I do want to clarify something. All these people did have something good to say about parenting, but not all of the practical application was wise. I would buy all their wares at conventions and see them speak and start implementing their ideas as soon as I got home. My poor children. I had them involved in a cult again. I’m sorry if you find “cult” offensive, but that is truly what my heart believes. I had bought into if you do A,B, and C your children will go from obeying you at home, and into their adulthood without rebelling. That was truly “Reality Misunderstood.”
This was a critical time in the lives of my older children. They were becoming teenagers and young adults and all my experimenting and being so rigid did a number on them. Before I go on, I do not blame myself for everything that happened in my children’s lives. At some point they need to take responsibility for their poor choices and move on. I have apologized to all my children for my mistakes. That said, the teen years and early adulthood in my two oldest were extremely tumultuous.
One of the contributing factors to my children and their rebellion, was peer pressure from the “perfect” homeschool family in our support group. Everyone looked to them and their children were to be emulated. I felt pressure to live up to their standards. What I failed to realize, was the their standards were right for them and our standards were right for us. My children were ridiculed for games they played, books they read; you name it. Foolishly, I tried to make my children conform. I would get tired of the phone calls after overnight trips with the church telling me my son was reading a book they found in appropriate. Mind you, no one in church leadership was complaining, just this one family, I will call the the “Smiths”.
The dream of a well educated, godly family was a worthy goal, but the reality of guiding my family in the best direction for us was really misunderstood. There are so many things I could tell you. I spent years trying to be like the Smiths while my son was being arrested and in jail for various things, and my daughter was sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night. We have fought, drugs, promiscuity, pregnancy, alternative lifestyles, rape, alcohol addiction; you name it we have seen it.
We eventually left that small town and moved back to the large metropolitan lifestyle. By then my hubby was ill and I was sending my two youngest to public school. Also, by then, I had realized that I had made a drastic mistake of buying into the “cult” side of homeschooling. I was reformed from the rigid side of things, but things got much worse for us. My oldest became a meth addict, my daughter became a felon, drug addict, and an alcoholic, and my youngest became a juvenile felon along with dabbling in drugs. Child number three had his issues, but nothing like the other three.
We do have some praises to give. My oldest son spent 6 years in the Airforce and is now attending college full time. Praise God. My third child finally decided to go to college and we are helping him. Child number four, who is 20 is still dangling a bit, but I do see hope. My daughter struggles horribly! My kids have chosen the scenic route in life.
If you have one child who does not seem to be able to come out from their addictions and behaviors, you may find there is something else you do not know about. After many years my daughter finally told me she was molested as a four or five year old by my best friend’s husband that we lived next door to. I had no clue or we could have gotten help. By the time we found out she would not do anything the counselor would say and is still now falling down a slippery slope.
I do not want to give a total story of what we have been through as it reads like a soap opera. What I want to say is God has a plan for your family, and if you follow that, no matter what paths your children take, you can rest assured you did your best. As adults your children are responsible for their own choices. The “dream” is not to “follow the formula” and have a June Cleaver family. The promise is the rewards you will get for being obedient to God. The reality is you can only bring them up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord”. You can’t force them to do what is right. It is their choice. Our job is to love them, nurture them, guide them, help them pick up the pieces when it all falls, and to support them when they want to come back to God and their family. What I am learning is forgiveness, mercy, longsuffering, patience, meekness, and showing the love of Jesus above all.
Reality is not a perfect family as a result of following God. Reality is resting in his peace that you have done your best and will stand before him having been forgiven for the mistakes and rewarded for the godly changes you made in the life of your family. Let us all have dreams to pursue, but understand the true reality that God doesn’t make our children perfect, but he forgives us and them for mistake when we repent and move forward with Him being first.
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