But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NASB)
I can’t homeschool because I don’t have any patience!
Ever heard that comment before? Thought it? Said it?! Of all the reasons I’ve heard not to homeschool, that is easily the most common. Let’s consider what this statement actually means. (I do want to say up front that there are certainly legitimate reasons not to homeschool. I am not here to condemn you or convince you that homeschooling is your calling.) I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret though. Ready?
There is a straightforward truth hiding in this statement—one we don’t want to admit or even recognize. If we think about it, we’d be embarrassed to say it out loud. What does I don’t have any patience really mean? It means:
- I’m right.
- My way is best.
- You slow me down.
- You keep me from doing what I want to do.
- It’s all about me.
In a word, it means pride. Too prideful to put the other person first, too prideful to die to self, too prideful to change, too prideful to admit things are hard, too prideful to ask for help.
Homeschooling or not, if there is anything we parents need, it’s patience. And the funny thing about not homeschooling due to the lack of it is that it really means one isn’t willing to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. If you think you are reserving your “patience” for afterschool and weekends, you really don’t have any at all. It isn’t a quality one puts on and takes off like a coat. It is a character trait that takes time, prayer, and practice to develop.
Before you get mad at me or think I am acting all holier than thou, I’ll let you in on my biggest sin that impacted our homeschooling. Patience? None. Pride? Tons! My parenting skills left much to be desired. I wanted my boys to do things correctly (as in my way), be obedient (as in perfect), and not interfere too much with the things I wanted to do. Ahem. Of course, that meant I had the same sin issues in other areas as well, most notably as a wife. Again, you can only get away with pretending to be patient (or loving, joyful, peaceful, gentle, etc.) for so long before the ugliness seeps out like rotten fruit being squeezed.
The good news? Why, the gospel, of course! The Holy Spirit worked in me through my impatience, through my pride, and yes, through my homeschooling! It didn’t happen overnight or even in one school year. But slowly and steadily, He did a mighty work in my heart, softening it toward my sons, my husband, and others. He showed me that my sin of pride and my sighing and complaining were manifestations of my unwillingness to do the hard work of growing in faith.
Over the years I grew, they grew, our homeschool flourished, and our family flourished. We certainly had our dark valleys and days of despair, but in looking back, I am so grateful that God used homeschooling to grow me and grow our family. I still work on patience, but today I recognize what my impatience really means: ugly pride rearing its head again. And I know now that the way to beat it is ask forgiveness and to keep turning to Christ.
What about you? Is your lack of patience keeping you from doing something God is calling you to do…like maybe homeschooling?
This post is one of many in a link-up by iHomeschool Network which addresses common objections to homeschooling. Visit iHN to see more reasons not to homeschool and the answers for overcoming those reasons.