This post has been swirling in my mind for quite a while, but I haven't attempted to write it until now. First of all, it would be easy for me to write if I only had to consider what I wanted to say; but since it is written about my children, I have to consider their feelings when/if they read it. The biggest thing for me is how far I have been stretched when it comes to what I thought were my "convictions" and how I view success for my children.
Going way back, my first son, Gabriel, was pretty hyper-active. I'm sure if he had gone to traditional school, they may have requested that he be tested for ADHD. Since I home schooled him, however, I accommodated what he needed as I worked through it with him. I would not have considered enrolling him in school no matter what.
Fast forward 17 years, ten children and a lot of "school of hard knocks later" and we have been forced to stretch ourselves beyond our comfort level. It really isn't comfortable for me to put Tori and Julia on the school bus each day, but I know that it has been the right answer for them this year. I also was one of those parents that would not have dreamed of medicating children, but recently I just put my second child on ADHD medications. While I knew that terms like lead poisoning, neglect, and formative years in an orphanage were serious, I never really understood how much they cemented their ability to learn.
At this point, we are really trying to give each child his/her best case scenario for success. For my girls, the structure of school has been invaluable; I doubt I will feel that way in a few years when the peer group becomes more objectionable. For my boys, I work hard everyday helping them overcome learning obstacles, but their best hope for success remains close monitoring from me and one on one help.
I have a dear friend who said something to me one day that I'm sure she has thought little about. She said, "Jen, if you think all of your kids are going to grow up and be independent, you are dreaming." While I didn't deliberately decide it, I did measure my success as a parent by my ability to raise children that would one day be able to grow up, live on their own and have their own families. While I still hope for that for each of them, I am choosing to redefine success as helping each child reach their personal highest potential while serving God.
This life is a journey and I am finding that I am still learning more from the kids each day than they are from me.
|James, Selah and Bella|