December 18, 2009
I stumbled across a poem some time ago, and I love the imagery. Granted, I am not a fisherman. When I was young, I caught my share of teeny, tiny blue gills with my GrandpaJ, but that’s about it for my piscatory adventures.
I recently wrote an article on the Professor Mom® website with tips for staying on task for homeschooling moms. In that article, I briefly touched on our roles and expectations for this season of life. Today, I am going to expand on handling your roles and expectations.
I need to post a survey someday because I have a theory on the prevalent personality types of moms who choose to homeschool.
Many of you, whether you ascribe to being right- or left-brained are overachievers, even if you don’t recognize it in yourselves. You may have been the best at what you did BC (before children.) You may not be able to pass up the opportunity to serve in your church or help out a friend in need. You may also feel as though you can’t make homeschooling fit with who you are inside.
Homeschooling is a tough thing. Kudos are almost non-existent, progress can be slow, and every time you think you are getting the hang of something, you are pushed into the unfamiliarity of a new stage. Taking full responsibility for our children’s education can leave us wondering what happened to our oh-so-competent-and-confident selves. This poem speaks to that confusion.
Be The Best of Whatever You Are
by Douglas Malloch
If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley–but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.
If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass–
But the liveliest bass in the lake!
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.
If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail–
Be the best of whatever you are!
My husband and I have a little joke. Whenever he mentions tool names to me, I can’t help laughing. Tools are named by their functionality. The Sawzall® saws… everything, the screw driver drives screws. The drill press presses the drill down. No deep introspection here, the namers of these tools keep it short, sweet and to the point. Just as in this poem.
We are compared to a ‘bit of grass.’ How often do we feel our smallness as we work through our homeschooling day? Let’s think for a moment, though.
What would the world look like without grass? That being said, what would your family be without all of the little contributions you make? The laundry, dishes, hand-holding, character-teaching, laughter, tears, jokes, and support you bring to your husband and children each day are like so many blades of grass. Richness and color come to your family through you!
Malloch also reminds us that we can’t all be captains; that there is greater and lesser work. When you have a natural tendency toward leadership, disciplining yourself to stay in the background on occasion can be a struggle.
We all have work to do. When that work seems mundane or trivial, we can remember the times when we have been the captains. In turn, we can be better captains when we appreciate the greater and the lesser work!
Finally, Malloch creates a perfect (and unintended) parallel for homeschoolers everywhere. “If you can’t be a highway, then just be a trail…” Trails guide. Trails lead. Trails give us the direction to walk a journey with confidence in an outcome. Isn’t that what we do everyday? Isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?
I encourage you today. Strive to be the best of whatever, and wherever, you are.