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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Under difficult circumstances

It always amazes me when I tell people I've started homeschooling and they say, "Oh, I'd love to homeschool my son/daughter but I just couldn't do it, I don't have the patience." Or when they learn I bake bread instead of buy it at the store or cook breakfast for my children in the morning instead of giving them cereal. The exclaim, aghast, "I don't know how you do it, I don't have time or patience for that."
I'm always at a loss for words because I have no patience, with my children, my husband, my parents, traffic, the stove; nothing. I usually stammer something about God giving me the strength to whatever it is I'm doing and then we change the subject.
I don't do anything special, especially when compared to the homeschooling mothers of 5, 9 or 12 children at my parish. My day would be called easy when compared to the daily grind of women 50 or 100 years ago. So why has my 'ordinary routine' become so uncommon and downright unusual to many modern women?
One hundred years ago, women had to bake, cook, sew and wash everything by hand. All school was homeschool unless you had a school you could walk to. All mothers did what I did and much more and no one praised them for their patience or extraordinary abilities. They did what was necessary to survive. What makes us different from previous generations? Certainly nothing genetic.
We often don't know what we are capable of until we are put in a tough spot. A friend didn't realize she could homeschool three children and watch a baby until the Catholic school she trusted started teaching new age garbage to her kindergartner. I realized a family of four could live in a third floor loft for two years when finances demanded it.
We live in a time with wonderful conveniences but with so many things, and 'professionals' to do things for us, we often feel we can't do things for ourselves. We have a choice to rely on others or ourselves and many times because of 'stress' or 'time constraints' we insist we 'need' to choose someone else. And then we wonder why we wind up with so much debt?
It's not that we can't do something, like homeschooling, it's that we won't. We don't take the bull by the horns and just go for it. And it's not lack of patience or time, it's a lack of faith in God. Showing up on Sunday, singing in the choir and teaching CCD are great but does it take a leap of faith do complete those tasks? Don't wait for difficult or uncomfortable circumstances. Take a difficult stand, make the choice to do the right thing not the easy thing and see if you don't rise to meet the occasion. Faith in God is the necessary ingredient for success. Just be sure to give credit where credit is due when someone complements you on achieving something they think is unattainable. Because only God's grace can keep you from screaming and crying, again, after dinner winds up on the floor and another art project jams your printer.