I've learned a lot about myself this week and am infinitely grateful to ALL those who take time to not only read but also to comment on my blog. Your comments have helped me to ask myself some tough questions the past few days and have opened my heart (and mind) in unexpected ways.
I have been on my knees a lot. I have searched the scriptures. I have talked at length with my spouse. I have analyzed my motives, my delivery, and most of all my heart. I have considered my reasons for blogging and my options for going forward: deleting, editing (the one edit I did does not take a rocket scientist to notice), starting a separate blog, changing my approach, etc. Some questions came with answers. Some didn't.
What follows is what I learned and what I will do about it.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED:
I have a new best friend. His name is Shiblon and he had an awesome father named Alma. Alma, himself, was a punk kid who later became a powerful leader. In his parting words to Shiblon, Alma gave this advice:
“bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”
Suddenly, I was Shiblon and Alma was talking to me.
As a general rule, I feel extremely passionate about nearly every choice I make. Cochlear Implants, Religion, Politics—even petty stuff like how to load the dishwasher (I know, I know, poor Matt). I have, until recently, thought this passion about life—indeed about homeschooling—was from God, and that it meant I was on the right track. But this story taught me that passion, although a powerful force, can work against you if not tightly controlled. Unbridled, passion can get in the way of love. And without love, we are nothing.
Blogging is much different for me now than it was a week ago. A week ago, I knew of a very small number of people who read my blog regularly—and I thought about them when I made updates—but for the most part, when I clicked “Publish,” it felt to me like I was sending my soul to somewhere in the void. I don't get paid to blog and I don't really expect to have 100s of followers. I figured for those who cared to read it, great; for those who didn’t, equally great.
But this week something has changed. It’s really sunk in that I am blogging to individual people—and a lot more people than I thought! Those people suddenly had names and faces and life stories. I thought about how the tough part of blogging is that it removes me from the social feedback I get as I’m jabbering away with a real person—the feedback that tells me when what I meant, what I said, and what my audience understood were three different things; and the feedback that tells me when I need to be listening instead of talking.
I thought about the people who shared my religion and those who did not. I thought about those who had better school experiences than I and those who had worse. I thought about those that appreciate my transparent personality and those that are uncomfortable with it and really don’t care to know the details. I thought about those from great families and those from broken homes, complete with the abuse that seems to be, sadly, more and more common every year. I thought about those who’d made different choices than I--both better and worse. I thought about older generations for whom my experiences may have been a reminder of how much times are changing. I thought about those who perhaps DID marry their Mr. Wrong and are doing the best they can with their situation. I thought about all those people from “Waiting for Superman” whose numbers didn’t get chosen.
I thought especially long and hard about those people—those precious individuals—I knew in high school. How would I feel, I asked myself, if I had been one of those people who set me up on one of those awful blind dates or who invited me to the party that neither of us knew would have drugs? How would I feel if I read my blog and Natalie insinuated that I was a “bad influence”? (OH! I didn't mean to!)
Even though I DID mean to question whether the idea of putting a bunch of kids (most of whom are trying desperately to figure out who they are), all together in the same building for 6+ hours a day really the most effective way to teach them social skills and the importance of education; I realized that my question was valid, but my delivery was full of passion and lacking love.
As I pondered this, I remembered that I don’t believe in “bad” kids and “good” kids. I never have. I believe there is endless potential for good in everyone on this earth. I have been filled with love for all of those who commented--even (and perhaps especially) those who chose to remain anonymous.
I don’t have a simple answer to the question I raised. But I know this: my parents, my teachers, and my peers were all doing the best they could do with the resources and experiences they had. And no matter what my personal struggles were, I know that I was free--and our children will be free--to turn each negative experience into a positive one.
My experiences have shaped me. But they don’t define me.
I’ve realized the question we parents are addressing is not, “IF we should expose our kids to the world,” but rather, “WHEN and HOW we should expose our kids to the world?”
The answer is personal and may change for each individual, family, parent, child, and upcoming school year.
I began this series for all the reasons I outlined in the first post:
“in order to journal my own thought processes and ‘conversion’ to home schooling, increase awareness for people who know little about home schooling, and finally to encourage those who also might be thinking about home schooling.”
I will finish the series for those same reasons, and then I will change the subject.
If what I write upsets you, or if you think I need to be aware of something I've overlooked in my analysis, please let me know. I am learning like the rest of you and am more than willing to address the issue privately (if you leave your name) instead of publicly just so we can keep moving forward. If you don’t want to leave a public comment, you’re welcome to email me at my personal address: natalie (dot) hunsaker (at) gmail (dot) com. If you’d like to not read it at all, I invite you to check back after I am done with this series and am on to things that interest you more.
Again, I love each of you and sincerely thank you for your opinions, thoughts, and feelings. Each of you has taught me a lot, for which I am grateful.
I am confident we are all doing the best we know how to do for our children. I am confident our children will make their own choices regardless of what we do. I am also confident that wherever we may think we’ve messed up as individuals or parents, God can--and will--heal us if we turn to Him.
2011Res: To Matt: I appreciate you letting me bask in your wisdom the past few days. I'm sorry my posts represented only my views and not yours, too. To Brynn: today I savored your growing vocabulary. "Whehe Daddy?" "Eat chee" "Fwower!" And my personal favorite new just today: "Sowwy." I can't believe how much you're saying! And to think we almost didn't implant you... Dear Heidi: You make me laugh when you try so hard to suck your thumb and nurse at the same time. It never works, but you'd be the happiest baby in the world if it did! Dear Mr H: today, I tried to become a better person. I hope that translates to me being able to love and serve you better.
Noah's 5th Birthday
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