I really loved Briana’s piece called The Seven Stages of a Relationship. The last line says,”Congratulations, you’re running the marathon.”
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint” has been my parenting mantra for the past twenty years. It has given me hope, consoled me, eased my fears, and guided my priorities and decisions.
It really didn’t matter what benchmarks my children reached early or which ones seemed to take forever to achieve. I kept my eyes on the prize and focused on preventing burnout so each child would be able to cross that finish line, where I’d be cheering and applauding.
When my children were little, I thought we would reach the finish line when they turned eighteen. All of my hard work would pay off, and I could bask in the glory of a job well done.
How would I know if we had won the race? What were the final goals for my homeschooling graduates?
Well, I knew what I didn’t care about. I wasn’t going to base success on SAT scores or GPAs or getting into the “best” colleges.
My goal was making sure they had the skills and the foundation, the character and the persistence, the optimism, the confidence and initiative to reach THEIR OWN goals.
I firmly believe that each of my children was born for a very specific purpose and to do an important job on this earth. I never tried to steer them in my own direction or change their natural inclinations because, who knows, maybe those qualities that seemed to be a disadvantage would become the very qualities that were needed to fulfill their own unique destinies.
Now that I have children who have reached their eighteenth birthdays, I realize that we haven’t reached the finish line. We aren’t even halfway there. They are still running, but my role has changed.
I never thought I had the personality to be a cheerleader, but here I am, on the sidelines with my pompoms.
Maybe the finish line will be when they become middle aged themselves. Are they good employees? Are they faithful friends and devoted partners? Are they honest? Are they generous? Are they happy?
Until then, I stay out of their way. I try not to offer unsolicited advice. I encourage them to look within to find their answers.
“You can do it.”
“I believe in you.”
Genevieve–is a former public and private school teacher who has five children and has been homeschooling for the past thirteen years. In her free time she provides slave labor to Dancing Dog Dairy, making goat milk soap and handspun yarn, which can be seen on Our Facebook Page and at Dancing Dog Dairy .