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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Adrienne Patterson: Morals Now, Math later...

So we are officially in full on home school mode here at the Patterson home and just two weeks in I have already questioned if this is truly going to work at least once each day. When school registration rolled around I was beyond tempted to sign her up (and don’t think I didn’t threaten) but alas I resisted and trudged forward in this valiant attempt to do what is best for my child. Isn’t that what good moms do…the best for their kids no matter what the cost? Sometimes I selfishly want to scream, “But what about what is best for me??!!” In the end though we come to realize that what is best for our kids is what is best for us. While it may be difficult, I am a firm believer that God uses our children to build our own character and to shed some light on the areas of our own life that need change and growth. I am currently learning that I need A LOT of growth and improvement in the patience and holding my tongue department!!

As we have fought our way through counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s or figuring out how to count money (she may just have to stick with a debit card!!) and differentiating short and long vowel sounds I am learning something else as well. While math and English are greatly important the greatest lessons I am teaching each day are those in character and morals. Eventually she will figure out nickels and dimes and how to spell, read and write but there is no guarantee that she will figure out how to love without condition, to be patient in the face of adversity or how to serve God above all else. In fact these are the things we have to be absolutely purposeful in teaching because as people we are not naturally wired that way. Our gut reaction is to yell when we are mad, to always strive to be right, to put ourselves first and to seek to meet our own needs ahead of anyone else. Sadly I have probably reinforced this gut reaction more than teach the opposite BUT I am learning each day that my reactions to her oppositional, bratty, defiant difficult attitude are some of the greatest lessons I will ever give her. Even greater still are the times when I know I have royally screwed up but I am able to demonstrate humility in admitting to her that I was wrong and asking for forgiveness.

When I begin to doubt this whole homeschooling idea I think of the real lessons she is learning with me and I am re-energized. I will be the first to admit that I have doubts as to whether I can produce a scholar but God daily reminds me that I can produce a child who knows that it is okay to mess up, that we are destined to fail many times but that at the end of the day we serve a God who loves us unconditionally and covers us in His grace. Because of this I am able to push forward in the face of difficult days and demonstrate this same love and grace towards her. Those are the lessons that an authentic life is truly based on and I am grateful each day for the opportunity not only teach her but to also be taught myself!

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