Before I delve into the pile of clean laundry I have to fold, I wanted to spend some time to reflect on today’s events. It was a long day–but it wasn’t my fault…at least that’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself. It was what I have come to call a “Moody Monday.” The day started off peacefully with breakfast, Bible reading and then Chinese tutoring for my boys and English tutoring for me (they were students, I was a teacher). I did give them a short break after their hour-long lessons and then got them going on the rest of their regular schoolwork. Ideally, schoolwork is done by lunch and afternoons are more or less free. However, with a long Chinese lesson two mornings a week, it has been challenging to get much else done on those days. All of us, including me, are tired and usually hungry as lunchtime is not far off. So, I got #1son going on his copywork (not his favorite subject) and #2 son on his handwriting and I was reading to them while they were writing. #1 son had finished his 15 minutes of copywork and it was time for me to check over it. And so it began, the minute I mentioned that he’d left off quite a few words and had some spelling errors, #1son fell apart. I refrained from scolding him and proceeded to tell him that we’d have to paste a clean sheet of paper over what he’d written as it was too much to white out. So all the while that I was covering his work, he was bawling his eyes out saying that I hated his writing (never said that) and all his effort had been wasted. It wasn’t the time to talk about being careless, but that was my main concern. I had been watching him during copywork time and I knew he had not really been paying attention to his work. Sometimes I don’t know whether to stop him immediately and let him make corrections or whether to let him go on and show him later or have him check it himself. I was hoping he would able to get copywork done on his own with little prodding or correcting from me this year, but we are not quite there yet. Sometimes, I am working with #2son and can not give him immediate feedback on what he’s writing.When these issues come up I start thinking of how poorly I have trained him in the areas of attention and neatness. Then I start to wonder if I’ve criticized him and the guilt goes on.
I showed him the new paper I’d pasted over his work and he said (still crying his eyes out) that it wouldn’t work or he didn’t like it or something to that effect. So I (calmly) asked him to take out a notebook and copy the passage in his notebook instead. The crying continued as he slowly took out a notebook and despairingly put it on the table. “Lord, what do I do?” I silently prayed. He can’t be exempted from schoolwork or other responsibilities every time he’s in a bad mood…yet if I continue to push him now, nothing is going to get done. He can’t even stop himself from crying. So once he’d followed through on a small point of obedience (getting the notebook out), I decided we all needed a break. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep my temper and it seemed it was going to take quite a while for him to settle down enough to even think clearly.
Still I didn’t want to let him have complete freedom because I didn’t want him to get the idea he could go into hysterics as a means of getting out of his responsibilities. So we skipped to a place further down on the schedule where the boys do their chores and I prepare lunch. I told him to do his chores then rest on my bed until lunch was ready. He did that rather grudgingly. I decided not to react. I just let him be for a while until lunch.This may sound cold-hearted, but I have learned from experience that coddling him and even trying to reason with him during these emotional storms only makes things worse. I have to wait for the storm to pass and at the same time not let him get away with rudeness or violence.
To cheer himself up, he put in a CD. This time it was The Best of Bebo Norman. It was the right CD for me to hear. “I will lift my eyes…to the maker of the mountains I can’t climb…”
Lunch was still tense but the reminder that I have help got me through it. At times, I dare not think too far ahead about homeschooling. It seems like one of those “mountains I can’t climb.” But I was reminded on Sunday through the worship songs we sang at church that it doesn’t depend on me–there is One who is my firm foundation, my solid rock, the keeper of my soul. He’s the One who has my eternal destiny in his hand and He’s not letting go. His message to me on sunny Sunday was “This is how you’re going to make it with homeschooling…by holding on to me and letting Me lead you through this.” The encouragement from sunny Sunday was (fortunately) still on my mind on this moody Monday and I was so thankful for it.
My prayer is that I will remain faithful to the One who’s holding me up.