By guest author Suzanne Wales
Raise your hand if you have made a parenting mistake in your homeschool. My hand is up too. Thankfully, we serve a loving, gracious God who can turn our failures into beautiful opportunities for redemption.
It had been two weeks since I’d followed up. This has happened more times than I care to admit in the last sixteen years of homeschooling. I allowed my own business to become a priority over following up on my children’s education. Independence is important, but it does not mean we leave our children to their own devices, nor should we neglect accountability. This last time, however, my spouse brought to my attention that I seemed overly busy with my own affairs, and he believed our children needed help and accountability. As I pondered his words, I renewed my pledge to follow up just after finishing my project, which, by the way, was to last a few more days.
I know you can see what was going on, but I was blind to the fact I was still putting myself first. There was a lot of “I and me,” and very little “one-anothering” going on by me inside the four walls of our home. Thankfully God in His kindness does not allow us as His children to remain in our current state. He opened my eyes to the example I was setting when I observed one of my children dismissing an opportunity to help a sibling who asked for help with a chore that was too difficult to be handled alone by one so small. It did not hit me right away that this was my lesson. I called out the child at fault for dismissing an opportunity to help in lieu of continuing on with what they wanted to do, but what happened next was painful, humbling, and life giving all at once.
The offending child humbly received correction, went to help the younger sibling, then later returned to respectfully confront me about my hypocrisy. Not only was I slacking in my duty of stewarding the education of the young people God had placed in my charge, but I was lacking in discipleship as well. This child did not blatantly tell me that I was setting a bad example, instead they let me know that I had dismissed many requests for help by postponing, forgetting, and then requiring each child to move on without the tools or proper understanding to proceed. It was frustrating that siblings were expected to drop what they were doing at the beck and call of another but that I passed up requests for assistance in order to carry on with my tasks, and instead pulled another child away from work to help the requesting sibling.
As this child proceeded to tell me about these things in such a kind way, I was amazed at the maturity but also absolutely cut to the heart to see my hypocrisy, dereliction of duty, and poor example. After all, God calls us to one-another, to be Christ-like, and be an example not only in speech but conduct as well. These were the true offenses, and God in his loving kindness humbled and chastised me through a moment of a child’s discipleship. This was a true time of repentance to God first, then to my children. Restoration follows repentance, and that my friends is what God can do with the failures of those who are His children; He can bring healing and restoration. I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22
As a follow-up, I am more cognizant of the temptation to keep doing what I deem important at the time instead of what is truly important, and our family has put some practical things in place to remind each of us of our true priorities.