Three Reminders for Staying Engaged

I have spent countless hours poolside while my kids received swimming lessons. It takes a serious amount of time to teach five kids to swim. But I willingly committed my time and energy to this purpose because, to put it bluntly, you cannot breathe underwater.

Not too far back in the rear view mirror, we had a particularly stressful day and I found myself growing angry about the amount of homework ahead.

The self-condemnation was palpable: Why are we not further along? Where have I failed? Why is this so hard? Following quickly behind was self-pity: This is so not worth it. This type of education asks too much of me. My life has been hijacked..

I was drowning and I was saved by a very simple decision. I came up for air.

When we get pulled underwater by homework and studying for tests and completing projects that require posterboard, our view shrinks. We start drowning in the to-dos. We lose our vision of the for-what.

So let me remind you of a few things, of which I had to remind myself.

1.I am not doing this because it is convenient or easy.

We are pioneering something for our children that most of us never had: a classical Christian education. We will often feel confused, embarrassed, or ill-prepared. Homework doesn’t fit neatly into little boxes of time that we can control. We can choose to see the joy in being involved in our kids’ education, roll up our sleeves, pray for help, and do the work. Or we can disengage and complain about the inconvenience of it all.

2.I am not doing this because it is cheap.

Classical Christian education is an investment. This education we are choosing for our kids comes at a great cost and that cost is paid by us. We can choose to joyfully give over and over, day after day, because we are investing in our children; or we can plant nothing and reap nothing.

3.I am not doing this because it is no big deal who controls my child’s brain.

The world wants us to believe an education is just a minor thing. Everyone gets one…there’s a public school down the block…But no, not everyone gets one. The material your children read matters. Who they talk to about it matters. And whether or not that teacher shares your family’s worldview matters.

“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Colossians 1: 28-29

Remind yourself of the why before you dive into the to-do.

And come up for air. Regularly.

~Mandi Gerth

Mandi Gerth teaches at Coram Deo Academy in Dallas, TX.  She and her husband have labored for over twenty years to build a family culture for their five children that values books, baseball, museums, home-cooked meals, and conversation about ideas.