Today I read this quote and I thought it was poignant to what we do when we decide to take the momentous step of home educating our children.
The key to everything is patience.
You get the chicken by hatching the egg; not by smashing it. – Arnold Glasow
We’ve all had those kinds of days when we’ve opened a newspaper and read another story or another comment and we wonder if this is what everyone ‘out there’ thinks of us and wondered what is the point? Or we look around at the mess of another art project turned science project turned nuclear waste dump on the kitchen table. You’ve watched a child wrestle with their shoe laces when you’re running late for a dentist appointment perhaps? Seen the agonising over a mathematical problem or new words they want to understand and read, but just can’t quite grasp it? Crying because they haven’t been able to draw that picture just like the one in the book?
I am sure you’ve got your own list of ‘pass me the chocolate’ moments. Some of them big, some of them small, and some of them an accumulation of events that just like when you open an overpacked wardrobe, one wrong move and all those moments come crashing down upon you. You lay beaten beneath them with a stinky sock laying across your face.
No? Just me then?
It can be really hard when parenting to try to take a big picture approach, because so often our days are filled with a roller coaster ride of small moments, and each new turn and dip or loop the loop causes us to run another gamut of emotion.
The same can be said of home education.
I found that for me the big picture was really important. Taking time to think about what I want to achieve, and what kind of people I want to raise, made the hard days easier to bear.
It helped me to become more patient because I could gaze off into the future when the small moments felt too overwhelming and remind myself what I was doing and why I was doing it.
Contrary to what the average Joe Blow thinks, home ed parents are not born with an extra dollop of patience.
Like every other patient parent we’ve had to work at it. We’ve had to practice it. Often we have had to choose it moment by moment. And it’s not always easy.
We’ve had to suck it up, when we’ve wanted to explode, or step back when we’ve wanted to take over, and bite our tongues when we’ve wanted to answer the question for them.
Some days we are better at that than others. There should be trophies for those days (just kidding).
But we are not super-humans, we are humans that have learnt to take a big picture view of life and what we are trying to achieve with our children, making the daily struggles worth while.
We are learning not to smash the egg, but to nurture it, protect it, warm it. We are remembering that we want it to hatch in its own time, when it’s ready and when it’s strong enough to face the world outside for itself. And sometimes that hatching happens a 100 times a week, with each new activity/skill/character trait they’ve had to master. It isn’t a one-off, one time process, but an ongoing one.
As parents it is our goal for our children to emerge into an environment that has prepared them for success (however that looks for them), and for them to grow and flourish in the world around them, in all the beautiful uniqueness that they can offer the world both individually and collectively.
So whatever you’re doing today, take a moment to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Today I am going to be on the look out for those hatching moments, to keep choosing patience.
To not smash the egg.