Written by Jessica.
At the start of this year I didn’t choose a word that would frame the months ahead, as is the trend to do these days. But a word has followed me around and challenged me just the same: enough.
As a homeschooling mama, I sometimes feel just the opposite – lacking, not measuring up, not good enough for this role I’ve been called to. And I know that so many other homeschooling mothers feel the same.
Mothering and homeschooling are two things that I’m deeply passionate about and am very invested in during this season of my life. I am convicted about the reasons why we’re homeschooling: I believe in it, and I want the very best for our children. And we all know that when you feel that way about something you hold yourself to a very high standard - you feel an enormous burden to get it all right and to not mess up. In doing so, it’s all too easy to overlook what you’re already doing well and what’s already bearing beautiful fruit.
The feeling of not good enough at homeschooling can come in many forms.
Sometimes it comes from outside our homeschool. In seeing what someone else is doing, there is such a fine line between being inspired and playing the comparison game. We get a small glimpse into what a friend, sister-in-law, or co-op member is doing in real life. Or (so often!) we see an image of what others are doing online. We see some carefully staged photos and read some beautifully crafted words. And all too easily our own homeschool room...curriculum...teaching methods...literature choices...arts projects...extracurricular activities...fill-in-the-blank can seem to fall woefully, inadequately short.
And sometimes, as it is with me, the pressure can come from within. We have high ideals and the best intentions. It’s so easy to tear ourselves down and to wear ourselves out trying to achieve them. We get stuck on the treadmill of constantly researching curriculum, or literature choices, or project ideas - convinced that there’s something “better” that we could be using or doing. We take personally any struggles our children may be having in homeschooling to the point of self-blame, whether that’s fair or not. We exhaust ourselves staying up too late, creating yet another learning game or getting one more art project ready. And we worry. And we doubt. And we convince ourselves that what we’re doing doesn’t measure up, and so we must do more.
This summer I read a quote from Wes Stafford, director of Compassion International. His description of ‘enough’ stopped me completely in my tracks.
“The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. The opposite of poverty is enough.”Just – wow. And wow and wow. Those words got into my heart, convicted me to re-examine how I define enough, and have stuck with me ever since.
Stafford is talking about poverty and injustice of course, not homeschooling. And his words taken to heart and applied to any Christian’s life could change the way we share time, talents, and treasures and make us more willing to follow and to serve whenever, wherever, however God leads. Instead of waiting for more to come our way first, we could embrace what we already have...we could call enough. And from there, we could give and serve with hands more open than before.
But… how does this relate to homeschooling - or to any other aspect of our lives? I definitely think there is a take-away in Stafford’s words that can be applied to many things: enough doesn’t mean more. It doesn’t mean everything that we think we want and need, or should do or could do - and then some. Enough means that there is already plenty, that the blessings have already been poured out. All that we need is a shift in perspective to see the abundance. Enough is found through gratitude.
Putting it into practice
I’ve reflected on this idea of “enough” in my homeschooling a lot this year and have realized this...
If I choose to view myself with critical eyes, there will always be homeschooling mothers that I will perceive as doing a better job at things than me.
If I choose to push myself relentlessly, there will always be “more” and “better” things that I could implement in our homeschool.
But comparing and constantly striving robs me of contentment and peace, and it doesn’t foster gratitude. If I’m not careful, I can lose sight of the One who called me to this role and who has already equipped me and who is already blessing our family on this journey.
So these days? I remember to thank Him for the gifts He’s already given me to use in my homeschool. And I remember that this is not about my skills and my efforts, anyway, but about the work that He is doing through me. I’m mindful that the highest form of gratitude that I can give in return is to pour those gifts right back out in service to those before me – in this case, my children. And I stop, often, to notice the fruit of this work and the blessings that are already abundant.
What’s your “enough”?
So, fellow homeschooling mamas…will you join me? Will you join me in ceasing to compare and to constantly strive to do it better and to do more? Will you join me in seeing anew the blessings already abundant in your homeschooling? What’s your “enough”?
Maybe “enough” is providing an education in a Christ-centered environment that affirms and celebrates your family’s values...
Maybe “enough” is children learning through methods and curriculum that are best-suited to their needs and abilities...
Maybe “enough” is getting to learn in an environment that is free from bullies, negative peer pressures, and agendas that are against your family’s beliefs and values...
Maybe “enough” means children not having to grow up too quickly...
Maybe “enough” is children who are able to enjoy the blessings of slow and savored childhoods, time outdoors, time pursuing hobbies and nonacademic interests, and time to play...
Maybe “enough” is ‘gifted and talented’, or ‘advanced,’ or ‘behind,’ or ‘special needs,’ or ‘average’ children getting to learn without labels at the pace that is just right for them...
Maybe “enough” means less time spent apart and more time spent together strengthening family relationships and making memories...
Maybe “enough” means every day being brave, and a little crazy, and a lot hard-working, and faithful, and sticking through the hard, trusting that God’s really got this...
Maybe “enough” is a family taking the road less traveled and knowing that it makes all the difference.
It’s true, isn’t it?
Gratitude turns what we have into enough – into more than enough.
Free Gratitude PrintablesGratitude Turns What We Have Into Enough Printable
You are Enough Printable