Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Shaggy!

August is a full month for our family. Today, we celebrate Shaggy's 15th birthday. In the past years, (here and here) I've waxed eloquent about the amazing young man that Shaggy is becoming. This year, it's all still true. But there's a new dimension that I've been privileged to witness in my son this past year that I want to share with you.

Over the past year, The Boss and I have felt an increasing desire and need to pull our boys from the public school that they were attending in order to school them at home. It wasn't an easy choice, nor was it wildly popular. They were succeeding academically in their school setting and for the most part both boys were continuing to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We saw no "red flags" or grave concerns. We just felt an increased desire to be the primary influence over their lives and an interest in loosening up the pace of our home. Between their honors level classes, outside hobbies and church activities and Shaggy's desire to become gainfully employed sooner than later, we felt as if time to just "be" together as a family was getting harder and harder to prioritize.

Let me just add here, that taking a "year off" when Li'l Empress came home was the best decision we could have possibly made. It was hugely instrumental in helping us to regain some perspective and fine tune our sense of mission about who we want The Gang to be even while navigating such a wide span of life stages all in one house. I am mourning that the "official" end of that year is looming . . .

As I said, the idea of leaving the traditional school atmosphere was not wildly well-received when we introduced the idea. It was a rough winter of conversation and prayer and more conversation and more prayer. All we asked is that the boys allowed us to follow what we believed to be the call of the Lord for our family, without purposefully trying to thwart or rebel against the plan. We asked for them to pray for open hearts and open minds. Just getting them to agree to that was a process in itself! We were very sympathetic to their resistance, but we were firm that if it came down to us obeying the Lord or pleasing them, we HAD to obey the Lord.

It has been a wonderful process to see my son rise to the challenge. I'm not saying he did the process perfectly. But I am so proud of the choices he made along the way:
  • to try to honor us even in the midst of disagreement,
  • to choose prayer for that open mind,
  • to be willing to talk about it,
  • to be willing to take ownership over the choices of schools out there,
  • to be even willing to consider the "pro's" of this new venture instead of dwelling on the perceived "con's."
He will be the first to admit that he's not completely "there" with excitement and anticipation over the changes that have been made in our schooling choices. But he will also tell you that he's at the very least, willing to concede that this might be a good thing for our family, and for him at this season of our lives.

Through it all, I've discovered how much I enjoy talking with my son. He's got a sharp, intuitive mind. He reads people well and has become adept at "reading the room" (This is our family code for checking out the environment of the room and taking into consideration that there may be a need to tone down or pull back until gauging that environment!). He's a great conversationalist and is very receptive to others' perspectives. Especially when they are shared in a respectful manner. (He really doesn't like being talked down to, and I have to work on that - sometimes I look at him and I still see my adorable, bowl-cut, blond, verbal little toddler. Even when he's standing there in all his 5'7" shaggy blond glory!)

He's light-hearted and hard-working. He's focused and driven and very goal-oriented. He's organized and enjoys learning. He's kind and compassionate and respectful. All of these things will make him an excellent home-schooler. But the joy for me is that they also make him an excellent son. And now, my friend.


The Boss said...

I'm proud of our boy, too. Much of his character is due to the great mom he has.

heidi @ ggip said...

Transitions are never easy. it sounds like you are doing a good job guiding your kids through them.

Salzwedel Family said...

Happy Birthday Shaggy! You sound like a wonderful young man.

Aus said...

Well - HBD there Shaggy - if you were here in Ohio we'd be planning the learner's permit and I'd probably be making you drive in a couple tough parking lots we have (but only after it has snowed 3+ inches and hasn't been plowed yet....can't start teaching snow driving too soon!!) (Read 'gives an adult a chance to do doughnuts!') But mostly I'll echo your dad's comments - sounds to me like you are a young man I'd be proud to call my son....that's the best any man can hope for! Continue in a like and similar fashion!

hugs - aus and co.

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

What an awesome young man you have there! Your family is truly an inspiration to me (although I still think we're sticking with just the one kid - unless God has other plans for us!)

Thanks for your encouraging comment at 5MFSN.

pups n horses said...

Happy Birthday!!

You are an incredible young man and we wish you only the best in this upcoming year!

If my little guy turns out to be an ounce of what you have become I will feel so very proud.

Wife of the Pres. said...

So are you already schooling them at home or just getting started? PLEASE share more! I just know I'd glean TONS from your wisdom!! I already do on other fronts! ;)

And Happy BIRTHDAY SHAGGY and Lil Empress a bit late!!!