Monday, August 25, 2014

Just Thinkin'

I am going to apologize now for the long post.  I have had a lot on my mind lately...thought it would be good to get it out there.  Maybe it will comfort or help someone else who is struggling.

Amidst all the craziness here while having a family friend visit for two weeks, getting ready both for my oldest starting preschool here at home in a week & my youngest's 2nd birthday adventure at Day Out With Thomas...I haven't had much time to myself or to think about blogging.  Not to mention other things on our minds that have needed processing & decisions.

The biggest decision is what to do as we watched our 3 1/2 yr old boy develop a disrespectful attitude towards us.  It seemed to start right after being in the toddler's kids church & then I would try to "work" on this attitude with discipline & daddy with some traditional southern values...wink.  We would start getting somewhere & then it was Wednesday--time to go to mid-week services at our church.  Guess what, our usually well-mannered child would come home, once again, with this amazingly bad & disrespectful attitude towards us.  I am talking "SIGH, whatever MOM..."  or him rolling his eyes when I ask him to do something.  Sometimes he was outright refusing to do what I told him then folding his arms & glaring at me?!?!  This is not the son I remember!  What happened?  I hadn't changed anything, he isn't in daycare or school....then we saw the pattern.  It had to be dealt with immediately.  

So we discovered a more than acceptable amount of kids in the class who were not told "no" at home or appropriately disciplined, which caused trouble for the teachers including some of the young adults who I know in the classroom.  They had no way to control these kids--they would not listen no matter what and some of the other well-behaved kids were mimicking this attitude.

We had to make a decision after leaving him one more week & seeing it get worse.  This cannot go on if I desire to teach my child anything in preschool in a week or so.  SO, we first decided to pull him out of kid's church & stay in the service with us.  This came with amazing results.  He behaved, loved the music & was quiet during the sermon.  No attitude at home or disrespect.  He was great today; listening & doing what is told without rolling of eyes or sighs of displeasure.  I can't believe the difference but it is there as obvious evidence to what we thought was going on:  he was picking up bad habits & attitudes from other children.

This was the last straw in our tough decision as of late.  We have been mulling for months over seeking out another congregation of believers that mix better with where our lives are headed.  This sound bad, but hear me out.  We are in a congregation where much of the leadership stands by our public schools & sends their kids to them.  I could see the effects of the public school system before all this new initiative. The public school system has left many Christian kids spiritually broken, lonely, & confused.  Who wants this for your kid?  I won't get on my soapbox here (maybe another blog later) Any mom or dad worth their salt, both conservatives & liberals alike, have seen how bad Common Core is to the intellect of our children....if not let me send you to this video to help you out.  Please watch & then have a comment:

Brilliant anti-Common Core Speech by Dr. Duke Pesta  

Onwards to more....with this swarm of "culture norm" Christians as I call them, came the looks, the coughs & silence once they found out that I was "one of those 'homeschooling' people".  All my friendships have been fading except for a few people who either:  1) work as a private school teacher to afford to keep there kids in that school 2) Are home school advocates themselves or  3) Are newly married & are seeing the problems now & look to make the same decisions we have.  That leaves us with only a few people but still most of them are all so activity-busy they don't have time to spend with actual people. 

Making matters worse, I went to the older kids church where my son will be when he is 5 yrs old.  I talked to the director, who knows me (but not my education plans for my kids), and I saw they split kids up by school!  So, no intermingling with other kids from other areas or anything....So I then ask, "what group do you put the homeschooled kids in?"  He promptly answered, "Oh, we put them in ____ color group with these other kids.....they don't really matter so we don't worry about them."  WHAT!!!!!  I had already asked the small handful of jr. high kids about what its like to be a homeschooled kid in this church.  They mentioned the almost anti-homeschool attitude of the kids church workers; not allowing them to answer questions because they can articulate them well for other who don't know or they have actual, not watered-down Biblically-based beliefs that can cause too many discussions.  They felt like pariahs when many parents in our town have been pulling kids out of school.  SO much so, that they can't even fill the pre-school this year & are recruiting 3 year olds that normally are too young to attend.  This is unacceptable behavior I believe.
Children growing up in a church should not be segregated by school & some shoved off because they don't fit this "cultural" norm (aren't we supposed to be different?)

There are a few other reasons that factor into our decision, but we have decided to seek a more "homeschool" friendly church.  We see this as something that God called us to do to be different from the world:  to actually be involved & in charge of our childrens' education.  I want to be around other parents that either don't judge, don't care or agree/are doing the same.  We are praying about what to do & where to go.  Its hard, but we have learned never to stay just for the "preacher" because that is not what makes a church.  The people & the leadership make a church what it is, no matter what the pastor thinks.  If we are made to feel like outcasts, we need to weigh our options here.  Especially when your personal Bible study, prayer & taking a stand against the evil that is going on in our culture, nation & world makes you unpopular.  It signals to me the start of a foundation problem that will lead to bigger things later. 

 I see the signs here at our current church & my kids mental & spiritual health will no be sacrificed to stay & try to help fix it.  Its always hard but God first calls you to train up your kids.  They can't be trained well if you never see them, they are constantly barraged with opposite messages, or are mocked for their belief.  This is not the environment to grow in intellect or true Christian charity (I should know, I barely escaped public school in the 90's with my faith strong; its taken me a decade to repair from all that emotionally & spiritually).  This is what leads to broken, arm cutting, spiritually broken people who do nothing for anyone.

So why do we keep doing the same things our culture does?  Just get up, send them to school for almost the whole day with someone you really don't know.  Go to work to buy all the materialistic things our culture says we MUST have to be happy, go home, eat processed crap instead of real food we have to cook, get our kids to try to behave before we shove them off to bed (barely knowing what they did, learned or felt that day) and try to entertain ourselves to avoid actually taking time to think about what we are doing because blissful, deliberate ignorance is better than stopping, looking at the truth & making a change.  Then we go to church to "feel better" about ourselves instead of reading the Bible for ourselves, praying (really praying like to have a two-way conversation not just spout off our needs/wants/desires to our big daddy in the sky) & looking for ways to make ourselves more caring to those hurting around us. challenging to those Christians living in their "boxed" thinking & showing our kids the REAL way to live for Christ. 

We keep doing these "things" we are told to do without seeing anything but negative results.  WHY?  Please tell me why we still do this & not try to change things up?

SO here is my challenge for myself & for you:  Take some time this week to really sit & THINK....mull over what I said.  Look up chapters in the Bible & READ THEM....pray, seek God about the answers.  Ask yourself if what you are doing is leading you & your family closer to what the rest of our culture is headed towards: destruction & spiritual death or are you headed towards truth, love & life in Christ?  Its not about beating yourself up, its about meeting yourself where you are & admitting it....getting past all the masks & stuff you stifle the very things you know are dragging you down.  Take the time to see what's really going on with your kids.  Get to know them & find out what is really being taught to them...then ask:  is this going to grow my kids faith.  If not, look into better education options.  IF they are past basics (reading, grammar, basic math, etc)  They can really learn for themselves with some small assistance from you here & there.  If you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes in your life to achieve it....maybe you need a goal reset.  

It might make all the difference for you starting now.  I know it has for our family.  I will never go back to the way I used to see things or my old ways....The more I seek God, the more of the truth I understand.  The more I love others where they are too...I want to help them up to see past all the smoke & mirrors. 

Will you let me pull you up & see the life you are missing out on?