Thursday, February 28, 2008

Character First

This is my first year "officially" homeschooling my youngest son, Austin. I have homeschooled my oldest all the way through and he will be graduating this year. It has been a wonderful journey and I am looking forward to the continuation of the experience for many years to come. Though, I believe this second time around the block may prove to be a bit more of a challenge.
Austin has just recently been diagnosed with ADHD. He is such a loving and thoughtful child and this whole ordeal has been rather dis-heartening for our entire family. His main issues are impulsiveness and hyper-activity. He also has some anger management problems. Any type of formal teaching has been somewhat difficult and I have had to re-invent my teaching methods in order to better serve him. That's one of the wonderful perks of homeschooling; Building the education around the child instead of vice-versa. It works so much better that way.
Sometimes I think Austin may be smarter than me! That is a little scary. He is a very deep thinker for such a small boy. He ponders the things of life in such an intriguing manner that he quizzes me on things I really have to ponder myself before I can give him an educated answer! That has proven to be a good thing, though. I am somewhat of a deep thinker myself. I guess he gets it honest! All his questions leave me searching and finding some pretty enlightening ways to respond. Along the way, I learn quite a lot myself.
I had one of those light bulb moments the other day. You know how it is; you have a revelation about a certain thing at a time when you aren't even particularly thinking about it. Those are what I call "Thresholds". Doors that God leads me right through when I least expect it. I had been struggling with how to best deal with the academic aspects of Austin's homeschool day. After being undecided about what direction to take, I just took a few days off and Austin and I just did fun things together. We did Bible studies, art, watched some educational videos, went to the library, had some long conversations, stuff like that. All of a sudden that "Threshold" opened up and I heard the words "Character First". Not audibly, but they were in my mind so clearly, I knew they were words from my Father.
That's it!! Now I have a clear direction! Austin is only five years old. And, a mind-wandering male at that! Academics don't have to be top priority at this time in his life! Especially if that is stealing his joy (and mine, too). What an eye-opener! I think in the back of my mind, I had that feeling all along, but hearing it directly from my (and Austin's!) Creator kind of gave me the permission I needed to relax and work on the important thing, Austin's character. I can stop depending on medication (which hasn't worked anyway) and trying to put him in a box and make him act like other kids do. God made him to be who he is and hand-picked us to be his family. How wonderful! This ADHD thing is not a burden after all! It is a gift! A gift that, paired with the blessing of homeschooling, can help me to discover who Austin really is in Christ. A Gift that allows me (his hand-picked mom) to develop and guide him into God's plan for his life! My husband agreed wholeheartedly when I shared my new insights with him. That was another confirmation for me right there!
I praise God for giving me this child later into my life. There are many advantages to having a child as an older woman, but one I can see clearly now is that I am at a stage myself where I have experienced many things. I am more open to hearing God's voice and obeying what He tells me to do, in spite of my own doubts and fears. Even in spite of what other people may think or say. I have learned that God's way is ALWAYS the best, and if I obey this time and get Austin's character in line with God's word, all the rest of the things in his life will fall into place. No struggle. Granted, I know life will never be perfect, but I sure would rather do it God's way. That's a lot closer to perfection than my own way, for sure.
My love for my children is so great I can't fathom that God loves them even more. But, that strong invincible love we all feel for this special child along with this perfect layout straight from God's word will be my new lesson-plan from now on. He has shown it to us all in Colossians 3:12-17, "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And, whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
We are thankful for Austin. We can forgive Austin for his mistakes. We can forgive ourselves for the many mistakes we have made as well-meaning parents. We will all remain clothed with the virtues of God and peace will rule in the lives of this family! And, it will all be accomplished in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who we are so thankful to for giving us this blessed experience! Austin is chosen by God and we will honor and appreciate how God created him. And that, my friends, is building the education around the child.
Hope you all have an "enlightening" day in the Lord!

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