One of our main reasons (though there were many) for starting to homeschool was influence. Our feelings have always been that parents should be the main influence in a child's life, and that they should influence them towards Gods desires for their life and not those of their parents, their peers, or themselves.
It was hard that last year of public school, hearing my little 7 year old coming home talking about the latest fashions, love triangles and music on their friends ipods. SHE WAS SEVEN!!! Sadly, this had been going on since preschool.
Our goal is not to mould our children into what we think they should be. We strive to teach them that the best route for their life is the one God has planned for them, and we try to encourage them to have a relationship with Him in order to find out what that is themselves.
We fail miserably at this more than we get it right. We are flawed and sinful and still learning, but watching us in our journey is a lesson to the children as well.
The first year of being home our oldest daughter at home blossomed. When given the freedom to make up her own mind about things she liked, suddenly she was playing with dolls again, wearing skirts and playing that she was Laura from little house on the prairie instead of Britney Spears or Lady Gaga. She had the freedom to follow her own interests, and her interest was to be a little girl, not a scantily clad twenty year old pop star.
As I perused some of my usual Internet stops this morning I was appalled. Women sharing pictures of their darling little blessings (all under 9 years old). Some of these little ones taking kissy faced selfies, some in sexy poses, some in makeup, some in their mommas favorite fashion accessories, some practicing pole dancing exercises with their friends.
I'm not appalled at these mothers, I'm appalled at myself for having been one of these mothers for many years, and seeing what it helped create in my daughter. I was the sexy posing selfie taker in my early 20's. I was the one listening to the latest pop music, watching inappropriate shows, and dressing even more inappropriately, and I was doing it all in front of my tiny child. I was influencing her, whether she was home to see me most of the time or not.
Thankfully, by the time she was 5 I had changed my ways tremendously. God pulled me out of the pit I had gotten myself in, had given me a husband who He had done the same for, and we were ready to build a life to glorify God and not our flesh. However, the influence I had given my daughter stayed longer than intended, through those couple years of school, I had less time to influence her in the right ways, and bringing her home helped achieve removing some of the wrong I had originally done to her. Sadly many of those seeds had already been planted.
I'm glad to be far removed from where I was, but I still have a long ways to go. Vanity still creeps it's way into my heart, and tells me my clothes are out of fashion, I'd look better with more/any make-up, or if that outfit was a little more fitted I might be more attractive. The worst is the lie that my beauty is what will make me who I am. I know they're lies, but after a lifetime of listening it's sometimes hard to break the thought patterns. How did these thoughts get there in the first place though?
Looking at those photo's of those little girls, and knowing the history with mine, it was very clear to see where the influence in their lives was coming from. Mom. Mom was there beside them in their pictures, flashing her best sexy smile, or pouty lipped pose, announcing her pride in the pole dancing princess. I love that these mothers love their daughters, but mothers...LOVE YOUR DAUGHTERS!!! I can only say this because I've been there...are you loving your daughter, you are loving yourself?
Dear mother, I know you don't see what you're doing. I know you think your child is beautiful, I know you love her, I know you want what's best for her. You don't think the photo or fashions are too sexy, after all, it's the way all her friends dress too.
Maybe you're the mother who doesn't think her child should act this way, but you question this as you stand in front of your mirror applying your lipstick and adjusting your bra. You tell her these things aren't important, but she sees you. She goes to her room, and she stands in front of her mirror to admire and judge the image before her.
I don't want to influence my children anymore. As a flawed sinner, I am absolutely unfit to do so. I thought I was up to the challenge, I'm not. If there is anything good in me that they see, while they are with me, well, it's not me, it's Him.
Jesus is the only good influence my children can have, anything that is not of Him is just messiness. The only influence I can provide them is a big ol' mess being transformed by a great ol' God, and as long as I allow Him to continue working on me, I know they're seeing something I won't be ashamed of, and that I will be proud for them to copy.