After spending our last official day of summer vacation rock climbing and waterfall chasing, I can’t help but begin to catalog the past few months.
As one more chapter in this book I call my life comes to a close, I find myself struggling to contrive a way to cradle children who no longer need one and coddle contentment – contentment that comes from being confident in knowing it doesn’t matter if your best dress gets wet as long as Daddy stands under the cold, windy current with you; contentment that follows a father over rough rocks with reckless abandon and frigid fords with complete freedom to fall and to fail. Because contentment and confidence can’t continue if they need crutches to carry them.
Crutches? Yes. Call them whatever you will – summer, Sunday, still water, silence, security, satisfaction – ultimately everything I spend my days searching for ways to save and to stock like Gollum did with his pretty ring. If we get real honest, we’ll call them idols – sinister gods void of salvation.
So with structure and school teaching standing on my starting line tomorrow, I want to come to a steady stop. I want to remember, reconstruct, and realize for a moment just why I am embarking on year number five of home school education with my children.
And, after all my post-summer thoughts are contentiously placed neatly back where they belong, I find that my answer is, surprisingly, today. I home school, firstly because God called me – a being-a-teacher-is-the-last-job-I’d-ever-choose-and-I-like-to-work-alone-I-can-do-it-but-I-can’t-explain-it kind of girl – but secondly, because I want my children to know it doesn’t matter if their best dress gets wet. Reason number two is merely a reflection of reason number one – especially considering who I am.
I want them to learn to follow their Father over rough rocks they’d never choose to climb. I want them to be recklessly willing to wade through frigid fords with confidence, contentment, and full freedom to fall and to fail – even to their very foundation. I home school because I want my children to know that chasing the waterfall is worth the risk of damp underpants. I want them to know that they do not need the crutches of security – summer, Sunday, still water, silence, security, or satisfaction – to save them. I want them to know they need only Christ to save them.
How will they know? How will they learn these things? Have I even learned them?
Perhaps not – certainly not fully. But one thing is certain: they will see their teacher who is not a teacher teaching because Daddy said climb these rocks if you want to see the waterfall. They will learn how little the cold matters when you’re crossing with freedom because they’ll have a bird’s eye view of the real life falls and failures of their still-learning-patience-and-kindness-101 mother day in and day out. They’ll watch as she crawls confidently back to her forgiving Father in unmistakable frequency. And they’ll watch as, year by year, her crutches become less and less imperative for her own contentment.
For me, home school is not nearly as much about academics as it is about real life. Children can become literate in almost any setting if given the proper materials. They cannot, however, become disciples without Christ and a broken vessel to point them to Him daily. There is no age-appropriate classroom for discipleship and real life rarely happens in a vacuum like we see in most public schools. God is more creative than that.
Lord, help me remember how little control I have over the influencing factors in my life and give me grace to follow you ever forward. Help me put away my idolatrous crutches and run with contentment and confidence to every place you wait to show me. Thank you for another year of opportunity to share the gospel with my three small disciples. May they follow you all the days of their lives and both learn from as well as avoid their teacher’s foolish mistakes.