Saturday, August 4, 2007

Building Towers

As I look forward to a new school year, I have come up with three verses to put before me as a lamp for my homeschool feet. The first is Luke 14:28 - "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?"

The educating and training of our children is like building towers. We have 18 or so years to disciple, teach, and influence each of our children. What do we want them to know in the end? What kind of people do we want them to be? With a 7th grader in the house this year, our thoughts have certainly turned toward these things many times. Prepare for college? Sure. Learn to work hard and be a good provider for his future family? Yep. But most of all, we desire our children to love God with all their hearts (and minds-you can love God by learning algebra!) to love His people, to learn to serve, to have a burden for the nations, and to love learning. Our prayer this year is that we will be always counting the cost and making sure that whatever we add to our family life is ultimately working towards these goals.

The second verse I'm meditating on this year is I Corinthians 3:7: "So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." My Sweetie and I are very mindful of the fact that our labors to raise our children would be worth nothing if the Lord did not bless them. May we humbly remember that our children are ours to raise and love, but they belong to God.

The third verse I chose for this year is one I often come back to when I need to refocus: I Thessalonians 4:11 - "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands." In the last couple of years, I have felt pressure, even in the homeschool community, that whatever we are doing is not enough. More lessons. More sports. More outside classes. More, more, more! We have five children. If each one of them did just one activity outside the home, then potentially every weekday afternoon would be full! Which do our children benefit more from: exposing them to a dozen "once in a lifetime opportunities" or a healthy family life where we enjoy activities together and rich fellowship?

Don't get me wrong, we are not hermits and I am not condoning isolationism in any way. We are very involved in our church family, we love and participate in Master's Academy of Fine Arts, and we usually have one or two kids involved in something extra-curricular at a time. It is simply my goal this year to remember what my friend Lori Lane said, "What is good for the whole family is good for the individuals in the family." With three students and two toddlers, what is "good for the whole family" this year is to keep a tight reign on our schedule and "lead a quiet life."

Now, may we keep these things in my mind as we begin building the next levels of our towers!

9 comments:

Mike said...

Jen - This is such a wise and thoughtful post, particularly the observation of how busy our lives can become. "The greatest enemy of the best is the very good." This certainly is true when we find that we have filled all our spare time with the very good.

One other passage, more on the active side, is 1 Cor 10:3-5. This is our "theme passage" for the year at FCS. Love and blessings.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Jen,

Found you through Amy's blog. Wow - I love this. I am about to begin homeschooling (just preschool now) and am "planning" our goals for the year. This is a great entry and I plan to print it. Thank you for sharing the verses that are guiding your year. I may do the same on my blog as God plants them in my heart. Thank you!

Jennifer said...

oops - in the comment above (Mike's) my Dad meant to put 2 Cor 10:3-5, not 1st Cor.
Jen@Doing The Next Thing

Katherine@Raising Five said...

Hi Jennifer - thanks for visiting me here - so nice to meet you and your lovely family here. I love your "lamp" verses. Leading a quiet life is very hard with a large family, isn't it? I'm constantly needing to refocus on that one!

mommy to four j's said...

Thank you for those encouraging verses. I am also a homeschooling mom. i also havefive children this year i feel overwelmed. Thanks again, Char

Wendy said...

Great verses to think about as you begin another year.

Michelle said...

Jen - Just wanted to say that I love reading your blog! Every post is insightful, amusing, and wise. I am so thankful that you are MY sister and I get all of this great stuff for FREE! =)
Love ya! Michelle

Kate said...

Did I tell you you rock? Good stuff as always Jen. Thanks for the much needed dose of encouragement! Love ya!

Julie@HighFive! said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. It's a little late for me because I have already booked up our fall schedule but it will give me perspective for the future. I really enjoy your thoughts.

My best friend also has her children in the Masters Academy of Fine Arts....she just moved to her new town a year ago. She's has nothing but great things to say about it.