Monday, September 11, 2017

Reflections on Mere Motherhood...

Our CM Study Group took a sabbatical from Charlotte's Vol. 1, Home Education, in August to read Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. Cindy will be the guest speaker at the Journey: An Education for Life retreat in a couple of weeks. It was a re-read for a few moms in our group, but a first time read for myself.

Mere Motherhood, is a memoir of sorts. It is Cindy Rollins' story. The story of her life as a mother of nine children and more particularly, a homeschool mother. Rollins writes candidly about her experiences in large family child rearing. At times, I laughed out loud. I consistently found myself nodding, yes, yes, and yes! Mere Motherhood is an easy read with deep thought and profound perspective. Rollins writes about her children as only a mother could. She shares times of trial, fear, failures, and self doubt, as well successes and lessons learned. Through it all, her unwavering faith and love of the Lord are inspirational.

I have many tabs for common place entries in my copy of Mere Motherhood, but will only share a few below that were profound to me...
As homeschooling became more complicated with so many glitches, hardships, and moves, I started streamlining our days. I made sure that we were having Morning Time and that the boys were doing math, a written narration, and reading for two to three hours each day. Housework, farm chores, and the constant stream of farming neighbors who needed a 'boy' for the day helped all this add up to a decent education. p. 62
I am a mother at heart. I build a home, which seems like a place to stay, but really, it is a place to leave. That is the way of it. Children are meant to grow up. I understand that now. Maybe you have yet to come face-to-face with what that means. I hope you will take courage and allow your children to walk away with grace. p. 82

Blogging helped me take notice of my weakness in the area of grammar. My older boys graduated high school comfortable with writing, but they were weak on mechanics. This weakness wasn't a huge deal, as a semester of college English put most of it to rights. At the same time, comfort and ease in writing can never be gained in a single semester. p. 88

Good mothering is not smothering;... p. 113

     Anyone who knows me, knows I tend to think too much. But something happened in my thinking when Andrew Kern said, "The radical pulls the child out of the culture. The conservative tries to weave the child into the culture." Anyone who knows Andrew knows he was speaking about The Odyssey. For the first time, I got a glimpse of why our counter-cultural lifestyle had failed and how there was maybe no such thing as a culture war. To fight against the culture is to commit suicide. We live in this culture. To pretend our children will live in another culture is insanity. But still, I worry about my children. Lately, I have seen evidence of families losing their children's hearts. I have talked to many, many moms grieving for children who have left the faith. Good moms. Good families.
     And then last night, I glanced at a quote from John Senior about destroying the television. We had lived for twenty-five years without a television, and the benefits were evident, and yet I know that now that we have one we cannot get rid of it, nor do I think we should. I wish we 'should' but I know we shouldn't. Knowing I could not change our reality left me deeply depressed for my children.
     Last night, I was reading and praying and in the midst of it I prayed, "My children, Lord, O, my children." Then, today, in a twinkling, God took all my reading and all my thinking and all my praying and showed me something true and something hopeful and maybe even the whole shebang.
     Today, one of my children, an older one visiting for the weekend, was talking to his grandfather on the phone. That is it. I don't know how to explain this, but the second I heard that child, I felt a great peace. That child was rooted. That child may be a sloppy mess sometimes, but he is rooted. That child has a grandfather with whom he talks. And suddenly I know how to handle this cultural tide against which I cannot stand. I do not have to stand against it. I have to make sure we are rooted in real things. I can't fight Facebook, but I can plant a tomato. Every single time I do something that anchors our family to the past and our heritage, I am helping preserve the hearts of my children. I am giving them a lifeline to the good life. We don't have our children for long. We don't have a whole lot of control over their lives or their futures. When we plant our flags on issues, we often win the battle and lose the war. I have not been able to justify losing the war by taking stands on issues, even issues I care deeply about. Love and heritage are good; issues not so much. If my children are tied to our family by love, then all will be well, even if they don't always plant their flags were I have planted mine....
     ...You can't fight your children into the Kingdom. You can pray for them, and you can tell them stories, and you can love them. p. 128-130
Here is what I do know, what I am willing to share with you. There are three things that cover a multitude of sins: reading, reading aloud, and written narration. p. 135 
What I love most about these passages and many more throughout Mere Motherhood, is the grace that shines through. Whether you homeschool or not, as a mama, we all feel anxiety about the responsibility of child rearing at some point. Cindy's veteran perspective provides a real sense of peace. After all, it's not in our hands. God has a plan for each and every one of our children. We simply need to trust...
This is not about having the perfect family or the perfect school. Your success or failure doesn't rest on your perfection, just your faithfulness. p. 160

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