P R E S I D E N T S P A G E
As I write this, I am sitting beside a small indoor pool at the Fairfield Inn in Fairborn, Ohio. Five of my children are splashing and making a fair amount of noise. Its raining outside and the kids seem glad that the pool is indoors so they wont get wet.
We are in Ohio to watch my oldest daughter, Christy, graduate from Cedarville College.
The swimmers are ages 11, 9, 8, 6, and 4.
I have to admit that I was much younger when Christy was four. I was 18 years younger to be precise. Im pretty sure that I had more energy back in those days. Probably less wisdom. But definitely more energy.
At times like these, I am struck with the long-range nature of the commitment to parenthood. It is a task to be assumed with solemn resolve and profound gratefulness to God.
Home schooling parents undertake the responsibility for raising children in an ultimate sense. And I want to take this space to encourage you, just as I need to be encouraged, to persevere for the long haul.
A decision to home school is not a mere decision to deliver academic content through tutorial methodology. It is a decision to invest the essence of your lifeyour timein the lives of your children.
If home schooling was only an academic system, my wife and I probably would have quit before this, our sixteenth year. Higher test scores, standing alone, are not enough reason to undertake all this work.
But when I consider the spiritual and moral character of my three grown daughters, and the tremendous opportunities for interaction that Vickie and I have had with them, I have an unshakable conviction that all the years and all the work are a small investment compared to the rewards we have received.
Let me suggest three ideas to hang on to when times are challenging and you entertain those nagging doubts about whether you should quit.
First, remember parents cant quit. You can never stop being your childs parent. This will still be true when you are 80 and your child is 50. Some parents, particularly some dads, try to quit by simply running away. But even this is not a resignation from parenthood; it is simply a resignation from responsibility.
You only have one choice: will I be a responsible or an irresponsible parent? Home schooling is a responsible choice, but, it takes diligence to exercise this choice in a responsible way.
You cant quit being a parent and you shouldnt quit being a responsible parent.
Second, remember that you are raising adults, not children. The point of parenthood, like the point of home schooling, is to bring your children to maturity. It is not enough to make a good start. Your parenthood will be judged by your finish not your beginning.
I will admit that neither of these two thoughts will make the job of home schooling easier. But my goal is to make quitting more difficult.
Third, we need to remember that God will reward our meager efforts to exercise the self-discipline it takes to be a responsible parent with bounty that is out of all proportion to our workbut the rewards do not come overnight.
Consider two passages. Hebrews 12:11-12 teaches the need for perseverance as a condition of receiving a godly reward.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
And, one of my favorite verses, Isaiah 40:31 teaches the principle of the disproportionality of Gods reward.
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
All we do is wait upon the Lord and we will be able to rise above the problems and struggles as if we had wings like eagles.
As I reflect on the milestone of Christys graduation, I know that Vickie and I have flown with eagles wings many times to have come this far. And as I hear the din of our five little swimmers, it is with confident relief that I know that those wings from God will be there again and again to carry all of us above and through the storms of life.