I Can't Homeschool! My Kids Would Drive Me Nuts!
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By Beverly S. Krueger
"I can't homeschool. I don't have the patience." Ever
heard that line? Ever said it? "My kids would drive me nuts."
Maybe it's those annoying back to school commercials that have
gotten me back up on my soapbox. I saw an office supply store commercial
with a father frolicking down the aisles buying school supplies
while his two children grump along behind him. I don't have a problem
with kids not wanting to head back to their classroom restraints,
but I have a big problem with the notion that parents are supposed
to be overjoyed to have fewer hours to spend with their children.
The same parents that repeatedly tell me they haven't the patience
to homeschool their children are also usually those that make a
big deal out of being glad school is starting so the kids can be
out of their hair again.
There are some that actually mean this. They can't stand being
around their children, and you wonder why they bothered to have
children in the first place. The rosy little dream of motherhood
or fatherhood didn't match up with the reality of parenting. But
most parents, and it's usually mothers that I hear saying these
things, ---most parents feel an underlying guilt when they talk
about their kids this way. There's a niggling notion they prefer
not to acknowledge that if they don't have enough patience to homeschool
their kids, they should. Or if their kids drive them nuts, they
are somehow missing some key that would make them more loving or
their children less annoying.
Are you one of those that regularly states that you haven't the
patience to be around your children all day, day in and day out?
Is this a position you really want to take? Do you really want to
claim that you haven't the patience or the means to attain the patience
to become more intimately involved in the lives of those you love
and who love you? If it is impossible to have patience for those
annoyances that come from close association with those we cherish
most, can we hope to have the patience to handle the suffering of
persecutions Christ tells us we must face?
Patience isn't something you receive once; and, boom, now you have
patience for all things. No, patience is a fruit of the Spirit.
It grows as you walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-25)
It's really up to you how much patience you will have. If you don't
put yourself in a position to allow your patience to grow, you won't
get more patience. Christians often joke that praying for patience
means asking for persecution. The everyday trials of life common
to man-sickness, harassing neighbors, natural disasters- these are
not persecutions. Paul distinguishes persecution from other difficult
situations. He tells the Corinthians, "That is why, for Christ's
sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,
in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Yes,
he was persecuted, but he encountered all kinds of other hardships
and difficulties, and he was glad for them, because it was in those
situations where his own weakness was manifest, that Christ was
made strong in him.
If I have more patience than you do, it is only because I've allowed
Christ to be my strength and to supply the patience I lack. When
I move into a situation I don't think I can handle, who can I turn
to but God? Squabbling children is just as annoying to me as it
is to you, but as I lay down my own frustrations and seek God's
way of dealing with my children, He shows me how to react baby step
by baby step in ways that others would label as rooted in patience.
Did I feel patient at the time? Probably not. I simply controlled
myself from reacting in a way that would please my flesh but not
glorify God. Patient people have the same emotional responses to
provocation. But if we are called to be like Jesus, then we are
called to be longsuffering and slow to anger, too. Who can do that
on their own? "The Lord is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger,
and abounding in mercy. Psalm 103:8"
So I leave you with a prayer and a challenge. Paul prayed for the
Colossians, "For this reason we also, since the day we heard
it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled
with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being
fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for
all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father
who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints
in the light." Colossians 1:9-11. Pray this prayer for yourself.
I challenge you to choose one situation in which you repeatedly
demonstrate a lack of patience. Ask God to help you one time in
the next week to turn from reacting in your flesh in that situation,
and instead react in the way He directs you. That's a baby step.
Continue to work on taking more baby steps in the following weeks
and one day you'll find that you're not following that ingrained
habit to react in the flesh but are walking in the Spirit. You just
may discover that you do have the patience to homeschool your children,
because you have access to the one who can supply all things we
need for life and godliness.
Copyright © 2002 Eclectic Homeschool Association