Part III Homeschooling In Hard Times
How to Help and Really Be Helpful
One of my greatest joys and biggest frustrations in homeschooling is helping and being helped by others. We all need help at times, and homeschooling is a sacrifice in the best of situations. Many families in difficult situations have greater hurdles to clear in order to do what they believe is best for their families.
One winter I felt clearly led by the Lord to prepare a box of food and give it to a homeschooling family that I know. They are a two parent family. Dad works. I’m a single mother, with limited resources. It just didn’t make sense. I was inclined to ignore this leading. Thankfully, I did not. It made less sense to the family receiving the box, especially to the father. However, shortly after they received my blessing, they found out about a family who had a real need. It was a family I didn’t know, and could not minister to directly. Without the box of food the Lord had led me to give, they would not have been able to meet the needs of the other family. The Lord was simply using them, as a channel for my blessing.
Now when I receive things that don’t make sense, I’m learning to ask the Lord why He has given them to me and what He would have me to do with them. Sometimes they just aren’t meant for my family. We are simply to be the channel through which He transfers His blessing for others.
We have reached a time when homeschooling families need to pull together and support each other. Some of us are blessed with abundance, while others have great needs. In my journey through seven years of homeschooling as a single mother, (sometimes in seasons of abundance, and other times in seasons of great need) I’ve learned the following lessons:
- Giving is a good lesson for our children. No matter how little we have to give, there is always going to be someone who has less. Look for ways to give and to be a blessing to someone else.
- Don’t give just to make yourself feel better. Often times these gifts are a great burden rather than a blessing to the one receiving them. Giving someone else something you know should be thrown away, is not really giving.
- Get to know those you think might need help. Some needs are obvious. A single mother in a cold house probably needs help with weatherizing her home or heating fuel. Other needs are not so obvious. Money to help pay for prescription medications, or to buy curriculum are not always so obvious.
- Give things that you would enjoy receiving if you were in need. When a family needs clothing, receiving ragged old clothing you wouldn’t wear is not a blessing. It does not encourage and uplift.
- Respect differences. What you think the family needs may not be a need at all. Mothers who seem over protective may have good reason to be. Trust that the parents know the needs of their children better than anyone else. As a single mother, I recognize that my son needs the influence of good male role models. However, I‘m not going to assume that just because a man goes to my church and wants to help my family that it is the best thing for my son. It could potentially be the worst thing.
- Give sacrificially. The widow who gave two mites gave all that she had. The wealthy, though they gave much greater amounts, really didn’t sacrifice.
- Give of what you have. Don’t go into debt to look good to those around you.
- Give secretly, if possible, when possible. This will help you avoid being prideful of what you’ve have done.
- Give when there is a need. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Giving a little bit now, might prevent a greater need in the future.
- Ask if there is a need. Don’t wait to be asked for help. People who need help may not ask. During the holidays, before you give someone a turkey, ask if they need it. If they don’t need it, ask what they do need, and provide for that need instead. Ending up with nine turkeys could be a bigger burden than a blessing.