This post is from contributor, Kasey Norton
One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is the ability to control outside influence with some measure of moderation. One of the not-so-beautiful things about it is when that control ends up looking a whole lot like social sequestration.
Before we go any further, however, let me take just a minute to assure you I’m not about to lecture you on socialization. I have pretty strong feelings on that topic, as you might note from this post,Why I’m Comfortable with my Kids being “Un-socialized,”
but I also strongly believe the matter is for each family to decide amongst themselves and with God.
There. I feel better now that we got that out of the way.
But what about those times when your children would really just like to fit in? Like at the Y when they show up for gymnastics? Or at the ballfield because they want to play on the team? Or at church when everyone is talking about school and they have nothing to add?
Standing alone in the crowd can feel awful lonely. And feeling lonely can just plain hurt.
It’s not fun to watch the other girls laugh and tease with the gymnastics instructors while you stand there feeling invisible. And it stings a bit to watch the other boys joke and roughhouse while you stand there feeling in the way. Out of place.
Here’s the thing…Fitting in doesn’t always fit as it should. And sometimes it just shouldn’t. Many times not fitting at all is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and those around you.
But tell that to a kid, right? That’s what you’re thinking, most likely. Listen close and then decide for yourself. Because what you decide, what you believe, how you live…that has the greatest impact on how they’ll do those very same things. Even greater an impact than all the peers they will ever encounter, combined.
Show them what it is to stand up even when it means you stand out a little. Let them see you scoffed at or talked about or skipped over or, horror of horrors, left out entirely. Let them see it can happen without chipping away at your joy. But more importantly, let them see how you change others without letting them change you.
Because they’ll be watching as you reach out a hand to help that mom, who seemed so distant, when she’s struggling through some cracks in her marriage. And they’ll take notice when you make time to call the elderly woman going through cancer treatments, though they saw her snub you on more than one occasion. Don’t think for a minute they aren’t taking it all in when they watch you hold nothing back from the very people who thought they had no need of you.
Fitting in is nothing more than an attitude. A decision. And it’s perfectly possible, and often advisable, to fit in from without.
Most children will naturally gravitate toward finding their place in the crowd. They’ll long for friendship and acceptance and that’s perfectly normal. But you, mother, hold within your hand and heart the compass that will direct them as they navigate those bumpy roads.
Teach them that true north can always be found by looking to Jesus and letting Him lead.
Latest posts by Kasey Norton (see all)
- Homeschooling When it Isn’t Your Gift - April 5, 2018
- Finishing Out the Homeschool Year When You are Way Behind - April 8, 2014
- When Homeschooling Means Your Kids Are Left Out - January 10, 2014
- Beholding the Beautiful - December 2, 2013
- Homeschooling: The Forgotten Subjects - September 17, 2013