The quality of homeschooling is very much affected by the quality of your relationships in the home. When my husband and I have tension in our marriage or our emotional tanks are not full, these things have a negative effect on my interactions with the kids. If Edric and I let conflicts remain unresolved, I actually have NO desire to homeschool the kids. I am too preoccupied nursing my own wounds and frustrations and I want to be alone. “What can I do with and for the kids today?” is a question I don’t want to put any energy into answering.
God convicted me one morning when I woke up feeling exactly like that. Edric and I had dealt with an issue the night before and it left me feeling very down. When he left for work the next day he said, “I love you” and hugged me, but I didn’t feel like hugging him back. He said, “Do you love me?” I said, “Yes,” but I did not look at him in the eye. And he said, “Why aren’t you looking into my eyes when you say it?” So I said, “I love you” and looked into his eyes but my heart wasn’t right. Even though we both apologized to each other, I wondered why I was holding on to the hurt. So I did the first thing I didn’t feel like doing. I read my Bible, spent time with the Lord, and prayed about it!
When my relationships are not okay, I am often sure of one thing. The main problem is my relationship with God. Something needs fixing.
As I thought through my emotions, God convicted me. He said, “You need to take a good look at yourself, especially your feelings, attitude and expectations and process them. You have four kids who need you, a husband whom you are going to spend at least 30 more years loving, and if you keep up your ‘poor me’, self-centered perspective, you are going to have a miserable marriage and family.” Well, that didn’t make me feel better at first, but it all made sense.
The reason why I was upset was because I wanted Edric to love me, appreciate me, relate to me on my terms and I refused to accept anything less. My happiness was dependent on the way he treated me. This perspective was making me nit-pick, react, and disrespect him. I was keeping a list of wrongs and offenses that bubbled over every time I felt Edric did something I didn’t like. And don’t get me wrong, my husband is a very loving person, but we are also binary opposites in many ways. (He also prays for the many ways that I need to change!) These differences have caused tension in our marriage and since we are nearly 10 year married, we have our fair share of war scars.
The Bible says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” Joy (me) on the other hand, looks at every sin! God reminded me that a good marriage is based on unconditional commitment to an imperfect spouse that often requires sacrifice.
As I wrote my prayer down in my journal, my last sentences read, “I am tired of temporary fixes. Lord, please fix me, my heart. Remove the anger and silent bitterness that I am harbouring…I give everything to you…Please help me to stop judging him, comparing him to others, and wanting to change him. He is your project, not mine. Help me to be a better, sweeter, more loving, more forgiving , more patient wife. I cannot do this without you.” After I put my pen down, I cried. I cried because I don’t want to spend the next 50 years holding on to hurt and allowing it to ruin my relationship with Edric.
The truth is that I want to love him passionately and enjoy him, but I knew that if I kept on reacting to him then I would be a catalyst to stir our relationship in the wrong direction. At the end of the day, I knew that my reactions were not so much about what was wrong with Edric but what was wrong with me inside.
When I got the chance to speak to Edric, I sincerely apologized and told him my realizations. I could hear the joy in his voice as we genuinely communicated our feelings and processed them together from a spiritual perspective and set things right.
What do relationships have to do with homeschooling? Everything. If we are shackled down by hurt, bitterness, or anger we are not free to love. And if we are not free to love the people around us, especially our family, then we cannot be effective teachers to our children either. We may be able to teach some things, but we will not be able to teach what really counts. This is not my idea. It’s in the Bible.
1 Corinthians 13 (paraphrased) says, if I am a gifted speaker, but if I don’t have love, I am just an ugly sound. If I have supreme knowledge and understanding, and I am so full of faith I can move mountains, but if I do not have love, I am nothing.
The best teachers are not those who know everything, but those who love best. It’s not the number of degrees you have but the degrees between your relationships that matter.
Here is the standard all great teachers should aspire for:
1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails…