“Jamie, your writing is beautiful!”
“Really?” I said, genuinely stunned. No one had told me that since college. Writing was a childhood dream I had let die. After all, in the “real” world people didn’t get to do that for a living.
My friend’s comment came ten years ago, after I had written my very first blog post. Steve and I were preparing to go meet Trishna, our new four-year-old daughter in India. Many friends and family members had been a part of our adoption process, and we wanted to keep them updated during our travels.
After we returned home, another friend said my blog had inspired her family to pursue adoption too. Sometimes life points you in the direction you need to go long before you would otherwise take the hint.
It didn’t happen that day, month, or even year–but slowly God gave me the courage to begin writing–to pursue a passion I had tossed aside even as I dealt with the demands of being Mom to a four-, three-, and two-year-old.
As homeschooling mamas, we sometimes forget that an investment in ourselves is not a withdrawal from our family. Instead it acts like compound interest, growing and giving back to everyone under your roof.
And that’s why the best thing you could do to ignite your kids’ passion for learning this summer is to pursue your own. After ten years of doing so, here’s what I’d suggest:
1. Ask yourself what you’ve always loved.
Hopefully this is an easy answer, but we can make things so complicated. At times we’ve lost sight of ourselves to such a degree that we’re not even sure anymore.
What do you do “just for fun?” If you don’t know, look further back to when you had free time as a kid. How did you spend it?
One note to keep in mind: you don’t have to love every minute of your passion. I don’t enjoy every moment I spend writing. It’s more like a calling, like I have to write to live. Even if I stopped on this blog, it would come out in a journal or elsewhere. Is there something similar in your life?
2. Carve out regular time.
On most weekdays I get up around 6am so I have time for writing before the day begins.
But listen, sweet mom to early elementary-aged kids and littles, do not tell me you are going to start getting up earlier. You’re not. You can’t. YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH SLEEP AS IT IS.
And maybe sleep is the passion you need to pursue this summer. That’s legit, girl.
Don’t put heavy expectations around your passion. I didn’t start getting up early to write regularly until my kids were nine, eight, and seven.
Do you know what I did in the earlier years? I put on a 45 minute educational video–right smack in the middle of our homeschool day–and I tried to give that time to writing. It wasn’t much, and some days it didn’t happen at all.
But over years? It so added up.
3. Stop feeling guilty.
What is it about us moms that we elevate inner guilt to an art form?
Don’t we want our kids to find their God-given passions, develop them, and then use them for the good of others and the world? So why shouldn’t we model that process?!
One of my current callings is to homeschool my children. But that assignment isn’t going to last forever! That’s why pursuing another interest is a gift to myself, my family, and the world. No guilt required.
Photo by Traveloscopy
4. Wait for the return on investment.
When you put money in the bank, you don’t gain interest overnight. But with time your investment grows in tangible ways you can see.
It’s the same as we invest in our own love of learning. There may be no noticeable difference in a week, a month, or even a year.
- Then one day you hear your child tell someone they want to be a writer one day, just like their mom.
- Or if your passion is cooking, you look up to notice a kitchen helper desperate to get in on the action.
- If you adore music, you hear a little voice asking, “Can you teach me to play the piano, too, Mommy?”
And on it goes. Love of learning is contagious.
So have fun learning for yourself this summer, and watch how that influences everyone under your roof!
What passion do you feel God nudging you to pursue as an example to your kids this summer?
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