Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The End in Mind

(Ugh. Late post today due to internet difficulties.)

I have been a contributing writer for the online homeschooling magazine, Heart of the Matter, for quite some time. This month the magazine has gone through a change and is now called The End in Mind. Each of the writers has been asked to write a post about what this phrase means to them.

Having the end in mind when we are homeschooling or raising our children or doing whatever it is that is important to us is not a bad thing. It gives us goals and guidance and encouragement as we travel on our journeys. Yet I worry a bit that it can also skew what is really important.

We all like positive outcomes. We like good results. We like to see the fruits of our labors. This isn't bad and it certainly is human. The trouble is, if we base the worth of what we did solely on results, we are bound to be disappointed. This is particularly true when we are dealing with people. I know this sounds a bit heretical to Western ears, but bear with me.

There is a lot written out there about how to parent or homeschool (the lines get a little fuzzy) "correctly." Everyone wants what is best for their children and it is easy to fall prey to anyone who is going to let you in on the secret to happy, healthy, successful, and God-fearing children. We know the world can be a scary place and it becomes infinitely scarier the second that new little person is given over to the parents' care. We want to know how to both protect and strengthen our children so they can survive and thrive in this now much scarier world.

The trouble is, there is no secret formula. As you grow older and your friends grow older and all the collective children that you know grow older you begin to realize something. Those children, now adults, are their own persons and that is possibly the scariest thing of all. I've talked with quite a few women who, in my opinion, did everything 'right', yet at the moment they have children who, for one reason or another, they do not feel they were successful with. It is a hugely painful thing for them to discuss. Both because they love their children and because there is the implied public perception that on some level, it must be the parents' fault.

So, yes, by all means parent with the end in mind, but let's be clear about what the end is and what our purpose actually is. The end could be very, very far away. In all honesty, for some parents, they may not live to see the real fruits of their labors. And where does that leave parents? Well, I think we're back to the basics of what our purpose is. Our true purpose is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This is true of our parenting as well. We parent our children to the best of our ability because that is what God asks us to do. We don't do it because of the results we get. We don't do it because successful children will make us look good. We do it because we love God and trust Him with our children.
You can read my newest article, Let's Talk About Grades, on the newly redesigned website as well.


c smith said...

I think that goals are great to have and can keep us on track, but keeping "the end in mind" can give us a sense of control that we don't really have, especially when raising and teaching children. We should certainly help them with their weaknesses and encourage their abilities while keeping in mind the type of people we hope they will be, but, in the end they belong to God and the universe and their life's path will be determined by them and Him.

Lori Lane said...

For me, I guess keeping the end in mind helps me not be discouraged or lose focus. I struggle with maintaining focus and staying on course...and so having a clear picture of my goals does help me with that. Obviously, we aren't in control of everything. Thankfully, that job belongs to God. However, when something comes up that looks like an obstacle or a discouragement event, having the end in mind helps me keep on keeping on...knowing that I am secure in His hands. Bottom line, for all Christians, the end in mind...the to bring honor and glory to Christ. (I feel a blog post coming on.)

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