Monday, May 26, 2014

parenting and gardening

I do not write a lot about why we private tutor (aka homeschool) our children or spend much time arguing with people about it. I don't even write a lot about how its going, as I find it hard to keep up doing our work and posting about it.
But this past week when I took our kids to get their eyes checked, our eye doctor made some surprising comments that made some connections for me.
I brought Kate with us, even though she wasn't getting her eyes checked this time, so she and I sat together on a chair, her in my lap. Seth went first and sailed through his tests with still no concerns about his eyesight. Then he and Laura switched places and she climbed into the patient chair. She followed the doctor's directions and even answered his question asking how old she was, with a very confident "I am four."  She then correctly read the eye charts, saying the correct letters, E, H, V, L, F...
Surprisingly she also understood to name the ordinal letter positions like first, last and most amazing to me, the middle letter in a row. We have been working on her letters a bit, but certainly not consistently, just as the mood and energy coincided.
She passed her eye tests and answered his questions with a skill and confidence, I don't often see with her outside of our home.
As he made some final checks with Laura's eyes using some of his equipment, he spoke about how well behaved the kids were and that he has noticed this pattern with homeschooling children. Completely surprised by his comments, I managed to mumble something like, we spend a lot of time with our children and we want to enjoy them.
Warming to his subject, he then went on to say that he sees a lot of children and he can always tell the children that are being homeschooled as they are very well behaved and well mannered.  I don't even know if this guy is married or has kids. I think he must be close to my age and not someone I would have previously thought had opinions or observations about these issues. His conversation with me in past visits has usually been limited to the topics at hand, namely how I abuse my contacts and other fun vision related issues.
Now, of course, he did not see me or my children at our worst. He only was with us for about half an hour, so he can only speak to what he sees. But if that is true of us, it is also true of the other children and families he sees.
Lest I sound a little too triumphant, I want to share my perspective on parenting. It's like my vegetable garden in May. I've planted some seeds this past week. Just the usual suspects. Peas, cucumbers, yellow wax beans, lettuces and so on. You can't see anything yet. A few more days and some of the seeds will be sprouting and my work there will be more recognizable. On Saturday, I jumped the gardening queue so to speak and planted eight celery plants and five sizable tomato plants. Now my garden is starting to look like something worth talking about. That's the parenting stage I'm currently in. I've been planting the seeds, watering them and tending them diligently.  In some areas, I now have recognizable plants, but nothing ready for harvesting.  I have a short but hopeful growing season ahead of me.  My harvest season will not come until I see how my children mature into adults and parents themselves.
In gardening, when you are into heirloom seed saving, you must let make sure you collect seeds that are fully matured and have not been contaminated by cross-pollination and will be true to their parent plants.  In this case, it is not me the parent, I want our children to be true to, but their Father in heaven.  My husband and I are raising children for God's glory, not our own.  We want our children to be faithful servants in God's kingdom and continue the line of covenant keepers that we were given by our parents. When I see my grown children parenting and living as adults according to God's standards, I will begin to truly enjoy my harvest.  For now, I rejoice that my children as seedlings are being seen as healthy plants who are pleasant for others to be around and I am encouraged to continue this necessary work to ensure a rewarding harvest for God's glory.

I'm also quite glad that no one needs glasses so far.

My garden as of this morning.

My children as of last week. 

1 comment:

  1. What an encouragement! Whenever we've seen a physician of any sort, all of us piled into the room, I almost always get badgered with the "are your kids properly socialized?" question. That's what everyone seems to be worried about who hears about us homeschooling but has no true knowledge of my children. I'm beyond the point of feeling defensive. I usually just reply with a cheerful yes and explain the various social gatherings my children get to be apart of. Sometimes I feel like it's just The Thing for them to ask if you encounter a homeschooling parent. But it is so nice when someone notices your well-behaved/mannered children. (Good job, mama!) And: I love your pretty garden space, and your happy tomato plants.


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