It's finally April.
We have turned the corner, I think, as far as the weather goes, and I can now easily count the weeks of school that are left.
This time of year is always a time of mixed feelings.
What the heck am I doing? Who do I think I am? How will my kids find their futures?
I have been teaching them their whole lives and it looks like they are well prepared. They can all reason well, they are excellent critical thinkers. They have their Faith.
But we are not "normal". We have not followed the path to success that the world tells us is so crucial.
Paul turned 15 yesterday!! The youngest son is forging ahead in all things teen, doing well in school, enjoying time with friends, and looking forward to more independence.
Brendan will be 17 next week, and he is graduating in June. Wow. I still haven't wrapped my head around that. He is taking a class at the college and he is doing well. Statistics isn't for the faint of heart. He has to wrap up History and Literature. He is hoping to get a job over the Summer and he will decide whether to go to community college in the Fall. He's not sure yet.
John is working and going to school. He has taken to college very well, as I suspected he would.
It's funny how you think you know what life will look like at each stage, and then how God puts things in place to make it not quite what you imagined. You think there is a "right" way to do things, usually based on what everyone else is doing, and then when you step outside the "norm" you wonder constantly if you're OK.
The "right" way to raise kids is to start a college fund when they're born, enroll them in school, round out their time with sports and music lessons, run them all over creation, start applying to colleges when they are Juniors in high school and make sure that all the pieces are in place so that they can get accepted to the best colleges and hopefully get scholarship money.
This will ensure that they get the right degree, meet the right people and find the right job.
And for many people, that's true. For many people, that's a sound plan.
But what about us?
No college fund.
No school enrollment, although it seems like, for these guys at least, that has worked out for the better.
Not much in the way of sports, since organized athletics seems to be one of those necessary evils that we tried and then left somewhere in elementary school. It's not that the boys don't enjoy physical activity. Biking, hiking, skateboarding, swimming and often walking wherever they want to go, these are all things that they do on their own just because they like to. Still nobody's getting any coaching, except for Paul who has been doing Karate for a long time.
Applying to college? John applied and got into several good schools, but life got in the way, and he took a year to work and figure things out. And I am SO glad that he did it that way! Learning about why you should pursue higher education, for your own purposes, is probably the best "course" of study that you can undertake after high school. It's important to keep moving forward, but the people that are racing to the finish line may get there and realize that they are holding a trophy that they really don't want.
This whole endeavor, to give children the formation and foundation that will take them to the places that God wants them to be, is nothing but a leap of faith. No matter who you are, if you have kids you have chosen to jump off a very steep and scary cliff into a fast flowing and muddy river. You can't see the bottom and you don't know where it is taking you, but there is a long, strong rope to hold on to and it will keep you from drowning if you just hang on. It's nothing but the Grace of God, whether you believe in Him or not. For all the love and commitment we have for our kids, He has a much bigger stake in them. He desires nothing more than to have them with Him for all eternity and He will aways respond when we, as parents, ask Him for Grace and guidance.
I have never been sure that I can do all that I need to do to give my kids what they need to get there, but I have always been sure that He is with me and that He will. I have never been a strong swimmer, and without that rope I would have drowned long ago.
So much is springing forth in this season, and I pray that I can be open-hearted and energetic enough to follow through with whatever God shows us.