Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Personality, Service, And Homeschooling

I was listening to a Thatmom podcast this evening and was so proud of myself for "getting" one of the points before it was even made. She was talking about what it means to be meek. I remember when I was younger the kinds of characters I loved in books. They were always the women I most wished I was like. Melanie Wilkes, loved by all for her kindness and quiet wisdom, is a good example. My best friend, however, loved Scarlett O'Hara for her ability to speak her mind. I, really, already had the speaking my mind thing covered. I wanted to be something I didn't see in myself.

It was actually while listening to the podcast, with the total ability to note immediately that God has not made us all in that particular image and that Karen should embrace being the woman that God created her to be, that I realized that has remained my goal. I have struggled to become someone I am not instead of embracing the woman God made me to be. Not that I can't be better. Just that I can't be someone else. Being a Godly woman does not lie in having a certain personality type.

As a parent, I have long believed that my job is not to break my child's spirit, or even bend their will toward mine, but to gently guide their passions and strengths toward good things. Toward Godly things. I do not have mild children. I have children with strong ideas and thoughts (I can't imagine where they get that). Bending and guiding them is a careful process, lest I break their tender branches and wound them. Whatever they are called to do they will do with vigor, I have no doubt.

Which brings me to my last thought. A question I am not entirely sure I have answered, or even if I can answer it. How do I put the hearts of servants into my children in a way that speaks to their different personalities? I think homeschooling has been a good start. They have to learn daily about what it means to work together, how to be a team, how to put their own desires aside for the best of someone else, and the joy that comes from serving one another.

Whether or not one homeschools for religious reasons, I think most of us want to teach our children about service, and what it means to give to a community. I think we all want to teach our children about doing good, and being good to others. We all want to raise good citizens. So, is the real challenge in making sure that they volunteer? Or is it in the every day chances they have to serve each other? Is it a combination of the two? Is it seeing their parents serve each other, the community, and them? Is it the little spoken lessons, or the longer ones as they get older? Is it in their religious education? And which things are best for which personalities?

Perhaps it is in all of these, woven carefully together in an intricate pattern of daily life and learning as a family. I pray that it is so, and that my children will grow up knowing how to serve one another and the community to which they belong in a way that honors the unique talents and gifts that God has given them.

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