Today I want to share some notes regarding raising individual children. I have been attending an online homeschool expo this week and this seems to be a recurring theme.One of the things that I have been telling myself over and over again is that I hope to be able to provide the same opportunities to each of my children. During this pregnancy, I have been a little bit overwhelmed by that commitment as I acknowledge that this September is going to be a big change for my family as my time is divided between three children.
Then one of the speakers said, “We tell ourselves we will give all of our children the same opportunities, but I’m telling you that it simply isn’t possible, so give up on the idea right now.” This perked my interest, and she went on to say that every child is unique and every year of our lives will bring new challenges and opportunities to our families. The family income, the health of the parents or children, the interests of the child, and so many other factors all come in to play, and to give each child the same system of education just isn’t realistic. Peter is my oldest, and as a baby, he received a lot more attention than Helen did, just because he was an only child. Do I love him more than Helen? Certainly not, but the opportunities he had were different than hers. I know my Dad gave me more horse rides on his back than he gives my youngest sister who is almost 22 years younger than me. His health is different, but my sister has had many horse rides on her older siblings backs. Her opportunities have been different than mine. She’s a different person than I am.
The curriculum that worked great for one child may be wholly inadequate for another. The music lessons for one child may be karate lessons for another. One child will be college bound, another will go to a tech school, and another will immediately start their own business. One will grow up to be a businessman, another to be a professional mother, another will be a professor, real estate agent, or whatever they want. The opportunities that each child will seek, the teachers that will be available, the peers that will influence them, and the culture that surrounds them will all change.
We are raising individual children, so when we tell ourselves that we want to give each of our children the same opportunities, we set ourselves up for failure because it will never happen. As a homeschooling mom, this has been an idea that I have struggled with, and I’m grateful that I can let it go. The point to all of it is that God has placed this person, one of His children, in our care, and as a parent in each stage of their lives we should be asking ourselves, “What is it that this child needs, and what can I do to help them achieve their full potential?” Each of our children have specific things that they need to accomplish during their lives, and their precious time with us is our opportunity to help them to that end. Their education is part of the environment that will shape their future, but the whole environment is what their individual opportunities are made of. They will be different, but we can help each child to make the best of them.