Today the boys asked me which was my favourite season. I think there is much that can be said about them all, but crisp autumn days must be among my favourite times of year. The clocks changed last night, which meant we had longer between getting up and going to church, and it was wonderful to have a long walk, running through deep piles of leaves, enjoying the way the sunlight danced and played through different types of trees, collecting wild apples and walnuts which had fallen during the high winds overnight, jumping over puddles, climbing on tree trunks, and generally celebrating all that is glorious about God's creation at this time of day.
As the boys ran ahead, I reflected on how thankful I am for days like these. Days when one neither regrets the past nor considers the future, but rather where what happens now is of greatest importance. When I was younger, there was a time when living seemed to be in the future. When I am old enough. When I pass this certain hurdle. When I finish this course. When I go to this or that place. When I'm older, when I'm married etc. Maybe you can relate to this. I think a huge benefit of home education is that some of these pressures are removed and each day can be embraced for its simplicity, for its beauty, for the moments that cannot be replicated or even repeated to another. People who spend less time with their children speak often of 'quality time'. But the error in this way of thinking is that one can manufacture such 'quality', that the moments can be created, chosen, planned and accurately predicted. To me, the moments of 'quality' occur in the midst of a 'normal' day. The quality is the pleasure of unrushed, free relationships. Of the fleeting glimpse of a rainbow before the storm. Of the lightening which makes the sky dark in the middle of the afternoon. Of the particular discovery of that day.
I've reflected much on how society pulls against such relationships, against such structures within families, against simplicity and enjoyment of the wonders which surround us. Many people consider me naive, that my ideas are unrealistic in 'this day and age'. Even this morning, for almost two hours in some large and beautiful parks, we saw our usual joggers and dog walkers, but no other children. I am almost tempted to ask the question on Facebook, 'What do people with children do on weekend mornings?' - but I fear I may be seen as being provocative, and I am not convinced I want to hear the responses anyway.
God has blessed me with time to enjoy days like these, and for that I am thankful. Like every other parent, I perhaps would have cherished an 'extra hour in bed', but the blessing of this quality time with my children in the beautiful autumn sunlight was of far greater benefit. Rather than focussing on what you don't have, what you cannot achieve, of what you feel you may miss out on, celebrate and embrace that which has been given to you.
I pray that this week God surprises weary homeschooling parents with moments of indescribable delight. I pray that God encourages families to consider what things really matter. And I pray that you start this week with a focus on those things of lasting value.
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.