Flashback to 1997: It’s been raining outside all morning while I’ve been doing school with my children. Now, it’s the afternoon, and I send my kids out to the vegetable garden to pick some fresh green beans. I made sure they put on their rubber boots since it is pretty muddy in the pathways, and I trust that my oldest, now 10, will be responsible and make sure everyone brings more beans back into the house than mud.
I’m busy making a pot of soup for dinner and am not really paying attention when Bethany steps through the patio door, taking off her boots before coming inside with a bucket full of beans. I especially don’t notice when 3-year-old Charity walks into the house right behind her sister without taking off her muddy boots.
The next thing I hear is Charity squeaking in a very loud voice to me, trying to get my attention with her words. She certainly did get my notice, not because of what she was saying, but because looking up, I could see a trail of muddy footprints across the kitchen floor,
“Stop! Don’t go any further, Charity… No! Don’t keep walking toward me. Stop! Stop!!”
I failed to see her open hand, in which Charity was holding a very tiny praying mantis. She had been eager to show me God’s amazing creation moments earlier, when in her excitement she exclaimed, “See, mommy! See the baby paing mantis? Isn’t it cute?”
All I could see was the mud on the floor.
And because I had just yelled at her to stop, instead of observing her joy in this tiny insect, she was now silent, close to tears, with her little lip quivering.
In my startled observation and frustration over the big mess little Charity just made all over the floor, I completely missed a beautiful moment of discovery and sharing.
And I was immediately struck with regret.
We can be like this about our homeschooling, too, moms. We can be so focused on the rigorous academics of each day that we miss opportunities to uncover the amazing world around us God has made – taking a walk with our kids, not to get our exercise in, but to just spend time together, listening to bird calls or watching “helicopter” seeds fall from a maple tree in the spring.
When the day is busy with a full school load, perhaps busier than normal – because Robbie has a runny nose, or baby Leah is teething and fussy, or the washing machine is broke and the laundry is piling up – it can be so tempting for us to fill the day with only the necessary, and miss the overflowing wonder and beauty all around us…in our own back yard.
The good news is the Lord is mindful of our weakness and is always there to help us tweak what we’re doing in our homeschooling. He knows exactly how overwhelmed we can feel about all the necessaries in our day, and reminds us that every day is another opportunity to start afresh, with His mercies anew.
“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:25
I quickly repented of missing that sweet moment with Charity, determined not to lose it completely,
“Oh, I’m sorry for yelling at you, Charity. Let’s take your boots off, and come, show me what you have there. Isn’t it amazing that God made that insect to be so tiny? Soon, that praying mantis is going to grow very big, and then he’ll eat the bad bugs in the garden so our vegetables can grow. God sure knows how to take care of us, doesn’t He?”
I still don’t like mud being tracked in my house, but I learned to let my kids go explore regularly in our homeschooling. And yes, even dig in the dirt if they wanted to. There’s a wonderful world out there for our children to discover, and homeschooling gives us the opportunity to let them do it.
Enjoy the journey … there’s no place like home,
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; Second image taken by Tracy Klicka MacKillop.