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Only You Can Do This

By Kara Murphy

I’m not sure why, but this seems to be the month when I would become dissatisfied with my efforts to teach my children. Perhaps it was a result of making comparisons.

Sharing Accomplishments

I used to belong to a large Christian homeschooling organization. In April or May there were two events meant to give children an opportunity to showcase their achievements. One was a Presentation Day, a sort of a glorified show-and-tell. The other was a “graduation” and families would gather to celebrate the success of the year and to officially “promote” their children to the next grade. It was interesting to see what other families were doing and I was happy to rejoice over the many accomplishments of my friends’ children. But leaving these events I always felt a little, well, incompetent. My children did not have a spectacular project to share. There were no Latin poems or books of the Bible memorized, no masterpieces painted, and no life-size models of medieval castles to showcase. We weren’t highly involved in classes or field trips. For the most part, we just lived life.

Our life was pretty simple then, and if there was a hot meal on the dinner table and clean clothes in the drawers, if we had read some good picture books, practiced saying a Bible verse, and copying the letter j five or six times, I thought we had had a really good day. Occasionally we would enjoy a simple activity, such as the type I recommend here. But there was no impressive achievement to show at the end of the year.

Then one year, in the midst of my self-doubt, I realized that God had given these particular children to me for a purpose. He could have chosen any mother, including the hands-on arts-and- craft mother at the co-op, to teach my children, but He chose me. That is both an awesome and humbling thought.

God Chose You

Of all the mothers in world, from time past to today, God chose you to perform this task of raising your children. When I was young, my parents used to say: “If we lined up all the little girls in the world, we would go all the way to the end of the line (I am rather short) and we would choose you.” That gave me a special sense of importance and belonging. Well, God lined up all the mothers in the world, and you may feel that He had to go all the way to the end of the line, but He chose you. And no one else can do your job for you. And despite what you may think or feel, no one else can do your job as well as you can. The mom with boundless energy can’t. Neither can the Type-A (or non-Type A, as the case may be) mother in the homeschool group do your job better than you do.

So what do we do with that understanding when we have blown it? Every mother has lost her temper at one time or another with her child. We all neglect to do the things we know we ought to do. We all know when our attitude and actions are displeasing to God. Does our sin disqualify us from our position? Do our imperfections nullify the positive influence we have in our child’s life?

Leading by Example

We think that if we aren’t perfect, then God cannot use us. But one of the greatest needs our children have is to see an imperfect human being humbling himself (in this case herself) before God and his neighbor. Our children need to see our good example of repentance. So don’t despair, but rather, be encouraged. God has called you alone to the task of nurturing and discipling those little human beings given to your care through all of life. And He has equipped you for the task—in both strength and weakness.

Next week we are going to look at another easy, fun way to incorporate scientific learning into everyday life.

“Be confident. Jesus will perform it.” (Philippians 1:6)

P.S. If you are struggling to have a biblical confidence in your mothering, post this favorite verse where you will see it often:

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11)

Our tender Shepherd is shepherding you!

The weekly FirstYear e-Newsletter provides encouragement, practical tips and ideas, and home-friendly methods for teaching your child at home-especially during the daunting first years.

Used with permission. April 27, 2009 issue Homeschooling Today® magazine, P.O. Box 244, Abingdon VA 24212.

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