Parenting: Long, Hard Work

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Perhaps it's the fact that my sister's family is involved in the long, hard work of farming. Maybe it's because parenting is a long-term job. It could be I was just feeling ornery. Whatever the reason, I initially balked at Seth Godin's Hard work vs. Long work.

Then I realized: Homeschooling allows us to work hard, but no longer than we need to. In school, you sit in your chair until the bell rings. You do your time. And as long as you don't spend that time actively trying to avoid work, you'll probably graduate. But even here--like farming--it is possible to fail at long work. "Just showing up" rarely gets you anywhere. Or maybe I just didn't take those classes or work those jobs.

The key point is not how much time you spend. If you can do it faster and reap the benfits, fantastic! That's one of many great reasons to homeschoool. On the other hand, you can work hard for months on something and still not be done with it. That's what we'd expect if it's a huge project. The time spent has nothing to do with your efforts or the eventual outcome. So it's not the time that matters.

Raising children and being there for them into adulthood is a process that takes, well, more than a couple years. Educating your kids at home is a similarly lengthy process. Food preparation, chores, sports, skill development and more are all "long work" with tremendous benefit. So, no, may we never "just show up" and expect results. Let's jump into things and work diligently and well at them. But, yes, there will be times when your efforts will not appear to be paying off.

That's okay.

We're in this for the long haul. And it's hard work.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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