Monday, August 13, 2012

Children Won't Wait!

Over the weekend, I managed to squeeze out enough quiet time to be able to read the August digital edition of my favorite homeschool magazine.

Note: "squeezing out quiet time" looks like this: me sitting in comfy chair with feet up; child #1: "Mom! I'm hungry!", me putting feet down, going to kitchen, making them food, returning to chair with feet up; child #2: "Mom! Will you move the truck out of the driveway so I can play basketball?!"; me putting feet down, moving truck, grabbing glass of water because I'm now thirsty, putting feet back up; phone rings; husband (on phone): "Whatcha doin'?"; me: "nothing". And THAT, my friends, is what I mean by "squeezing out quiet time." It's a miracle I did get it read. Anyway, back to my story...

One of the articles had a quote from a book that really touched me:
There is a time to treasure every fleeting minute of their childhood. Just eighteen precious years to inspire and train them. We will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business success or professional reputation. An hour of concern today may save years of heartache tomorrow, the house will wait, the dishes will wait, the new room can wait, but children don’t wait. There will be a time when there will be no slamming of doors, no toys on the stairs, no childhood quarrels, no fingerprints on the wallpaper. Then may we look back with joy and not regret. God give us wisdom to see that today is the day with our children. That there is no unimportant moment in their lives. May we know that no other career is so precious, no other work so rewarding, no other task so urgent. May we not defer it nor neglect it, but by Thy Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by Thy grace realize that the time is short and our time is now, for children won’t wait! (Helen Young ~ Children Won't Wait)
Isn't that precious?! It's the perfect reminder as I prepare to begin our 4th year of homeschooling. The perfect reminder as I look at my personal commitments and set realistic goals for myself. I needed to be reminded that children DON'T wait!

I have big dreams for myself. Large expectations. A very high  bar to try to live up to each day. The excerpt above helped me re-gain some great perspective. The Holy Spirit really gave me clarity in some areas I'd been praying about.

  •  As a homeschool Mom, besides maintaining a strong personal relationship with Christ (and a healthy relationship with my husband), my absolute #1 priority from now until my youngest graduates from high school is to train up my children. Not just teach them academics. Teach them God's Word. Teach them how to be respectful and honorable citizens. There is no greater calling than this.
  • Because of this choice to homeschool, other things that I may want to do in the future have to just stay on the back burner until the kids are grown. This is something I'm always having an internal struggle on. I have bigger dreams and goals for myself. But I also have to recognize my limits. Some homeschool moms can raise 10 kids while working from home on their dreams and changing the world with their children in toe. That's not me. I may at times WANT to do that. But I don't think it's how God built me. I get burned out on a fast-paced life really quickly. I am not one of those people who can be running 24/7, 365. I just can't do it. I HAVE to have times of calm. Have to. Well, motherhood in general, doesn't allow much calm unless you make it happen. Homeschooling in particular means you have to be very purposeful about setting a healthy pace. Trying to "fit in" my big dreams around those slower times, is not the answer for me. I think that after three years of homeschooling, I'm finally starting to get a handle on how to pace myself. (More on that later.)
  • Saying "not now" on some of my personal dreams is not giving up. Saying "not now" on some things right now, means I'm saying "yes!" to my kids. I do know how fast these years are going. I see how much my "tweens" are changing before my eyes. The parenting years for us are just starting to get to the hard stuff. Newborn years are easy. Teen years...I really need to get prayed up for that.
  • Just like the excerpt says, I don't want to look back on my kids' growing years with regret. I only get one chance to get this right. Sure. I'll make mistakes. But I am trying my best to be present, purposeful, and proactive. That takes time. It takes energy. It means that some things just have to wait.
  • God called us to homeschool. He will equip us (mentally, financially, spiritually) to do it. I get easily caught up in the panic that I NEED to do some of these other things right now because we NEED the money. I'm realizing that God has already worked out all those financial details. He has a plan for our family. I don't believe that me working on outside projects is part of that right now. He HAS called me to be good with a budget. To be wise with our food choices. Thankfully, trusting in God's provisions, budgeting, grocery shopping, and cooking can all be part of what I'm teaching my kids. See how this is all connected?
Saying not now to some of my personal goals and yes to my committment to my kids right now, also means I have to say yes to some more self-disciplined choices. Here's what it means to me to fully say yes to my family:
  •  I must be as physically and spiritually healthy as I can. That means: daily devotions, quiet time with God, taking my vitamins, continuing to lose weight and finally reaching my goal #, regular exercise. I have to take care of myself, or I have nothing to give my husband and kids. The only way to fit all this in is to get up, become more of a morning person, and get my devotions and exercise in before the kids are up.
  • I want my kids to know how to be good homemakers. Even my son. That means I am teaching them things like: how to keep a house clean (not spotless, mind you - clean), how to do laundry, how to make healthy meals, how to stay organized, how to take care of what God has blessed us with. This is not something I'm willing to let slide. This is some of the most important lessons I teach my kids each week. I'm always improving in this area, and I want them to all be proficient in it too.
  • Showing them how to be good stewards of their time. They need to learn how to be disciplined with their days. Teaching them how to set daily goals and fit them in is HUGE! I want them to be successful when they go off to college and have to manage all their responsiblities. They have to learn how to do that now. I can't teach them how unless I'm also a good steward of my time. We all have to learn to limit our time wasters. For them, it's the Wii. For me, it's Facebook. We are going to have "Technology Tickets" this year. I'm thinking of having a slot for myself and my husband too (he's big into playing games on his ipod touch). We're all given the same amount of time each day. I'm convicted to stop throwing it away so easily.
  • Along with the previous item, I also am teaching the kids the art of saying "no." Not just saying no to technology time wasters, but saying no to social invites. Not answering the phone during school hours. Not being busy every weeknight. Setting aside time on the calendar for family-only time. It's all about finding balance. Our kids are social. We're social. Finding balance isn't always so easy.
So on this note, it's time for me to get off the computer. This post isn't polished, but it's going to have to be good enough. That's another thing I'm learning to let go of: perfectionism.

Thanks for stopping by and letting me use this blog today to organize my thoughts. It's all just a work in progress. Stay tuned for updates on it all. I'm sure many "edits" are sure to follow.