Monthly Archives: July 2007
In September, I will begin a series of podcasts highlighting patriarchy/patriocentricity within the homeschooling movement. Featured guests will include Don Veinot from Midwest Christian Outreach, who recently published his research on this topic, and Karen Braun, aka “Spunky Homeschool Mom” who will join me in reviewing the popular books Created to be his Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl, Raising Maidens of Virtue, by Stacy McDonald, and, So Much More, by Elizabeth and Anna Sophia Botkin. A few other guests will be stopping by, as well, and I can’t wait to introduce you to some lovely homeschooled daughters who will be sharing with us their own stories! Mark your calendars and invite your friends to listen, too. I promise it will be informative and inspirational.
August 3 ~ Growing a Terrific Marriage in the Midst of Homeschooling
August 10 ~ Homeschoolers and Caring for Aging Parents
August 17 ~ The Homeschool Mom Refuge ~ Ideas for restoring your body, mind, and soul
August 24 ~ One Anothering Your Children, part one
August 31 ~ One Anothering Your Children, part two
“My grief that day was overwhelming. I have experienced miscarriages. I have known the disappointment of realizing that our quiver was full and there would be no more babies to nurse. But that day, the sense of loss I knew was not just in knowing that I would never be able to hold and nurture another precious grandbaby, but that my own son was now knowing a pain and loss that was unbearable.” Listen here for this weeks podcast entitled “Preparing Your Children for the Collision of Life and Beliefs.”
Don Veinot, co-founder of Midwest Christian Outreach, along with his wife, Joy, has recently uploaded the current issue of their Journal. Included in the lead article is an analysis of homeschooling leader, Doug Phillips, and his ministry, Vision Forum, as well as references to the book Mr. Veinot wrote after thoroughly researching Bill Gothard’s ministry. This article is a must-read for every homeschooler. According to Midwest Christian Outreach, in their 12 years of ministry, this is their most requested article to date.
I have noticed that, since my sons saw the new Pixar movie “Ratatouille,” they have had a heightened interest in cooking and are eating more vegetables. (And more meat, too, since my oldest son at home is working in the meat department at our local grocery store and buys and brings home marked down steaks at the end of the day.) Perhaps that scene of the rats in the pantry and the “yuck factor” involved has inspired them. Whatever the reason, I decided to create my own verson of ratatouille since country vegetable stands and farmers’ markets are bursting with fresh ingredients. My favorite seen of the movie, by the way, is when the food critic takes the first bite of the ratatouille and it takes him back to his childhood and his mom’s dinner table. Priceless.
minced garlic, generous amount
sliced zucchini and yellow squash
thinly sliced Bermuda onion rings
sliced red and green bell peppers
coarse salt, freshly ground pepper
On fairly high heat, saute all vegetables in olive oil, allowing them to remain a little crisp but nicely browned. Season well with coarse salt and pepper. Serve over rice. We like this as a side to grilled chicken. Traditional ratatouille is made with egg plant and lots of tomatoes. Since none of us like cooked tomatoes very well, I slice a fresh tomato and serve on the side. Egg plant is good but optional.
“ Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:11
King Lemuel’s mom told her son that a virtuous woman would bring him good and not harm. The Hebrew rendering of this verse implies that a man with a virtuous wife does not lack profit or gain, especially the gain obtained by war. I believe this paints a picture for us of a woman who is resourceful and courageous, even in the midst of difficult times, a woman who realizes how hard her husband works to provide for the household.
In the early years of our marriage, my husband was in the military and was stationed overseas. Money was pretty tight and as each baby arrived, we were challenged to be creative and resourceful. My children find it hard to believe that we didn’t own a car (insurance and gas were outrageously priced), we used public transportation everywhere we went, we had no television or telephone, my entire wardrobe consisted of blue jeans, t-shirts, and one dress for Sunday. Weekend entertainment included hiking to the train station and riding as far as our change would take us, sightseeing and eating the lunch we packed, and coming home. We ate a lot of macaroni and cheese and I learned to do amazing things with ramen or tuna fish. But in those simpler times, God was gracious and provided for every need we had. Willingness to do without and being thankful for what our husbands are able to provide is, I believe , one thing King Lemuel’s Moms is talking about.
Verse 12 ends, then, with this wonderful phrase “all the days of her life.” A virtuous woman is in it for the long haul, she doesn’t give up, she is a woman of endurance.
My son was just telling me about a man he met in Alaska. This fit and trim man was preparing for a marathon, but not just any marathon. This one would take him for a couple dozen miles through rough terrain, mountains, and perhaps even past grizzly bears, though my son and I decided that the only runner who needs to worry about being eaten by a bear is the last one in the line! This man had run in marathon races before so he knew what he was up against and how to wisely prepare. He had a special backpack, ready to go, and had spent months preparing for the race. As is true with most marathon runners, this man probably wasn’t really concerned about placing first, he was, however, planning to finish the race.
