When we began homeschooling, I was very idealistic. My kids were going to enjoy their childhood, nurture their love of learning, and be free from school stress. They would grow up to be emotionally healthy adults with every chance to succeed.
Then we hit the first roadblock: ME. Having little children at home 24/7 was exhausting. Realizing their educational future rested on my shoulders was terrifying. Accepting the full responsibility of their emotional development was crushing. At least parents who send their kids to school have someone to blame if things go wrong.
Let’s face it, homeschooling is not for cowards.
My husband came to the rescue many times. He took the kids to the park, the pool, or the grocery store, giving me a break and time to reflect. I’d grab my favorite books and my journal and work through my fears.
I came to realize this central truth: If our homeschool has any hope for success, I must maintain my heart for my children.
What Does it Mean to Have a Heart for My Child?
Photo by Duska Cornwell
1. Unconditional Love
He is a child who is emotionally vulnerable, and I am the parent, laying the foundation of self acceptance and emotional health that will last his lifetime.
My love does not depend on how well he behaves. He can kick and bite me, but I will not withhold my love from him. I will always be there with a hug, a kiss, and kind words.
I must never forget that I am not only parenting him right now; I am also parenting the next several generations. What my child learns from me will continue to my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren.
2. Sacrificial Giving
I don’t always want to sit in the car for two hours while my child is at a rehearsal, or pay big bucks and drive an hour every week to provide lessons, but it doesn’t matter what I want. This is my child’s future. This is my window in time to give her what she needs to find her path.
3. Unwavering Confidence
I believe in my child’s worth and potential, no matter what.
I must remember to speak words of confidence in him and belief in his bright future. Every night for many years I would kiss my children goodnight and say, “You are a treasure and a blessing from God.”
A View from Down the Road
My children are not grown yet, but my oldest is in college and gives me hope that my idea of “maintaining your heart for your child” is on the right track. He believes parents are the key to successful kids. Among the people he knows at college, only a handful are confident and positive about life. Being smart is secondary. All his friends are smart, but few are emotionally strong. Of course, I had tears in my eyes as he said these things.
My next child turns 18 soon. I think her Terrible Twos lasted 12 years, then flared up again around age 15. But I tried to keep my head and maintain my unconditional love, sacrificial giving and unwavering confidence in her. Today she is self-controlled, competent and confident, and we enjoy a close relationship. She’s excited about college and ready to move into adulthood.
My third child just turned 16, and I am still thick in the battle for my mind and attitude sometimes. But our foundation of deep love and respect has made these teenage years not as difficult as they could be.
Let’s be realistic–even parents who do “everything right” can have a child turn away and follow a destructive path.
We can’t guarantee our kids will turn out okay. All we can do is control our own behavior, living a life of no regrets–full of love and hope for the little ones in our home.
In case you’re wondering, here are the books I relied on:
- The Bible (looking for how God parents me)
- The Blessing
- The Search for Significance
- How to Really Love Your Child
Now I’d love to hear how you maintain your heart for your child.