Homeschooling and feelings of doubt are close companions. We wonder if we are doing it “right.” Are we doing “enough?” Are we doing as well as so-and-so?
Sometimes this doubt ripens into feeling like a full-fledged failure. Maybe the children aren’t learning “fast” enough.
Maybe one of them has exhibited a striking character defect which you have been trying to minimize. Most homeschoolers, at some point, feel that they have blown it. One day in particular stands out in my mind.
We were going through a tough time with our third child. This was prior to her diagnosis with ADD and learning disability. Like any good, Bible believing homeschooler, we were attributing her difficulties to lack of character training.
After one particularly painful episode, I held her, rocked her and prayed, “Please Jesus, help this child to learn to be cheerfully obedient.” She listened and thought for a moment, then prayed her own prayer: “Dear Jesus, please help Mommy to not be so mean.”
Out of the mouths of babes came the conviction that by my harshness and lack of loving grace that I had failed this child.
Eventually, I repented and asked her to forgive me. Our relationship is now on firmer footing and, not surprisingly, her behavior has improved dramatically.
I felt like a failure with that child. I felt I had failed her and had failed the God who entrusted her upbringing to me.
Through some deep time of prayer and crying out to God, we weathered the storm and have been restored to a healthy relationship.
First, I had to accept responsibility for the situation. Yes, there were mistakes made and, yes, I made them in abundance.
But I knew I served a gracious God who was eager to forgive me. I sought His forgiveness, and the forgiveness of others, and each were granted freely.
Next, I realized that this feeling of failure was the beginning of the turnaround in my situation. It forced me to look to
God and to seek alternative ways of feeling, responding and parenting. This re-evaluation led to real, lasting change.
I looked first to God for wisdom in this situation – God who gives wisdom generously if we but ask (James 1:5). His admonition to not hinder or exasperate children led to a softening of my heart and a restoration of feelings of compassion to replace the familiar irritation.
Finally, I focused on the future for this child, rather than dwelling on her difficult, painful past. I prayed with her and for her and she would see God’s plans to give her a future and a hope.
God turned around my feeling like a failure and granted me the desire of my heart – to live in love and peace with those I have been entrusted to raise. Don’t be afraid if you feel you have failed. God can use it in miraculous ways, if we will trust Him to show us His way to restoration.
i have a book you have to get! You can find it on amazon.com called “Restorative Grief” ‘a guide to healing from adoption’ By: Cynthia Christensen! Let me know how you like it!
Thank you for writing this article. I really needed it today. I’m feeling like a failure today. The big picture is that we are where we need to be. We prayed a lot and feel called to homeschool. But it is our first year and our kids are older. They are not so happy about it. They both have learning disabilities. And my son has ADHD as well…and this morning has been rough. Actually the last week has been rough with him. Previously it has been rough with my daughter. I try to keep it together and I’ve done pretty well until today when I totally lost my temper and said some nasty things. I am going to have to pray harder for God’s help. I am using so many strategies to minimize conflict. We are doing Bible study/character time. Please pray for us as we go through this journey. We have had some good days. I’m praying for the good days to start to outnumber the bad and for continued strength…for fun and successful days ahead.