To Pray, To, Love, To Teach

Some years ago, Husband and I worked, breaking our backs to pay steep tuition fees, missing out on family dinners and weekends to do overtime work, aghast at what our children were learning -- or not learning -- and wondering whether indeed that was the way to live.

No, it was not. So I resigned from my job, signed the mandatory quit-claim, and went home. We started our homeschooling journey.

Eldest Daughter is now in the university. Only Son started attending high school outside the home last year. Second Daughter has decided to continue being homeschooled until she finishes high school. Hopefully, Youngest Daughter will make the same decision.

These days, I am preparing again for another school year. Curricula, book lists, planners, records, school supplies, sports activities, and so on are swirling in my head. The preparations are not just for the homeschoolers. Eldest Daughter discusses her choices of courses with her father and me, and we give her non-academic advice, such as how to manage her time and maybe, that it is about time for driving lessons? Only Son is also coached on academic and non-academic matters. There is the delicate demand to maintain the quality of attention devoted to each one no matter how he or she is schooled.

Did our children learn enough? Will they be at par with other students? These were paramount in out early years of having our children educated or educating them ourselves. They are not anymore. Curricula, courses, checklists, and charts have stopped being the compelling concerns.

Today, I am being led to sit back as I haven't done so in the years past, distance myself from our home situation, and ask myself other questions.

Are my children happy? Do they feel love? Have I instilled in them that God is a Father who loves them unconditionally? Will they grow up to be responsible and well-adjusted adults? Will they be faithful to their vocations? Will they merit eternal life?

Honestly? these questions scare me.

In my myopia and narrow-mindedness, I upheld academics in the homeschool over faith in God and growth and serenity in the family. Aware but unmindful that my children needed me as a friend, confidante, and gentle guide, I instead played the role of  taskmaster. Compliance with checklists and rubrics prevailed over acceptance and encouragement. I was convinced that staring down my children will bring peace and quiet in the family, and when there are peace and quiet, checklists could be ticked off. So I stared them down when I could have lifted them up.

In my pride and arrogance, I thought that as long as I did what I believed was the right thing, God could not not make things right. So I insisted on my ways and negotiated with God onhow I thought my children's present and future should pan out.

You could have guessed it.

Not all checklists were ticked off. Those that were look so much longer than planned. Our family atmosphere was not even a shadow of what I had dreamed of as a young bride -- easy banter, laughter, warmth, fun, acceptance. Today, I can  only thank Husband for his valiant balancing efforts.

So while I am sad that I learned my lessons the winding, wasteful and painful way, I am nevertheless grateful that I learned them.

I learned that it was God who gave me my vocation, so it was to Him whom I should have clung to from Day One. The children that He had generously given Husband and me were for loving dearly. and love is patient, kind, and everything else that the Apostle to the Gentiles said so to the Corinthians. If I pray and humbly ask for a true mother's heart, God will give it to me. A mother's heart loves and loves unconditionally and untiringly. And only when I truly love will I be capable of teaching my children. Teach them to read, write, and play with numbers, yes. But always and above all, teach them of a God who provides for, guides, and loves them like their mother can never love them.

I learned that faith and love, parenting and teaching -- and learning -- come naturally, as they should indeed come.

When I die and face my Creator, He will not ask me how many checklists I have ticked off, if I chose the toughest curriculum there was, or if my children did well in the SAT. He will ask me if I loved my children, if I spoke to them of a caring and faithful God, if I made their lives a glimpse of Heaven, and if I passionately and relentlessly led them to Eternity.

A wise friend once told me that in the very end, it is just you and your God. When that comes and He asks me those questions, uh, ah, and umm will not suffice, It will just be a yes or a no.

So today, I resolve to live in the here and now, beg God in complete trust and humility to steer the course for our family, ask our Blessed Mother to be a guide and companion in our journey, deliberately make our home environment as nourishing, comforting, and edifying as it should be, encourage more and scold less, give more hugs and avoid dagger looks, laugh more and lecture less, and just rather plainly, love my family.

And then -- yes, why not, -- things will fall squarely and snugly into their rightful places.

This post was originally written for Jenny's Suscipio. She now blogs at The Littlest Way

1 comment:

  1. Visited you over at Suscipio; this post is worth a second (no, more!) read.


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