Friday, August 23, 2013

Faith, Fear, & the New School Adventure

 Hi Ho, Hi Ho, to Another New School We Go!

My kids have officially tasted every genre of education, I think.  They have now been students of  public school, homeschool, and private schools.  For some reason, we keep finding ourselves in seasons of change when it comes to our kids' learning environments.

I'm the mom that struggles with each decision, because basically, I am afraid of messing up my kids.  My brain works overtime filtering through all of the choices and hits a state of despair when the kids' future is at stake! 

You know what it's like. We run into other people all of the time with different opinions about how a child should be raised and what they should be learning at what age and what is wrong with all of the other options out there.  The blogs. The books. The sermons. It really can be too much information!

At some point, we have to shut out the voices and prayerfully focus on what works for our own family.  Even more, we need to zero in on what works best for each child.  They are all different! Amazingly, peace arrives when we walk in agreement and confidence with our spouse on the decisions regarding schools-wherever we end up at any given time.  It may take a little time, but God will supply a fresh hope and vision with each bridge we cross over.

Fear-Based Decision Making

What I think we need to be careful about when making decisions for our kids, is that we don't do it out of fear.  Mama bears are known for viciously protecting their cubs, and the human variety is not much different.  It is very easy for us to see any and every challenge as a direct threat to our child's physical or emotional well-being.  Understandably! Most of the time, though, we grab our little charges and run away to hide, instead of fighting each issue that arises in their lives. 

Retreating may be necessary for a season, but we should really use that time to make a plan and strengthen our purpose. What do we want our kids to learn, and how can we make sure they do?

This week, my kids went back to the public school in our new neighborhood.  Truthfully, I cried about leaving the school they attended last year, because it was warm, comfortable, and cozy.  Before that I fought the decision our family made not to continue homeschooling.  Each time something new faced us, I fought it like the mother bear.  I wanted to make sure nothing, and I mean nothing, harmed my children's still-developing beliefs and confidence. I lashed out in fear.

I felt the weight of their spiritual training, now that it wasn't going to be included in their daily school curriculum. I worried about the influences that others would have on their vulnerable worldview. Inwardly, I hung back pleading, "God, show me how this is going to work.  How are you going to lead our family?  Can we still be effective in the teaching of our children when they are away for so many hours?  I give up, God.  Show me."

The thing about praying is that when you're finished asking, you have to wait for an answer.  You have to watch and listen.

We Just Need a Little Faith

I watched my kids adapt each time.  Timidly, but excitedly they stepped out of our den and enjoyed the new places and people they met.  While Mom watched nervously from behind, they walked bravely ahead into a different classroom.  I listened to their first day stories, and God eased all of the previous tensions. With immense faith in me and in our God, my son and daughter jumped into another adventure. It was like God was saying, "See?  I got this.  Remember, I care about them even more than you."

As a Christian, I tell my kids that God is always with them.  I say, "God never makes us afraid."  So it is a test to my faith when I send them off to a strange place.  Do I believe that God is there in my place?  Do I trust Him to protect and teach them when I am not around? 

So instead of holding the kids back in my own fear, I am taking an active role in praying for them like crazy and speaking heaps of truth over them whenever I can. Because God can use us and reveal truth to us anywhere..

...even after three days at the new school.

This week, my son gave his life to Jesus eating Cheerios at the breakfast table!  Not at church. Not at VBS.  Not at his Christian school.  He brought up the conversation in the middle of a normal morning on our way to public school.

God hears our prayers.  He is always with us.  We just have to trust Him. Watch what He will do!


Rena said...

Love reading your blog!! You are an amazing mother!! Thanks for your insight!!

Dani Byham said...

Rena, thanks for reading! I'm a mama bear like you, learning as I go :-)