Thirteen years ago today I was holding a little bundle that weighed less than our cat. It is hard to believe that bundle is already 13– but I must admit, he is fun to be around and is growing into quite a responsible young man.
Making the decision to home school him has paid off in dividends as far as character is concerned. His friends in public and private school are already obsessed with girls (and have been for several years) and he, though I’m sure he has an interest, recognizes he has no business “going with” a girl at his age. Ezra has sweet friends that attend both public and private school but I am saddened by their early loss of innocence because of what they are exposed to every day at school.
The group of home schooled students he hangs around with the most is populated with young men who are interested in doing well on their sports teams and finding a way to make money for college or to buy their own car. They are also aware of spiritual things you wouldn’t think boys their age would be attuned to. The conversations I can have with these 15 and 16 year old boys are conversations I wouldn’t be able to have with most of the male freshmen students attending the university down the road. The maturity these young people have as a result of being led by their parents and not their peers (as happens even in solid Christian schools) is markedly different from the maturity of students attending the local schools.
Honestly, I don’t see myself as some awesome success at home schooling. My kids don’t know classical Greek or read Shakespeare daily. They have learning issues we struggle to address nearly every day. When push comes to shove though, I would rather be experiencing a joyful and fulfilling relationship with my children (even at 13 with hormones raging) than have the smartest, most well read kids in the world with no desire to have anything to do with their family.
When I look at Ezra, I see a kid who has a close relationship with his siblings, has picked good friends that share his values, is welcoming to people unlike him and is a hard worker–always seeking opportunities to make his own way. I see a boy who thinks about whether or not our neighbors know how much Jesus loves them, a boy who is willing to serve others and someone I can be proud to call my son. I am so privileged to have the opportunity to home educate him and be a real part of who he is becoming.
Happy Birthday, Ezra–I love you!!