Spiritual education is a keystone of how I am raising my sons, and I am always inspired to hear how other parents are working to raise their children along a spiritual path. In the series Parenting and Faith I feature posts from bloggers discussing how their religion or philosophy influences their parenting. I am so pleased to share today’s post on listening to God’s Will as a parent, from Rebecca Reid of Line upon Line Learning.
When Leanna asked how our faith influences our parenting, I could not help but recognize that my own understanding of my role as a mother came as a direct result of my faith.
I am not naturally a patient person. When my son entered the difficult toddler age, I found myself at my wits end most days. My husband frequently traveled, and my son stopped napping, so I felt there was never a respite from motherhood!
I could not wait for him to go off to school so I would not be frustrated all day long.
But my perspective changed when he was four. This was when I was guided in a completely different direction as a mother. I let myself listen to God’s will.
When we realized that Raisin would miss the cutoff for Kindergarten and yet he already showed reading readiness, I found myself thinking frequently, I should homeschool him.
Despite my husband’s agreement with this idea, time and again, I discounted it. How on earth could I do that?! I am not a patient person. I am not good at keeping him around me all the time: how could I keep calm with him always underfoot!
In the Doctrine and Covenants (one of the standard works of scripture for those of my faith), the Lord clarified how He would help us know what to do:
I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (section 8:2)
I took a little encouraging over the course of many months. I studied out the reasons in my mind. But mostly I let the Spirit settle on my heart. I turned my selfishness into a desire to do what God wanted me to do.
Finally, I knew, in both my mind and heart, that this was my calling: for whatever reason, my son needed me to be his teacher. I needed to keep him home and teach him.
We’ve finished two full years and are planning the third. Some of my worries have come true. I do not get many days child-free. I am still not a patient person. And homeschooling is a lot of work! It would be easier to send my son to second grade this year than to plan and carry out homeschooling for him for 180 days with a toddler underfoot.
Homeschooling support groups, co-ops, and gym classes have eased the pressure and given me confidence. Most importantly, I have the promise from God that because I’ve done what He asked me to do, it will be okay, even when I don’t understand it.
In Isaiah 55:8, the Lord asks Isaiah to listen to his words. He explains:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
In subsequent verses the Lord adds the following promises:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (emphasis added)
I do not always understand why I was called to homeschool and others of my faith and situation have not been. I will be the first to tell you that not everyone needs to homeschool. Certainly, not everyone wants to! (Trust me, I was one of them!)
And yet, by keeping my son home with me, I have felt the joy and peace as promised in Isaiah.
My kids and I are close. Raisin is learning more than he would be in a school situation. We get extra time to discuss religious and moral issues and read scriptures together. My kids get additional playtime together compared to what they would get if Raisin were in public schools.
Most importantly, I have learned to be more patient. I have learned how my son learns. I have learned to balance my responsibilities. I have become more involved as a mother.
My faith has grown.
I understand now, more than ever before, that my role as a mother is the most important one I will ever have. Although homeschooling was not originally in my plans, God’s ways have proven to be better than I could have imagined.
Rebecca Reid is a stay-at-home homeschooling mom to two (ages 6 and 2). She blogs about their education journey and shares educational printables, games, and ideas at Line upon Line Learning.