Or My Mom is Awesome
When I was in seminary, many of my classmates were married men. I know that’s surprising: married men in seminary… One semester I took a crazy class load, participated in student government, and worked two part-time jobs. I thought I was going to blow up into tiny little pieces if one more thing got added to my juggling act. My classmate Rob chose that time to tell me all the things his stay-at-home wife did to help him with school. He had a long commute each day, so she read his reading assignments into a recording device so he could listen as he drove. She helped him do research for his papers. He recorded lectures and she listened to them so they could discuss them later. She helped him any way she could. The other guys who were listening proceeded to tell me the nice things their wives did to help them with school. This news prompted me to say, in total frustration, “I need a wife!” or an assistant, anyway…
I called my mom and told her all about it, because she’s the one who seems to understand the most when I have some complainin’ to do. Amazingly, my mother reminded me that she had done the same types of things for my dad while he was in seminary. While I muttered under my breath about how men wouldn’t survive in this world without women, my mom said something to add to my amazement. She told me she would help me. With the wonder of technology, I emailed my assignment to her along with all the various parts, and she organized it beautifully. (The work was already done, but the formatting and organization would’ve taken me hours.) It was one project, but that help kept me sane. My mom’s willingness to break from her own busy schedule to help me also helped me feel God’s arms of love around me, hearing even my silliest request for “a wife.”
Side note here – of course I actually want a husband, but I don’t know that I’ve ever met a man who would help out his wife in the way these wives helped their husbands. I’m not making any kind of lifestyle confession here! I still love men.
Recently, some friends and I were chatting over coffee and it came up that their parents had taken very little interest in their education. None of their parents helped them with homework assignments or things they didn’t understand. Shocked, I thought back on all the times my mother stayed up late to help me figure out a complicated math concept, quiz me on vocabulary words, edit my papers for grammatical errors, and make sure I understood concepts from my science or history books. I never thought much about it. In fact, I often resented her and yelled at her in frustration over my own lack of ability to understand something. Even though I took her for granted, she always helped me out. She wasn’t the kind of mom who did my projects for me, but she figured out how to help me learn for myself when others couldn’t teach me – no matter how tired or sick or frustrated she was herself.
After that conversation, I did an informal poll and asked my friends if their parents helped them in school. To my surprise, it took a while to find anyone who said yes. Even those who said yes said the help they received was very limited. And since many of my friends are already parents, that leads me to a further question – do you plan to help your children with their school work? One of my friends already helps her children, another is planning to when they get into school, and another hadn’t really thought much about it.
I think educating children is one of the most important tasks of a parent. Whether the parent is a home-schooler or if the child has 8 different teachers at school, teaching begins at home. My mom used to give me a spelling test the night before the actual spelling test. Every word I missed, she had me write five times. Then I was re-tested on those words. The process repeated itself until I could correctly spell every single word. I rarely made less than 100% on spelling tests. It was pretty hard not to succeed with that kind of support. And as an adult when I find a word that I repeatedly mis-spell, guess what I do? Yup. Write it five times and repeat until I get it right. She taught me life skills as well as study skills.
With the start of the new school year, I encourage you parents to help your kids study and learn along with them. If there’s a subject you aren’t good in, try your best to keep up with your child’s learning so you can continue to help them as they get further along in the work. Education is so important! Especially the education we receive at home. Make your home an environment of learning and you will set your children up for success in the future. What a beautiful gift you can give your children!
P.S. My dad is a master teacher and did much to educate me too. He left the school work to Mom, but he taught me leadership and management principles, stage presence, how to work with difficult people, how to ski, how to play basketball, how to explore a cave or a river, and so much more. I have truly been blessed.
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, teach these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” -2 Timothy 2:2