Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Teaching parent

When Jake was 3 months old I joined MOPS at our church.  I was a new mom working 3 days a week and while i adored my baby boy I was really struggling to get a vision for exactly what my purpose in life was as the mom of a baby.  As Jake approached one year old and the MOPS year was coming to an end they had a speaker come in that changed my life.  She spoke on being a teaching parent. This mom had home schooled, public schooled and private schooled.  At one point all at the same time!  But she wasn't talking about school age kids she was talking about pre-schoolers.  Teaching my little baby boy how to discover the world.  I finally knew what the point of being at home with my child was.  Now thinking of your purpose around the idea of "teaching" your children might not be what inspires you, maybe you prefer to think of the word "nurture" or "guide" or "shepherd" but teacher definitely hit for me.

Preparing my son to face the world, to succeed in school and in life, exciting!  Sitting around trying to keep a 1 year old entertained, boring.  Putting rings around a peg was about as dull an afternoon as I could imagine but, teaching my son to put rings around a peg because he was learning fine motor skills which would serve him all his life was exciting.

I didn't know this would lead me to homeschooling a few years later or that I would become so opinionated on the subject of education, I just knew it would forever change the way I viewed my job as mom.  And it has.  Of course I still believe I am nurturing, shepherding, guiding or whatever word inspires you but "teach" is the word that is under everything I do.  When I am frustrated with my children I ask how I can teach them the skill they are missing which is causing the problematic behavior.

I think this is actually what led me away from homeschooling and into the internet school Jake spent many years.  I wanted to focus on identifying areas he was struggling in and let someone else teach him the details that were not a problem.  His school teachers got to work on math, geography, science, etc.  I got to help him learn to prioritize that school work, to understand why a 5 question 10 point quiz can significantly affect your grade when you have one every single week, to not get overwhelmed by a big project but take it one step at a time.

Over the years I hope I have taught him life skills, how to do the laundry, make his bed, clean the bathroom, etc.  But also some skills that are a little less concrete, to take a risk, try new things, not be afraid to fail, not take yourself too seriously.  Most important to seek God in every situation and trust Him no matter what happens.

Teach your child the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.  Prov 22:6 (my version anyway)

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