The first year of homeschooling I had to learn the value of discipline. When I say discipline, I don’t mean figuring out the best way to deal with a child’s unwanted behavior. I mean doing the thing you want to do, whether you feel like doing it or not. This is particularly difficult for a person who thrives on following my heart, whose thinking process follows the line that if I don’t feel like doing it, it isn’t worth doing.
If I don’t see the value, I won’t waste my time. This is why I say I had to learn the value of discipline. I am a person driven not only by what I feel, but also by what I value. Where some people rely on reason to keep their feelings well-ordered, more often than not, what keeps me from being completely ruled by my feelings are my firmly-held values.
One thing I value is time together. The best part about homeschooling for me is the fact that it gives us a chance to be a family. I’ve often told people the best part for me is getting to spend so much time together, which, by and large, has also been the most difficult part. Two b-words are needed in order for family to work: boundaries and basic human decency. This is something I’ve had to accept for myself, to change about myself.
People need space and respect. I am a human being, and human beings need space and respect. It isn’t selfish to set a boundary. This is one of those things I would wish to be aware of if I could go back and do motherhood over: I would respect myself enough to make adjustments and accommodations for the sake of my own needs and limitations.
The Christian mommy blogs refer to this concept as “giving yourself grace”. I definitely needed grace, and on the worst days, I suppose it’s only the grace of God that gets any of us through. But for me, I needed more than grace. I needed God in tangible shape and form. I needed boundaries, something hemming me in, building me up, protecting me from the weaknesses and harms of the self. I needed a class on the right way to live.