Have you ever had one of those vivid, crazy dreams that you’ll never forget? I had the craziest dream ever last week. It was so strange that the first time I told my husband about it, he thought I must have made it up!
I dreamt I was a contestant on a game show that was a cross between “Deal or no Deal” and “Jeopardy”. I traded a new car for a 50/50 chance to win a house. But not just any house– this was Charleston Heston’s own house! It was a huge two-story mansion with hardwood floors, tons of marble and granite, a dream kitchen, a floor to ceiling fireplace in the living room, and a huge master bedroom with a fireplace and a balcony that overlooked the backyard. This house sat on acreage, and came complete with a waterfall that emptied into a pristine pool, a cranberry bog, and a quarter size train circling the property.
But what crazy dream is complete without a dream come true? I won the house! My whole family got to meet Mr. Heston as he was busy packing up his house so we could move in. He liked us so well that he gave us some memorabilia from the “Ten Commandments”. The only bummer: We had to move to New Jersey. I remember I was terrified of what their homeschool laws might be! (I later found out that they are better than ours).
All of us have dreams. Sometimes we remember our dreams, and sometimes we only have a vague idea of what our dreams really were. Many times we try to apply some kind of meaning or message to our dreams, especially when they are as detailed and realistic as mine was. Many times a message does seem clear.
I’ve thought about dreams a lot lately- not just my own crazy dream, but also the whole idea of dreams in general. And as I was thinking about my dream, the Lord seemed to lay on my heart some thoughts about dreams that could apply to all of our lives today.
When our children are young and we begin our homeschool journey, we have so many dreams. Dreams about what homeschooling will be like; dreams about what kind of mothers we will be. Dreams about the memories we want to give our children, and dreams about what our children will be like when they grow up. Many times our dreams are unrealistic—pie in the sky daydreams that could never be.
At first, everyone tells us to relax about our dreams, and rightly so; after all, we have twelve whole years to bring our dreams to fruition—and twelve years seem like an eternity at first. But as the years slip by, we quickly fall into a routine– each year bringing its own share of joys, sorrows and challenges. Many dreams are forgotten or set aside, as we struggle daily to “get it all done”. But this year is different for me. This year I have a senior.
Having a senior has changed my perspective on everything. The senior year is a time of endings and beginnings-looking back and looking ahead. And looking back has given me some insights about what I want for our youngest two, now ages 6 and 3.
First of all, I’ve decided that I’m going to write down my dreams for my children-the realistic ones, anyway. I’m going to write down short and long range goals, and re-read them frequently to make sure I’m sticking with the plan.
After I write down those goals, I’m going to make sure to “make the main thing the main thing”. If our main goal is really homeschooling with eternity in mind, then we will be sure to put character training and spiritual matters first. I won’t let my own insecurities about grade levels or “getting it done” keep me from seeking the Lord first! I’m going to trust that He will add “all those other things” that I tend to stress about–and in His own time. I’m going to trust Him to give me the wisdom, patience and confidence to back off when I need to, as well as to know when to dig in my heels. I’m praying for that ever-elusive “balance” in all things.
Lastly, I’ve decided that I’m going to worry less and enjoy more. I want to make sure to do all the fun stuff I plan to do, and yet so often don’t accomplish. This holiday season especially, we are going to take the time to be relaxed, read daily Advent devotions, bake multiple batches of cookies, get messy with glitter, cut and paste those Christmas trees and stars, read those books (over and over, probably), play those games and generally just enjoy each other and the season.
I’ve discovered just how quickly the years fly by. Looking back, I can’t say I have any regrets about which math curriculum we chose, or how many phonics pages we finished daily. I do have regrets though, about pushing too hard on the academics during the early years—often at the expense of those fun things that act not only as learning experiences, but also as relationship builders. It’s the music, art, reading and singing together that make our holidays special-and not just our holidays, but our “every-days” as well. And yet these are the things we often consider to be “extra” or “unnecessary”, especially when compared to getting our academics done. That’s sad. Let’s take the time to do those “extras”. Lets make them happen for our children this year. Those “extras” make the memories we will most cherish in the future.
Those “extras” are the stuff that dreams are made of. And only we can make those dreams come true for our children-not only at Christmas time, but every day.
Special Books to Share With Your Children This Christmas (in no particular order):
“Arch” Christmas books (available at Bible bookstores)
The Legend of the Candy Cane (Walburg)
An Orange for Frankie (Polacco)
The Polar Express (Allsburg)
Apple Tree Christmas (Noble)
The Twelve Days of Christmas (Haidle)
Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect (Schneider)
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (Barry)
A Letter to Santa Claus (Weninger/Moller)
The Light of Christmas (Evans)
Deck the Stable (Eastwick)
An Early American Christmas (dePaola)
The Tale of the Three Trees (Hunt)
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus (Church)
Susan Lemons and her husband Randy have homeschooled their four children “from birth.” Susan has earned both Associate and Bachelor Degrees in Child Development, and is Home School Enrichment Magazine’s Early Learning Columnist. Susan enjoys serving the homeschooling community as a mentor, “first contact” for new homeschoolers, and as a Thinking About Homeschooling group leader. You may contact her at [email protected].