I prided myself on my diplomacy and calm demeanor. I thought I was pretty unflappable, actually. I never considered myself impatient or short-tempered. I worked AND I was a mom. It was hard. It was really hard. I had to get a kite up in the air every morning, and hand it off to someone else. I hoped it would stay up all day, but inevitably the kite crashed (and burned) more often than I would like to admit. Then add another layer (and a big one at that) and the kite not only crashed frequently, but it was so bent out of shape that I really didn’t think it would ever fly again. Ever.
I started homeschooling.
Some of our friends raised their eyebrows. Others just slowly disappeared. Grandparents voiced opinions for and against. Homeschooling friends celebrated. How do I get started? What curriculum do I buy? How do I know they’re learning? What do I do if they’re not? How do I test? What if they fail the test? What if my kids are weird and obnoxious? What if I fail? And what if I started…then stopped? That was the biggest fear. Would some friends come back and homeschooling friends grieve and disappear? Would I get more raised eyebrows? Oh the pressure I placed on myself. I thought teaching my children would be hard. I expected it. In hindsight – I had no clue. Something much uglier was the issue. And it was me. I shoved my kite way back into the farthest corner of the messiest closet.
I started teaching my children.
I slowly began realizing that my children cannot learn (and I cannot teach) when we are frustrated. Or tired. Or hungry. Or distracted. Or mad. Or lazy. Or…I could go on and on. I knew what my children needed. They need a schedule. They need some fun. They need field trips and memberships. They need school desks, and chalkboards, and computer programs. Very excitedly, I took the broken and ugly kite out of the closet, dusted it off and…it didn’t work. It still wouldn’t leave the ground.
I started looking UP.
In trying to figure out the “problems” with my kids, I discovered something. I had a very divided heart. Every single character flaw I identified in them was actually firmly rooted in me. I realized that I had been expecting my children to “catch” the kite as it goes flying by them (you know…before it crashed). God showed me that. He took this hidden kite of mine, and with a very sharp needle, he began repairing it one stitch at a time.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
I started being a mom (again).
I stopped “teaching” them. We cuddled. We focused on identifying bibical character traits and how to improve them in each of us…in the entire household. We admitted our mistakes and held each other accountable. We slept in and cooked together. We went camping and played board games. We did some academics, but mostly we focused on reading and encouraging one another. I took the kite out again and began planning a proper re-launch.
I started learning.
My kids have taught me much more than I could ever teach them. They taught me how to wear my heart outside of my body, to get over the baby drool, and to stop looking around for approval. They taught me I am impatient and short-tempered. They taught me that I need to make sure my facial expressions match my words, how to cry when I hurt, how to cuddle even when I am mad, and to always smile even if I have food in my teeth. And most of all they taught me that my batteries need to be recharged. I didn’t even know I had batteries. Come to find out batteries are not included with kites. We fly the kite every day now. Every morning I recharge my batteries with God. He speaks to me in prayer and through His word. I hope it stays up all day, but inevitably the kite crashes (and sometimes catches on fire) more often than I would like to admit. But it still looks UP.
“No matter how calmly you try to referee, parenting will eventually produce bizarre behavior, and I am not talking about the kids. Their behavior is always normal.” – Bill Cosby
Written by Steph J. for Heart of the Matter