If you are wondering and worrying over this, you’re not alone. I think we all feel it. It’s a fear that many homeschooling mothers have, and one that our pride (or our efforts to keep an image of self-confidence and competence) keeps us from talking about openly.
One of my biggest fears in homeschooling my children, is the fear that in spite of all my efforts to do it well, my children will still grow up to fail at something, go through a rebellious phase, or go down a wrong path. And I will only have myself to blame.
Critics of my and my husband’s choice to homeschool may say, “You’re screwing up your kids” (quoted from one comment made by an anonymous reader of my blog). I often wonder if those who don’t support our decision to homeschool are just waiting for the day when one of our children “messes up” and proves their judgment to be true, so that they can whisper behind our backs, “See, I always knew this would happen.”
A profound statement I once read, or heard, was this: “It’s not all about you.” Then one day, not too long ago really, I learned from reading my Bible, “it’s all about God’s glory.” Putting those two things together has helped me sort through a myriad of personal worries and insecurity issues. In this case, I’ve learned that my call to homeschool is not about me, it’s about glorifying God. My children and the way they “turn out” is not about me, it’s about God and His perfect plan, which ultimately is for His glory alone.
The truth is, we live in an imperfect, messy, complicated, and often dysfunctional society. I can’t protect my children and keep them sheltered from undesirable influences either. I am well aware that they will come into contact with lots of outside influences that may not always be so excellent, such as television, music, video games and apps, Google searches, friends (yes, even Sunday School and youth group peers), tutors or coaches, and even well-intentioned family members. Small seeds planted by any of these influences can grow inside our children’s hearts unknowingly and very quickly into surprising results that we have no way of preventing other than by humble prayer and God’s mercy, unless of course we keep our children inside the home 365 days per year (um… does anyone want Social Services involved?). But it’s not about all that, it’s about God. Praying for my children gives me peace that whatever outside influences may be present in my children’s lives, God is in control of it all, knows all, and will bring it all for His glory and purpose.
I’m painfully aware of my own weaknesses and inadequacies. I will, and often do, make mistakes. I often think, “Can I even do this, much less do this well?” But I’ve learned that it’s not about me. God knows me. He knows everything about me, the good and the bad. And yet He has still called me to do this. The comforting thing is that although I will never be enough, He is. And He gives me the strength that I need to keep trying my best to do what He has called me to do. He offers grace to me so that I don’t have to wallow in my own dreadful mistakes, but can learn from them and continue to grow in wisdom. I can rest in the peace of knowing that at the very least I’ll be a model for my children for how to get back up again after falling down, by relying on God’s help.
And, although my children are precious and I would like to parade them as model examples of behavior, they’re imperfect too, as we all are (“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
). It’s not about me, or them, it’s about God. I am only a tool that God is using in my children’s lives, for only a time.
I trust God with my children, and His plan for their lives, no matter what. He has a plan for their lives that is good, even if (no, when) they may make mistakes. My sins are too numerous to count, but since I, being imperfect, have received the gift of grace and unconditional love from God, I can in turn offer it in abundance to my imperfect children. They will know that I’m not perfect either, and that I don’t expect them to be. And since I’m forgiven by Christ’s death on the cross, forgiveness is something I can and will always offer them as well, even if their (or my) critics won’t or can’t. And I can’t possibly fail in doing that.
“Am I saying this now to win the approval of people or God? Am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10
“Since we are surrounded by so many examples [of faith], we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.” Hebrews 12:1