By Todd Kangas, MPE President
Oh, the challenge of defeating the tyrant of self as a homeschooling parent. This tyrant keeps screaming, “More, more, give me more time, effort, dedication, devotion!”
This tyrant resides in far too many families. It is concerned with your reputation. It demands that you produce excellence in every arena of education, socialization, athletics, music, drama, debate that you touch. This is a demanding taskmaster.
Hear some words of freedom if you are familiar with this tyrant from 1 Peter 4:1-2 in The Message, “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”
Let’s see how this passage might be applied. First we need to recognize that Jesus went through all that we are going through. Hebrews 4:15 explains that Jesus was tempted in every way as we have been, yet without sin.
Can you imagine the tyrannical voices that were trying to drive Him? In the temptation series in the wilderness, If you are the son of God, prove it! Matthew 16:22, “Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!'” John 11:21, “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Acts 1:6, “…they asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?'”
Jesus heard these comments about his identity, reputation, His schedule, and His mission, yet He wasn’t driven by the expectations of others.
The accuser of the brethren is attacking homeschooling parents with lies and demands, in the same way Jesus was. The tempter might be using others to question your resolve. Your children might act in such a way as to damage your reputation. You might be tempted to put too much into your schedule.
Jesus wants to free us from the attachment we hold to our desired outcomes. We need to begin to think like Him. When we view the results we are seeking to achieve, that puts an inordinate amount of pressure on us to perform. Then we will often turn around and put that pressure on our children.
Jesus didn’t put pressure on His followers. He gave them love, comfort and instruction. He gave them a place of security just as we should our children.
We aren’t always going to get what we expect from homeschooling. That’s OK. We get what God wants, and He knows best.
The goal is to be able to live out our days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want: a well-run schedule, a good reputation, or more. I believe God wants us to love and enjoy our children, just as He loves and enjoys us.
Remember your children are not around that long; the time flies by. So take a deep breath the next time you feel the pressure cooker getting ready to explode because expectations aren’t being met.
Susannah Wesley would pull her skirt up over her head and pray in the midst of her many children. Pause and ask the Father, “Show me what you want me to do now.” Remember that Jesus simply did the work He saw the Father doing. Perhaps you will know what God has for you during a particularly stressful homeschool time.
Pray and ask God for His help – “Not my will but Your will be done.” Rest assured that your surrender and trust will be rewarded.
And as you continue to yield to the Father’s will, you’ll find a freedom with your children that will remove the victim label from you and rename it victor, for “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13).