Hello Dear Homeschooling Friends,
The winter season will soon be coming to a close. Though it has been a mild one here in Erie, PA we have had enough snow and cold to leave me longing for spring. It has been a rough winter for us as a homeschooling family. My children just told me the other day it is like our home has been through a tornado! The tornado seemed stuck here churning and whirling ripping apart our family, our schooling, our home. As I struggled not to be blown away, I read hundreds of books and articles first on reactive attachment disorder, then on chastisement and punishment, next it was positive parenting, then trauma treatment, then cognitive behavioral therapy and lastly self-esteem. I visited and talked with several counselors and friends. This tornado made me doubt everything I knew to be true about homeschooling and parenting. Have you ever doubted your parenting decisions? Worry, worry, worry. Have I damaged my children for life?
I think so many of us Mama’s worry that our parenting mistakes, especially during “tornado” times, will be the demise of our children. We begin to stress about almost every decision and action we make with our children. Instead of rejoicing in our children and sharing happy days with them; we worry. Parenting decisions are tough! But homeschooling Mama remember God is in control not you. God has reminded me that what I do will not ultimately mean the demise nor success of my children. God gets to decide that with them individually. Our parenting mistakes, nor our successes, really make our children what they are and will be. Humbling thought isn’t it? Our success as an adult is dependent on our own personal relationship with God. Our children have invaluable worth granted to them at their creation by our Heavenly Father. He fashioned them together in the womb. He gave them their in born traits. He is the strength they need to overcome their weaknesses. He desires for them to come to know him as their Lord and Savior and walk with him throughout their lives. God has a beautiful plan for each of our children’s lives. Now, it has been proven again and again in research studies that parental influence is the number one factor in school success. It is the number one factor in keeping kids from drugs, alcohol and unwanted pregnancies. You are important parent. You can have great influence even in the teen years but remember, you are not the end all power. We are talking about worrying excessively over our parenting mistakes. When tornados’ strike it helps us to survive if we cling to the knowledge and trust that God is in control. Satan will try to make you believe it is all about you and that you have to figure out how to fix it. I learned I needed to fix my eyes on Jesus and rejoice in my relationship with him. Doing that in the midst of storms is one of the most powerful ways to influence your children.
I want to be very clear I am talking about parenting mistakes here not abuse. I am not saying it is all right to abuse your children and that God will take your abusive behaviors and make your children still turn out okay so don’t worry about it. He can do that for the precious ones who have been so traumatically abused. But you are without excuse if you are an abusive parent. You are doing great damage. So, if you find yourself being abusive to your children then get them into a safe place right now and then seek help for yourself. So to be clear I am talking about the fear of not parenting right, of scrutinizing every little decision and behavioral interaction with our children until we feel we can not go on parenting because of the mistakes we make. I am thinking of the sweet, loving, actively involved Mom of four little ones just yesterday who shared her “mistakes” with me and the fact she fears she is “somehow ruining or ruined” her child. Oh how Satan loves to bring down Mamas with false guilt! Our little ones(and not so little ones) know our parenting mistakes, faults and sins well. What we need to show them is that when people make mistakes they confess it to God, to the person and then they move on positively. We do not want to role model doubting, self condemnation, nor sinking into depression. When others make mistakes or sin against us is another time to model for our children how to forgive and move on without grudging. Sometimes mistakes are just mistakes and not sinful. Worrying about them obsessively and losing our focus in parenting is not beneficial. There is such an array of viewpoints, ideas and theories on the best way to parent today it is easy to get caught up in doubt when in reality we just need to get busy parenting to our best ability and leave the rest to the Lord.
The tornado has passed now and our home is rebuilt and we are the stronger for it. We have learned it takes personal effort and personal responsibility to grow and change as an adult or as a child. As the spring season of homeschool conferences arrives(check out the events page or calendar to see when some in our area arrive) and we face deciding what to do for next year, don’t let Satan rob you of your parenting joy because of the storms you are facing in life or have faced this winter season. The truth is I don’t know what will work best for my homeschool family nor yours. But God does. So worry not! Earnestly seek Him, trust his guiding hand knowing if we get it “wrong” he can still fix it! It is his power that gives the victory never our own. He will guide us to our expected ends.
Jeremiah 29:11″ For I know the thoughts I think towards you saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end.”