Doing What’s Most Important

When Your Children Leave the NestThis week we’re seeing another one of our (not-so) little birds leap out of the nest and try his wings on his own. It’s time to take another young man to college for the first time. It’s times like this that make me so thankful we homeschool. He and I have both struggled with our emotions a bit as we’ve driven all over shopping for the last minute things. We’ve become really good friends, as well as mother and son, in the last couple of years when he’s been the senior brother at home.

When we get back, we’ll start back to school with the children still at home. Every time we help a child launch from home, though, we come back changed.┬áThe years seem to have just flown by. The time we have with our children is so brief – what is really important?

Do you ever have a day when you feel like pulling your hair out? Or, jerking your children bald-headed? Would you believe those are really the best days of homeschooling? Well, maybe not the best, but the most important?

I remember a day when homeschooling completely collapsed. One of the boys got caught (doing what isn’t important – now) and needed some serious instruction and counsel. The other children ran absolutely wild and did no school whatsoever while we focused on the needs of just one of them. It wasn’t the last time, either. But that day may have changed the course of that child’s life as he came to repentance and decided to change. Those heartbreaking, nerve-wracking days when you get to the end of the day and have nothing tangible to show for it are the days that you might have made the biggest difference in the spiritual realm.

Bible STock EXchange a-touch-of-faith-1167175-mOur children always groan when they see us reach for our copy of For Instruction in Righteousness. We do that when we find ourselves saying, “They’re always ________.” That’s a sign we have a problem we need to address, so we call a meeting, have everybody grab a Bible, and using FIR, read through what God says about bickering, or sassing, or lying, or whatever the topic of concern is. It’s amazing to see those once-groaning children spontaneously apologizing and reconciling when the Word is driven home in their hearts. Then we’re reminded that really is the best way we could have spent our time.

Discipleship takes time. You can’t schedule “quality time.”┬áTeachable moments come at the most inconvenient times. Melanie remembers walking way from a cart full of groceries to take a child home who needed some correction regarding behavior in the supermarket. I guess he didn’t think she’d do it, but he was wrong. That took a lot of extra time, but that little boy never threw another tantrum in public again.

That’s the beauty of homeschooling. It’s not that our children are better educated. Better education wouldn’t mean much to us if our children were becoming adults that grieved us. It’s that we have time – lots of time – to spend with our children. We can use that time to do the really important things – even if it means we don’t get math or spelling done that day because we were teaching character and virtue at the time it was needed, even if the house is a wreck because we took that time to go somewhere with our teens, even if we get to the end of the day bald-headed.

Yep, it’s worth it.

Hal and Melanie SugarLoaf Web (c)2009

Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie

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Many thanks to Doc of Stock Exchange for the adorable yellow bird!