When we run the homeschooling mom race,we are not in competition with others, we are running to complete the race, to savor the fact that we made it! Each year that we homeschool marks one more year of victory and, by God’s grace, He will see us through each year, one at a time, over the mountainous terrain and even past the grizzly bears that threaten to devour us. And each year shows us what endurance looks like and gives us confidence for the years still to come.
The virtuous woman also welcomes the passing of time, as we head into new experiences and new challenges with changing family situations, elderly parents who need our help, adult children who have many choices to make, our own aging, and facing the “golden years” with our husbands. The woman of strong character not only prepares for the last lap of the race, but welcomes it knowing, with confidence, that her eternal rest, the very best part, is still to come. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Proverbs 31:10-11
One summer, my dad hired our two older boys, Clayton and Sam, to do yard work. Diligently they mowed, trimmed, raked, and weeded the nearly one acre piece of ground. In return, they were paid both with lemonade and money.
That same summer, Clay and I were remodeling their bedroom, removing old blue floral wallpaper that came with the house and were replacing it with a sports theme paper. We scraped and scraped, filling garbage bags and sweeping all the scraps to the side so they could sleep in their beds at night.
One evening Sam came running in to us in great distress. He couldn’t find the $20.00 bill he had earned at Grandpa’s house. So we all began the process of going through the whole room, looking inside the trash bags full of wet wallpaper strips that hadn’t gone out to the curb. Finally, after going through even the bags that were already placed in cans, we concluded that the money was just gone, a hard lesson to be sure for a 7 year old boy. Though they searched and searched, the money was just gone.
Months later, while raking our yard on the side of the house under their bedroom window, Clay looked down and, in disbelief, there, crumpled and stuck in the corner of the sidewalk under a pile of leaves, was a twenty dollar bill! The treasure had been found!
Perhaps this is the picture King Lemuel’s Mom had in mind when she told her son that a virtuous woman, a woman of character, is a great treasure. Knowing that these sorts of women were rare, she knew that searching for her would be a difficult task, but worth all the effort, perhaps even surprising her son when he found her!
The word “virtuous” in the Hebrew is the same word as “valor,” the word that is used to describe King David’s mighty men. It implies a strength of character that stands out above all others in comparison. And this woman of valor is priced far above rubies. Rubies, in comparing them according to price and weight, are more valuable than diamonds. Right now, the typical ruby might cost around $2000.00 for half a carat. However, not long ago, an extremely rare ruby that was over 8 carats in size, sold for $425,000 per carat!
Several other passages of Scripture refer to the value of rubies, Job 28:18, Proverbs 3:15, and 8:11. But rather than speaking of finding a woman, they are referring to wisdom. Isn’t it interesting that finding a virtuous woman is equated with finding wisdom? It tells me the great significance God places on being a woman of virtue.
As I read through Proverbs 31:10-12, it appears that are four facets of the character of a virtuous woman that make her stand out, qualities that place a woman in the same category as having wisdom.
First, Lemuel was instructed to look for a woman whom he could trust, placing full confidence in her. This is a woman who is loyal. She is a woman who keeps her word, remains faithful to her husband and her children, as well as others who depend on her. She is a woman of integrity, she is pure and possesses a strong sense of morality. She is able to keep her husband’s secrets and he knows she will not let him down. She is her husband’s number one fan and he knows it.
While we pour out our lives to our children as homeschooling moms, we must remember that our husbands are our top priority. Our loyalty to a husband takes precedence over loyalty to anyone else. This is sometime difficult to remember when we are so consumed with meeting the needs of children all day long every day.
A while back, a friend of mine mentioned that, as the homeschooling population grows older, she is seeing more and more couples who, once the last child has graduated, find that they have little in common other than children and eventually they separate and divorce. What a sad observation!
This is why it is so important to set aside time every single day, even if just over a cup of coffee, to chat with your husband and plan things for the two of you to enjoy that you can also look forward to enjoying together when the children are grown. As Clay and I are entering into this season of life, we are finding more and more time together to pursue interests and to talk about meaningful things without the interruption of small voices! I believe we are able to do this now because we have spent so much time over the years investing in our relationship and looking forward to this time!
Tomorrow, I will continue with the other two qualities King Lemuel’s Mom told her son are required in a woman of valor….courage and endurance.
” “The wise and courageous Jochebed knew a secret that would serve today’s mothers well. She knew how to recognize greatness and she knew that greatness needs to be hidden at certain times. She knew that a child of destiny cannot be treated as ordinary, cannot go along with the demands of culture, otherwise, Moses would have been dead before he was a day old.” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled “The Don’t Tell Mom Files” or “What I Have Learned About Educating Sons.”
A story is told about the North Wind and the Sun. I seems that each claimed to have the greater power over mortals and a dispute arose.
