Dare to Dream: Having the Courage to Let Your Homeschooler Dream Big

dare-to-dream

Each year we toddle off to Northern Ireland for our annual holiday.  Gary and I use this time to think, pray and discuss changes we might like to see in our family and home school.  More often than not I go away with questions, worries and issues that I have determined to pray about, with the expectation of an answer.

Somehow, whether it is the getting away from normal life or because I have a considerable amount of time compared to when I am home schooling, I am never disappointed.  One such question I was asking God this year was whether we should set our teens free to follow their dreams.

If you have been reading here, you will already know we give our children a very individualised education once they reach 11 or 12.  We absolutely encourage them in their dreams and aspirations, but there are also requirements.  We require Bible to be done daily, maths again daily, English, at least seven GCSEs…nothing mind blowing, just what society would expect from them.

The question on my mind this year was just how far should I give them their head?  Having spent the last 14 years grounding them in love, in faith and in good books, was it now time to let them fly?  Were these wings of theirs strong enough?  And what if they fell?  Or failed?

“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes” Ecclesiastes 1: 9

On the second Sunday we were in Northern Ireland we attended a church service at the local Vineyard Church.  It was scary, being in a church we didn’t know with upwards of 800 people, most of whom we had never met before.  We were blessed to have Danielle who sat with us and made sure we knew how to get the children registered for their group.

This is the church which is pastored by the husband of Kathryn Scott.  He is an impassioned speaker and the sermon we were to listen to on that Sunday, the Sunday we ‘happened’ to be attending, was called ‘Dreams that Shape the City‘ (click to listen).

I was excited to hear what Alan had to say, and its application, not just in our homeschool, but in our own lives.  At one point I was so overwhelmed by what he was sharing, I was shaking and felt sure I was about to pass out.

Back to the question in question (so to speak) – should I encourage wholeheartedly my son and my daughters to follow their dreams, whatever they may be and however adverse to society norms?  The answer I received from God that morning was a resounding ‘Yes!’

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” Jeremiah 29:11

Alan’s assertion was that whatever the dream, God needs Christians in that area; that we shouldn’t be scared of the non-Christian-ness of it; that we shouldn’t just focus on traditionally ‘more Holy’ jobs.  God needs barbers as much as He needs pastors; He needs actors and actresses who are willing to bring Christ to their profession; He needs painters and decorators, research scientists, cleaners and doctors.  And He plants the seed of desire for such a job into each individual.  Max Lucado calls it our sweet spot.  That one thing which we feel so passionate about it is impossible to go through the day without thinking about it.  It is the thing which melds together our own dreams and passions with God’s will for our life.

Now glory be to God, by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of — infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.” Ephesians 3:20

God has something infinitely more special than our small dreams can ever imagine up; something that is Claire shaped, or Thomas shaped, or Charlotte shaped….well, you get the picture.  This changed my thinking somewhat.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4

Last week my son came to me.  He expressed that he was thinking of pursuing music instead of engineering.  If I am honest, a few short weeks ago I would have encouraged him to think about just how reliable engineering is as a career.  He would never be out of work.  He would likely be paid well and would therefore be able to afford a house, a family and for his wife to stay at home to look after their children.  I would have asked him to think deeply about the choices and pray.

Not now though.  That is societal rhetoric, but does not need to be mine.  Instead I googled music colleges and found one in the area.  I encouraged him to pray, but apart from that I offered nothing but encouragement for him to follow his dreams.  This Sunday he will be attending an open day at the college, to give him more information with which to make a decision.  His decision.  Completely.  And Gary and I felt at Peace.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7)

I have been creative my entire life.  It is what kept me going when my childhood home life was so utterly difficult.  My school, which was so very good for me in many ways, did not recognise the creativity or encourage it in me.  Mine was a very academic school.  Creativity was not a gift which was looked upon favourably.

