If there was something within your power to change about yourself that would guarantee a dramatically improved homeschool year next year, would you change it?
I’ll warn you; it isn’t easy an easy thing to change. It’s definitely do-able. But it will take some honesty, a bit of humility, and a lot of practice.
It is your mindset. (What you think about.)
“I was spitting nails one day, ready to take someone’s head off, while my kids were happily playing together on the floor at my feet,” said no mother ever.
Have you ever heard the saying, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”? There was never a truer statement spoken.
If you are in a lousy mood, your kids aren’t going to be in a good one, either. A bad mood invariably gives birth to more bad moods. And bad moods aren’t very conducive to a successful homeschool day, as I’m sure you know.
Maybe it’s not so much that you are angry, but you are feeling insecure. Like you can’t cut it. You aren’t smart enough. You aren’t organized enough. You aren’t prepared enough. You’re fearful that you are not going to do a good job homeschooling, doubting yourself and reliving the mistakes you’ve made in the past.
And, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, it is difficult for your kids to have confidence in you to teach them.
But there’s hope! You can change the way you think. And like magic, changing the way you think can change the way you feel, what you believe, and the way you behave.
“Mindset” is a Compound Word
Mindset is a compound word, made up of “mind” and “set.” It means what your mind is set on. In other words, what you are thinking about.
So what ARE you thinking about, when you are feeling angry…insecure… fearful? What is your mind set on?
Pretend like I’m a true friend. The one that tells you the truth, even when you dread it. Are you ready?
It’s almost a guarantee when you are feeling these emotions that you are thinking about yourself. Your shortcomings. Your children and their shortcomings. Your house (too cluttered? too small?). What you don’t have.
Let me say something that you need to hear. You can learn to listen and recognize these negative thoughts, and you have the power to change those thoughts. And changing those negative thoughts to more positive ones will help you feel better and do better.
Change Your Thoughts; Change Your Mindset
This is the secret to changing your thoughts. First, you have to pay attention, recognize and admit you are thinking these negative, pessimistic things. (I find it helps to journal this process.)
Secondly, you have to substitute NEW thoughts for the old ones. This is the biblical equivalent to “taking your thoughts captive.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
These negative statements are false thinking, contrary to what you know to be true. When you constantly put yourself down like this, you are mixing up your WORTH with your PERFORMANCE.
Instead of repeating to yourself, I am SUCH a lousy homeschool mom every time your student has a tough time with writing…. or your baby is crying while you are trying to teach a math lesson… or the house is a mess when your husband comes home early…
You can purposefully say to yourself, “I’m the daughter of the King. I’m NOT a failure. FAIL is actually a First Attempt In Learning. I have only done this homeschooling thing a few years, and I’m getting better at this as I learn more.”
“Jesus loves me, NO MATTER WHAT. I’m NOT a failure. I am still learning, but I need to learn more – I need to get someone who has homeschooled longer to help me learn how to do it better.”
You Are Enough
God will not love you any more than He already does, even if your house was cleaner, you were more patient, and your lessons were more organized. YOU ARE ENOUGH, as you are right now. And so are your kids. If you struggle with these negative thoughts, stop right now. Have a list of Scripture verses or affirmations that speak against these thoughts that you can substitute for the negative ones. Meditate on them daily.
One of my favorites is this one from Isaiah:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If this verse speaks to you, write it down in your journal. Repeat it when you are fearful. Pray for trust in God to be Who He says He is and do what He says He will do.
The more you practice this, the better you’ll get at it. This takes effort. This takes practice and perseverance. But as you do it, your thoughts will change. You’ll become more confident.
You may be able to see the next steps clearly – maybe there are areas you need to work on, like the rest of us – but that is okay. You will do it from a place of strength and hope, rather than a place of defeat. Knowing you are not alone in this. That God will help and strengthen you.
This takes effort. This takes perseverance. But I know you can do it. Even if you are a natural-born pessimist; the way you think can change. (I’ve seen it happen!) And it will revolutionize your outlook and give you hope. It will give you confidence and improve your mood… which will help your homeschooling be more successful.