The daily grind of homeschooling and child-rearing can be intense. When I feel overcome with the details of my life as a parent and a home educator, I find it helpful to take a step back and think about the big picture.
Here are some questions someone recently put to me that have helped me think more about the big picture of what I am trying to accomplish in raising my family:
- What is your goal in mothering?
- What is your greatest hope for your child?
- What is your greatest fear for your child?
- How do you want your kids to remember you?
- What legacy do you want to leave?
Hopefully these questions will be helpful for you to think about, too.
The question that has stuck with me the most is: “How do you want your kids to remember you?”
Of course, every parent has bad days. If you’re like me, you habitually fail in front of your children. I’m sure my kids will remember some of the bad days I had, but I think that is okay. I think it is better for my kids to see me fail, apologize, and learn from my mistakes than for me to attempt some false facade of perfection! I don’t think kids are that easily fooled.
I’m certainly not perfect, but, in the general scheme of things, how will I be remembered?
We parents set the aroma in our homes. I love the word aroma because it invokes such a vivid sensation. Aromas permeate and overcome. Aromas can conjure up both pleasant and unpleasant reactions! Aromas can bring back memories.
What aroma are we emanating in our homes?
Another way of expressing this same idea is to say that we set the tone in our homes. Our kids may not catch certain specific things we say and do, but they deeply perceive the tone in our homes.
I have thought a lot about the famous Maya Angelou quote, and I have recited it to my children: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
How do we make our kids feel as we live life side-by-side with them, and correct them, and educate them? They will forget many of the details of the things we did for them or said to them, but they won’t ever forget how we made them feel.
Do my kids feel so cherished and accepted that the aroma in our home is incalculably sweet to them? Is our home a safe harbor for them? Do I enter my kids’ worlds and try to understand them better? Do I show affection as well as loving guidance when they need correction? Do my kids feel there is honest trust and loyalty in our relationship? After they leave our home to go out into the world, will they want to return back home as often as they can?
This is the kind of home and the kind of relationship I want to cultivate. This is the big picture. This is how I want to be remembered.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; second image courtesy of Amy Koons.