“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
I’ll never forget the summer before my son started kindergarten. We were at the playground where he would soon be attending school and I remember seeing the “f-word” carved into the play structure.
I recall that being yet another check mark against sending my child to a regular school. That summer my mind was in a constant tug of war against the pros and cons of a regular school versus home school. And when I saw the mother of all curse words in plain sight at in the school yard, I couldn’t help but think, “Is this what my 5 yr old will be exposed to?”.
As it would turn out, God was about to shed light on my difficult decision and force me to change my thinking toward the system, the school and the children who would attend.
A few weeks before kindergarten was to start, I found myself lying in my son’s bed while he slept. The room completely dark, I laid there listening to my precious boy breathing and in complete peace. I had tortured myself for months pondering what would be right for my child when all I really had to do was confide in my Father.
I asked God, “What do you think of Cruz?” and immediately my mind eye was bombarded with light, bright light. I felt in that moment that God was confirming that my sweet child was to be a bright light.
Leading up to that moment, I had this twisted and irrational thinking that I didn’t want to send my son into such a dark place. But what God revealed to me, I will be forever thankful. He allowed me to see the wonderful possibilities that the regular school system includes, but not only that
He showed me that my son could be a bright shining light in what could be areas of darkness.
He did an overhaul on my thought life and rather than focus on all the bad things that could happen, I was now focused on the positive things my son could contribute.
Every morning, while I drive my son to school, I always pray a hedge of protection and plead the blood of Jesus over him. I think as parents we tend to minimize the power our prayers have over our children. As well as prayers of protection, I pray God will use my son to touch someone that day, and that He will use Cruz to be His hands and feet here on earth – to do His work.
It sounds crazy, but it works.
Now, my son is not perfect, who is? Even though he may not be out evangelizing and leading revolutions in the school yard; sometimes it’s just a simple act of kindness, a glimpse into Jesus’ heart. It has come in the form of asking for a dollar so he could buy a troubled little guy a chocolate milk at lunch hour.
Imagine how that would have made him feel? Loved, I bet!
Being in regular school and exposed to many children, my son, like most, has been the victim of bullying. It would be easy for me to retreat to my initial thought of homeschooling because, well, they can’t touch him when he’s at home with me. But the truth is, it prolongs the learning processes that comes along with the bullying. I’d rather have my child learn the skills of coping and diffusing bullying situations now, opposed to when he trots off to college.
I think one of the hardest situations any parent will face would be having their child bullied. It’s an awful, helpless feeling and it’s usually met with hurt and heartache from the parents perspective.
When I first discovered that my son was being physically bullied, I was livid. I wanted to hurt the parents of the bully so they could feel my pain. I wanted them to know what it felt like to console a distraught little boy at bedtime. I wanted to storm into the school and give the Principal a piece of my mind; not that it was his fault, but I was being completely irrational and needed someone to blame.
So, one night as my husband and I were trying to hash out a mature plan of action to deal with this bully, we were completely caught off guard. I suggested the passive route; tell the teacher if he does something hurtful. My husband represented a more masculine approached and suggested that he hit him right back! But it was my son who suggested that we all pray for this boy.
Wow, why didn’t I think of that?!
So that is exactly what we did. Everyday we prayed for that boy and soon it became very apparent that this little boy was very hurt and very broken. We could no longer view him as an awful bully but as a victim himself. As we continued to pray, my heart softened toward him. No longer did I want to see him suffer the way my child had suffered. Rather, I wanted to see him flourish. I wanted to see him blessed. Eventually, the bullying stopped and I do firmly believe that the blessings have extended from my son and the boy to both our families.
My son has taught me a great many things, but this particular time he has taught me that when you act out of emotion, there are so many lessons lost. Had I done things my way, I would have missed seeing God work. I would have missed humbling myself. I’d have missed the opportunity to have my son witness the power of prayer, first hand.
Regular school has allowed me and my son opportunities for growth that we would have never experienced in the home. Where your child goes to learn doesn’t matter. God can touch them anywhere, in the school yard or at your kitchen table.
I am thankful that God has allowed me to see the sunshine in my boy, and that his sunshine should shine for others to see. It’s not to be kept locked away over my fear of him being hurt.
Homeschooling is a personal choice and there are many aspects to consider when making that choice.
I don’t judge those who choose to homeschool, just like I don’t judge those who choose to send their child into the regular school system. The choice is yours. Listen to what your heart is telling you and ask God for guidance. You’d be amazed at what He has to say, if you choose to listen.
♡ Jamie Packard is a small town Saskatchewan girl and a contributor at Proverbs 31 Woman.
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