This past year I've had the opportunity to sit with some heartbroken moms. As they poured their hearts out about bad choices their children were making, and the sorrows of watching their kids walk away from the Lord, I found my heart breaking along with theirs. They had done all they knew to do, and definitely had not seen the expected result.
As most parents would, these homeschooling moms began asking where they had failed. Did they do something wrong while wearing their "homeschooling" hat? Perhaps their academic expectations were too high? Or maybe their children made poor choices in friends because they were "under-socialized"?
Did they do something wrong while wearing their "mom" hat? Perhaps if they had spent just a bit more time talking with their child, instead of putting them off to get some housecleaning done? Or maybe their children were seeking love and acceptance elsewhere because mom hadn't loved them enough?
One mom I spoke with described that she felt as though her arms would break under the stress of trying to keep all the various "balloons" in the air that represented each of her children, her husband, and her multiple responsibilities for homeschooling, housekeeping, taxi-driving, and church.
I've found over my years of homeschooling that I often had to stop throughout my day and think about which "hat" I was currently wearing. There were many times when I would come to the end of a day and wonder if I had fulfilled each of those "identities" well, or if I had failed in any of them. Ultimately, I concluded that I definitely had failed, and would continue to fail in the out-working of each of those identities. I'm human and thus prone to being self-focused, prideful, and lacking in wisdom. But the good and encouraging news is that there is really only *one* identity that matters, and the rest fall into place. My identity as a daughter of the King, a child of my Abba Father, is where the rest of my identities draw their purpose and wisdom.
My response to those moms I sat with this past year was to offer hugs, to weep with them over their heartbreak, and remind them that their children are also fallible. Being a homeschooling, stay-at-home, church-going mom is not *the* recipe/guarantee for success. Our children are free to make choices (just as we are), and they will not always make the correct ones (just as we don't). But we can take heart in knowing that God loves them as much as (and more) than we do. And we can free ourselves from some of the burden by not comparing our "success" or "failure" with our children to other families. And ultimately, we can choose to believe that we have done the very best we are able, by God's grace. And that even where we've failed, God is able to work it all for good.
So take heart wherever you are on your homeschool journey. Keep your eyes focused on the one identity that truly matters. And remember that your children's heavenly Father never fails.
Still on the journey ...
Sonlight Customer Champion
PS ... if you're interested in chatting with other moms who are juggling multiple hats, be sure to register on the Sonlight Forums. It's a great place to meet fellow travelers on the homeschool journey.