Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lazy is as Lazy Doesn't

I took the car here this morning for my writing time. I could have walked it in fifteen minutes, but I was running behind and besides, I can't walk in my cute little flip-flops.

After committing to taking the car nowhere that I could not bike or walk, this could get me down, but it doesn't.

A revelation came to me the other day as I was riding to the grocery store. I had been telling myself I was just plain lazy not to have taken the long way around, thus getting a bit more exercise, burning off a few more calories, etc. Here I was, on my bike, in August, going grocery shopping, that's an amazing feat for me. It wasn't even nice and cool at 6 am, it was 11 am and starting to warm up. I was doing it, not thinking about doing it or talking about doing it, but really on my bike and not in the car.

"Pretty is as pretty does." So, why should it not be true that "lazy is as lazy doesn't"? Whether it's biking or homeschooling our children, lazy just doesn't come much into play. Any parent concerned with the well-being of their child and involved in this child's life is actively engaged in doing their all for them and giving of their best. I often hear comments questioning the qualifications of a parent to educate their child outside of the system of experts and trained teachers who surely know what is best. My favorite is "how do you control the parents who will just let the child sit on the sofa and watch tv or video games all day?" (*) My response is; "why would you not just send the child to school and sit on the sofa yourself watching tv all day? You'd even get to pick the programs, and eat your favorite snacks without sharing! " How could there be any interest in adding extra hours of your day in taking care of a child when you really don't care what happens to them anyway? Why bother?

While perfection may be all too often a goal of mothers today, and I include myself in this category, it is vital to give ourselves credit once in awhile for what we ARE doing and stop our self-nitpicking about what we are not doing. We are raising children, it's a hard job, homeschooling or not. We are caught up in a time in history when we've discovered that all the progress of the past 150 years has destroyed the health of our planet, and it is up to us to fix it. It has also been discovered that the whole mentality upon which our economy has seemed successful is a sham and the crash that ensued will have long-term consequences for generations. We do not have the option of doing nothing, we are in the middle of it. However enormous the obstacles might seem, and however insignificant each gesture, what counts is what we are doing, not what we cannot do.

Will I teach my child absolutely everything she needs to know to be successful in life? Will I feed him all the right foods to ensure health in the near and far future? Will I provide my children with the right and loving home atmosphere so that they grow up to be good, caring, mentally stable adults? Those are my goals, more or less universal ones for parents. It does not matter whether we manage to think of everything or instill every value or act perfectly sane all of the time. Reprimands for what we are not doing have no place in the program. On bad days, strive to do better tomorrow, and every day, celebrate what you ARE doing and the love you have for your children.

*Some parents consider video games and television important in their homeschooling tool box and have good arguments for them, just as schools use mixed media to bring learning to children, so do parents. Our house is a low-media zone by choice and conviction, but that does not mean that other options are misguided or wrong for other families.

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