So, I've been involved in an online conversation this morning and it got me to thinking. The conversation was actually about "homeschooling," but all I could think about was "motive."
Seriously. I really do think that why we do things is equally as important, maybe sometimes more important than what we actually do. If I do something (like homeschooling) because I feel it is expected of me, because I worry about what others think, because I am afraid; but my heart is not really in it - I would argue that is a bad choice.
One of the measures of growing up is learning to trust yourself and be ok with who you are as an individual. Isn't this one of those things that teenagers constantly struggle with? Don't we, as parents, continually come against the "herd mentality?" Can't we be heard to say things like, "Well, if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do that too??" Yes.
So, doesn't it follow then that if we're still making sure all of our friends are ok with our choices when we're 40 that we might still have some growing up to do?
I am not at all trying to say that we should never seek another's advice or procure opinions. Of course we should. But, I am saying that when we feel strongly about something, we need to have the ability to follow our own heart and not the crowd.
I'll use myself as an example.
We have 5 kids. I have always known that I wanted a big family, and it is one thing that my husband and I have agreed on since we started talking about marriage. There have been times (many actually), when the "wisdom" of us having several children has been questioned, and I'm sure that from the outside looking in it hasn't always looked like a smooth road that we're walking.
Luckily, the only other opinion that has ever mattered to me on that score has been my husband's (and God's of course). I have never questioned our choice no matter how difficult it may have been along the way. Kennedy, Reagan, McKinley, Carter, Pierce...I can't imagine not having one or two or three of them and I'm really glad that I was grown up enough to not stop having children when it made other people comfortable.
I'm really glad that I homeschooled when I did, and I'm also really glad that I was grown up enough at some point to realize that even if a lot of my friends felt strongly about it being "the way" for a Christian to educate their chldren, that I didn't share that conviction.
I'm really glad that I have been able to be a stay at home Mom for all of these years, and I'm also really glad that I am grown-up enough to admit now that I like my part-time job. To realize that taking care of me and doing things that feed my soul actually make me a better Mom.
I want this for my kids. I know they have a lot of growing yet to do and that there will be some bumps along the way, but I pray they are learning to trust themselves little by little. I pray that they will be courageous enough to give the world what only they can give.