SummaryTeach your children to seek God’s Will, the courage to follow it, and to place virtue above all else and they will fly when they leave the coop.
We have a couple dozen chickens, and some — no matter what barriers we put up, or how often we clip their wings — will find a way to fly the coop.
Apparently, the grass is just greener on the other side, and they are willing to risk being chased by the dog just for a taste of that sweet grass. Sometimes I look outside and laugh as I watch my youngest son chase a bird around the yard, trying to catch it and throw it over the fence — back to where it belongs.
Then once he turns his back, it flies over again, and once more the chase is on.
By God’s Design
What does this have to do with our children and homeschooling? Well, perhaps I’m in a reflective mood, as my sixth child has just graduated from high school and is now ready to “fly” on her own.
My heart longs to keep her close to home — but God has other plans. In her case, she has chosen to pursue the religious life, our second daughter who has answered this call. My other children who have “flown the coop” are studying in college and going into fields of civil engineering, law, political science, and business.
Each one of our nine children is so distinctly unique, precious in His eyes. Each one needs to find what God has in store for him or her — and He alone has the perfect plan. Our job is to raise them so that they are willing to seek, listen, and then pursue that path… for His glory.
We all know that only in doing the Will of God will we have peace and be truly happy.
But sometimes — and I speak from my own experience as well as from listening to so many parents — we have to watch our older children as they struggle with this. Sometimes they may be like the rogue hens in our coop, not just in setting out on their own, but in being determined to do things their own way.
They fight against His will, saying, as St. Augustine did, “Make me holy, Lord… but not yet.” This can be a time of heartache and worry for the parent. But God is asking us to pray harder and trust completely in Him. They are being formed, and some clay is harder to smooth than others.
A Pastor’s Advice
Years ago, my pastor gave this advice when I asked him what was the best way to guide our young son if he wanted to pursue the religious life. “Teach him to be a man of virtue! The same virtues apply whether God calls him to the religious or married life!”
Great advice, and that has been our goal in homeschooling each of our children, and will continue to be with the three still at home.
So if I can humbly offer any advice to help in your homeschooling journey, it would be this: teach your children virtue above all else, and the rest will take care of itself. Instill in them a desire to seek God’s Will and the courage to follow it.
If Plans go Awry
If, as they fly the coop, they get stuck in one of the thorny trees or lose a few feathers being chased — like our crazy hens — then get on your knees. I look at my older children and realize that as much as I love them, God loves them even more! He has a beautiful plan for each and every one.
A friend recently gave me the Surrender Novena, and I have since prayed this every morning: “O Jesus, I surrender myself to You. Take care of everything.” And He will.
We have a poster in our school room with a quote from one of my favorite saints, St. Josemaría Escrivá: “Don’t flutter about like a hen, when you can soar to the heights of an eagle.” So don’t be afraid to let them fly!