Family movie night just ended and the boys are splashing in the jacuzzi with their dad. But I'm still leaking, deep heart tears from my eyes.
The last time I watched Rudy I was 19; so full of dreams, so much the underdog running out onto the field of life. It inspired me then, but tonight my heart beats to the dreams of three little men; their butts lined up in a row on the orange couch. FAMILY written on the area rug at their feet, covering the ground between us and the TV screen.
Halfway through the movie our middle boy dripped chocolate ice cream on that rug and I ran for a rag and mopped it up quick. Then the movie went on, just like our lives, so quickly with children under the roof; mopping up messes and barely getting through the practical moments of mothering to catch the dreams beginning to stir in their hearts.
Once our boys were dry again and in their PJ bottoms, (because I've heard that until they're 12 a summertime swim is as good as a shower), my husband and I called them back to the couch. We began our family meeting with, "We want each one of you to take a moment and think about what you want to be when you grow up. Maybe it's something that will take years and years of hard work to achieve. Maybe, like Rudy, everyone will tell you that you'll never make it! But if you could do anything... what would it be?"
The younger two were wiggly and giggly, punchy from that late night scoop of frozen sugar, and maybe not quite ready for such weighty conversations. So I sent them to bed, and thought of the sign hanging in the tree fort their daddy built them:
"Always be who you are,
unless you can be batman.
Then always be Batman!"
I am sure those two fell asleep dreaming of Batman. But that older boy, now 10, stayed with us. After a minute he said what I knew he would.
"I want to be a professional guitar player."
Lucky for him he has some natural ability,
so we talked about dreams,
and started to set some goals.
We're sending our other kids to a private school this year, at least that's the plan, but our big guy is home-schooled. Which means we have the freedom to individualize his learning to include goals that will help him achieve his longterm dreams. For example, this year his dad and I told him that he must master 4 songs, on at least two instruments each (guitar, vocals, drums, harmonica, piano...) And when he does, we'll pay for him to go into a real recording studio to lay 'em down!
" I don't homeschool my children to protect them from the world, I do it to give them the world." -Monica Leigh @ Pixel Perfect
In other words, homeschooling allows us to tailor our children's education around their unique passions and strengths. But it takes knowing our children.
One other thing I know to be uniquely God woven and true in the heart of this child is his innate passion for God's Word. It's kind of crazy, really. Don't put me on any pedestal. I read all the stuff Christian parents should do to help cultivate this love for the Bible in the hearts of their children, but we haven't done any of it consistently. Or well, truth be told. I'm usually grumpy when I finally do coral our boys to read the Bible together. Yet still, when I go to tuck him into bed, there He is with his Bible spread open. Reading that story of David and Goliath for the millionth time! Looking up, he says, "Here's my favorite part, Mama, 'Then David asked, who is this uncircumcised fellow who dares defy the army of the living God?'" And he smiles.
Holding his future with open hands
As we craft time into his studies for Music and Bible Study, I'm challenged to hold his future with open hands. I don't know if he will go the traditional route of a four year university like we did. He may be drawn to a Music Conservatory or a Bible College. And I'm feeling a stir in my heart, readying me for something different than I would orchestrate for him. But master planning is God's job, not ours. Ours is to know them well, and help them see the bullseye their creator has staged for them. Let's commit to know them, that we might send them flying, straight as arrows, to hit the center of God's glorious plan for each little life.
For (they) are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for (them) to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
*One last aside - Sweet Mamas, I am by no means saying that homeschooling is the only way to faithfully carry out this knowledge. It is just our current way of doing it for our one of ours. Another of our other children clearly needs a traditional classroom setting to help him prepare for the special good works that lie ahead of him.