Thursday, August 30, 2007

Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore . . .

I gotta tell you that I am completely NOT looking forward to the start of school. In fact, I have a knot in my stomach and am totally frustrated at the tears that seem waaaaaay too close to the surface when I think about it. I started this blog to be an encouragement to the faithful few who read and to keep my skills in practice by writing about the things I love the best. So I'm sure that many of you have already had your fill of how great my kids are and how much I love my family. blah, blah, blah, blah . . . I know, it may seem too sticky sweet and hopelessly upbeat if you read this blog very often. If that's the case, I apologize. By no means do I want to say that life is perfect around here, but I am acutely aware of how amazing my life is and how blessed I am. REALLY blessed. And that's what I try to emphasize in my writing - I try to pick out the good and the noteworthy. There are enough hard things in the world, without me adding my sob stories to the blogosphere. But again, I don't feel that I have much to whine about. I've got a great life. I do.

But therein lies my dilemma. With this great life comes a great home and a great marriage and great kids. Follow me here: in a few short days, I'm preparing to send off three of these great kids to school. To climb aboard a big yellow bus and travel across town. To be educated (in fabulous schools, by great teachers I might add!) and trained in all things academic. They will be learning math skills, study skills, history, Social Studies, English and reading skills. All good things. All very important things. But they will be doing it away from me. These great kids will be excelling and learning and growing for 7 hours a day, away from me. I hate that. I hate saying good-bye every morning. I hate missing the "spark" of a new skill ignite in their eyes. I hate losing precious time to hang together, laugh together, and explore the world together. I hate being subject to the alarm clock, the bus schedule, and the district calendar. I hate that I must be the most frustrated home-schooling advocate I know! Okay, "hate" may be a bit strong, but I strongly dislike sending my children to someone else for the whole day. For 9 months in a row. (and I really do hate that alarm clock!)

It would be incredibly easy to stop here and tell you that I've had it, I'm yanking all my kids out of their schools and homeschooling everyone. But it's not that easy. (These dilemmas rarely are, are they?!) It would also be incredibly easy to shut off my feelings, "suck it up" cuz this is my life and just learn to deal with it. That's not really an easy option either. For these past 13 years, I've been working with The Boss to raise godly, grounded in the faith, solid kids. And training them to listen for the Holy Spirit in their walk with Christ. Which is presenting yet another dilemma. Raising them that way requires that I learn how to slowly release them and trust the Lord to speak to them. And trust the Lord to go with them when I do release them. And I think I do that pretty well, usually. But it's the last week of August and my heart is crying out that I don't really care what Shaggy thinks the Lord is telling him about 8th grade. And I don't want to hear that Dr. Doolittle thinks he wants to keep trying to stand strong and persevere in the public school. I. don't. care.

Taking a deep breath, I halt that flood of feelings that threatens to overtake me. That threatens to take over my logic and clear-headed decision making skills. That threatens to overwhelm the peace that comes from really praying out a decision, made with The Boss and the gang when emotions are not ripping at me. A decision that was made after prayerful consideration of everyone's thoughts and feelings - based on what was appropriate for all of us as a family. As my breathing slowly returns to normal, I remember that no educational option is without its faults. Yes, homeschooling feels mighty appealing right now, but I well remember the days that it felt never-ending and monotonous. When I felt as if I'd never, ever get to ever be alone in a car again. And I hear my friends talking: I know that homeschooling a "reluctant to be there" teen-ager can be its own version of you-know-what on earth. That's not even counting that I'd have 2 who would be most reluctant this year to be home. And I remember the opportunities that a public school setting offer our family, that we simply cannot offer this year: field trips and scientific experiments, free time to clean the attic and re-organize the house after 3 months of minimal cleaning and household management, to just name a few. I remember, too, that as a born-again, daughter of the most High God, I am not to live by how I feel. I must live by what I know - from His Word and from His Spirit moving in my life.

Finally, I remember that my three students are godly. They are wholesome and largely uninterested in the "stuff" of the world. They do desire to learn all that their school exists to teach them, and to put aside the "stuff" that hinders that learning. And most importantly, they do want to be a light, to share Jesus Christ with the friends they have come to love. They are great kids: that's not going to change, so help me God. Literally! Hee, hee. I also just remembered that they've all been given advance notice: it's entirely likely that when our daughter Aidan comes home from China, the whole family is taking a "year off" from public schooling to educate at home and to really connect as a family. I'm making plans in my little heart and mind even now for ways to make them sooooo completely fall in love (again!) with homeschooling that none of them will ever want to climb aboard that big yellow bus again. Devious, aren't I?!


Heidi @ GGIP said...

It is hard sometimes to enact our job of raising our children to be independent and eventually leave us.

Your feelings are natural though and show your great love for them!

TCC said...

You crack me up!

And amidst all of what you were saying all I kept thinking was how great an impact your Gang is going to have on the world - which can't happen until they are in it. They are blessed to have a mama so passionate about seeing them grow into strong men and women who follow God 100%.

Melissa said...

Can I just tell you that you captured my thoughts completely?! If only homeschooling were as good for them as it feels for me! But, God has other plans.

I've reached the point of realizing that no matter where my kids are (and, we've done all the options) I've always felt restless and looked over at the green grass on the "other side". So, that says this problem is more mine than theirs and I need to continue to cry out to God for healing in this area.

It's hard, isn't it to entrust so much of their time to strangers? The GOOD news is that we, as parents, still have the most important influence over their lives. Thank you, JESUS!

Episode One said...

All I pray is that "if" I am blessed enough to follow through with this new fire in my heart (placed their by God) to teach, that parents like you will confident knowing that even though they are not in your care, someone teaching them cares just as much about them....I hope that thought made sense because after reading it through, I'm not sure it made sense to me...oh, well, I'll be praying for you as always...hope to bump into you on the circuit sometime soon.

CampHillGirl said...

I hear you! I have long realized that some of my favorite times are having just my kids around me, being together. And homeschooling sounds satisfying that way, but I remember the excitement of going back to school and learning from teachers who had studied long and hard in their subjects and reveling in gobs of peer time. And on Wednesday, when my kids stepped onto the bus and I came home feeling a bit lost with just ONE child, I quickly remembered the wonderful feeling of having lots of one-on-one time with just one child. I'd forgotten what a gift that is.