wouldn't answer "yes," if asked. But how do we answer that question when it crops up in day to day life?

Do we lay down our blogs? Our favorite forums? Our Facebook and Twitter applications?

Do we lay down our books? Our meetings and activities? Our "me" time?

Do we lay down anger, frustration, impatience and irritability?

Will we really lay down our lives for our children? Let's take an honest look at what needs to go...

Our Interests

Many of us have given up careers and other pursuits in order to homeschool our children. We are vibrant, intelligent individuals and we feel entitled to have hobbies and interests of our own.

But how many times will we tell our children to wait so we can read one more blog or answer one more forum post? How often will we tune out our children in order to tune in to talk radio or TV?

Now, I'm not suggesting we give up all of our interests, but I am suggesting that we take an honest look at the amount of time we spend pursuing those interests at our children's expense.

For me, excessive computer use is a major temptation, and I've found LeechBlock to be a useful tool in helping me monitor and limit my time on the computer.

Our Ideals

I'm fairly opinionated, and I entered the world of motherhood and homeschooling with specific goals and expectations of my children. When things didn't go as planned, it was humbling to discover that there was nothing wrong with my children - my goals and expectations were seriously flawed.

While it is great to have a vision for our families, we have to know when to set our ideals aside and embrace the children we have in front of us. What are their needs, wants, talents and dreams?

Instead of becoming frustrated because our children don't fit into our ready-made molds, we can spend time getting to know them and helping them grow into the unique individuals they were created to be.

Our Image

One of the most difficult things I've had to lay down is my desire to please and impress others. Several years ago, I realized that saying yes to those outside our home often meant saying no to those within our home, and I decided to start saying yes to those who mean the most to me.

One of my favorite reads last year was The 4-Hour Workweek, and I recently came across The Best Decline Letter of All-Time on author Tim Ferris' blog.

Yes, the letter is worded rather rudely, but if you focus on the tone of the letter, you miss the overall message. Edmund Wilson decided to say no to those who would use him so he would have time to say yes to the things that really mattered to him.

We would be wise to say no to the users in our lives - even if those users are extended family members, longtime friends, homeschool group members or *gasp* even church leaders.

1 John 3:18 says "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

John 15:13 says "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

In 2010, let's not just tell our children we love them, let's resolve to lay down our lives for our children.

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Brenda said...

Hmm. Very interesting letter. I wonder what I should put on mine? It should be figured out in my head anyway. That way I won't have to stammer around when asked. ALSO....asking your husband is bound to add a few things to the list you might not have thought of. I'm pretty protective of my time now that I understand I am to keep this home. Hard to keep something when you are working for other people all the time.

(And yes, I know you arent' talking about serving outside of the home. We serve as a family.)

Carol J. Alexander said...

Thanks, Carletta, for that insight. When newly married, I said yes to everything because I had such a hard time saying no. But my husband, probably in exasperation, told me to tell people, "I'm sorry, as much as I'd love to help, my husband won't let me." He said he'd rather take the blame than our family be slighted by my over-committments.
Blessings for a Prosperous New Year,

Karen said...

Thanks for the reminder. After ten years of homeschooling I still struggle with trying to please others.

:)De said...

Happy New Year to you all. Wishing you happiness and Peace,


Mrs. Dan said...

Thank you for posting this. I've been thinking something similar for awhile and it's a blessing to have it already written out and ready to go. I'm printing it off for my Home Management Binder!

Sarah said...

I remember distinctly my mother, busy in the kitchen, listening to the Bible on tape when I was a teen. It took a few times of her doing this before I realized how rude I was being (and how gracious she was in not saying anything or acting frustrated), but I would start telling her something and she'd immediately eject the tape, and put it back in when we had finished the conversation.

That memory is so fresh in my mind. She did what you are talking about. There she was, making the most of her time as she worked on the family meal or what have you, and she still kept the priority of listening to me (one of 8) over demanding her time to listen to the greatest Book.

Thanks for this reminder. So true, and so challenging.