by Grace Chapman
Grace is a home educating mother of three in far north Queensland. Until recently, Grace was the editor and producer of Stepping Stones For Home Educators. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as Byronchild Magazine and Education Choices.
Perspective. How do you see your world most of the time? Is it full of burdens or challenges? Do you see challenges/difficulties as opportunities for growth? Growth of what? The heart—not the physical heart but the storehouse of love, peace and joy. Do you see the child who is behaving radically different or difficult as a burden, or as an opportunity for you to stretch your way of being?
What an eventful three months! It seems disasters, crises and challenges are falling thick and fast. Generally speaking from what I have seen, many are having the ‘rug pulled out from under their feet’ - providing the opportunity to make lemonade out of lemons. I send my love to all of you—especially those who are focusing their efforts on recovering and rebuilding their lives following any disaster/crisis/challenge.
We have not escaped the stormy seas —Amongst other things, I miscarried at three months, Nick’s job almost disappeared and it seemed that no one wanted to install solar power systems but I say that we’ve ridden the stormy seas and are now on calmer waters. I am grateful to the many friends who offered me kind words of comfort and understanding when they learned of the miscarriage. I didn’t think I would sink as low as I did - but there’s no accounting for the power of hormones, feelings, and ‘lost’ dreams. I am eternally grateful to my Mother and Father who rearranged their lives to give me the time and space I needed to recover mentally, physically and emotionally. Just thinking about the love and compassion that I received ~ and know that people have for each other ~ overwhelms and excites me!
I speak with many people who are worried that they might not be doing the best thing for their children. I know that feeling well. I lived with it for the first few years of being home based learners, even though I ‘knew’ I had made the best choice for our family. It was the choice that reflected our values but once the decision was made there was still an underlying sense of doubt. Not anymore though. If there is one thing I could give to families just starting out as home based learners, it would be to encourage you to know what you value and make the choices that reflect those values. That goes for people who enrol in schools too, as well as for families who have been home based learners for a while. Save yourself the sleeplessness and agony of being unsure. Whatever you choose to do, do it with joyfulness. Joy comes from doing what we know is right. When we are joyous, then hurts don’t hurt so much and happy times last longer. Joy helps you to do your best and doing your best leads you to feeling joyous!
Joyously. Passionately. Without reservations. That’s how we are meant to live our lives so once you’ve made a decision on you’re approach to home based learning, do it without reservation. That doesn’t mean you won’t see any trains coming your way nor will you do it with any lesser degree of excellence. Change your approach when you see the need to do so. If lots of ‘distractions’ are coming your way, then embrace them without worry about what ‘schooling’ the kids are missing out on. Life, what happens in your family, is your child’s greatest education. The distractions could be an opportunity for you to find out what you value. Prioritise. Choose to do what best reflects your values—and don’t look back! We’ve got all the time we need and I believe that if we live our lives joyously, without holding on to worry or guilt to drain our energy, then we really will do all the things that are important to us. And we will see more of the golden opportunities that always surround us.
A friend pointed out that now is a good time for family discussions on consumerism, advertising etc. Why now? Well the Harry Potter movie has been released, right on Christmas time and look at the paraphernalia that is on sale. It’s a prime example showing how advertising and consumerism go hand in hand. Now, as at Easter, is also timely for respectfully discussing differences in religious practices.
At this time of year, when the accent is on the spirit of unity, goodwill, generosity, giving and receiving, I wish you Joy, Peace and Well-being.
In appreciation of the individuals who have contributed to the informative and inspiring content of this and every other issue of “Stepping Stones” (SSHED), I leave you with this powerful quote from Cardinal Henry Newman, cited in Inviting the Mystic, Supporting the Prophet. p7
© Grace Chapman