Over the next few years, Monkey’s education will be very organic. Eventually, we will likely be doing some sort of more formal education as I don’t believe in complete unschooling. There will be some structure in our home schooling.
We will teach phonics and then how to read, letters and then how to write and then the rules of English and then when and how to break those rules. We will teach numbers and then counting and then basic arithmetic and then more complex mathematics. And on and on. Some of it will be more organic and some of it will be more structured.
However, these lessons, as important as they are, are not the most important things I want to teach Monkey and her siblings that will come along.
I’ve been accused of being dramatic. I tend to have strong opinions and think everything I have an opinion on is important. EVERYTHING is important. And there is some truth in that. God gives us a thousand different things to do and says “They’re all important”. The trick is to work with Him to figure out which ones to do now and which ones to do later.
For example, do I pay off debt faster to meet the priority of getting out of debt or do I put that money towards storage to get my two years of food and emergency supplies together or do I put that money towards a savings account or do I do a little bit of all three all at once? Do I do none of those and instead use that money to avoid the “evils of the dole” and not take federal financial aid for my husband’s education? I could go on.
I believe God gives us multiple priorities to allow us to learn a more important lesson, and it is one of the two most important things I can teach my children.
By giving us multiple priorities, Heavenly Father appears to set us up to fail. However, what he is really doing is giving us an opportunity to develop a relationship with Him. He does not say “Do everything right now.”
Rather he says:
“And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order” (Mosiah 4:27).
This is an invitation to come unto Him, to trust Him and rely on Him. This is an invitation to learn who He is, to test Him and prove that He is who He says he is. It is also an invitation to learn about who we are and to especially understand who we are in relation to Him.
This is the very most important thing I can teach my children. Although I am not perfect, I have an opportunity to help them understand what it means to have a parent who is loving, accessible, kind, patient, powerful, protective, trusting, faithful and responsive.
Our understanding of our Heavenly Parents is made easier or harder depending on the kind of parents that we have growing up. That doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect parents, since this is both impossible and the Atonement will not only cover our sins when we repent, but the effects our errors have on our children.
A child who understands who they are in relationship to God and who has been taught of the unfailingness of Heavenly Father and their utter dependence on Jesus Christ will be grow into the kind adult who will heal the world. They will not stray far from the loving embrace of Heavenly Parents because they will be grounded in God’s love and will recognize the power that having the Holy Ghost in their lives gives them. If they know who they are in relationship to God they will not be free from trials but they will always walk with Him, despite the trials.
I know that none of my children will understand this perfectly, just as I do not. However, the better they understand this, the closer they will be to the people Heavenly Father knows they can be. The more closely their lives will align with their potential and the happier they will be.
If I can only accomplish this one goal, I will consider myself a successful parent. If only it was as easy as it sounds.