It’s Okay to Be Tired

Its_Okay_to_be_TiredLike all of you, I tend to be a busy person. From the moment I get up till the moment I force myself into bed, I am on the go. I pride myself on how much I can accomplish in a single day, and tend to judge our overall success based on this factor. Pride can be a challenge. It’s no wonder there are times I feel downright exhausted. So why does it surprise me when I get to that point, and at what point had I started viewing my being tired as a weakness?

I want to choose to look at being tired in a positive light.

First, I have put in a solid day of ministry and fun; no matter how that manifests itself. Whether we are doing a little learning at home, going on nature hikes, spending the day on an art project, or simply baking cookies; being a mom and an educator is hard work. When we add outside factors into the mix, it’s no wonder where all that energy goes. I have definitely earned that tired!

Second, the Lord is telling me it is time to take it easy. My Father is gently reminding me I cannot do all things; I need rest to refresh my body, soul, and mind. A moment, or two, of relaxation does not make me negligent. It is a subtle reminder I am human and need a break.

I should give a word of caution. Taking a day off now and again, or needing to get a few more hours of sleep in the evening is not the same as feeling tired day after day. Trust me, I’ve been there. There is a significant difference. When we notice a trend toward a continual tired, it is time to take the matter seriously. Don’t put it off. Go see a doctor and deal with the issue. This is too important to ignore.

Being tired is not a weakness, no matter what my pride is trying to tell me. Being tired does not mean I am being lazy, or that I am lacking. Being tired is not a sign that I am failing. When friends ask if I’m a little tired they are not being mean or unkind; they simply care and notice I am probably pushing myself to an unhealthy limit.

While it is true there are certainly constructive ways to reduce the amount of things being done and streamline our routine, the fact is there are weeks which just hull me out completely, leaving me tired. It’s life. It’s to be expected and that’s okay. The issue isn’t whether or not we will get tired, but how we handle these moments. We shouldn’t see being tired as a weakness, but a natural occurrence and an opportunity to take a breath. Being tired is a sign of a job well done, even if the job is serious playtime. It’s a time to enjoy well-earned rest and allow the Lord to renew our spirit.

Of course, taking the occasional nap might not hurt either.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”
~ Jeremiah 31:25

Your Turn!: When was the last time you took a nap?

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Playing the Comparison Game

playing_comparisonsIs it a female thing; this need to compare ourselves to other people? While I am sure there are men who engage in such actions, I find this to be more prevalent in women. We weigh our curriculum, our routines, our households, our relationships, and more against someone else’s. Why do we do this?

Sometimes we are doing so simply to evaluate where we stand. Are we on the right path? Is there more we could be doing? At other times, if we are being honest with ourselves, we are filled with pride. How could they do that; don’t they know it’s not the best way to homeschool? Why would she do that; doesn’t she understand that is a major parenting mistake?

There are times when sharing our views is perfectly acceptable. When someone asks how we organize our day or which curriculum we like best, it can be fun to share ideas and compare how families differ in their preferences. If a person is needing moral council, we should share the will of Christ. Nor is it a concern if we are merely expressing our opinions or feelings; we have the freedom to do so. However, we need to be very careful that we are doing so with the right attitude. It can be all too easy to shift from sharing to downgrading. Instead of giving examples of what we do and explaining why we like it, we become condescending toward those who don’t do the same. We belittle those who are different from ourselves. I have heard this specific complaint mentioned numerous times. How sad!

We need to avoid the sin of pride. Pride prevents us from establishing good relationships and sharing Christ with others. We think our way is best and think less of those who aren’t doing the same. Apart from moral issues, we need to understand that our way of doing things is simply that; our way. It is not our job to convince people to our way of thinking, nor is our way the only way the job gets done.

To further complicate the problem, what are we teaching our children when they see us engage in this action? Instead of modeling a gracious spirit, one with a heart to edify and encourage, we are teaching them the art of pride.

