How does it make you feel when a homeschooler refers to seemingly ‘going along pretty well’ homeschoolers as ‘fake’ or ‘too good to be true’?
I try hard not to be offended at anything, as offence is a choice, but boy is it hard to avoid that emotion when your suggestions are disregarded as boasting. Never directly of course. But through follow up requests for ‘real’ homeschoolers to dialogue with.
People often imply that blogs are merely public venues for bragging. Of course they don’t say it like that. They preface their statement with, “Homeschooling blogs make me feel inadequate”. I can’t imagine wanting to read anything that puts the woeful on display, day after day, but that seems to be what people are suggesting they’d rather read.
Do we really have to deal with the tall poppy syndrome in homeschooling? (For my U.S. readers the ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ is a cultural Aussie habit of cutting down successful people to the level of the mediocre masses.) Imagine the analogy of a group of gardening friends looking over each others’ gardens. If someone had managed to grow truly lovely flowers wouldn’t it be only natural to want to share how they went about growing them so that their friends could share in their experience? Yet, when that happens the other gardeners go about whispering that the ‘successful’ gardener is just ‘big noting’ themselves. In doing so, the ‘successful’ gardener begins to feel shame for their success and becomes quick to point out their failures too, just so they can feel some connection with their gardener friends. It’s such an ugly, twisted scenario.
When I hear this kind of thing, aside from seeing red, I hear someone in the doldrums seeking to find company in their own misery, and not looking for ways to improve. I should learn that and avoid trying to give them a practical hand up. They aren’t looking for a step up, but your hand to pull you down. But I won’t go. I’m not cutting down my poppy to make others feel good about their stunted, dying poppy fields. And it’s wrong of them to expect it. Out of love for others, I want them to succeed and am more than willing to offer the path I took if asked. But, in return, I expect the same love and appreciation for my successes.
I’m not saying that my homeschooling is optimal. Nowhere near it. But I will say that I won’t settle for just ‘okay’ for my children. If there’s higher and better to aim for, then I will get up and start heading for it! I may never reach it but that’s not my goal. My goal is to aim for it and to consistently move in that direction.
There really aren’t any “I can’t”s in life (and I’m referring to us all and not merely myself), only “I won’t”s or “don’t feel like”s. All things are possible in some way, eventually or with help. Sitting and wallowing gets us nowhere, although you will probably find a lot of company down there in the pits. However, the view is much brighter up here in the highlands.
Rest assured, my blog is not about to become a place of woeful self-pity
– about how we slept late this morning because we were tired
-about how we didn’t do any school yesterday because we were out all day
-about how the mechanic fixed my car but crippled my bank account
– about how we’re only doing the vitals today, as we’re behind and generally grumpy
-about how one of our computers died on the weekend and is still in limbo
– about how my children are currently watching tv with their lunches on their lap, at 2.30pm
-about how my feet stick to my dirty floors as I walk around and look at the messes everywhere
Really, I’m glad that people who like to wallow generally don’t have the time to blog. Blogging is about sharing the joys, the successes and the beauty. Blogs are meant to inspire you to keep climbing. No one is claiming to have reached the top. But bloggers are real people, who ooze enthusiasm for what they do, and who are generous, sometimes to a fault, and who sincerely want to help others see the glimpses of magnificence that is part and parcel of the climb upwards.
My advice, which I’m not reaching down to give you, but leaving up here for you to come and get, is “Get up and do something”. If you are Christian, don’t dare settle for wilting poppies, or huddle together with others who do so. God has gifted His very best to you. It’s an insult to leave the gift unopened! And it’s a millstone to steal if from others!