Loving One Another

Family Love


We just got back from a whirlwind trip to California and back from our home in Montana. Two days travel to get there and two days there – then two days travel to return home. What was so important that we would spend that kind of time on the road for such a short visit?  Family love. Our oldest granddaughter was graduating from high school – and of course, we couldn’t/wouldn’t miss it! She and her three siblings all were adopted – one as an infant, then siblings who were aged two and four, and a couple of years later, another pre-schooler. Raising these four children has been a roller coaster ride of pleasure and pain, sorrow and sweetness, laughs and lumps. Doesn’t that describe the growing process in most families? Add to this mixture the ingredient of home-schooling, and you get a 24-7 conglomerate. I am a retired  teacher and elementary principal, a strong advocate of public schools. It’s been hard for me to imagine why parents would choose to keep their children at home 24-7 and try to do it all themselves. However, my oldest grandson was a very special needs student, and the schools in their area didn’t seem to know what to do with him. At four, he already had an IEP folder six inches deep, and a prediction for his future that did not include reading, writing, or functioning on his own. He is the reason my son’s family decided to do it themselves. With one being home-schooled, it just seemed right to give the same attention to the others as they became school-aged. I questioned the “one-size-fits-all” mentality (at least that’s how I looked at it). Both parents are credentialed teachers who spent some time teaching in the public school system. How could they abandon it? I was puzzled as I watched their struggles and tried biting my tongue. Most of the time, I succeeded – and I am so glad I did. Because, they did, too. Sixteen years later, as grandchild #2 graduates, I have reached a point of understanding and have become much more supportive. I have seen miraculous changes in the children – and exciting results from the dedication and creativity of the home-school community. It is not one of isolation. Connected to a private charter school, they get together with other home-schooled friends at least once a week. As members of a local church, they have a large circle of Christian friends. Swim teams, music lessons, sometimes private tutors, and community events have extended their support system. Our son is working for the home-school network, supervising other home-school parents, helping to keep them accountable to the state standards they must meet. I’m proud of my kids. God bless them for hanging in there. Tenacity is one of the most important qualities of family love. Maybe that’s true of any kind of love. You think?

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