And Wings to Fly…


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:

The table with a meeting 'pack' for each person attending
The table with a meeting ‘pack’ for each person attending

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!

T's notes
T’s notes

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:

All set
All set
We even had a ballot box to put our voting slips in! (made from a cat food box!!)
We even had a ballot box to put our voting slips in! (made from a cat food box!!)

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.


  1. Thinking about you and sending positive energy to you. Good luck for tomorrow!

    T12 is learning an very important life lesson with the family meeting. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Will pray. It’s always so interesting to me, since mine are all still pretty young, how that growing maturity expresses itself. I loved hearing the T12’s story this morning and think that it’s wonderful that he got a chance to both be adult and be vulnerable all at the same time.

  3. You’re in my prayers, Claire.
    I am in awe at T12’s achievements. I used to work with people far less organised!
    I laughed out loud at “even though he was only 2 a few minutes ago”. You have such a way with words!

  4. I am so very proud of T12’s organizational skills and the thought he put into the plan as a whole. Of course he was disappointed, as we all are when we think we have a wonderful idea and others see its flaws, but he will think on it for a few days and, I believe, will realize you all had some valid concerns that need to be addressed. What a great learning and growing experience for him. I love the way you hold family meetings. I believe it helps the children know the importance of themselves in the family.

    Before I read your blog, I was having my morning devotions and the Lord put you on my heart. Now I know why. Claire, I am trusting in God to have his perfect way in your life. He already knows what is in your path for today, tomorrow, and always, and He is there to lead you all the way.

    Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

    Sending much love and prayers to you.


  5. I’m praying about the lump. May this turn out to be a nothing. Do not fear. Replace fear with faith in a good God.
    I can really relate to your experience with T. Amelia returned from her skiing trip this weekend and seemed about 2 years more mature! Flapping her wings, but not yet ready to fly.

  6. He sounds like a bright young man. Hopefully this disappointment will give him reason to adjust his plans to fit everyone’s needs yet, still be what he is looking for.
    Lots of prayers coming your way. Hope all turns out as nothing to worry about.

  7. What proud parents you must be! It sounds like the meeting and all his plans were very important to your son, so how mature of him to want to take into consideration everyone else’s thoughts and feelings. I know many adults who can’t do that!

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.


  8. Thank you to everyone for your well wishes and your prayers. The lump turned out to be a collection of fatty tissue. Although I’ve been told to keep an eye on it and go back if it changes size, the sonography told me with much confidence that I had nothing to worry about.
    We went for a coffee afterwards and I shed a few tears and felt utterly ridiculous. But they were happy tears over which I had no control! I’m just so pleased I had the news to cry happy tears over and not sad tears.
    Thank you all so much, I felt your support over the lands and seas!!

  9. I’m so sorry I haven’t read this post until now, and so happy to read there were tears of relief and happiness to be shed! You and your family have become a fixture in the back of my mind, and though I am not online as much, your continued health and happiness are in my daily thoughts.
    I’m sure T will be soaring sooner than you might like 🙂 – with his passions and the unconditional support and encouragement he receives from his family, he will be a force to reckon with!

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