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But, I Didn't Sign Up For This!

By now, those of you whose kids didn't go back to full-time, in-person school have had a chance to see how this school-at-home thing works. For some of you this may have been no more than a blip, just a slight adjustment of your daily routine. You pretty much stay home anyway, and didn't have other big plans--in fact, you're finding that you actually kind of like it! You're thinking you might actually even continue homeschooling when it's all over!

My guess, however, is that for many (most?) of you it's been pretty tough.

It sounds simple enough--set up an area for your kids to work, get the tablets provided by the school, and let the teacher teach while your children watch, listen, and follow instructions. Not particularly complicated in theory--if you aren't actually homeschooling, then you aren't the one having to prepare the lessons and do the actual teaching, right? Easy!

The problem is that you have (or at least, used to have) a life of your own that did not include staying home most of the day, then taking your kids with you whenever you need to leave the house. Maybe your kids are older and leaving them is not an issue, but for those with elementary-age kids, you're stuck. And I haven't even mentioned toddlers, who I'm sure are "helping" you in oh-so-many ways! You did not sign up for this!

I'm going to remind you of something you already know: Regardless of how frustrating, inconvenient, irritating, and difficult this process is, you can decide whether or not to be miserable. Grousing and sighing about it isn't going to get your kids back in school any faster, and it sure isn't going to make you feel better. Other people may be sympathetic, but not forever.

I'm going to remind you of something you already know . . . Grousing and sighing about it isn't going to get your kids back in school any faster, and it sure isn't going to make you feel better.

Let me tell you what's going on--you're invested in resisting this, because it's just not right-- "It really shouldn't be this way", "The virus is ruining everything", "The mayor/governor/school board/president is messing everything up", etc.--I'm not saying you don't have every right to be royally put out, but since you can't change the circumstances, make your life better by changing your outlook.

To quote St. Paul, "We know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Rom. 8: 28 NIV. That includes having to stay home and monitor your kids' education, while staying on top of everything else in your life and not being able to do all the fun things you were looking forward to doing this Fall.

I'm really sorry--I wish I could magically make this easier! But we absolutely know that God doesn't allow things to happen without a good reason. What that means is that we kind of have an obligation to say "Thank you"--I'm pretty sure Paul said something about that, too . . . "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:18

If that isn't enough to convince you, think of how your kids act when they don't get their way, when they complain, whine, stomp their feet, or throw a fit if they don't get what they want. It's not pretty. You want them to learn to accept disappointment with grace, and the only way they'll learn is if YOU show them how. Demonstrate how handle disappointed plans with humility, grace, and a positive outlook. Smile, not because you're pretending to like it, but because you can ACCEPT it. Tell God you trust him to help you and to use this less-than-ideal situation for some kind of good. Then don't look back.

The word "accept" above is really the all-important first step. You've probably read the prayer of St. Francis, which begins "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." Once you've embraced that this is just how things are for now, and stop resisting and complaining about it, you'll be on your way. This won't magically make your responsibilities go away, but when you remove resistance, everything gets easier. Remind yourself that it won't last forever.

Hang in there! You really can get through this. If you need encouragement or advice along the way, or just someone to listen, please don't hesitate to contact me, no charge! I can help. You're not alone.

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