In our daily conversations, we need to be careful how we conduct ourselves. Our pride can quickly get us into trouble and stumble others around us. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we are immune to this problem. In fact, sometimes, it’s just the opposite. Christians can too often be filled with self-righteousness and pride. When we do catch ourselves giving in to this temptation, we need to ask forgiveness and begin to change our ways. If we happen to be present when such a conversation is being held, we need to speak up! Graciously and humbly, we should counsel those given over to pride.

Sharing about our lives can be lots of fun and often helps others. Let’s share with grace and humility, with a desire to edify those around us. Anything else is just pride.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;”
~ Philippians 2:3

📢 Chime In!: Do you find it hard to speak up when you overhear a person being condescending?

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A Teachable Spirit

A child who lacks a teachable spirit can be a challenge, add homeschooling to that and life can be downright intolerable. Our children need to be able to receive instruction continually, with the right attitude of heart and mind.

It can be quite frustrating to attempt correction and improvement in an area, only to have your child dislike your endeavors to better them. Hurt feelings, pride, and sometimes anger can soon ruin what could have been a wonderful learning opportunity.

A Teachable Spirit

So, how do we remove this blockade and develop a teachable spirit? I think we first need to identify the root of the problem before we can find a solution. The most common reason for lacking a teachable spirit: pride!

No one likes to be told they’re wrong or that there is an area which needs improvement; why would we expect children to be any different? Knowing why our children are struggling in this area better helps us to remedy the situation.

Developing a teachable spirit isn’t always easy and it takes plenty of time. We most certainly don’t have it down pat in our house, but I believe there are several ways in which to establish this principle:

  • Parental Modeling: When, as parents, we are open about our own needs for improvement, we lead by example. Don’t be afraid of sharing with your children your own areas of improvement and how others have helped you become better.
  • Biblical Models: Make sure to point out examples of Biblical leaders who had teachable spirits. (Moses took advice from Jethro; Joshua from Moses; and so on.) Seeing these important spiritual men as not just leaders, but students, will help them understand the wisdom in learning from others.
  • Historical Models: Add to those men of the Bible, other people who have made an impact on the world. Share not only their triumphs, but also the lessons learned from mentors and teachers.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Fail: Encourage your children to view mistakes not as failure, but as a means of learning. Just because you didn’t get it right, doesn’t mean a valuable lesson hasn’t been learned. Accept the fact that it didn’t get done right this time, but assure them they learned a good lesson and will be able to move forward.
  • Lots and Lots of Prayer: While doing all of the above, do a lot of praying on your child’s behalf. Ask the Lord to work not only in their hearts, but in yours; showing you ways in which to reach out and help them learn this important concept.

A personal thought:  It ought to be noted that sometimes our children struggle with this area due to lack of parental respect. Consider taking a break from book work to recapture your child’s heart. I find that when the ties between us are strong, the rest flows along nicely; they long to please us.

When our children struggle with having a teachable spirit it can make our learning day, and life in general, quite challenging. Before moving on with academics, the attitude of our heart needs to be dealt with first. When a child possesses a teachable spirit, learning is a joy and a pleasure for all!

What advice would you give to the parent of a child struggling in this area?

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – I Peter 5:5

And the Award Goes To…

Winning Prize

One of the projects that actually won a significant award.

The kids and I are almost done with the second quarter of our home schooling year. With only four weeks to go, the holidays are coming up fast and a break is in sight.

At the end of every quarter, I take stock of the paperwork I have filed and decide what is truly worth keeping. With limited amounts of space, I can’t afford to keep every scrap of paper my kids write on.

The projects we completed for the LA County fair are among the stack of items to be organized for the current quarter.

While it might seem worthwhile to keep a vast majority of these projects (they really are cute), I can’t justify all of them. Several of the projects received only a third place and that presents a problem.

Now, some of you might be gasping and staring in shock at my confession, but hear me out.

The fair competitions work on a Danish form of judging, which is a whole different animal, in-and-of itself. Each project is judged against a standard (no problem there so far); cleanliness, adherence to rules, and creativity, being among some of the qualifications. Based on these standards, the judges give each project a score and then it is awarded a prize.

