“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I’m failing as a mother; at least that’s how I felt yesterday. I was evaluating in my mind how well I am doing with preparing my children for the future. While I do believe this is good for me to do, sometimes I completely focus on the wrong things to the point where I get so afraid for my children and angry about my circumstances because I’m judging myself strictly by the world’s standards which leaves me feeling like I am failing them.
We as Americans place high value on academics and competitive activities. While I find it wonderful that these things can be advantageous to encourage learning and build character, there is a problem when we use these American values as most important to identify what success in life is. This is the thinking that creates a source of worry in me because I fear that the lessened exposure to academics and competitive activities will hinder my children from being accomplished in their future.
Because of my health problems, I have to monitor each day what’s most essential to do more closely than most people. Many weeks I struggle just to do the basic necessities for my family. I’m not able to drive much and not always able to help my children with their learning. As a result, my children have one day a week for extracurricular activities of which are not competitive, and our homeschooling is not focused on grades and lots of assignments, but improving upon the fundamentals they need to help them in their own independent learning and interests. As you can see, in regards to some typical American values, I am considered to be failing as a mother.
Upon reading this, you might feel sorry for me and my family, but please don’t. Because our lives aren’t fixated on academics and not filled with all the extras, we devote our first hour of the morning to praying and learning the bible together, evenings eating and talking as a family with dad usually leading spiritual conversations, building most our activities around our church and extended family, and everyone helping to support me in my ailments. These circumstances have given our family a distinct perspective on life and different opportunities.
I have to remind myself that even though we may not be able to fully pursue some useful worldly standards, I know I am doing my best when it comes to teaching God’s standards, and as someone who can’t always do much more than that, I have to be okay with knowing that I am giving my children what is most important and let the rest go. I also know that the way that we live is teaching my children values in a way that many don’t get, and that this will greatly influence the path they choose to take in their future. So even though our family has lost some opportunities to seek some popular American values as a result of my health, we have gained so much in an atypical way that we would not have chosen for ourselves.
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4
If I am effective in training my children in humility and the fear of the Lord, then I have given them a way to not depart from which brings eternal riches and honor and life. This is what I’ve learned is most relevant and after I prayed about it, I found comfort in knowing that although I am not perfect in this, if I can at least instill these values in my children, then I am succeeding as a mother regardless of how academically trained they are or how many trophies or ribbons they have won.
I will remember Your statutes, Lord, and teach them to my children. Even if my circumstances don’t allow for much more, I will train them in humility and to fear You knowing that this will give them the path to not depart from when they are old. I put this above everything else because this is what is most important for their success. Thank you for these children, and forgive me where I have failed in my responsibility as a mother. Amen.
Truth in love,