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When I was studying to be a nurse, I was stroked and confidence in me was expressed. I was told that I was going to be good at all I tried. Nobody ever said “You’re going to hurt someone!” Frankly, that I could have caused serious harm with one mistake as a practicing registered nurse is not an overstatement! I was administering chemotherapy, blood products, and IV pain medications to cancer patients! One fast push of an IV chemo drug, and I could have seriously burned someone’s blood vessels and surrounding tissue. With one fast push of a narcotic, I could have stopped someone’s breathing! Lives were at stake if I made a mistake, and no one ever expressed doubt in my abilities.
Nobody ever told my husband he’d be a lousy college professor and researcher. In fact, when he graduated, his former professors, some now his colleagues, had fairly high expectations for his future. He is sought after by the media as a specialist in his field. He is sought after as a speaker for subjects he does not even have a degree, but has taught himself and about which he sometimes writes. He is enough to be a church leader and teacher. Nobody told him he would be a failure at teaching other people’s children, or that he would not be preparing other people’s kids for the real world, or that he shouldn’t speak to the public about those other subjects.
In my last post about homeschooling and blessings, I wrote: “In hind sight, though, it was Kindergarten. I do wish we could have relaxed and enjoyed more. Kindergarten should be a joyous and fun filled year, not “rigorous.” I wish we had chosen to save that “rigor” for later, rather than doing spelling flash cards in the back seat of the realtor’s van as we house hunted for the second move in our new city.”
It was hard to relax when our decision for our children was suddenly under scrutiny and deemed certain for failure by others. We weren’t necessarily confident in our abilities to raise our sons, never mind teaching one of them! During the very early years of parenting, we had heard we were good, patient, “intentional” parents. After we made the decision to homeschool, some rhetoric and attitudes toward us changed. We did not receive expressions of encouragement and confidence. Some people fell silent and wouldn’t bring up the subject of school, not even to ask “What are you learning? What is your favorite subject?” with our kids. Some told us they no longer considered us good parents. If those reactions didn’t feed insecurities, I don’t know what else would.
In the area where we’d be most invested–our children and their future academic success and life preparedness-it was expected and expressed that there would be failure and long term negative consequences by my husband’s and my decision to homeschool our children. It’s (still) a rather stunning, illogical contrast expressed between predicted outcomes for my nursing career success or my husband’s career, and for the success of homeschooling our children. Especially since my nursing career lasted less than four years, and we’ve been homeschooling seventeen years! I have always been confused and hurt by this contrast. Somehow, by teaching his own children, or allowing me to do so, my husband and I would not prepare our own children for the real world.
We’ve now graduated two wonderful young men. One of our sons graduated with college credits and has served on several short term missions trips. One has quickly earned certifications in his field–just a few months after graduating–and is earning money for his college education. Their employers tell them that they appreciate that they are self starters willing to learn, have good work ethic, and take initiative and responsibility.
Would they have learned this had they attended traditional school? Perhaps. Probably. That’s not really the point.
The point is that we certainly didn’t harm them or their futures by homeschooling, having successfully done so. But sadly, the negativity and discouraging sentiments are ones we still hear, in spite of these and other successes, and in spite of our dedication, faithfulness, proof of loyalty, and longevity to the pursuits.
We decided a long time ago that we would have to learn to be comfortable with the idea that we might never hear positive words from our naysayers. We’re proud of our children and our successes with them regardless of lack of affirmation by some. We’ve definitely had support, affirmation, and help from many, many others. We’ll always be thankful for that!
A blessing in the discouragement is that we have learned lessons in fortitude, perseverance, and endurance in opposition.
We have not been disobedient children, dishonoring those who parented ahead of us.
We’ve obeyed what the Lord made clear to us after we prayed. As we were prepared by the Lord to hear His directions, we obeyed what His plans were for our family.
He has blessed our obedience.
We’re proud of our family. We’re proud of our service. We’re excited for our children’s futures.
May they honor the Lord in the way He leads them, too. And may we never disparage them or discourage them from doing so.
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