So what exactly is the problem? It is precisely this… Anyone who doesn’t get a first or a second, automatically gets a third place prize! Now, if my child gets a third place prize, does this mean that they actually warranted it or is this the “pity prize”; making third place all but meaningless?

I tend to think it is the latter. As an attempt to preserve these little people’s feelings and prevent parents from arguing with fair staff, the educational committee has decided to go the easy route; give everyone a prize!

While some might think this helps children’s self-confidence, I disagree. How is my child supposed to be feel good about third place, when all they had to do was turn it in to get that prize? What do children have to strive for, if we tell them simply turning in their work is good enough?

I don’t want a prize because someone felt sorry for me or because they needed to fill a quota of awards, I want it because I earned it! My children feel the same way.

I want my children to do their best and then be judged accurately. I want them to know that they have earned their place and then work harder if they didn’t get the position hoped for.

When they see that third place, they should strive for second. When they see second, they should strive for first. Giving them a meaningless award only teaches them not to be achievers; diminishing the hard work and ambition of the child who truly earned it.

When children are taught to earn their awards, they will have true confidence. They will know that the award has been earned and not simply granted. They will take pride in the hard work, time, and diligence it took to get it.

I wonder what life would be like if we banished awards for tenth place and instead stuck to an Olympic form of judging. You have three options; first, second, and third. If you didn’t make the cut, keep trying.

Needless to say, when projects get filed for this quarter, only exceptional work will be saved. The cute ones might be kept for personal memories, but the rest will be recycled.

How do you feel about a system of judging that hands out awards for fourth and fifth place?

Patience, Young Paduan

"T" and II have often noticed that when my internal thermostat is not where it is supposed to be, the reason usually lies with impatience. Something didn’t get done fast enough, something didn’t get done correctly, someone didn’t listen the first time, and things of that nature.

While it would be easy to blame my circumstances for my impatience and not take responsibility, the fact is I am to blame. I am the one who has allowed myself to get to this point and I need to learn better.

It would probably be best if I learned to recognize what “sets me off” and then I can take action. Thinking back, it really all boils down to about four things:

I am running out of time: It often happens that when I cut myself short on time, I start to panic and become impatient. Where did the time go? Why didn’t we get out of here faster?

I have learned over the years to plan well, making sure to give myself extra time just in case there are unforeseen circumstances.

Something didn’t get done correctly: (Sigh) I wish I could say that whenever my kids make a mistake, I gently correct them and show them the proper way to do things. However, that would not be true. I find that I get impatient when I have to show them, time and time and time again, how something needs to be done.

The Lord has gotten my heart over this one though; how often has He had to show me something, over and over and over again? I am getting better, but at times impatience still creeps in.

Someone isn’t listening to instructions: This one is the hardest for me. I dislike having them disregard me or not follow through with something given to them. If I ask them to do something, I like it done right away. If I tell them something needs to get done, I don’t want to be given an argument.

I have come to realize that when my kids aren’t listening, the fault is mine! I need to be better training them to listen and obey. I also need to make sure that they hear my instructions clearly and understand my intentions. With work and time, it will get better.

My pride has been hurt: I think pride is the root of the problem! My pride is a sensitive thing and when my pride is pricked, I get impatient. How dare they not listen to me? How dare they drag their feet or not do it right the first time; after all, didn’t I show them the right way to do it? Why can’t they just do what I want?

I need to learn to take a step back and think things through. Very often, my kids aren’t trying to be disobedient, I have just set my expectations too high. It isn’t their fault when I haven’t planned out our day well or there are unexpected delays. I also need to remember that they are young and still learning. In time, they will do things correctly the first time and not need as much instruction. They will come to listen and obey, when they are trained to do so.

Whether it is chores, homeschooling, relationships, or work; patience is a virtue that we cannot do without. Knowing my own limits and working through them, will help me to better get a handle on my patience.

I remember hearing once, that if you ask the Lord to give you patience, He will often bring you trials by which to learn it. I pray that as I get older and mature in the Lord, I will better develop patience. That as I learn, I will be teaching my children by example.

Do you struggle with impatience, too? What usually “sets you off”?