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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." Oh, yeah?

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

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