You Did a Good Job
by John Notgrass
If you have a child graduating from your homeschool this year, you’ve had a busy spring finishing up courses and transcripts, helping with plans for a job or college, preparing for graduation, and worrying about whether you’ve done everything on your to-do list.
As a homeschool graduate, let me give you a word of encouragement: You did a good job. No, you didn’t do a perfect job. The past year, like each of the past 18 years, has had some ups and downs. You’re a human being, just like your child. But you did a good job.
You invested yourself in teaching the heart, soul, and mind of your child. You made sacrifices. You endured hardship. You persevered. You made a difference. Now your role as parent is changing. Not ending, but changing. Your child needs a healthy relationship with you, even if he doesn’t realize or admit it.
You want the best for your child. That’s why you homeschooled. That’s why you worked so hard as a parent. As your child moves into another phase of life, whether it’s a job, the military, mission work, college, or another adventure, everything is not going to go the way you want. Don’t let that scare you. Be prepared!
You want your child to make good choices. He won’t. Not all the time anyway. If you accept that reality, you won’t be devastated when he makes a mistake. Love him through the consequences of bad choices. I didn’t say rescue him from the consequences. Be like God: gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness.
When your child makes a mistake, even if it’s a big one, treat him the way you want to be treated when you make a mistake. Remember that when you were young, you were not as wise as you are now. We don’t have to learn things the hard way, but as humans we seem drawn to the school of hard knocks. You have taught your child a lot, but he still has a lot to learn.
You want your child to be safe and happy. Life is good. We all have much to celebrate and be thankful for. But life is also full of suffering. We suffer. People we love suffer. Sometimes that suffering is brought on by our own decisions. Sometimes it happens through no fault of our own. Either way, it hurts.
When your child was young, a kiss from Mommy or Daddy made everything better. It’s not that simple when we grow up. Financial challenges, health difficulties, relationship issues, questions about faith, uncertainty about the future—all of these can cloud your child’s vision and make getting through each day hard. You won’t be able to fix all of your child’s problems or protect her from all dangers. But you can walk with her through the valleys.
You want your child to succeed. Our culture defines success in various ways. People who accumulate a lot of stuff, people who receive prestigious awards, people who rise to powerful positions—these people are considered successful. In God’s kingdom, however, a poor, humble servant may be much more successful than a rich, powerful celebrity.
Success in life means accepting the talents and opportunities God has given us and working with him to make something beautiful. That something beautiful can be a family, a ministry, a profession, a trade, or anything that brings God glory. Don’t worry if your child’s path through life looks different from that of his siblings or your friends’ children. If your child is seeking first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, he will be a success. Let him know that you approve of him as a person and that you are well-pleased with his efforts.
Life often seems like a long journey, but we can only live one day at a time. We can’t change the past. We can’t predict the future. But we can make it through today. You did a good job. But your job is not over.
John Notgrass and his wife Audra are both homeschool graduates. They have one son, Henry, with them, and three children with Jesus. John is a speaker, singer/songwriter, and historical actor (www.JohnNotgrass.com). He is also the business manager for Notgrass Company, a homeschool curriculum publisher that specializes in history, government, and economics (www.notgrass.com, 1-800-211-8793). Copyright © 2013 Notgrass Company.
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