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  • Angela Eve

Bad Days Don't Define the Outcome

Updated: Apr 19, 2020

My children rarely get sick, and when they do, it typically lasts for a day or two at most. However, over the last month and a half, all of my children have gone through a flu that lingers. I sometimes wish that if a sickness is going to come through our home, that it would hit everyone at once, and be done. But, that is rarely how it goes down. One kid starts to become irritable, then the fever starts, then the coughing, and/or vomiting, etc. And then, just as the sun starts shining, and kid one begins to show signs of recovery, kid two starts. All while kid one continues to be irritable while their energy levels slowly return. This has been the last 7ish weeks in our home.


Generally my kids get along well. There are occasional skirmishes and such, but on the whole, they play well together without much intervention needed from me. This has not been the case while this sickness was running through our home. Our cheerful, happy-go-lucky 4 year old turned into a demanding little person with fever pitched wines. Our 6 year old became angry and aggressive, while feeling picked on (on account of her siblings not-so-awesome reactions to her unreasonable attitude). My 11 year old became intolerant and less willing to help me out with the things she normally would. My 8 year old was the last to come down with it, so he did fairly well just staying out of his sisters' way. And then there was me. Thankfully I did not get sick, but I am just entering my 32nd week of pregnancy. So lets just say, my emotional and physical energy are ...mmm slightly reduced.


These last few weeks led to a number of moments and days that would make a new mom's skin crawl, or cause most single people to vow never to enter the sacred job of parenting.


Moments like this can easily lead to us moms questioning our ability to handle it all. Throughout the years, when people find out we homeschool, many would say "I could never do that". To which I would silently think to myself, I'm not sure I can either. This day in, day out, moment by moment in your face parenting feels impossible at times. Now that many of you are temporarily joining me in doing the impossible, I hope many of you realize that you can do it. Despite the tough moments, trust that God's got your back. He will in fact work all these things together for the good of you and your family, who love Him.


Moments of perceived (okay, actual) chaos provide great opportunities for reflection. After the family is in bed for the night, and it is quiet (other than that lingering cough my son still has) I am able to evaluate how we all got through it with relative sanity.


A verse that popped out at me during our readings this week was Proverbs 24:10 "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small."


Ouch.


Fainting is not an option. Giving up is not an option. Pushing through to the other side is the only way we will see the results we wish to see in our kids, and in us.


So how do we mentally, emotionally and spiritually face the bad moments and days?


I know my "whys"

Why I choose to keep my kids close. Why I want to be the one imparting wisdom into their lives. Why their long term character development is more important than how any particular day went. Why their ability to deal with their siblings misbehavior is fundamental to their future conduct and relationships. The whys matter more than the whats. The whats give us a to-do list, but the whys keep us committed, heart and soul.


Knowing why I committed to schooling my kids at home is a strong foundation when I feel like giving up and quitting.


Just as I need to know my whys, I recognized that my kids do as well.

So a while ago I wrote up a simple list of some of my kids general repetitive why questions, along with answers:


Question: "Why do we always have to keep the house clean."

Answer: "So we are always ready to create, work, and to have people come hang out with us!"


Question: "Why do we have to do math!"

Answer: "So we can manage the tremendous blessings we are given, and so we know how much we can share!"


Question: "Why do I have to do English?"

Answer: "So we can articulate truth, beauty and life with clarity and power."

Question: "Why do we read so many stories?"

Answer: "Because they inspire and move us into being greater versions of us."

Question: "Why do we do Bible readings first thing everyday?"

Answer: "Because it needs to be our first and final authority; it prepares our minds to sieve all else through its pages.

Question: "Why do we have to do Science?"

Answer: "So that we understand and never take for granted the incredible, perfect creation God spoke into being."


Question: "Why do we have to do history, when it has so much bad stuff?"

Answer: "So that we learn what characteristics made up healthy and godly people and leaders, as well as those who were selfish and foolish. And then what legacy those characteristics brought about."

I realize, that for many of you schooling at home was never on the table. So mustering up a heartfelt list of whys perhaps seams forced or fake. However, I am sure that if you want to make the most of this time, it would do you and your kids a tremendous service to go through the mental exercise. You could do this school at home thing simply because you have to. But the powerful results will come more from understanding what you want this time to bring about. Are you hoping to establish more real connections with your kids? Are you hoping to simplify and refocus on the things that are really important to your values? Are you hoping that your children will be siblings that are closely bonded? Are you wanting to work towards your teenage kids holding respect for your opinion and direction? The blessings can be enormous. Write them down. And refer back to them on days that are not going well. Knowing the why gives us the fortitude to push in again tomorrow.





Bad days are not who we are.

Be careful not to give a bad day more credit than it deserves. During the last few weeks it would have been easy to conclude that my parenting has failed. That my little people lack self control. That I lack self control. That all the effort we have put into developing the character of these small people has failed. But that is simply not the case. By far the majority of our moments are incredible. The fruit of what God has done in them and us is evident. Make effort to realize that today's mess up is not who you are, it is not who your kids are, and it is not what reality will continue to be. Tomorrow is a new day. I told my husband during one of the hardest weeks that I was pretty sure God made sleep necessary as a gift for parents. Yesterday's mess ups are done, and today is a new reality. Take that fact fully to heart. Determine in your prayer time before sleeping that tomorrow will be different. And when you wake up tomorrow rejoice that it is a new day. And then start speaking what the day should be like: joyful, peaceful, meaningful etc.



Practically, what do you do in the moment when a day goes south?


The majority of today's entry was focused on how we process the bad moments, but I wanted to conclude with a little bit of practical advice as well.

There will be times when a child will loose it. My advice in these moments is to put the books away and work on the character issue. Many wise homeschool moms will tell you that relationship trumps academics every time. So whether it is one child, all the children, or even you, always prioritize character and relationship. Otherwise all is lost.


I will be transparent and tell you that this is incredibly hard for me. I want to get the list done for the day. When a bad attitude interrupts that list, I naturally want to get my back up and push harder. But I have recognized that the outcome of forcing academics when attitudes and emotions are high is always unhealthy. Send your kids outside. Or you go outside. It can be miraculous the difference this can make. Or simply set down the pencils and gather your kids together and pray. Find something to do together that is fun. Make cookies. Play cards. Use discernment in the moment. You will know whether a particular child needs correction, or if you are all simply in need of a break in pressure.


Sometimes we go back and finish the lesson a few hours later. Other times we leave it until the next day. What is key here, is that the children and you are in the right frame of mind to tackle the work again.


I pray you all stay healthy: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are not doing this on your own. God's hand is still on you and your little people. I believe the fruits of this crazy time will be beautiful if we do not "faint in the day of adversity".


From my lock-down home to yours,

be blessed, choose joy, and stay sane!

Angela Eve



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