It’s the time of year where I start wanting to wear boots. The nights are cooler but the days are still hot and it would look entirely inappropriate (nevermind the sweating that would occur) but as August winds down I want boots and tights and plaids.
Oh, and school to start.
I only just now hung up the towel on that actually happening on time here in B.C. where we’ve had a strike going on for far too long now.
Don’t get me wrong, I love having my kids around. And I love vacation time for them. But after already having an extra 2 weeks this summer and watching all my friends around the globe post pictures of their kids first days of school, I’m feeling a bit glum. (and frustrated and pretty downright mad but I’m trying to let that go…)
I’ve done all the things I can. Mid-summer I looked into the costs for private school and nearly choked. I’ve googled online out-of-province classes for at least the grade 10 boy but even just one semester of classes would cost upwards of 2 grand and let’s all agree that considering I’m paying for his education with my tax dollars already, that just seems silly. Homeschooling seems like a lot to invest in should they go back in even a month and I’ll be honest, there’s a reason I didn’t choose that route to begin with. a) I’d suck at it and b) I want my kids in public school. It’s a choice we made long ago.
I sat and stared at my husband in bewilderment when I read the news that they would for sure not be going back. I was overcome with a weight and the words that came out were simply, “What do we do?”
Truth is, I don’t know what to do about their schooling. I don’t. But I’m not going to sit around and bemoan something I have no power over and I’m certainly not going to let my kids sit around and waste this time that they should be learning something in school.
I’m not impressed that they’re not going back to school, for sure, but I’ve decided to view the extra time, no matter how long it is, as a gift.
Maybe, in His providence, God knew I needed more time with my kids. Maybe, in His perfect plan, He saw that we needed 2 weeks, a month, 3 months to refocus. Maybe, in His goodness, He has blessed me with more time with my boys. I’m choosing to see it that way.
So what are we going to do with this gift of time we’ve been given? Well, we’re not going to sit around, that’s for sure. I have a few ideas…
1) We’re going to study, in depth, a book of the bible. We’re going to read it and reread it and listen to podcasts on it and read commentaries about it and maybe do some sort of personal art or writing or something on it. We’re going to know that thing inside out and upside down and be able to quote big chunks of it!
2) We’re going to go to the library and take out books on stuff that we want to learn about. Want to know more about sharks? Do it. Want to know who Van Gogh is? Okay! Want to learn to fish or knit or change the brakes on a car? Find a book and let’s do this thing.
3) I go back to normal work hours next week which means I’m going to teach the boys how to run a household. Meal planning? Grocery shopping? Chopping and Sauteeing? We’re going to do it. Laundry to do? Do it. Floors to be mopped? Put on some tunes and make it a party. Windowsills to be cleaned? Grab a rag.
We all know that summer vacation mode (read: laziness) can’t go on forever but what I’ve decided is that we won’t hinge our life around school or no school and let it affect us negatively when we’re unhappy with the outcome.
As a parent I want to teach my kids that even in lousy situations good can be found.
I want to teach them that when life doesn’t go as planned we can either sit and grumble or we can change the plan and be joyful in it.
I want to teach them that while the decisions of others do have a huge effect on us, they don’t need to own us.
I want to teach them that God is sovereign and he has placed the authorities over us and try as we might to control our own lives, He really is the one in control.
I want to teach them that all of life is a gift, even this. So we’re going to take that gift and make the very best of it, carrying on in joy and love and cherishing the time that He gives us.
p.s. I know that it’s not this easy for everyone. Some of you work full time and will be scrambling for child care and don’t have children old enough to help with cooking and cleaning while you’re at work and I’m sorry. I really am. But I encourage you to remember that our kids are watching how we’re dealing with this just as much as they’re watching the teachers and the government and in all things we have a choice to honour God and love people or to grumble and complain. It’s hard, I know. I get it. I do. But let’s choose the better way.
p.p.s. Want to read more back to school stuff?