Thursday, July 1, 2010

On the brink

I have been on the brink of tears all day. I'm not sure why. I think this is just a very emotional time. The idea of homeschooling is so exciting, yet so scary. I have the "what if I fail" or "what if I really mess my children up" syndrome that I'm sure a lot of homeschooling parents have one time or another. Still, I'm plugging along, reading over the lesson plans, familiarizing myself with the materials and making sure I have all that I need.

Tonight, while reading over the First Grade Lesson Plans, I ran across something I want to share with you. This touched me at the very core of my being...

"Of course, our most important goal is to educate our children for eternity. How? By living and being what we want our children to be. We must be truthful, brave, forgiving, thoughtful, virtuous, self-disciplined, kind, and cheerful if we want our children to be! Our Faith is caught, not taught...we can't give what we don't have. Overwhelming? Not when we remember that a baby learns to walk by falling! God measures our effort and appreciates every little thing we do for love of Him. He invites us to keep "walking" and grow more in love with Him each day".

This reminds me of something that my dear friend Judy wrote on her blog BENMAKESTEN last year! It touched me so much that I printed it out. Here's what she said:

"Be that which you wish them to be".
Someone said that to me once as we discussed how to go about instilling the values and encouraging the virtues in our children that we wanted them to have. (Wish I could remember exactly WHO said it!)
This reminds me of good St. Francis of Assisi, who stated that we must "preach the Gospel...and when needed...use words".
If we wish for our children to hold certain standards, to reflect certain convictions and beliefs, and to live virtuous lives, then WE must first give them "the model" and be an example of these things IN their lives before we can expect them to "live it on their own".
Are we joyfully serving our family each day? Do we carry out our duties and keep on task? Are we keeping up on our own chores in an efficient manner? (Or, are we easily side-tracked and wandering in our thoughts? Are we letting clutter pile up with an excuse that we're too busy or tired? Are we grumbling or complaining or nagging?)

Do we exude a gentle and meek disposition?
Do we OFFER to help when we see it is needed?
Do we speak in positive ways and hold our tongue when we have "nothing good to say"?
Do we share our things willingly? Do we give 100% of our efforts toward the raising of our family, the teaching of our children, and the tending of the hearth at home?

Once we become a TRUE MODEL for our children, then we can help them to accomplish the things for which we are striving in their upbringing. We can not just "point the way" and then desert them, however!

Let us stay along-side of our children. . . giving them gentle reminders, and assistance when needed...helping them to grow in independence and efficiency, but also in CONSISTENCY, by remaining with them "until they get it right".
It's easy at times, to grow weary or frustrated in our endeavors to grow as a godly and holy family. Sometimes, we just throw up our hands and do it ourselves, rather than take the time and put forth the added effort needed to make sure that the kids are following through in their tasks and duties.

As many times as it takes to show them they way until they master the skill is the amount of time we must be willing to invest if we hope to raise children that are independent, skillful, and willing to serve others!
Once we are convinced that A) We have set a good example and B) We have helped them to master the concept and skill at-hand, then we can (and MUST, actually) begin to C) EXPECT that they follow through and do that which they know is asked of them.

Keeping in mind that we want to TRAIN THE HEART and address the WHOLE person: body, mind, and soul, we will approach this in a manner of LOVE, and not just as a means to an end of acquiring a certain desired behavior.
Children are great imitators...but they are also VERY perceptive and observant...and will turn away from anything they perceive as hypocrisy.

Let us take the time in the coming weeks of the holy Advent Season to:

BE that which we wish for our children to SHOW them and LEAD THEM by the hand (EVEN THE TEENS)...and to love them enough to be consistent and HOLD THEM to what we have required and asked of them; so that as they mature, they will:

Grow in holiness

Act in selflessness

Love in charity

Accept hard work willingly

Learn with a JOYFUL HEART

Appreciate the blessings in their lives

Embrace the crosses and challenges that befall them

And JOYFULLY serve others in Christ's name.

I keep this print out in my purse....I read it almost everyday! Has it made a difference in my relationship with my children...yes, I think it has. I'm not perfect. I mess up daily. Only God (and Fr. Fred!) know how many times I've "come clean" in the confessional. But, I'm trying. Besides, it's not really about's about them.


Therese said...

You are going to do great! Remember to keep praying...and breathe!

Frizzy and Bird said...

You should talk to my friend Janese. She is starting to homeschool this year for the first time too. You all could compare notes and give each other support. She's in TX and she's also Catholic. You have much in common! You will be wonderful! Her blog is on my friend roll under her name.

mady jojjef said...

i like your thoughts which you mansion on last paragraph, its really amazing to keep such kind of things in your pocket.
keep it up.

Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

I am both humbled and thankful that God chose to bless you through a post on benmakesten :)

I love this post...and especially love the passage you share about "learning to walk by falling"!

As for the struggle you are facing, afraid that you won't "cut it" or that you'll "mess up the kids"...well...we are almost 8 years into this and I face that same struggle several times a's called "the enemy's temptation to get you to give up".
Thankfully, you have tons of people praying for you and standing off to the side, ready and willing to hold your hand when you need it!
Thanks for reminding us that we need not be perfect...only faithful.