Heart to Heart

[Reprinted from There’s No Place Like Home book]

       Well, I had to evict EWA (Everywhere Airlines) from my dining room table so I could finish writing this article. My daughter and her friends were in business routing trips all over the world and have written hundreds of tickets for their pampered clientele. During the weeks prior to this business endeavor, they were nurses, owned a well-known winery using our wild cherries as props, solved numerous mysteries as Brittany & Tiffany, built a tree house in another friend’s yard, captured robbers with their top-notch police force, mothered abandoned children, survived in the wilderness, ruled as Kings and Queens, designed dresses out of scrap material, and made their own bonfires on our patio each night. Do you marvel as I do, at the imagination and ingenuity of children when allowed time to really play? Not once was the television considered, and we weren’t running around organizing all of their time. From morning, kids often came at 8:00 a.m. and stayed until night, sometimes until 11:30 p.m. Is that not the purpose of summer vacation—that beautiful combination of time and play?      I cannot believe that summer slips by so quickly. I love the lemonade commercial that says, “Due to the scheduling of fall, summer is a short 94 days.” It goes on to encourage us to take the time to enjoy it while it lasts.      Last week while shopping, I found myself surrounded by harried parents and dissatisfied children arguing over clothes, school supplies, and back packs. (Ninja Turtles, Bart Simpson, and weird rock stars—with these role models, is it any wonder our nation’s youth are in trouble?) I cringed as I listened to mothers yelling at their children, children crying, children yelling at their parents, and disgruntled fathers berating both mother and child. They pricked my heart and made me cry. If it weren’t for the videos we needed for the Homeschooling Seminar, I would have literally run out of the store to my haven of refuge. Instead, I sniffled my way through the crowd as quickly as possible, all the while thanking God that my child and I would be spending this year and many more at home together.      Aren’t you glad we aren’t rushing around preparing for our children’s departure? Isn’t it absurd that moms and dads give their babies to total strangers for the majority of their waking hours? A neighbor recently said, “Only one more week before school starts, I can’t wait!” I was shocked! Immediately I thanked God that my children and I will remain together at home. I just told my doctor’s nurse about homeschooling and was again shocked by her response. To homeschool would mean to give up her full time job, and she didn’t want to give up her job. How sad!! After sharing about homeschooling with my former eye doctor, he told me how nice that I was financially able to stay home with my children. I lovingly explained that staying home was a financial sacrifice but nothing compared to the blessing of nurturing my own children. Children are certainly more important than new vehicles, a bigger house, and yearly vacations. I thanked God that my children and I are at home together.      Society assumes that if the mother isn’t working, the father must be making a terrific salary. “Money is the root of all evil?” It certainly is when parents exchange their babies for cash. Most of us struggle to make ends meet, and we sacrifice many of the American dreams to stay home with our children, but our priorities are in perfect alignment with God’s purpose for our lives. Like a car, when our foundation is in alignment, the ride is smooth, and the foundation doesn’t wear away.      Like us, many of you are unemployed. Satan desires our children. He wants us to leave our nests unprotected so his vipers can devour our babies, but God wants to continue caring and providing for us as He always has; all He asks of us is to trust Him. Our family just survived eight months of unemployment, yet I can wholeheartedly encourage you that God will provide for you. Don’t look at your circumstances—keep your eyes on your heavenly Father. God lovingly placed each of our children in our care to train up for Him. We can certainly trust Him to care for us so we are able to fulfill this important responsibility.      For all the years I attended school, being separated from the care of my parents always saddened me. I feel equally sad to see the neighborhood children go off to school. I’ll miss their smiling faces and exuberant laughter. I will cringe when they can’t play because they have too much homework. I will deeply grieve over the little amount of time they have with their families. And once again, I’ll thank God that I’m at home with my children.      Once upon a time, a young woman full of life, love, hope, and dreams pursued an education in Elementary Education. After graduating, I began teaching my own class of first graders. Many hailed my creative teaching techniques while districts persuaded me to teach for them. In addition to teaching, I sold cosmetics, traveled to Kansas City and Dallas to select gifts for my parents’ store, and displayed these “for sale.” From the world’s standard, I possessed everything. Why exchange all this for housework and diapers? Because all along, I desired to fulfill a higher calling. All I ever wanted was to be a wife and mother.      When the time came, in a twinkling of an eye, without ever glancing back, I happily exchanged all this for my dream—a husband, a home, and children. With this promotion many exchanges took place, all in my favor—paycheck for hugs and kisses; teacher’s lounge gossip for wisdom out of the mouths of my own babies; morning alarm for “Good morning, Mama” followed by pounces, hugs, and kisses; high heels for tennis shoes or just bare feet; pretty outfits for nice comfortable clothing; several class parties a year for class parties every week; frustration of not having enough time to achieve my goal for each of my thirty students for satisfaction in fulfilling my goals for my three children; My Favorite Teacher ornaments from students for My Favorite Teacher—My Mom ornament from her favorite children; faculty and NEA meetings for family worship; lunch at Reubens with sales representatives for lunch with my three adorable children; happy, satisfied customers for happy, contented children; tiring days for delightfully fun days; the classroom or store for the comfort of my own home; and an inadequate retirement plan for the best retirement plan in the world—loving children.      Disadvantages? None! Changing diapers gives yet another opportunity to talk, tickle, caress, and love my babies. Laundering, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, and scouring produces feelings of great accomplishment. Nothing could be more satisfying than creating a loving home and teaching one’s own children.      Do working women dressed in tailored business suits, driving in sports cars to dine at the Mayfair for a business meeting create longing desires for that way of life? Never! Instead, I weep for those who out of selfish desires leave their kids behind and pray that someday they will exchange their foolish desires for the greatest profession in the world—motherhood. Delightful, fulfilling, comfortable, challenging, exciting, joyful, thrilling, beautiful, heavenly … there aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe it. Truly, there’s no place like home.      As you begin this new year, keep these thoughts foremost in your mind: As God is to us, we should be to our children: gracious—compassionate—slow to anger—patient—forgiving—loving—kind. Carefully listen to your children. Hug them and pat them and praise them throughout each and every day. Smile and laugh a lot. Take time to play together. We are privileged to spend these fleeting moments with our babies. Make the most of them.            Mothers, you are dear to my heart. The love and dedication you have for your children warms my heart and makes it leap for joy. Your sacrificial love is a breath of fresh air sweetly scenting the world around you. While your children rise up and bless you, your heavenly Father will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” God bless you all.