Friday, August 17, 2012

20/20 Vision From the Rear View Mirror (pt. 2)

Courtesy A. Hughes
When I began this homeschooling journey almost 16 years ago, the choice was a stop-gap solution. Every year after, I looked for a sign indicating we could return to normal. Normal being a traditional school setting. When Son #1 was a 2nd grader, it was a foregone conclusion that all would be 'normal' again by the time he reached middle school.

A funny thing happened on the way. By funny, I mean God was up there slapping his knee and doubled over as he laughed at my wisdom. He was laughing as my definition of 'normal' changed.

Life is but a Vapor
On the cusp of middle school, I realized what we were doing was not broken. Our approach did not need repair! I still hyperventilated over what his adulthood would look like and how it would unfold. I feared hearing him ask, “Why did you do this to me?” more than I feared hearing the naysayers harrumph and whisper, “See! I tried to tell her!”

Now that I am perched on the edge of a soon to be empty nest, I appreciate how much faith has been required to continue this journey. Altho' I have not chosen to homeschool because of religious convictions, my faith has been a pivotal and foundational marker of our journey.

I have callouses on my heart and knees from the time spent praying for wisdom and discernment. In some situations, answers came quickly. One year, I came home from the local homeschool resource store with a lighter pocketbook and heavy heart. Our academic testing results had not arrived before the time had come to purchase curriculum. It was during our season of homelessness, so every penny really counted.
As I perused the aisles and leafed through books, I cried out in prayer for guidance in choosing. The next week, test results arrived. I realized I had chosen the resources needed to foster my son's strengths and reinforce his weaknesses. It was a sweet day indeed knowing God had heard and answered my prayers.

Courtesy M. Horrocks
Other answers have been harder to see and longer in coming. Many times the prayer has been, “Lord, just don't let me screw this up! This is an entire future for two men in the making we are talking about! What if I get to the end of the journey and either of them fails to launch successfully? What if the naysayers who question socialization are right and one or both of them can't find their stride out in the 'real' world? Who's gonna be sorry then?”

Today, Son #1 is taking a non-traditional route to his Bachelors degree. He will receive an Associates degree next spring after three years of college. Along the way, he has traveled to China and Australia for work-related experiences that have strengthened his academic vision. He is now working as an intern web designer and taking part-time classes.

Sometimes, he frets about taking a different path than his high school peers. I remind him that his dad and two uncles, all traditionally schooled and professional engineers, took longer than four years to graduate. If he's asking, “Am I normal yet?” The answer is, “Yes. You've always been normal.”

A Metal Head and His Peeps
Son #2 is considering his options - including making the jump to a local charter school that will allow him to graduate from high school with his Associates degree. Despite his Asperger's diagnosis, he never meets a stranger and has a heart full of empathy. He is developing a ministry for disaffected youth that gravitate to the heavy metal music scene. Some days I'm so proud of him. Other days . . . I'm scared to death for him in an 'Oh my goodness! What is he getting into now' kinda way!

Am I still uneasy for the future? You betcha. I wonder every day if and how they will attain the American Dream. In that regard, I am no different from friends who are university faculty with four traditionally schooled graduates. As I poured out my angst to my longtime friend, she smiled. She told me her husband, a man with two Ph.D's and four very successful children, sat in my very chair and cried literal tears, “Am I enough? Have I done enough? Are they ready for the world out there? Have I given them what they need to make it?”

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
As I gaze out through the rear view mirror of life with the 20/20 vision it affords, I see the answer. It is so simple. No. We are never enough. We will never parent and/or school perfectly enough. All God asks is that we, as parents, do our best in consecrating our efforts to him. He did not give us the task of being 'enough'. Because if we were 'enough', our children would never need him.

Oh, fraidy cat, do you fear never being enough? Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Relax. We don't have to be enough because he is. Love you long and strong. See you soon?
Courtesy B. Creasy 2010

2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amplified Bible)But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 


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