“I am much stronger, ” said the North Wind. I blow and blow and can even cause great oak trees to tumble to the ground. Surely I have a greater power over man.”
“Indeed not,” said the Sun, “for without my warmth, a man would surely die! Consider the oak tree. Without me it would not grow to be so tall.”
And so it was that the two decided to try their powers upon an unknowing traveler, deciding to see which of them could soonest strip him of his cloak. The North wind furiously blew down upon the man, and caught up his cloak, believing he could wrestle it from him in one single gust. But is was soon apparent that the harder he blew, the more closely the man wrapped himself up in the garment.
The Sun then said, “I shall try my hand at this venture.” So he looked down upon the traveler and beamed his light ever so gently upon him. Eventually, the man unclapsed his coat as it drapped over his shoulders. The sun then shone down with his full strength, and before he had gone much further down the road, had taken off his cloak so he could complete his journey.
And so it is with raising our children. How much greater influence we have over them and the choices they make if we gently bring warmth and love to them, persuading them of what is good and true rather than beating down upon them, causing them to hold on ever more tightly to their own desires.
“Your gentleness has made me great. You enlarged my path under me so my feet did not slip.” Psalm 18:35-36
A while back, one of my sons was telling me about a friend of his who is dating a girl who is not a Christian. This friend has been a Christian for most of his life, was raised in a Christian home, was homeschooled by godly parents, and faithfully attends a Bible-teaching church. But he met a girl who is not a believer, they hit it off, and now he is very involved with a woman that the Word of God has forbidden him to marry. I cringed as my son relayed this story but then he told me that he had talked to his friend and ended their conversation by asking him “What would your mom say?” My son knew to ask that question because he knew what his own mom would say!
In Proverbs 31:3, King Lemuel’s Mom has a stern warning for her son regarding relationships with women who do not seek after God with their whole hearts. She says in verse 3, “Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.” In other words, she is telling him to stay away from women who entice a young man sexually, thus bringing him to ruin. She is warning him of the dangers of having a relationship with a woman who is not a Christian (Deut. 7:3, Ezra 9:1-2, Nehemiah 13:23). She is even talking about women who might profess to be Christians but who are double minded, which makes them unstable in all their ways (James 1:8). All of these scenarios have the potential to ruin a young man and the leadership potential of his life.
Being the mother of 5 sons, ranging in age from 16 to 29, I have had my share of just such conversations. I have been even more specific and have also named names! I have come to believe that two of the most important character traits that a homeschooling mom needs to develop, particularly as it relates to her children, and especially as they approach maturity, are alertness and attentiveness.
Being alert means that we are paying special attention to things that are going on around us, being on the watch for anything that could harm us or our children, whether it be physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Being attentive means that we are in touch with the unique needs of our children and are listening for and watching what is going on in their lives. The combination of these two qualities best prepares us to minister to our children in the specific ways that will most benefit them.
Homeschooling moms must be aware of two particular things that can interfere with developing these two character qualities. The first of these is time. We are busy. Typically, homeschooling families are larger than the average family and that means that we have more laundry, larger meals, a greater amount of school preparation to do, etc. Little ones in the family take a lot of energy and often the older children, who in many ways have greater needs than their younger siblings, get the least amount of attention. That is why it is crucial to consciously make a lot of room in your schedule for time with older children. Though you have spent hours and hours teaching and training them, it is during the late teen years to the early twenties that they are making so many important life decisions….what they will do to support themselves, if they will attend college and where, who they will marry, what car or home to purchase, etc.
Your children know your expectations, whether they are valid ones or not, and they know what will disappoint you. Your children need to know that you have a listening ear for even what might seem to you, the craziest of ideas. Sometimes they just need to talk through their goals out loud. They need to know that you believe God has a unique calling on their lives that might not be what you would chose for them. Achieving the sort of relationship where these types of discussions are possible will take years of time spent listening to them.
The second thing that can interfere with being alert and attentive to children, is setting up a false paradigm in your life that defines what you believe is acceptable for your child. I have spent a lot of time on this blog writing about this subject but it is worth mentioning again. Many of the leaders in the homeschooling movement promote a very narrow view of acceptable lifestyles for homeschoolers. Many of those views are not even Biblical. It is easy to get trapped inside one of these paradigms without even knowing it because they sound and look so appealing. After all, who wouldn’t want a sure fire guarantee for raising children?
King Lemuel’s Mom knew how important it was for her son to be alert and attentive to those things that would be roadblocks in his walk with the Lord. And so it is with our children. As we develop the ability to be alert and attentive and as we practice these qualities with our children, they will learn from us. God, in His sovereignty, gave you the unique and precious children He did for a purpose. By being attentive to the special gifts and abilities of each child and by being alert to those things that threaten to waste those gifts and abilities, we will be able to complete the task that has been set before us, by God’s grace alone.