Heaven not Harvard was a cute blog name brainstorm, but now, it means so much more. Parenting with a Kingdom mindset, focusing on Heaven not Harvard has become the definition for more than my parenting journey.
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God is encouraging me to strip away more and more worldly fluff and focus on Him. As I went from full-time teacher to staying at home to home-schooling, God is changing my focus and my heart.
As a teacher transitioning to SAHM, I thought I understood what staying at home entailed since I had been home weekends and vacations. 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.
I imagined this breezy, carefree, yet impeccable, June Cleaver existence. My house would be clean. My child would be sweet and smart and kind. All poor behavior would be quickly and lovingly addressed. I would somehow be the perfect juxtaposition between Martha Stewart and Carol Brady.
Then life got in the way. Medical crisis after medical crisis left me struggling to just parent at all. And, I found having a strong willed child threw quite a monkey wrench into my perfect picture.
The reality of 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.”
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, or to dinner time, and holy crow, 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. Different ideas and values surround us on social media.
Before I started blogging, I read a Parents article that stated three year-olds without a specific daily bedtime scored lower at seven on reading, math and spatial learning tests.
Argh, are you kidding me??
For being so type-A, I thought I was winning over my demons by being laid back about schedules and bedtimes. 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 sat there reading the article in the quiet 5 minutes I get since my daughter has learned mommy wants to potty alone. Locking the door helps.
I struggled against tears.
I had waited a long time to be a mother and wanted 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 potentially lost IQ points in a wonderful child who is creative and bright.
Why? For my own ego?
I felt pressured to prove I am a worthy mother to the world.
Her ‘being smart’ would validate my parenting, right? As if only good parents have smart kids, or good parents only have smart kids, or if being smart is even important!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/was.
Convicted, I decided my sin wasn’t going to be the focus of my parenting. I want her to enjoy learning because I do, because getting an education can lead to a fulfilling career, but even then, so what?
What is my real goal in parenting? 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?
My job is to be a good steward of this child, but I’m raising her for His plan. When I started to look from God’s perspective, I realized she is how He made her.
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 she has to be prepared to live for Him on her own.
Nothing is necessarily wrong with Harvard, but I’d rather focus on Heaven than worry about silly articles that provoke fear and self-doubt.
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.