As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love Endures

I attended a friend's wedding last weekend.  The couple had chosen the scripture reading from Corinthians (Love is patient, love is kind) as their second reading, and during the homily the priest gave a reflection about what those words mean to us today.  He suggested that new couple re-read the scripture, inserting their own name in the place of the word "love", and use it as something to strive for in their own lives.  I thought it was beautiful, and as he read down through the scripture using the names of the bride and groom, one part grabbed at me - "Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."  Immediately the word "endures" gripped me, as I wondered to myself, Do I endure all things with love?

I am winding up my first full year of homeschooling.  This is a beautiful time of year when we are finishing up workbooks, the end is on the horizon, and I can breathe a sigh of relief that we will indeed hit the benchmarks for this year, and we have indeed learned what we were supposed to.  It has at times been a trial, especially in the early days with so much still ahead of me.  Most of our subjects had a bit of breathing room, but with my second-grader's math there were days when I wasn't sure we would finish in time.  I had budgeted two pages a day in order to finish by the end of June, but when we hit a spot mid-year that took a bit more work and it was evident that two pages on some of those days would have been overload, I worried.  What if we don't finish?  I thought maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if we continued a few weeks after the school year was over in order to finish the book, but I didn't really want to do that either.  With all of this pressure mounting on me, when we hit days (which are very common) where my little student was less-than-focused, I would snap.  "We have so much work to do!"  I would tell him.  "You couldn't tell a public school teacher you don't want to do this today!" I often said.  Sure, I got through it.  And thankfully, we are now on track to finish maybe even a bit before the end of the year.  But did I really endure it with love?  I have my doubts.

The other challenge has been my kindergardener.  My first went to preschool, Kindergarden and half of grade one before beginning homeschool, so he was taught to read by professionals.  My second-born, on the other hand, only had me.  Not only that, but his personality is dramatically different than my first, and where my first is eager to show anyone and everyone what he can do, #2 holds back if he has the slightest hesitation, preferring to remain silent rather than be wrong in his attempts.  There were so many times I felt like I knew he could do a better job than he was doing, that he knew the words better than he was letting on, but I kept that to myself while gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) trying to coax him through it.  It seemed for a while that he was not progressing beyond a beginner reading level, until just recently I started him on some new levelled readers, and now he is taking off!  And after a year of stalling, it is so rewarding to see his confidence growing and now, finally, a desire to move forward and excel.

While I have not always been the most patient and trusting of teachers, I am nevertheless seeing the benefits of enduring with my children.  I could have given up.  I could have handed them back to the professionals, who could surely do a better job, or at the very least wouldn't yell as much as I did.  But there is something to be said about standing on this side of things, looking back and seeing that we made it.  We did it.  We endured - together.  I hope and pray that for the remainder of this year, for every one that follows, and that for every thing I do on this journey of parenthood, that God will give me the grace to endure everything with love.  To cling to the hope and the belief that I am doing this because I believe it is the best thing for my family.  To not just survive these days, but to thrive in them, rejoice in them.  May the lessons of this year and the mistakes I made serve to build us up, as together we continue to walk on this beautiful journey that is our family life.

Bright days ahead with these beautiful boys

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