"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten." I have no idea who said those words, but it's a mantra I've heard over and over again in my life -- probably because it's true.
This year has been one of our toughest years as parents. We've faced tough educational battles, emotional drama and done a lot of soul searching. We've watched as our girls have struggled through a rough year, and we've tried to figure out what to do to help give them the tools they'll need to navigate the waters of this crazy world.
Through all of that, we've discovered the truth of that mantra, and we've had to make some changes. Making changes in the way we do things is hard. We look around at other families and wonder why what's working for them isn't working for us. We want so badly to be "normal."
But, here's the truth. God didn't call our families to be "normal." He called our families to be holy, which means set apart. He called us to raise children who follow Him. He called us to be a light in the world. And sometimes that means that we make choices that look different from our friends. Sometimes that means we look at what's happening in our kids' lives and we choose to buck the status quo. Sometimes that means we make changes that give us different results. Because our end goal is different from a lot of the world.
When you're faced with a parenting issue that seems overwhelming, take a minute to make sure you're approaching it from God's perspective and not from the world's. When the world's parenting advice doesn't get us the results we're looking for in raising kids who are following hard after God, it's time to throw it out. It's time to do something different to get a different result.
We're making some big changes that may look a little odd to others. We're planning to homeschool our younger daughter next year to work on some character issues with her. We're switching soccer teams for our older daughter -- taking her off one of the best teams in the state and putting her on a less successful team to give her a chance to recover some lost self-confidence. We're asking our girls to learn new methods of communicating and solving conflict -- even if no one else around them is doing it.
All of those changes come after some long moments of soul searching. Because none of those things were easy choices. All of them buck the norm. But we know that God hasn't called us to raise kids that look just like everyone else. We know that He has called us to raise kids who are seeking Him and following His path for their lives. And we know that sometimes that means we don't look or act like everyone around us -- because we're looking for a different result.