SummaryHave you thought about the many and varied hats a dad wears each day? Debbie Gaudino offers a Father’s Day tribute to her husband and other homeschool dads.
The dialogue is always the same. My husband and I are introduced to another couple at a social event. The pleasantries drift to the question “What do you do for a living?”
My husband shares his career and I reply that I am a homeschooling Mom. Immediately, all eyes are on me and the rapid-fire interrogation begins: “How do you do it?” “I wouldn’t have the patience!” “What about socialization?”
You know the drill.
The interesting thing is that no homeschool question is ever directed to my husband, in spite of the fact that homeschooling our children requires a shared vision and commitment from both of us.
While I admit that my husband is not directly involved in teaching long division, editing paragraphs and drilling vocabulary, his dedication to his own work provides our family with the resources and the environment we need to successfully homeschool.
While our family is so grateful for my husband’s faithfulness to his primary role of provider and protector of our family, I would also like to acknowledge the many other varied hats he wears that ensure the smooth running of our homeschool.
Voice of Reason
I am a practical, well-organized person – I really am. Still, it is easy for me to become so mired in the day to day trees of homeschooling as to become unable to see the forest.
It is during those times when I am on the brink of making a really bad decision (like piling a second Math program onto a struggling Math student, or adding another extra-curricular activity forty minutes away to an already bursting schedule) that my husband steps in as the voice of reason.
He seems to have a unique gift for allaying my fears, providing other alternatives and restating the reasons why we homeschool in the first place—all while maintaining a cool head and an even temper. I appreciate his insights, especially during those moments when I seem to have few rational ones of my own.
Peace Treaty Negotiator
I would love to paint a perfectly peaceful picture of our homeschool, one which includes blissful days of eager, obedient students and me as a patient and loving teacher. And while we do hit this target on some days, on other days we fall woefully short.
Frustration, struggle, misunderstanding and impatience creep their way into our homeschool, creating tension and hurt feelings in our house. On the worst of those days, my husband has arrived home from work to find the three of us sulking in our respective corners of the house, licking our wounds and nursing our hurts.
Peacekeeping comes naturally to my husband. This gift, combined with the fact that he has not spent the day in the midst of our battles, gives him a unique role as family mediator.
He patiently listens to all the sides of the story individually and seeks to help all of us understand the others’ perspective. His distance from the situation allows him to offer compromises that we all can agree upon.
“Red Fox” is one of my husband’s favorite sayings. It is a code-word he devised to represent the term “remember the feeling.” What does that mean? “Remember the feeling” encourages us to think about how we feel when we are all getting along and our schoolwork is getting done promptly and the house is in order.
You have probably all experienced it – that blissful feeling when the sun is shining, the laundry is folded, the book reports are completed and all is right in the world. Who doesn’t want that feeling all the time?
The truth is, in many situations it is only our own actions (or lack thereof) which prevent us from doing what needs to be done and enjoying the satisfaction that follows.
On days when things are not going well, my husband will get on the phone with me or one of the children and simply say “Red fox.” No fuss, no long speeches about consequences, no nagging, coaxing or cajoling – just two words.
We all know exactly what he means. Often, this quick motivation is enough for us to snap out of whatever funk we have found ourselves in and get the day back on track.
My husband prays for me. He prays for our children. He prays for their friends, their vocations and their future. He has embraced his role as the spiritual leader of our family and I am beyond grateful for those prayers.
I know that it is his prayers of petition that sustain us during the difficult days, and his prayers of praise and thanksgiving that inspire us in the good times.
I rely on his prayers, and while I feel their power here and now, it is only on the other side of eternity that I will know the full weight of their efficacy.
What about your family?
What are the hats that Dad wears in your family that you can honor in a particular way this Father’s Day? Please share in the comments below.