June 27, 2011
By Courtney @ Ordinary Happily Ever After
I have two great passions in my life. Two things outside of raising my children and caring for my family that I feel like I am called to do.
The first is how strongly I feel about motherhood and the role of women. I feel like women who embrace their nature and welcome motherhood and femininity find far more joy than those who don't and also have far more influence and power in the world than those who pursue influence and power.
My second great passion is how strongly I feel about the importance of a proper education. As homeschooling mothers, we all support the ideology that the best education can be found in the comfort of your own home surrounded by loved ones rather than within the walls of a formal institution. So when I say "education", I do not mean a degree.
It has only been in the last day or so that I have come to the conclusion that these two great passions are not two, but one great passion. For a woman cannot fully reach her potential nor can she fully wield the full influence of her power without an education.
Not long ago I wrote a post referencing the change that has happened in me as a result of our decision to homeschool. I spoke of the ever increasing desire to further my own education and the joy I have felt in the process of doing so.
It was a little over a year ago, when I first made the decision to seriously pursue a true self-directed education, I was so far behind the curve that I doubt I would have been able to pass a middle school standardized test. I had tried before, but had failed miserably. But armed with a quiver fill of homeschool mom tactics I was pretty sure I could be successful this time. I applied to myself the same principles that I apply to my children when they are learning something new or difficult. I start from the beginning. I keep it simple. I give them some easy wins.
So for me, I started with children's literature and my daughter's fourth grade math book. I read historical fiction. I listened to biographies and other audiobooks from the library while I cleaned my kitchen or exercised. When I read something deeper and more complex, I kept it short (essays under 50 pages). Before not too long, I found myself eyebrow deep and completely enthralled in books that, a few months before, I wouldn't have even looked at on the shelf (ok, I wouldn't have even walked in that half of the book store). A few weeks ago I finished a 1000+ page book filled with economic philosophy I actually laughed out loud at how different my reading habits are. (don't be too impressed, it was a very enjoyable work of fiction).
I almost wish I could go back in time and tell my a few years younger self what she had to look forward to. She would have laughed in my face and given me the latest young adult best seller to read.
If I have learned one thing over the last year, it is this: an education is one of the most important things that we can obtain in this life.
Doctrine and Covenants 130: 18-19 says:
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
Those who follow the TJED model for our homeschooling already know how important it is to focus on "me, not them". In other words. If you are committed to educating yourself, than your children will follow your example.
Now for me and my house, we need to alter the TJED model a little bit to get it to work. But this post isn't about the values of TJED. This post is about how important it is for us mothers to be educated and involved and how important it is that we make it a priority.
We mothers are constantly overlooked, under appreciated and under estimated by the outside world. Sadly, I can understand why. The more I learn the more frustrated I get with my peers and their complacent and oblivious attitudes (I'm especially frustrated because I know exactly what they are thinking as I once thought like that). I recently suggested reading Shakespeare for Relief Society book group. Oh the weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth from some of these sisters! There was just no desire for personal growth.
Satan has targeted us. He is distracting us from the truth with recipes, patterns and DIY home decor. Why has he done this? Be cause the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.
Our world is out of control. It's out of control because mothers around the globe have forfeited their birthright in exchange for riches and worldly approval.
I know that I'm preaching to the choir here. You, like me, have seen the deterioration of our society and you also have been clinging to the Gospel as the only source of truth and sanity.
But back to my point. We have been told to get an education. But not just so that we can teach our children and it is not just for our benefit in the next life. An education is for us. We have to know what is going on now so that we can have influence and freedom in this life. I truly believe that mothers are the key. As I said before, Satan has targeted us because of the influence and power we have.
It doesn't take much. All you have to do is want to have the desire. Many a book I would pick up, knowing that I should read it but not really wanting to. But I wanted to be the kind of person who enjoyed learning. And you know what? Sometimes "fake it 'till you make it" works. It was not easy. Not only was the material harder than I was used too, but I had TV shows that I wanted to watch.
My life has completely changed. I can't tell you how different I feel. And amazingly enough, the Lord has blessed me with more time to pursue worthy interests than I ever had while pursuing worldly interests (seriously, how do you expect to find personal fulfillment in weekly manicures and shopping?).
Have you ever thought "You know someone should...". Well I've been thinking for the last several months that someone should find a way to encourage more mothers to learn. I just wish that there was some way that I could transfer my love of learning to others. Well, I've decided that if I can't find someone to support in encouraging moms to learn, I'm going to do it myself. I'm in the process of creating just such a place for us mothers. I want to not only inspire other mothers to educate themselves but also to show them just how much power and influence women and mothers have. There is no such thing as "just" a stay at home mom. There is nothing ordinary about being a woman or a mother. We are extraordinary. We literally hold the future in our arms. But if we aren't active and involved in the present, the future that we have made for our children won't be nearly as bright and beautiful as we had hoped.
Courtney is an overly scheduled, overly stressed, overly sleep deprived and overly blessed homeschooling mom. She has been married to the greatest (and best looking) man for nine years and has loved every minute of it (almost). She has two girls, ages eight and six, and two boys ages four years and 1 year. She is in her third year of homeschooling and has decided there is no way she is going back. Courtney knows it is selfish of her, but she feels that her children are entirely too much fun for someone else to enjoy their company all day long while she can't. Courtney apologizes if this post is long winded and rambling. She tends to feel very passionately about things and has a hard time ever shutting up. You can find more of her and her musings over at My Ordinary, Every Day, Happily Ever After.