As a homeschooling mom, I see the value of reading. And even before we officially began to homeschool nine years ago, I made intentional decisions to spend time every day reading to my children because I knew I wanted them to grow into adults who loved to read. However, in the business of life as a mom of three young children, I stopped making time for myself to read every day. And in giving up that time, I also gave up one of the chief ways to grow myself as a person.
As women, as moms, we need to make daily choices to explore the world around us. We have been blessed to be given life on this earth, which is a wonderland of people, places, nature, science, art, history, geography. All too often I see my fellow homeschooling moms hunkered down focusing on their children’s school. And perhaps she has dreams of what she will do when her children graduate. But, my dear friend, don’t put those dreams and that exploration on hold. Our children need to see us be excited about the world we’re living in, and they need to see us exploring this great world God has graciously given us.
One book that I read that truly changed my mindset in this regard is Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson. Through telling his own testimony, Andrew also invites his reader on a journey of exploring the world and crafting beauty. Each one of us has a hunger for exploration and beauty and creativity. And it’s when we intentionally take the time to fill that hunger that we are walking more fully in the path that God has laid out for us in this life. (And as I’ve sought to intentionally explore the world around me in many different ways, I’ve read some great books where I’ve learned new skills. But exploration doesn’t just happen through books although, admittedly, it is one of my favorite methods of exploration! Try new experiences. Go on field trips. Sightsee in your state. Learn new skills. It’s a wonderful self-growing journey to embark, and then we get the privilege of bringing our children with us.)
We also should be challenging ourselves. I find it is so easy to slip into the routine and rhythms that are known and easy. Challenge, by definition, takes work. I have read so many great biographies this year of amazing people, who rose to meet the challenges placed before them. And not only did they rise to meet the challenges, they also purposely sought to challenge themselves. How often do we plan out a school year for our children and think and pray through the skills they need to master or the areas in which they need to challenge themselves to a higher excellence, but then we totally stop short of looking at the months ahead to see where we can challenge ourselves to grow and mature and learn? To see a challenge and walk confidently into it takes preparation and intentionality. It takes being willing to go for it. And if it doesn’t work out the way we planned, pick ourselves up and try again. As parents, this determination is something we strive to teach our children. Let us teach by our examples. Let’s show our children that accepting and seeking and looking for challenges is the best way to grow as a person. Let’s let our children see us facing a challenge head on, keeping at it in determination, and succeeding with confidence.
And lastly, we should find daily inspiration for ourselves. Those rhythms and routines that we work out to help our days run smoothly are good and necessary. However, I find that the creative breath of inspiration is also needed to keep our home and family running smoothly and with excitement. We are all created to find joy and beauty in our daily tasks. And reading books is a great source of inspiration. So many different genres to choose from that can change and impact our lives. Biographies of great men and women, DIY books to try new and creative skills, science fiction and fantasy to take our imaginations on a journey, poetry to engage our minds with the beauty of perfectly crafted words. Inspiration can be found in art, in nature, in music. But once again, I find that to bring inspiration into our day I must be intentional. My deepest desire is that my children will grow up with a mind that is inspired by the daily habits and people and routines and beauty they encounter.
Let us set the example to our children of choosing to challenge, inspire, and explore the world around us through our books, our habits, our daily rhythms.
~ Carrie ~