It wasn’t until I left the workforce to become a stay at home wife and then a stay at home mum, that my creativity went into overdrive.  I finally realised that the reason I didn’t see the world in quite the same way as most of my contemporaries was because I saw the potential in everything, rather than the reality.  A teapot wasn’t just a teapot, it could be a vase, a plant holder, a pencil holder….A hallway didn’t need to be a hallway, instead it could become a bedroom and an office….Our garden, whilst far too small to be a small holding, nevertheless was planted with fruit trees galore and nut bushes, as I planned a world where we produced all our own food (a dream which never did come to fruition (see what I did there?!) on account of my fingers being anything but green).  Nevertheless, I lived and live my life based on the potential of what I see rather than the actuality of what is there.

My life, I think, is very colourful and vibrant because of this.  I am living my dream.  I am living in that sweet spot and I am able to be fully me in almost every moment of my life.  Do you know what a gift that is?

So this Christmas, whilst being our normal home-made one, will hold something else, something new.  Our main gift to our children this year will be the gift of the freedom to use their lives in whichever way God directs them; to have the freedom to dream with the knowledge that they will also have the freedom to pursue those dreams to their fullest potential.  They will be given the freedom to develop a vision bigger than they are, secure in the knowledge that God is in the business of making the impossible possible.

“I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27

Can you imagine if we all lived like this?  Can you imagine just how exciting life would be?  In the coming months and years, I will be sharing just how we are supporting these dreams, as well as allowing ourselves to contemplate our own.

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

 

29 comments

  1. It does take courage, I think. I love all you have written and I surely will be awaiting the news of how it all pans out 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing all you do. It is so helpful to see your journey with homeschooling. We have only got young uns but I hope I will be able to let them follow their dreams too.

  3. What a beautiful reminder that it’s okay to follow dreams. It can be scary at times, and others around us might not understand, but it’s also exciting. God gave us talents to be used for some purpose. “Is anything too hard for me?” Oh yes!

    I look forward to following along as your son follows his musical dream!

    1. Thanks Sue. You were definitely the person who sowed the seed of giving more and more freedom to my teens. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the adventures of your family over the years. You are my inspiration!

      1. Claire,

        Thank you for your kind words. It’s so lovely to share each other’s families and their dreams!

  4. I truly enjoyed reading this post! I hope to open doors for my children to be able to explore many options so they’ll be better able to make those life-altering decisions. It’s so awesome to see them succeed at something they love and be able to make a living at it. Our son talked about being a farmer for years. And I did warn him about the constant state of uncertainty in whether the crop would succeed and whether his future family would have enough to eat. I did suggest options that might improve the chances of succeeding as a farmer. In the end, he opted for machining, which is in high demand in our area of the USA. He’s now working at a large company and making enough to support him and his wife. I couldn’t be happier that he loves his job and it pays their bills. God is good!

  5. Your beautiful words resonate strongly with me right now. Cordie & I are staying with dear home ed friends in Yorkshire. Being away is giving us the opportunity to get a different perspective on our lives & to talk through our dreams & goals with people who understand. It’s so easy to get swept along on the more conventional path; it takes courage to choose for ourselves. Thank you for inspiring me. 🙂

    1. Sounds like you are having a wonderful time! And Cordie is so gifted in so many ways the options available to her must be extensive! Lots of fun decision making over the next few years….it’s all so exciting, isn’t it?

  6. Love this Claire, just reading it made me take a deep breath of “Yes, go for it!” I hope T feels inspired after his visit to college tomorrow and will look forward to seeing all these dreams take whichever path is meant for them!!xx

  7. I love this! That bit about the thing that you can’t avoid thinking about every day, that’s so true. Embracing our niche can be hard but it’s so rewarding, it’s wonderful that you have been led to let your children find theirs and trust that they’ll grow into it.

  8. Claire, this is a beautiful post and has obviously resounded with many people out there. I’ve a nephew who had the same struggle of choice…engineering or music. He chose music and his parents were fully behind him in his goals and dreams. This backing of support will help be the fire to keep them going and encouraged in pursuing their dreams. You are such an inspiring mama! Your family is blessed!

  9. This reminds me of one of my favorite verses: For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which HE has prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

    I love that God planned it all out in advance for us to do things.

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