As a homeschool grad, people ask me all the time if I'm glad I was homeschooled. Though I've given a wide variety of reasons I'm thankful I was, I have a new favorite answer after reading Kate's powerful post. I may just start saying that homeschooling meant that I got to be the prettiest girl in the world.
Yes, homeschooling meant I got to be beautiful ;).
But more than that, homeschooling meant the voices speaking into my life most often and most closely were the voices of my parents and the truth of God's word.
What do you want to speak into your children's lives? Whom do you want to do the speaking? What truths do you want burned deep into their impressionable minds? What truths will they try out in the world as they grow?
I'm not advocating that we totally shelter our children from the world. I'm simply saying that the chance to be the primary voice in your children's lives is a true gift.
You act as a guide as they come to understand the myriad of perspectives they'll encounter in life.
As you whisper life-giving messages, you are creating a soundtrack for their hearts. You speak melodies of truth that soar and inspire, bolster courage and shape character. You are giving them a trusted voice of one who knows them and loves them unconditionally and most of all, you are pointing them to One who can always be trusted.
I wrote this letter for my little daughter this week as I prayed for her and thought about making our homeschool a place where she can thrive. I long to engrave on her heart some truths that will stick with her for life.
When you don't know which voice to listen to, remember this:
I laughed to myself today as I watched you tramp ahead in hot pink snow boots with your Sunday dress. You wanted to dress yourself. Your independence and confidence is so beautiful. You are not perfect, but you are perfectly loved.
I pray your homeschool years give you a chance to marinate in that love a little more, undistracted.
In "class," you don't have to be that percentage of girls who rarely raise their hands. You have questions and ideas and an open forum—right here on the couch —to get used to expressing yourself well.
You don't just yet have "mean girls" distracting you from learning as they constantly tell you their estimation of your value.
You don't have anyone sneering that "girls don't like science" when you ask to do one more experiment, or calling you a nerd for enjoying math or bringing home that huge stack of library books. You are getting to set your own normal without everyone dictating that for you.
You're going to hear a lot of voices in the course of your lifetime, lots of opinions about who you are, if you are good enough, what you should be, think, and do. People will offer acceptance and rejection. You will feel deep feelings. You will have victories and hard days.
You will have to choose which voices and messages you will allow to soak beneath the surface.
How will you decide who to trust? What is your litmus test for truth? Where will you get your foundational ideas about who you are and why you are in this world? What will you pour yourself into to accomplish in this life? What matters most of all? What can you not live without?
These can be hard questions. I pray you will find answers in solid places and weigh carefully the voices you choose to listen to. My prayer is that right now, in your early days, you learn what it means to be fully known and fully loved.
I can't answer every question you will encounter in a lifetime, but I pray I can point you to the source of truth and introduce you to the Voice you can always trust.
There will be mean girls and there will be heart ache, but I pray you go into those situations knowing without a doubt that love conquers all, that you have innate worth and beauty, that you are cherished and treasured and so are those around you. We're building that foundation now, together.
That's why I'm so glad that we are going through this homeschooling journey side by side. I'm making it my mission to speak life-giving words to you each day. To demonstrate your value through the way I spend time with you and listen to you. I won't do this perfectly, but I love you more than anyone in this world and will do my best to help you thrive.
I pray you'll get strong and confident and know yourself as you serve alongside your family and process the hurts of the world with people who can talk it out with you. I pray you will enter your place in the world as a woman who can make an impact.
You'll have the confidence to consider others before yourself because someone else has already considered you of immeasurable value. You don't have to strive and fight for that love and attention. You've got it overflowing.
Through homeschooling, we have a few more hours together in these days that are rushing past so fast. Time to whisper those truths and give you a place for a little while where you are free to flourish just as you are.
You are loved,
(You can read parts 1-3 of this series here: The Gift of Your Presence, The Gift of Godly Heroes, and The Gift of Play.)