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Saturday January 28th 2023

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For the Holidays: Gifts of Devotion

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While digging through a closet this morning, I was surprised to find an ooooold copy of Home Education Magazine – 1987 – vintage stuff! It just so happens to be the December issue, which just so happens to include an article I wrote called “Gifts of Devotion.” I smiled to discover everything I wrote more than two decades ago still rings true. I’m sharing it here for all parents, but most especially parents “thinking” that homeschooling may be the way to go. Please consider the gifts I outlined in this piece…I’d be one happy Grandma if your family is to receive them one day, too.

Family reading.


Ice-covered pine boughs sparkle in the afternoon sun. Crisp, clear air is punctuated with the pungent aroma of smoke rising from a woodstove chimney. Snow-laden boots and woolen hats and mittens adorn the mudroom.

Yes, Christmas is near. For those of us who selflessly devote so much time, energy and concern to our children throughout the year, it’s a perfect time to reflect on the gifts we receive in return:

ACCEPTANCE – Many parents’ motives and actions are routinely questioned by their children. However, our homeschooled children recognize us not as Master or Mistress of the house, but as trusted guides on the path to maturity. In a world that constantly judges us by the way we look, speak, dress or make a living, our children bestow their acceptance on us, “just the way we are.”

UNDERSTANDING – According to the media, before today’s “average” family gallops out the door in the morning, they communicate only long enough to decide who will pick the kids up and where. Then, when a long, hectic day is over, there are chores to be done. Is it any wonder the average family doesn’t seem to understand one another?

As homeschooling parents, we often take the time to share our “selves” with our children as we describe “the time when I…”. By sharing these stories, an integral part of the people we have become, our children realize that we are real people, complete with hopes, fears, and insecurities, and not just authority figures in their lives.

Because of the time we spend with them, our children grant the gift of understanding us – better than most will ever be able.

PEACE – We all take time to observe our children diligently working on an absorbing project. During those moments, we know they are safe and happy, creating and learning in a loving environment. Their peace and contentment are ours.

JOY – Think of all the people who discontentedly shuffle off to dreaded jobs each day. Some fear the boss, get bored with the work, don’t like half the people with whom they have to spend eight hours each day.

We, on the other hand, are our own bosses. Our children make sure there is never a dull moment during the day. We don’t just like these little folks with whom we work, we love them! And when we work with joy in our hearts, ours is the privileged gift of accepted responsibility.

THE CHILD WITHIN – Can we worry about the electric bill or how in the world we’ll find time to get groceries when we’re flying like butterflies, coloring a green and yellow monkey, or belting out a rousing rendition of “She’ll be Comin’ Around the Mountain?”

We can’t. And this is one of the greatest gifts our children present to us every day – the ability to encounter the child within.

Children enjoy pretending and being silly, but they are ecstatic when we join in the fun. Our ability to create was smothered by the layers of conditioning we received on the way to adulthood. Our children gladly deliver the chance to peel through these layers to rediscover our in-born creativity.

DREAMS – Just as our children readily share their hopes and aspirations with us, they present us with the opportunity to formulate our own. To dare to dream is to take wing and soar above those unwilling to take the chance. To dream is to reach, with child-like abandon, trusting that guidance awaits. To transform a dream into reality is to experience the essence of childhood – the gifts of fulfillment and bliss.

Throughout this holiday season and the years to come, may wisdom be ours to share. And may all our homes be filled with the gifts of our devotion.

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One Response to “For the Holidays: Gifts of Devotion”

  1. DHM says:

    This post is in this week'sCarnival of Homeschooling! Please help promote the carnival, and thanks for your participation!

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