Thursday, June 20, 2013

Yes I'm scared!

Truth be told, I'm scared.  That's not something I readily admit because I like to think I am fearless.  I guess when it comes to my kids, I'm not.

We decided earlier this year to homeschool.  We know it's the right thing for our family, the kids are excited, we are excited.  We've found a great support system, friends to encourage us along the way, and we are ready to embark on this journey.

But I'm scared.  There.  I said it.  I am scared.  Not afraid.  Scared.

As my good friend Terri said (she is a lot better with words than I), it's ok to be scared because keeps moving you forward.  Being afraid paralizes you.

So I am scared.  We are going to homeschool, and I know it's going to be a great adventure for all us.  But I'm still scared.  There are so many decisions to be made.  I have yet to narrow down my curriculum because I keep thinking "is this the best one for my kids?".  I worry that my children will hate me for making this decision for them.  I worry that I'll be hindering their learning by teaching them at home.

Then I remember that we are their first teachers.  No one, no teacher in the world, no matter how dedicated, loves them more than we do.  I know what they like and what they dislike.  I know how they learn, what excites them and what bores them. I know one loves dinosaurs and will watch documentaries about them without ever saying "this is boring".  I know the other loves learning about animals, and insects.  He will start a collection of bugs if I let him bring them in the house.  And my girl loves music.  All music. Not just the pop music kids listen to these days.  She knows about Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart and has her favorites.  She loves the Beatles, and has taught herself to play several of their songs on the piano.  

I can build a curriculum around their likes and dislikes or  I can buy a curriculum that comes in a box.  The choice is mine.  It all depends on whether I am going to be scared or afraid.

I guess I will chose to be scared and move forward; praying along the way that fear doesn't get in the way.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A legacy of service

A few years back, I was attending a retreat centered around the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people.  One of the exercises they had us do that week was to write down a mission statement for your life.  I thought at first that was kind of silly.  A mission statement for my life?  I just want to be happy!  Do I really need to write that down?

They explained that companies use mission statements to keep their goals in mind, and so we should create one for our lives.  I set out to create mine.  Turns out it was more difficult than I had anticipated.  I eventually came up with five things, one of those "leave a legacy in the lives of my children".

What exactly is a legacy?  The dictionary says it is "something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past".  So it can be just about anything.   Their values, their faith, their bad habits (ha!).  

Events of this past weekend and this week have gotten me thinking about my legacy to my kids.  What do I want them to carry with them into the world the day they leave my home?  This last weekend, at the conference I attended, this lady talked about how she learned about service by watching her parents.  She never realized other parents weren't like hers, involved in the community, and always helping others.  She simply thought all families just did that.

I want to leave a legacy of service in my kids.  I want them to count their blessings, and share them with those less fortunate.  I wish for them to have a heart of service, a giving heart.  I realize that's not something you can teach by just telling someone "you should be charitable, you should share your blessings with the less fortunate".  You have to lead by example.

I hope one day, when my children leave my home, they will have learned that sometimes, giving money is not enough.  Sometimes people just need (as the song says)  "someone to lean on".  Someone to listen.  Someone to care.  And that the best gift we can give others is our compassion, not our money.  It doesn't matter if you have no money, you always, always have something valuable to give someone in need: your time, your compassion.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Bucket List

I created a bucket list a few years.  Things I want to do before I (literally) kick the bucket.   I have put it aside, since are pricey (going to Japan); some are risky (sky diving) and some I had just forgotten all about.

It wasn't until we set down this homeschooling path that a friend reminded me of that item on my list:  teaching.

I'm as terrified as I would have been if I was going into a school to teach.  These are my kids, we can drive one another insane on occasion and now we get to spend more time with one another and learn together. 

But no one knows them better than I, no one understands them better so I'm confident we will adjust and move forward in this journey and be glad we took it.

I'm also excited I'm starting to cross things off the list before the proverbial 40 runs around! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Thankful Heart

I grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school most of my life, and I've been a practicing Christian for as long as I can remember. But praying in public has never been "my thing".

The church I grew up in was very formal.  We didn't say "amen" to show we agreed with the pastor's remarks during the sermon.  There was no such thing as "revival".  We prayed in church, we prayed in school, we prayed at home.  In public areas? Not so much.

I'm an introvert, so that whole idea of praying in public has always made me uneasy.  Not because I doubt my faith but because introverts like me don't care to be on the spotlight.

My children are being raised in a different church than the one I grew up in.  They have been to revival, they have heard "amen" during service, and prayed before meals at church and at home.

I've always given thanks for the food on the table.  If you know me well, you know my family has been through a lot, so I never take any blessings for granted.  I know so many go without so I'm grateful for the blessings I have.  But I've never been one to pray over my food at a restaurant.  Remember that introvert thing?  Add that to the fact praying in public always felt "fake" to me.  I felt as if I was trying to call attention to myself.   I'm not passing judgement on those who do it, I'm simply sharing why I never had.

A month or so ago, we went out to eat with the kids; which isn't that different from all other times we go out to eat, as it seems we usually go with them everywhere.  Anyway, once our order arrived, one of my boys said " wait, don't eat yet, we have to bless the food".

I have to admit, I was shocked.  We say the blessing at home, usually three times, because each child wants to say their version.  But we have never done in  public.  So I was surprised at his suggestion.

So we bowed our heads and he blessed the food.  I'm sure people looked at us, and in all honesty, I wasn't even aware at that moment.  All I could think about was how proud I was to know my children have thankful hearts.

All I've ever wanted was for my kids to be thankful for all their blessings, and to share those blessings with others.  It never occurred to me they would be sharing that blessing with me.