It is so tempting, isn’t it, to look at a friend’s life and see her perfect husband, her perfect children, her perfect homeschool, and her perfect figure. Right? If our eyes linger for long, the jealousy and the discouragement build in our hearts to where we will either quit and crawl up in a bed or be in hot pursuit of what that friend seems to have. If we look the other way, we can find a friend whose husband is never home, her children are unruly, her homeschooling efforts seem to be in disarray, and her appearance is haggard. Right? If our eyes linger for long, the pride swells in our hearts to where we think we have it all together, and we think we are the model homeschooling moms for all to follow.
Again, looking either way can produce jealousy, discouragement, or pride. At certain times in my homeschooling, I couldn’t even look at a homeschooling magazine. These times usually occurred after I’d had the hundredth baby, or during a difficult period with a sick child, or when I felt like I homeschooled a hundred children (the most ever was really seven). When I looked at the magazines, I felt overwhelmed by all of the seemingly perfect homeschools, and by all of the suggestions for making my homeschool the perfect academic yet enjoyable environment for my children.
As time passed, I realized that what I thought was so perfect wasn’t so perfect after all. No husband, child, homeschool, or mom is perfect!! Not one! Besides that, we do not know what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe it is the happiest home ever! Maybe it is all a façade. Maybe the husband and children are under great stress to get it all done in order to appear perfect. Maybe one day that unruly, seemingly uncontrollable child will be the President of the United States. Maybe if I had had only one, two, or even three children, I could have looked like I had it altogether as well although I doubt it.
I so appreciate the moms, the teachers, and the pastors who reveal transparency, vulnerability, struggles, or reality when it comes to parenting, marriage, and homeschooling. I can relate to them. Their willingness to be transparent makes me realize I am not alone in my struggles. I am not the only one who is challenged by potty training, by teaching chemistry, or by a wayward child. I encourage you to look ONLY to learn, and if that is not possible then DO NOT LOOK to the left or to the right. In fact, scripture admonishes us to not “look to the left or to the right.” (Deut. 28:14) Isaiah 30:20-22 tells us “to behold your Teacher…’This is the way, walk in it’…whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” and to tell those graven images (discouragement, pride, jealousy) to “Be gone!” Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” As the cliché says, “Bloom where you are planted.”
As Paul said, “Be content in whatever circumstances I am.” It’s all about gratitude. I became grateful for my resources and for the lessons I was learning about myself, about God’s provision, and about His sovereignty. Applaud one friend. Encourage the other friend. Be grateful.
Carlotta Jackson has been homeschooling her children for over 25 years, and still going strong with her youngest. You can read more about Mrs. Jackson in her previous blog posts:
This is a guest blog post. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SCAIHS or any employee thereof. SCAIHS is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest authors.