This month were going to revisit my November 2005 column. Maybe todays economy has impacted your family in a negative way. Maybe you feel that youve nothing to be thankful for. Maybe you feel that someone somewhere owes you something! Lets try to turn that around. Lets remind ourselves as well as our children of all that we still have to be grateful for. Lets recapture that attitude of gratitude that every Christian should sincerely demonstrate each day.
A homeschool speaker at an event I once attended had something astonishing to say. "There is a national trend toward lack of diligence and apathy," she told us. When it comes to teaching, homeschoolers are beginning to ask, "Whats the least I can get by with?" This is alarming! They are showing signs of pride, but not in achieving excellence. Its more a claiming of rights that are not rights, but privileges! Where is this coming from? We should be grateful for favors bestowed on our homeschooling community. As Christian homeschoolers, we should seek excellence.
I know were busy. We live in a society of instant entertainment, instant communication, and instant food. We load up on classes, field trips, and ministry opportunities. Were busy with family and church activities. School work hinders us from all our chores, errands, and other responsibilities! We start looking for shortcuts because were tired! Were a single-income family with a small budget; we believe others should give us discounts on educational activities. After all, cant they see what a service were doing for the community by teaching our children at home? Dont they want our children to be well-rounded citizens? They should be glad to offer reduced fees for gymnastics class, singing lessons, horseback riding lessons, and art classes. Did I say reduced fees? I meant free lessons!
Its hard work to educate children at home. Its like being a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. There are children of varying ages and differing needs working at different levels. Meeting all those needs can be difficult, to say the least. Getting them all dressed and out the door at the same time is nearly impossible. Dont others understand how complicated your life became when you chose to keep your children at home? Dont they see the haggard look on your face? Surely they understand the need to make exceptions for you and your family.
Wait a minute. It was a choice. It was your choice. Just as you chose to be a homeschooling family, others can choose whether or how much they want to help you. They arent obligated; they dont "owe" you; they have a right to make their own choice in the matter. Had you forgotten that? Did your gratitude get lost in the busyness of your daily schedule? We tend not to be grateful for the things we expect. If we expect reduced fees, and if we expect exceptions to be made for us, then we arent filled with gratitude when we receive those things. More often, the void is filled with pride. On the flip side, when we dont receive those things, we often experience anger. Disappointment is understandable, but anger? Thats just not appropriate.
People, we should be making an impact on our communities and on our country with excellence, not our attitude! We should not ask for exceptions to be made for us. Right now, many families are single-income or even no-income families! Times are hard for many, homeschoolers or not.
Our demeanor should be one of humility and gratitude, not arrogance and pride. We should not look for ways to get out of educational requirements. One of the lessons we should be teaching our children is that whatever we do, we do to the glory of God. We can teach that by modeling that behavior and expecting our students to put forth their best effort on their school projects. We can teach them gratitude as we recapture gratitude in our own hearts--gratitude for the blessings of God, gratitude for the opportunity to homeschool, and gratitude for any help we receive from others during our homeschooling adventure.
Copyright Brenda B. Covert