Heaven Not Harvard

(Last Updated On: March 21, 2016)

Parenting for Heaven not Harvard has become the defining description of my parenting journey from full-time teacher to staying at home, home-schooling mom, changing my purpose and heart.

What should we focus on? Sending our children to Harvard or pointing them to Heaven?As a former teacher, I was home weekends and vacations, so I thought I understood what it would be like to stay at home. I thought I was prepared. I thought it would be easy.

As a former teacher, I thought staying home would be easy, like summer, but nothing has been more challenging. Click To Tweet

Well, um, yeah. Best laid plans and all that. How was a super driven, type-A personality going to handle a job without any external validation? How would I gauge success or failure?

I created this idealized image of a stay at home mother. Then I found having a strong willed child threw quite a monkey wrench into my perfect picture, and so did life.

Reality and a lot of medical crises got in the way of that picture. Just parenting  24/7 was harder than I could have imagined.

I’ve called my mother a few times just to say thank you. When she asks, “For what?” I simply answer, “For allowing us all to live. Sometimes, that seems like a miracle.” We both laugh, but we know how it feels inside when the threenager has been screaming from timeout for ten minutes.

We wonder how we’re going to make it one more minute, to dinner time, and holy cow, please hurry up bedtime!

I’ve been growing in my walk with Christ, understanding who I am and whom God has called me to be. As I grow in Him I realize how I parent will have significant impact on her faith in Christ, her walk with Him on this earth, and her eternity.

But worldly pressures seep into my head about what is important for me to consider as I parent. I read a Parents article that said three year-olds without a specific daily bedtime scored lower at age 7 on reading, math and spatial learning tests.

Argh, are you kidding me?? I thought for me being so type-A that I was winning over my demons by being laid back about schedules and bedtimes.  I made sure my child slept enough and went to bed within a 60 minute window, but inadvertently, I might have damaged her intellect for four years from now?!?

I struggled against tears.

I waited a long time to be a mother and want to get everything just right, as if all the waiting to adopt my daughter automatically gave me wisdom that would prevent the typical parenting pitfalls.

But here I sat, wrestling with fear and pride over potential IQ points in a child that is at least perfectly normal.

Why? For my own ego?

I feel pressured to prove I am a worthy mother to the world. Her ‘being smart’ would validate my parenting, right?

When we measure our parenting against worldly standards, we miss the measure that matters. Click To Tweet

Wow, am I that vain? Harsh reality, but sometimes I really am.

I sat there reading the article in the quiet 5 minutes I get on the toilet since my daughter has learned mommy wants to potty alone. Locking the door helps.

And I decided that my sin wasn’t going to be the base of my parenting.  I want her to enjoy school and learning because I did, because getting an education can lead to a fulfilling career, but even then so what?

What is my real goal in parenting her? What do I want her to be?

A loving, kind, compassionate follower of Christ, an example for the world of Christ’s love and God’s grace.

What does the rest matter if she is living out loud for God? Would I love her any less if she were a janitor or any more if she were a doctor? Is the bigger, better job always best?

When I started to look from God’s perspective, I realized she is how He made her. My job is to be a good steward of this child, but I’m raising her for His plan.

My child is who God made her. My job is to be a steward of His child, raising her for Heaven, Not Harvard. Click To Tweet
My job is to raise her for HIM, Heaven not Harvard. Everything else is unimportant.

If I dedicate my life and parenting to Christ, she will be who He needs her to be. I can love her and prepare her for the trials of life educationally, socially, and spiritually, but I decided I’m parenting her for Heaven not Harvard. Parenting for Heaven not Harvard has become the defining description of my parenting journey from full-time teacher to staying at home, home-schooling mom, changing my purpose and heart.Nothing is necessarily wrong with Harvard, but I’d rather focus on Heaven than worry about silly articles that provoke fear.

Which is why I’ve chosen to write about my experiences as a wife and mother: learning to be Christlike, teaching my daughter to follow God, and living as a witness to those who don’t know Christ as their personal savior.

Because in the biggest picture of them all, eternity, not much else really matters.

9 Replies to “Heaven Not Harvard”

  1. Excellent post! It is hard with all the stuff that is said on media, but if we can raise our kids to love the Lord, then we have succeeded! It’s hard to keep our minds stayed on that fact!

  2. This is so good. So honest and good. I love how He lead you to your realization. I had a similar experience and it’s so nice to be able to relate to this. Can’t wait to see what you have up your sleeve!

  3. What a good read! I understand your point entirely. I was also a working mom and then decided to stay home full-time and only work retail part time. But add the curveball that I’m homeschooling three children ages 5-8. We can take everything soooo personally! But, like you said, if our goal is to have children who are a part of the Kingdom of God – then they’ll go wherever God wants them to be, maybe Harvard… Maybe not… And it will be ok. More than ok. It’ll be glorious!

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