Monday, June 10, 2013

The Gift of Encouragement

I took the boys to look at a preschool the other day and I walked away with a renewed sense of confidence in my choice to homeschool.  I wasn't looking for it - I was simply trying to find a way for my son to have some time with playmates that are around the same age.  He has been asking for more time with kids and our local co-op (For all of you non-homeschoolers, that's a weekly class for homeschooled kids) was wait-listed. I decided to get creative.  One of our local preschools agreed to have my son and I come in together one day a week to play and learn together as long as we both liked the school.

"I'm not going to like it," my son told me as he strapped on his shoes.  I told him that was okay - I might not like it either.  We both needed to go in with an open mind.  We agreed to talk in the car on the way home and make a decision together.  "Deal?" I asked him.  "Deal," he said.

He walked straight into the classroom with other four year olds and crouched down to play with two little boys.  "What are you playing?" he asked.  They explained the game to which he replied, "Ok, cool.  How about we build a train track to deliver stuff to the construction site!"  They jumped at the idea and started building the track and showing him where to find all the components they would need.  As I watched, a fear started to melt away.  

So many people have asked me how he will have friends if we homeschool that the fear had become real in my mind.  Logically, I knew they were wrong.  I knew that both boys flourish in every social situation and that my husband and I expose them to countless opportunities to interact with people of all ages.  Still, the fear has been festering and growing in my mind for months.  

Right before we left, my son spotted a boy working on a dinosaur fossil puzzle on the computer.  My son walked over to him and noticed he was struggling with placing a piece.  "You got it.  Just put that right there," my son said to the boy.  "Right!  Good job!  You only have one more to go.  There you go!  You did it!"  He started to walk out of the room then ran back, put his hand on the boy's shoulder and said, "By the way, you are really good at puzzles."  He yelled over his shoulder to me, "Mommy, we don't have to talk in the car.  I like it here."

My sweet, wonderful, smart boy is absolutely on track.  I don't have any reason to worry.  I have all the reason in the world to be thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to raise him.  If I let social pressures define how I choose to raise him, he will not be all that he can be.  If I let fear lead me, I will not be the mom I want to be.  I am writing this to affirm you of all the choices you make as a parent.  If they are coming from your heart, they are right.  Don't listen to everyone else's nonsense opinions.  You, as the parent, are right.

What parenting decisions have your peers questioned?  How do you remind yourself to stay on that path?

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