It was a brilliant idea. I would introduce prepositional phrases to my children through a visit to the playground. They would have a great time going up the ladder, down the slide, through the tunnel and around the trees. Just about everything they did could be utilized for a fun and memorable grammar lesson.
Or at least, that was the plan. The outing steadily deteriorated via one bee sting, one bleeding knee and multiple squabbles. Another brilliant homeschooling idea hit the dust.
It is ever so much easier to be a wonderful parent before you have children, an inspiring teacher before you have students and an effective politician when you are a candidate, before you have responsibility and authority.
The actuality of dealing with complicated human beings, a complex world and realism rather than idealism is daunting. When Thomas Edison said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, he could have been speaking of child raising as well as inventing.
But at the same time, there were creative ideas I had as a mother that ended up exceeding my expectations and Thomas Edison’s perspiration benefits millions of human beings each day. Not attempting to succeed is the surest recipe for failure, as well as for a boring, monotonous life.
Having children in the first place means signing up for years of hard work with no guaranteed return on the investment. A benevolent God places the desire for children in us, so that despite the uncertainty of the experiment we open ourselves up to this unequalled opportunity for ultimate creativity and achievement.
This past Sunday my husband officiated at a wedding of the daughter of dear friends, who in her own right has a place in our hearts. This brought us back to the synagogue my husband founded with Michael Medved and was a chance to not only rejoice with that particular family, but to see and hear about dozens of young (and somewhat beyond young) adults whose lives we have followed from the time they were born.
Along with the joyous and rewarding times their parents have had, there were also periods, sometimes lengthy ones, of worry and challenge. But increasingly, as the years go by, we see those difficult times as temporary skirmishes in the successful and flourishing enterprise of shaping the world as this wonderful group marches into the future.
Reprinted from June 11, 2009