Sunday, August 7, 2011

Which ruler will you choose?

The kids and I attended our annual Homeschool Convention right before we left for Hawaii. It was -- as always -- so wonderful. We were encouraged, equipped and are now eager to begin our new school year.

Except for one thing.

My trio are starting HIGH SCHOOL this year. HIGH SCHOOL.  I have to admit that I could go completely nuts right about now and be found running through the desert in a screaming panic -- hair knotted, hands waving, eyes crossing. But I won't. At least not today.

Instead, I have been trying to prepare and so I am reading a book (or four) on homeschooling through high school. And while I am certain these resources are beneficial -- and I have learned a ton -- they are quite overwhelming. And frankly, for this Mom with amazing but quite non-typical children, I am finding some of the information is making me sad. Just so sad.

It has taken me a few days to analyze why. And this is what I have come up with:

In our world today, it has become so important to constantly evaluate and judge our children by a variety of standards: Are they athletic? Setting speed records? Playing multiple sports? Traveling on teams?

Or maybe they are more academic? Winning spelling bees? Science fairs? Scholastic bowls?

Or maybe they are performance-driven? Starring in the theater? Singing in regional choirs? Composing like Mozart at a young age?

Even the Christian homeschooling books encourage capitalizing on any AND all of these attributes. And I know they are all noble pursuits. I would be lying if I said I didn't want my children to do well academically. I would be dishonest if I said I wouldn't love for my boys to be able to play sports. And I would fool no one if I said I wasn't delighted in my kids theatrical and musical accomplishments.

But here's the thing.

When we judge our children by the world's ruler -- they will rarely measure up. Chances are your child is NOT the next Michael Jordan, Einstein, or Mozart. I mean maybe -- and cool -- but probably not.

Oh, but when we measure our children by the ruler that matters -- God's word -- then we are getting somewhere.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other." Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV)

I admit that this week I have been bogged down in making sure my kids measure up  according to the world ruler. Oh, it can be hard to balance college-preparedness and Godly-preparedness. 

And so, even though it will be challenging, my mission this year is to seek the balance. Because successful children are wonderful -- but young people who are loving, joy-filled, faithful and kind....well, that, my friends, is where the real blessing in life is found.