Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Different Experience

Yesterday, I dropped Nate off for his first day of middle school. I don't know who was more nervous, me or him. Okay, let's stop pretending; I know exactly who was more nervous. Me. While I'm sure he had his share of butterflies as he faced the idea of walking on to a campus ten times the size of the one he attended in Reno and 1,000 times the size of the homeschool environment that we enjoyed for 3/4 of last year, my experience-induced fears had me tossing in my bed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. The possibility of him eating lunch alone, being picked on, feeling lost, or having a mean teacher triggered a recap of every horrible moment of my junior high career. Once again, I second-guessed my decision to put him in public school after so many years in a Christian school where all the teachers and students knew and loved one another, and several months of enjoying the safety and flexibility of homeschooling. But God repeatedly brought to mind these facts:

1) Nathan was eager to try public school. He couldn't wait to make new friends, be in a classroom again, and participate in activities like band and after school sports. One thing that homeschooling revealed was that Nathan is more suited to a classroom environment where he has someone other than Mom correcting his work and other kids to "compete" with academically. Did I want to hold him back from that?
2) I needed him to be in school. As much as I enjoyed homeschooling, I also needed my days back to pursue more work so I could earn a more steady income.
3) Five years in Christian school gave him a great foundation for entering the real would where not everyone believes the same things he does. I obviously made it through 12 years of public school with my faith in tact.
4) Just because I didn't enjoy junior high didn't mean he would have a bad experience. Nathan is a) a boy, b) more confident than I was at his age, c) much less weird than I was at his age, d) doesn't have a limitation to make him a target. Who was I to put my experiences on him and assume he would have a bad time? I also had some great experiences in public school. Why not focus on those and assume he'll learn to overlook the bad and enjoy the good?
5) It was time to trust God with my child and let him grow up, knowing homeschooling would still be there if we needed to go back to it.

So I waved goodbye to him, thanking God that my 11-year-old felt so excited and confident, knowing that alone would make a huge difference. Several hours later, I picked up a happy boy who reported every detail of a day that he called, "So fun."

I'm sure he'll have days that aren't so fun, but I also know God will equip us both when that happens.

Thank you, God, for watching over our kids even when we can't, and for creating them as individuals with the potential to have far different experiences than their parents had--different in great, exciting ways.

What have you learned from raising your kids? When has it been hard to let them try something new?   


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