Please join me in welcoming my dear friend, Katie Reid, to Genuflected today. Katie is a self-proclaimed, recovering perfectionist, and her message of grace and acceptance is well timed as many of our children head back to school this month.
In a world of bullying, gender-confusion, sexual abuse and school shootings, it can feel foolish to let our kids out from under our watchful eye.
In a world of spiritual disillusionment, legalism, secret rebellion and suffocating judgment, it can feel frightening to keep our kids too close.
We’re criticized for being helicopter parents yet labeled “neglectful” if we’re too hands-off.
At this time of year the fears rise and the lines are drawn.
Public school or homeschool? Private school or charter?
The “sides” duke it out in blank stares or in passive-aggressive “my schooling choice is superior to yours” social media posts or flat out less-than-Christian body language that communicates disdain.
But secretly we may be insecure about our decision and longing to hear, “You’re doing a good job. I support you. I’m cheering for you as you face the school year.”
I’ve had friends on both “sides” come to me with complaints and cuts from the hurtful words of others, as their schooling choices were criticized.
One of my friends was made to feel like her kid was headed straight to hell because he was being sent to public school.
Another assumed that a friend’s kids would be socially awkward because they were homeschooled.
I have judged and I have been judged.
Aren’t we all just trying to do what we feel God has asked our family to do?
There are pros and cons to any schooling situation.
We need one another for support as we watch our kids get on the bus and pray they’ll be okay, or as we to try to keep our cool as we drill multiplication facts between dishwasher loads and folding laundry.
Or maybe we fret over the cost of tuition or question whether or not he will thrive at the math and science academy.
We often forget that we are on the same team in this game of motherhood.
We love our offspring and want them to learn. But maybe we are the ones who need to learn a thing or two.
As the first day of school pictures pop up may our criticism fall down.
As summer ends may our prayers increase.
As our calendars fill up may grace pour out.
May we take a moment, on the cusp of the classroom, to lift up each other.
Thank You for this coming school year. Please guide our steps as we help point our children in the way that You want them to go. Forgive our quick tongues and judging thoughts. Forgive us for assuming that we know best. Remind us that that mom over there needs a friend more than she needs to be set straight. She may be second-guessing her schooling decision and fighting back tears. Her kid’s hair may be a mess and she may be wearing mismatched socks, but they made it out the door—she deserves a medal. This mothering thing is both hard and holy and we need others on our team to lead us to victory as we seek Your counsel and will for our lives. Thank You for Your love for us. Help us to demonstrate that kind of love to one another as we go forward. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I am guilty. Guilty because I think I know best, for you and for me.
For such a time as this, I want to draw a line in the sand and agree to support and not isolate, to help and not hurt, to encourage and not tear down.
Aren’t we weary from the war? Don’t we long to defeat judgment and grasp grace?
We can’t change anyone but ourselves.
It’s not “us” and “them”, it’s just us, all lumped together as moms who love their kids and want to make the best decisions we can—given the circumstances and the needs of our families.
Let’s ask God, to help us grab hands and release the need to be “right”. Let’s do right by uplifting each other and our kids to the Master of Creation, the Teacher of Truth and the Tutor of Compassion.
Here’s to a great school year; together.
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.