One of the questions I often get from people is how do you teach your kids the faith?
I love this question because it’s like asking how do you bake a chocolate chip cookie? Everybody does it differently but each one tastes so good!
Now, I am coming from this with a Catholic background but any Christian can take Holy scripture, the parables of Jesus, The Old Testament stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Joseph and the coat of many colors, etc. and bring them into their family library.
This year Pope Francis called for all Christians to embrace a year of mercy. To “rediscover the infinite mercy of the Father who welcomes everyone and goes out personally to encounter each of them.” If I had a meme, it would look something like me plotting ways for Pope Francis to hear my ideas for next year’s theme. I see a dish of M&M’s with Joy, Peace, and Rest. A phone call perhaps: “Dear Holy Father, About that year of mercy. You see I’m weak, and I want a break.”
But not really. I embrace this year of mercy, and it is changing everything.
I am a firm believer in mothering. I mother from dawn till dusk and dusk till dawn. Mothering, it is what I did, what I do, and what I will be doing for the rest of my life. That switch that was turned on at the moment of conception, that forever gave me another soul—or 8—to shepherd. From that moment, I determined that I was going to do it right. I would right the mistakes of the past and mine would be the blessed generation. Oh, the worries I have given myself over this goal. How much stress I have put upon the shoulders of myself, my spouse, and unknowingly my children with my lofty goals.
We wear masks to hide our faces and build up walls to create an image of ourselves in our minds that we, mothers, “have got this.”
I am exhausted from my goals. There are times I walk in a fog, dizzy from the overwhelming burdens I have placed upon myself. And the fox waits in the vineyard, ready to steal my joy.
Have you ever had that feeling that you are not enough? When you lose your patience, speak words of frustration, look around you and see the laundry, dust, cluttered email box, kids dressed with mismatched socks, and say you are not good enough? And say, I cannot do this. I am not doing this. Someone else better than me should be doing this. And then, if you are me, you imagine that faceless person caring for your children, the scene of neatly packed lunches and cheerful hugs as they leave for school, a spirit of joy as she goes to do the laundry and tidy up their bedrooms.
“Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24: 13-35
I was in the grocery store today, and I saw a woman with a baby in a sling and 5 or so kids with a cart near her. I scanned their ages and realized she must be a homeschooling momma. We struck up a conversation and I mentioned our recent transition from homeschooling to brick and mortar. She quickly reproofed my decision of sending my kids to Catholic school and I was struck at the severity of her reaction. Choosing to homeschool or not is a personal choice and one that need not be all or nothing. As women, we tend to reproof those who have chosen to educate their children differently than we. And I say this honestly for both homeschool mothers and traditional school mommas out there — judging brings us down. It divides us.
Lesson 1. Don’t ever tell God to yell so you will hear Him. That story in the Bible where it’s the whisper passing by…dude, that is all you need. Trust me.
We have been a homeschooling family for 8 years now and I love it. Homeschooling for me conjures up so many great images of cocoa by the fire, picnics in the back yard on a blanket on a spring day, Shakespeare, late-night chats about politics, daily mass, freedom to explore and serve. That being said, homeschooling also leads me to put those things first and leave off the dinner prep, laundry, house cleaning, doctor calls, etc that are necessary to keep a family of ten up and going.
In the Fall, we noticed that our dream of homeschooling wasn’t lining up with the reality of what was actually happening in our home. Kids were not so motivated, arguments were becoming too common, motivated learners were having to wait while I took doctor calls, cleaned up the latest mess from the mighty three “smalls”, settled disputes, re-ran the load of laundry in the washer that I forgot about, etc. Homeschooling did not meet our family goals at that time. We prayerfully considered our options and asked God to lead the way. After many discussions with those close to us and a few visits to local schools, we decided to enroll in our local Catholic school.