My blog header states ‘Homeschooling to give our children roots to ground them and wings to make them fly’. My goal in their younger years is to give the children principles to live by; a happy history to draw strength from and most importantly a love that stabilises them, that they can rely on to always be there, their roots to ground them. Yet, however much I want to have close, loving relationships with my children, I also want them to have the confidence and freedom to go out into the world, without fear, and soar on their dreams, becoming the person God always designed them to be.
My eldest child has just turned twelve (even though he was only 2 a few minutes ago) and I am seeing glimpses of what it looks like to have a child who is flapping their wings.
Today he announced that he was calling a family meeting. Apparently he had okayed it with Gary and it was to happen on Gary’s return from work. I had suspected something was afoot when I kept getting emails from him saying ‘print’. I had told him I was doing nothing until he asked me properly with lots of love and appreciation. My next email read ‘Print, lots of love T’. Hmm, not quite what I had in mind, but being the very accommodating mother that I am, I did as I was told and printed!
Wanting to take the whole family meeting thing seriously, I asked him if we should have tea and biscuits served, because all ‘proper’ meetings have some sort of refreshments. You could see T12 becoming more excited by the moment, as he set up the table in readiness:
You might be wondering why he wanted a family meeting. Over the Christmas period he had drawn up extensive plans for our garden, literally covering it in vegetable beds. He had bought or acquired most of the seeds of the vegetables he wanted to grow; had drawn out a diagram to the best of his ability as well as a key to go with it and in his daily writing time he had written out in full all his proposals for the garden. The meeting was to give the rest of the family a say!
He gathered his notes and photocopied enough (or had me print) copies so each person could be presented with a pack at the table, which included paper and pen to jot down ideas and voting slips for us to vote for and against. Yes, my son had been busy:
I was very grateful for the fact that Gary and the girls took him seriously. Everyone was incredibly supportive of his plans, considering them in great depth. C11 was a little worried about the lack of play space for the babies, which I echoed and Gary was slightly concerned about the size of the beds. We all discussed his plans, changing things slightly here and there, as well as making some completely new suggestions. As his parents, we were very proud of his work and achievements and felt the meeting went well. He had jotted down things he needed to look at and possibly change, and we had made a date for the following Friday to meet again. Gary had also offered to spend some time in the garden with him the next day looking at the plausibility of bed sizes. All in all it was a good meeting:
As we dispersed to individual projects I noticed T12 going up to his room quietly and just knew something wasn’t quite right. I called him down for a chat and he shared with me his disappointment that the meeting hadn’t gone quite as he had planned. He was downcast and holding back tears. As he shared I could see he had been so enthusiastic about his plans he was disappointed that everyone hadn’t immediately agreed to them all. He had put so much thought into them. I think he understood our concerns but he was still disappointed. We chatted through how he was feeling and I think he felt better and hopeful we would come to some full agreement throughout the next week.
As he left to do his chores I reflected on his disappointment. He had asked our opinion and we had honestly and gently given it. He was sad and felt discouraged but I think this was a great learning curve for him. Much of his life will require compromise and to learn early on how to negotiate to find a solution so everyone is happy is a gift in deed.
He was flapping his wings, ready to make decisions and set himself challenges over the summer. He wasn’t quite ready to soar, because now isn’t his time. He is only 12. He still has lessons to learn, skin which needs to gradually toughen so as not to split with further disappointments. All this he can do under the careful eye of his family. He can flap and strengthen those muscles to prepare them to take him on the most wonderful adventures I am sure will be present throughout his adulthood.
When he is ready and strong enough, then he will be able to ascend the mountains of his dreams.
On another note entirely
A couple of weeks ago I found a lump under my arm, on the same side as the melanoma. Tomorrow I will be going to get it scanned to ensure the melanoma has not spread. If you think about it, please would you pray? The doctors think it might be a lipoma (fatty lump), but because of my history they need to make sure. Thank you.