Silence the Critics
Critics From the Cheap Seats
What do you say to the critics? You know them… those loud voices telling you that what you SHOULD or SHOULDN’T be doing in your parenting and homeschooling (and frequently other areas of your life).
I have found these voices are often loudest from the “cheap seats”; those who were neither homeschooled, or are not homeschooling. They like to shout out directions like arm-chair quarterbacks calling all the “plays” and moves that you SHOULD be making, while you are the one on the field playing your heart out and taking the all the hits. These well-meaning voices never seem to end as they shout –“They better be reading by Kindergarten”– “Make sure they learn how to socialize” -–“Better join a co-op” – “Make sure they do Algebra & Physics” “How do you expect to get them into college?”
But there’s another critic that’s even harder for me to ignore… the quieter, ever-present voice inside of me. This one is brutally honest and constantly whispers my secret fears … “You’re not qualified for this… You never even took Physics…You loved the socializing… and you turned out ‘just fine” …You are not enough–you’ll fail them!” This critic is my worst enemy.
Dear parent: God has given you a task to do, and in His grace, He will give you EVERYTHING you need to accomplish it. But we are going to have to put the critics on mute, stomp out all those “should do” flaming arrows, put our blinders on, and go for it!
This path required me to depend, not on myself and my understanding, but only on the Lord. I couldn’t fake it for long… my true motivations and intentions came out front-and center in the refining “fire” of days spent at home with my children. My own desire of trying be “good enough” or worse, my expectations that my children would validate my efforts and abilities. My pride in “checking all the boxes” and seeing my children as shiny little “homeschool trophies” that was really only a form of idolatry. And one of the hardest maybe, was the sting of my own shortcomings, my selfish desires for more “me-time” and the sometimes-hard-to-admit, streaks of my own laziness. Homeschooling has been a humbling task but, an ever-rewarding endeavor - not one to be undertaken lightly. Nothing can bring my heart to the surface faster than these little people. They can bring me to tears of joy one minute and throw a wrench into my plans like they are professional mechanics the next. They can set my emotions ablaze with just a single carefully worded match. This daily dying to myself brings the Lord’s resurrection power into my days!
And time flies, too. One minute I was happily sipping hot chocolate with them while teaching them to read and the next minute, I am white-knuckling my car door’s handle while sitting shotgun as I teach them to drive. It’s a wild ride! This ride will often require us to simply close our eyes and be willing to listen ONLY to the Lord’s voice. He’s right there with us. He will lead us along the path we do not know. We can trust Him. The time goes so very fast; treasure every moment.
So, tell your critics (even that one inside) to sit down and be quiet! Then “suit up” (time alone with the Lord works wonders) and get back on the field. We are in this game for His approval alone, an audience of only one, He and He alone! All of Heaven is cheering us on!
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” - John 10:27