Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Motivation to Homeschool

When I began homeschooling in 1994 with four little ones under age 5, I knew that I was going to be at this for a long time. With each passing day and trial, the potential was there to grow weary and give up. I didn't want to quit. So I prayed and asked the Lord for a vision that would keep me motivated and going strong no matter what was ahead. God did not disappoint. He responded with a word, ART.

Three simple letters because He knew that, as a young mom, that's about all I'd remember. But they were powerful and packed with meaning.

A is for attitude,

R is for relationships

T is for teaching and training

Kept in the proper order, I had a vision for the "work of ART" God was creating in my family. But in the wrong order, they spelled disaster.

As a curriculum junkie, I was tempted to put the Teaching ahead of the attitudes or the relationships. Quickly, I learned that even the best curriculum cannot be taught when my attitude is wrong or when there are conflicts in the home. To put Teaching before Attitude or Relationships would be to create TAR, a sticky mess that would not be easy to work with. So Teaching had to go last.

As a mom, I knew I wanted our home to be an enjoyable one that fostered good relationships, but I didn't want it to be mom-centered or child-centered. I desired a home centered around Christ. If I put the Relationships ahead of a godly attitude, I would end up with a RAT. And Lord knows, I hate RATS!

No, if God promised a work of ART, then it must begin with me and my attitude.

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant. . . . God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. . . . Do all things without grumbling or complaining.

My Attitude must be like Christ. This is all for Him and His good pleasure. As a mom, I live a life of service but do I serve with the right attitude? Christ didn't grumble or complain . . . or quit.

ART has sustained me nearly 20 years and will keep me going strong until my sixth child graduates in 2021.

So if you're looking for motivation for the coming year (or decade), seek the Lord and His word for you. He will not disappoint, and at the end of your journey He will say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of my rest.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

What's a Parent To Do?

If there is a single image that defines this generation it is of a teenager with earplugs in his ears strutting down the street to his favorite music while intently texting his friends about the latest Facebook status of a mutual friend. And the friend may be someone he has never actually met IRL (in real life), but a virtual friend--that is a friend of another virtual friend. Eventually, he strolls in the door without hearing the greeting of his mom and plops down on a laptop to continue the chat.

The teen is in a virtual world and most parents are searching for what to do.

If you are like any parent, your first temptation is to grab his phone and drop it from the Golden Gate Bridge (after the teen has been detached, of course) and then praying afterward that your little darling doesn't jump in to retrieve it.

But taking away the technology or restricting its use rarely works. Why?

Because technology does not create character; it exposes it and builds upon it.

The problem is not the cell phone or Facebook; it's the condition of his heart. A foolish heart will act foolishly but a wise heart will act wisely.

"Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" Scripture says. So while your teen has the body of an adult, he may still carry within his heart some of the foolish tendencies of a child. That foolishness is often exposed when we place an adult device like a cell phone into his hands. As parents, we're surprised and increasingly frustrated because our child never acted this way until he got the phone. Don't be misled. He didn't actfoolishly because he didn't have the opportunity NOT because he didn't have foolish notions. But introduce an opportunity and the foolish notions have an outlet and the heart is exposed.

"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things
" 1 Corinthians 13:11(NASB version)

Our desire as parents is to train our children to become self-regulating adults and that includes the responsible use of phones, computers, and whatever device is dreamed up next. But how?

This space doesn't permit a lengthy answer to that question, but I'll submit to you one idea--model the responsible use of technology in your home. Your teen may be just as frustrated with your "checking out" when they need you to be present for them. How many times since you sat at your computer today has one of your children asked you a question only to hear the "in a minute" for the fifteen thousandth time?

So before you throw your child's cell phone off the bridge; ask yourself, would your child like to do the same thing to your computer?

If you would like your child to be present for you, then become a parent who is present for your child.

For added thoughts please read Spunky's poem,
Mom's on the Computer.

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