What defines having a good Homeschool day? My children seem to think that a good day is all about achieving a lot of school work. This was frustrating me because I know that paper work doesn’t always equate learning and I was aiming for learning.
I was also seeing learning happening in areas and situations that the children didn’t equate with “school” so even on what the children saw as a “bad” day I knew learning was happening. Why were the kids so determined on this view of a good day. I had a good look at myself and realised that what they were saying was exactly the same words as I verbalised. I may have known in my heart that learning was happening but I only expressed that we had a good day when we ticked off all the assignments written down in our assignment book. When I said to Peter that we had a “really good” day what I was judging was that not only did we get our school assignments done I also achieved other things on my to-do list. No wonder the kids were determining good and bad days this way.
The “TO DO” thing
Even if you don’t homeschool you tend to assess your days this way. We all have to-do lists for our days – be it written in pen or in our minds. As parents we have a mental list of moral/character issues we want to develop in our kids, as business people we have a list of contacts we want to make that day, as a homemaker we have lists of chores that need to be done. Do you determine a good day based on all the crossed off items on your to-do list, how much you “got through”.
Even though this lesson has come to me through our homeschool situation I see it very much applicable to any woman who wants to live her life to bless God. Please don’t blank out because you don’t homeschool or even because you don’t have school age children. We all set out to have a good day…
On what basis do I have a good day? On what basis do I assess my achievements? I believe it should be on the basis of God’s Word. Okay, what does God’s Word have to say about me having a good day?
Being with God
The Word of God says we are created to bring Him glory. (Is 43:7) That means everything that happens in my day is there to help me bring glory to him. Remember the story of Martha and Mary… Martha worked hard to bless the Lord but Jesus said Mary had chosen the best of it… she just sat at his feet.
How on earth are we going to get our homeschool lessons done, get the house clean and chores done if we just sit at Jesus feet all day. I don’t think that is the moral of the story! I believe it is consistent with the New Testament that we are to do our work as unto the Lord, that we are to be in God’s presence all the time. It is a strong reminder though when we think of Mary and Martha. A time for an attitude check. Is my heart striving to serve my Lord or is my heart delighting in His presence.
I have been reading a lot about “Practicing the presence of God” lately – several books I’ve picked up have mentioned this habit. The book titled such, “Practicing the Presence of God” by Brother Lawrence, had a strong influence in my late teenage years. It is a habit I have been very aware that I need to cultivate and live with.
In my day am I living in God’s presence? Am I worshipping him, am I doing the laundry as if it was my Lord’s clothes? Do I constantly talk to Him, meditate on what He has said to me, listen for His reassuring voice? Do I have the goal of becoming more and more like Christ or is my goal to achieve my to-do list?
When I started to see my days like this things started to change. Over the last few weeks my goals have been to have an atmosphere of worship in my home – every minute – sometimes this means music is playing, sometimes it means that there is a lot of rowdy play noise, sometimes it means quiet study is going on. It has nothing to do with what is happening with our physical bodies – it has everything to do with what is going on in my heart as I go through the day.
A few weeks ago, to all intents and purposes a shocker of a week – I was out of the house a couple of hours every day – Monday to Thursday most of these interruptions were unplanned. There were medical appointments, chores that popped up, Pete needed extra help, people coming through. Every day I could honestly say we had a good day. What did I mean this time by a good day – I mean that pleasing God was foremost in my mind, my responses were characterised by the fruit of the Spirit, the atmosphere in our home was one of peace, there was a lot of learning happening both on paper and not!, I don’t think I even wrote a to-do list … I certainly never had time to look at it!
What was the difference? I had determined to practice the presence of God in my every day. I had decided to define “Normal” as whatever God brought across my path. I had committed to worshipping God regardless of my circumstances. This sounds as if I was able to do this… no – in my flesh this is not possible (else it would have already been happening in my life!) …. I believe God has been working on my heart.
A new mindset even for the kids
I lead my children in a little devotional thought the other day – to try and get them to change their mindsets too.
I asked them what was the most important goal in their day. Their first response was “to learn” (see how I had influenced them!) When I prompted them that there was something more important than learning – something that we were created to do… they knew the answer was to “love and worship God”. So I wrote that up on the board and then we discussed how we could worship Him. We came to the conclusion – after a lot of discussion about worship at church, and singing etc – that we worship God when we do things that please Him. (This tied in with their studies on diligence where they were learning to work unto the Lord as He is always watching). Our responses, our attitudes and our character are ways that we can please God. We came to the conclusion that if we keep our responses, our attitudes and our character right, regardless of what happens in our day then we will be pleasing God – or worshipping Him. Each of the children involved in this discussion agreed that this is what they wanted to do.
I am sure God wants our children to grow in intellect. Jesus himself grew in wisdom, stature and in favour with God and men. Luke 2:52 This covers all the areas that we want to train our children in. When I am talking about our days pleasing God I am not wiping out the need for diligent study of our school books, I am not giving an excuse for canned soup every night for dinner (remember the virtuous wife… Prov31). Ignorance and laziness does not bring pleasure to God, but neither does studying and diligence with a grumpy heart.
Have yourself a good day!
So my encouragement to you is – do you have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in your house. These character traits should be the norm for us, they should be the attitudes we have regardless of what happens around us. If we find these things disappearing into the busy-ness of the day I believe we need to stop and take stock! Are we striving like Martha to fulfil our responsibilities or are we sitting at Jesus feet like Mary drawing from his love, strength and peace.
I would like to encourage you to set yourself a new context for having a good day. I would like to encourage you to change your expectations on yourself. God created you to worship Him – set yourself to do this as you go through your days. Step back and see, the peace and fun, and joy fill your home.