Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Allowing Space to Grow

I dislike gaps in my flower beds. Therefore, I never planted my marigold seedlings the recommended distance apart—eight to ten inches for French marigolds and a full twelve inches for African marigolds.  I learned the error of my ways when I passed marigolds beside a city sidewalk. One seedling had grown into a small bush. I checked. One stalk.

Room to thrive. September 2019

Disliking gaps—especially while raising children—my husband and I crowded activities into our lives the same way I jammed marigolds into the small, soil patch at the top of our driveway.

Some academic years, I added too many subjects. I assured my husband I would find a way to make everything fit. I never did.

I wish I had known how much space was realistically needed for my flowers and my family and myself.

I enjoyed a variety of little blooms, but when I desired deep roots and tall flowers, I should have given more space—more than I imagined.

How many inches do you need this academic year?

Family, Parenting

Daily Faithfulness

Her children rise up and call her blessed: … Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Proverbs 31:28-29
Mollie 1983

My step-grandmother—the Mollie who inspired my pseudonym—was born this day 120 years ago. This photograph shows her essence.

Mollie only went through fifth grade because she was needed at home to cook, clean, and watch siblings. She became a stepmother to three rowdy boys before she had her own daughter. One uncle repeatedly said she saved his life with her counsel and love.

My father and his brothers with Mollie (top left) c. 1936

My father took his last Navy paycheck to buy his mother an electric stove to replace her wood-burning one. She wept.

My father with Mollie

Mollie did not play with grandchildren, and she was too poor to buy presents. However, she gave us much more with her godly example and love and stories and laughter.

When my grandmother passed, there were so many orders for flowers that one local florist called a distant city for help. My favorite tribute?

Mollie never did anything big according to worldly standards. However, she did the small things daily, and daily faithfulness is harder.”

Basics, Friendship, Parenting

Transparency Makes a Difference

Transparency takes courage, but it changes everything. I vividly remember a homeschool prayer breakfast where I learned this truth.

After listening to a beloved supporter of our group encourage us in raising our children in accordance with Scripture, our leader asked for prayer requests. Usually, we shared about children struggling with reading or learning math facts, wisdom in ordering our day, last minute curriculum decisions, dealing with those who opposed our homeschooling, or husbands’ work schedules.

Our speaker jumped in first. She poured out her heart about a matter that was deeply troubling her. She listed her questions, her fears, and her doubts. As an older and wiser woman, she had just given us advice, but she was not afraid of being transparent. She understood she had no merit apart from Christ’s sacrifice. She was equal to us in needing and relying on the grace of God alone.

Our speaker’s transparency—and vulnerability—changed the direction of our meeting. We eagerly followed her example and openly talked about—and then prayed for—the concerns that were most heavy on our hearts. We were different when we left.

Has someone’s transparency helped you?

PS Thank you J’aime.

Book Recomendations, Parenting

Protect the Colts

While playing with peers, my sons were exposed to inappropriate, harmful behavior. My husband and I made the hardyet easy—decision that there must be adult supervision when our boys were with a certain child.

The day after we explained our unpopular stance, we providentially read aloud Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Young Almanzo wanted to train the two-year-old colts, but his father said,

A boy who didn’t know any better might scare a young horse, or tease it, or even strike it … It would learn to bite and kick and hate people.

When Almanzo persisted chapters later, he was told,

In five minutes you can teach them tricks it will take me months to gentle out of them.

Eventually, Almanzo went too near the colts. His father repeated his warnings.

That’s too good a colt to be spoiled. I won’t have you teaching tricks that I’ll have to train out of it.

We were accused of being overprotective, of taking mischief too seriously. We knew it was deeper.  Unexpectedly reading Wilder’s words—written over fifty years earlier—was encouraging. How much more valuable were boys than colts.

Have you received parenting encouragement from an unexpected source?

Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Homeschool Peer Pressure

During decades of homeschooling and observing homeschoolers, I observed a cycle. We start by caring what non-homeschoolers think. Next, we bond with homeschoolers and arrive at a place where we don’t care what outsiders think. However, we care too much what other homeschoolers think—at times to the detriment of our family.

Homeschool peer pressure may keep us—or at least delay us—from taking a needed break from homeschooling, or abandoning a popular curriculum, or pulling out of group classes that do not meet our needs.

While being pressured to take advice from others, I came across a principle I still remember.

Decision-making belongs to the person who carries the responsibility for the consequences of the decision.

I needed that reminder.

During driver training, other drivers honked for our sons to turn right on red and into oncoming traffic. Honking encouraged other reckless driving. We told our sons, “It is your injury, and your regrets, and your court date, and our car, and our insurance premium if you have an accident. Not the person honking.”

Our family bore the serious consequences for our driving behavior, not hurried drivers. Therefore, our family made those decisions.

Anyone honking at you?