Being the planner I am I decided to map out a route for a family hike, so I started down the road. As I was jogging along the road, I came to a fork in the road with 3 paths. I could chose Path #1 which looked fairly familiar at first glance, but further down the path you could see more rules and regulations, and if you weren’t cautious enough it led into Path #2. If I chose path #2 my world would become a virtual reality and I didn’t have control over what the outcome may be. It had a lot of questions about what the path even looked like. There were so many potential hazards along the way, not to mention the frustrations. If I chose path #3 there was a small chance of insanity at the end because peace and quiet may be no more. It would totally change the hike and we would have to rely on each other more than ever on Path #3. No matter what path I chose, there were risks involved and none of them were the easy, straight, and comfortable path I had expected when I set out on this journey. The once familiar road map had changed and now it was my job to navigate it for our family.
Now this may seem like a real scenario, but obviously if you know me at all, it was a dream. Because let’s be honest…. I don’t jog or hike! But it was a very real dream to me. This dream occurred night after night for over a month. This dream was a manifestation of my anxieties about making the right choice for our family in regards to schooling for the 2020-2021 year.
Path #1 was to opt for in-person learning which seemed to be the most normal, until you knew all of the guidelines that would be put in place for safety precautions. Once you knew all of the rules of hiking down that path it began to seem less normal. Plus there was a high chance (almost inevitable) that Path #1 would someday merge into Path #2.
Path #2 was to opt for remote learning. I wasn’t sure I wanted to relive even a portion of the remote learning we endured in the Spring. I knew it would look different, but I still didn’t have a clear picture of what it would look like. I didn’t want to get stuck with something that was frustrating to my kids or to me. It also gave me less control of the curriculum they would have to work on while at home.
Path #3 was a path I never thought I would be considering….. this path was homeschooling. As a former teacher I knew this path would be the most practical for our family because I had a stockroom of curriculum, resources, and supplies ready to go from my teaching days. I loved teaching! But to be responsible for my own kids educational year was a little scary — well actually — a lot scary! I didn’t want to lead them down this path only to fail in leading them out to the other side. What if I missed something along the path that was vital? What if we couldn’t work together well and they hated me at the end? So many what ifs….
After over a month of this dream (no…. nightmare is more like it), I knew I had to make a decision quickly because I needed to have a solid and confident decision so I could begin mapping it out and preparing our family for the journey this year. After careful consideration we decided to venture down Path #3. We have been traveling on Path #3 for almost 4 weeks now and so far we have hit some roadblocks, bumps, and we even have a few bruises. I had to carry backpacks because the kids weren’t ready to be completely independent yet. We had to change up our routine and schedules. But we are getting our into our stride now and everyone is beginning to pull their own weight. There have even been a few laughs along the way!
Is this year going to be difficult for us? YES! Is it going to be difficult for all families no matter which path they choose? YES! Can we find joy on the path? ABSOLUTELY! God has promised us that in Psalm 30:5 (MSG) “The nights of crying your eyes out, give way to days of laughter.”
I also have to remember that this journey we are all on as parents is ultimately re-shaping us. God can use this time of trial to test our faith and show us His goodness. We are a blessed group to go through this because He promises that too in James 1:2. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” God knew when before we were born that we would be living through this time in history. He created us to do this! If we can rely on Him and continue to seek His guidance and grace (which we will need both daily), we can get through this and come out BETTER on the other side.
So as we begin down this path, let’s remember to support each other no matter what path we are on. Let’s pray for each other. Let’s encourage each other. Let’s support each other when the path gets rough. Send a care package, make that phone call, or write that letter. How can you encourage another family this week as they start their adventure down their path this month?