Saturday, September 21, 2013

Enough

enough, sufficient, plenty...

I've been reading this crazy book called Flunking Sainthood by Jana Riess.  The author decided to read works of the saints while focusing on one spiritual discipline each month.   This book is about how horrible she is at trying to do these things.  I'm about halfway through as the author realizes that maybe the reason she's not having much success is her motive altogether. 

Disclaimer:  The author uses what I consider bad language at certain times in the book, which I didn't really appreciate.  I don't think using coarse language is appropriate for Christians or really for anyone to use, but because it seems cool, they do it anyway.  But that's a different issue altogether.  

In the chapter where she is abstaining from any purchases outside of her regular groceries for the month, I found this quote:

"There are two ways to get enough:  one is to continue to accumulate more and more.  The other is to desire less."  -G. K. Chesterton 

"I have learned, in whatever state I am in, to be content." Philippians 4:11

She quotes a research study on choice by Sheena Iyengar that concluded that "there is such a thing as too much choice.  It turns out that we get overwhelmed easily."   

I was struck by these quotes and how they could relate to our decisions in homeschooling.  

It's no secret that this year, our family has made a priority to home school from home two days a week (at least).  Some weeks this feels like such a great, freeing choice.  (We have art class, chess club, swim lessons and music lessons for my two oldest kids every week plus fairly regular play dates, so it's not like we're hermits.)  My daughter actually thanked me out of the blue yesterday for how we limit their activities.   Some weeks I feel pretty good about the work level I've planned for the kids.  They are learning, exploring and thriving-happy.  

Other times, I question myself extensively about whether we are doing "enough".  When I talk to other families or read blog posts, I have moments of doubt.   I see others doing so much more than we're doing and if they can do it, shouldn't we?  I'm overwhelmed easily at the immense choices.    They are teaching their kids three foreign languages, making models of every major battle in the history of the United States and they know all the scientific names for our regions' plants and animals.  (I exaggerate, but you know what I mean!)  Some weeks I question whether I'm pushing them too hard or not enough.  

There is this trend in human nature to assume that every choice we make has to be mirrored by everyone else.  I do believe there are some absolute choices that have specific right or wrong answers, but a lot of the time things are left up to our own personalities, temperaments and uniqueness.  We falsely get into our brains that everyone has to use our curriculum, home school with our method,  or they are wrong...or we're wrong.  If we were told all children learn exactly the same, we would rise up in revolt proclaiming the falseness of that statement.  Yet, we compare ourselves to others all the time. 

"God made us so unique and special-that each of us is the prefect parent for our particular children, that God specifically matched us.  And because God has different life plans for each child, he needs a wide variety of parents to raise them.  That's why it's important not to compare yourself to other mothers or become a slave to one particular method."  The Mommy Manual by Barbara Curtis

I really have no answers to this issue, except to continually remind myself that God has given me these children and I'll do the best I can to raise them to love Him and serve others.  I'll remember to celebrate the uniqueness that each family has as they struggle to do the same.  I'll give grace instead of criticism.  I'll grant myself that grace, too.  

And that's enough, sufficient, plenty!


"I have learned (I am learning), in whatever state I am in, to be content." Philippians 4:11  




 


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