In our early days of homeschooling, we weren’t just new to this type of educational model, we were relatively new to being a family altogether. We were young and still discovering our family personality. I was fascinated with the people I saw in the home-school community. I had never met so many large families in my life but, that wasn’t the extent of it. They all looked so cute in their matching dresses and button up shirts. Then there were the portraits of families each holding their instruments, displaying their talent, it was awe invoking. If this was homeschooling, it painted such a romantic view of that lifestyle.
But that still wasn’t all! There were the book reading families and athletically gifted families, the ones that went hiking on the weekends and the ones that played board games with not one squabble. They seemed to have it all together. I was allured by this vision of family unity.
I saw these families and thought that was how our family was SUPPOSED to be! It was what I wanted to for us to be because it was so idyllic. Unknowingly, I held up these families individuality as the standard for all families. I saw it as the standard for mine.
When I was focused on who these other families were, I lost sight of the family God made us to be. He gave each person in our family (starting with the parents) a unique set of talents, interests and passions. We can’t be who God did not create us to be. We were not all meant to be the same. Our unique interests and gifting allows us to impact the world in different spheres of influences.
I had a vision in my mind that doing home-school “right” meant that all my kids were voracious readers, they never talked back, I never raised my voice and my kids could spell REALLY well. We would have a garden, eat organic, and wear matching (or at least coordinating) clothes. I dreamed of gathering around the piano (that my children would practice playing without even being reminded) and sing hymns late into the night while the youngest children fell asleep on the couch lulled by the beautiful music. Not that any of those things are bad or wrong, they just weren’t us! I was trying to define my family using everyone else’s talents, gifts and personalities.
As we grew into who we were I understood what was fun for us and what our family personality was. I was able to stop pursuing the talents and passions of other people’s families and enjoy our own. We were that loud family who loved theology, history, politics, and debate. We also played a lot of video games… not instruments. We had teen game nights but, we didn’t serve a veggie tray. We had chips, cookies, ice cream and soda. My younger kids ate so much junk on some of those game nights that they would make themselves sick. Life was not always a party but who we were wasn’t what had been presented to me so at times I felt like we didn’t measure up.
What about you? Are you stressed out because you just can’t seem to get it “right”? Does everyone else seem to have the family you always imagined being? Remember that saying, “Bloom where you are planted”? Don’t miss the gift that God has given you by handing you the personalities and situations that He has. He has a great plan for your family, ask him to show you and to give you a love for your own family personality.
We can get encouragement and vision by meeting and learning about other families. We can get amazing ideas and be prompted to growth from others. But let’s not make emulating them the goal. God has a unique plan for each of us, He equips us in different ways to prepare us to go out and reach the world with the Gospel.