I have two great passions in my life. Two things outside of raising my children and caring for my family that I feel like I am called to do.
The first is how strongly I feel about motherhood and the role of women. I feel like women who embrace their nature and welcome motherhood and femininity find far more joy than those who don’t and also have far more influence and power in the world than those who pursue influence and power.
My second great passion is how strongly I feel about the importance of a proper education. As homeschooling mothers, we all support the ideology that the best education can be found in the comfort of your own home surrounded by loved ones rather than within the walls of a formal institution. So when I say “education”, I do not mean a degree.
It has only been in the last day or so that I have come to the conclusion that these two great passions are not two, but one great passion. For a woman cannot fully reach her potential nor can she fully wield the full influence of her power without an education.
Not long ago I wrote a post referencing the change that has happened in me as a result of our decision to homeschool. I spoke of the ever increasing desire to further my own education and the joy I have felt in the process of doing so.
It was a little over a year ago, when I first made the decision to seriously pursue a true self-directed education, I was so far behind the curve that I doubt I would have been able to pass a middle school standardized test. I had tried before, but had failed miserably. But armed with a quiver fill of homeschool mom tactics I was pretty sure I could be successful this time. I applied to myself the same principles that I apply to my children when they are learning something new or difficult. I start from the beginning. I keep it simple. I give them some easy wins.
So for me, I started with children’s literature and my daughter’s fourth grade math book. I read historical fiction. I listened to biographies and other audiobooks from the library while I cleaned my kitchen or exercised. When I read something deeper and more complex, I kept it short (essays under 50 pages). Before not too long, I found myself eyebrow deep and completely enthralled in books that, a few months before, I wouldn’t have even looked at on the shelf (ok, I wouldn’t have even walked in that half of the book store). A few weeks ago I finished a 1000+ page book filled with economic philosophy I actually laughed out loud at how different my reading habits are. (don’t be too impressed, it was a very enjoyable work of fiction).
I almost wish I could go back in time and tell my a few years younger self what she had to look forward to. She would have laughed in my face and given me the latest young adult best seller to read.
If I have learned one thing over the last year, it is this: an education is one of the most important things that we can obtain in this life.
Doctrine and Covenants 130: 18-19 says:
Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.
And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.
Those who follow the TJED model for our homeschooling already know how important it is to focus on “me, not them”. In other words. If you are committed to educating yourself, than your children will follow your example.
Now for me and my house, we need to alter the TJED model a little bit to get it to work. But this post isn’t about the values of TJED. This post is about how important it is for us mothers to be educated and involved and how important it is that we make it a priority.
We mothers are constantly overlooked, under appreciated and under estimated by the outside world. Sadly, I can understand why. The more I learn the more frustrated I get with my peers and their complacent and oblivious attitudes (I’m especially frustrated because I know exactly what they are thinking as I once thought like that). I recently suggested reading Shakespeare for Relief Society book group. Oh the weeping wailing and gnashing of teeth from some of these sisters! There was just no desire for personal growth.
Satan has targeted us. He is distracting us from the truth with recipes, patterns and DIY home decor. Why has he done this? Be cause the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.
Our world is out of control. It’s out of control because mothers around the globe have forfeited their birthright in exchange for riches and worldly approval.
I know that I’m preaching to the choir here. You, like me, have seen the deterioration of our society and you also have been clinging to the Gospel as the only source of truth and sanity.
But back to my point. We have been told to get an education. But not just so that we can teach our children and it is not just for our benefit in the next life. An education is for us. We have to know what is going on now so that we can have influence and freedom in this life. I truly believe that mothers are the key. As I said before, Satan has targeted us because of the influence and power we have.
It doesn’t take much. All you have to do is want to have the desire. Many a book I would pick up, knowing that I should read it but not really wanting to. But I wanted to be the kind of person who enjoyed learning. And you know what? Sometimes “fake it ’till you make it” works. It was not easy. Not only was the material harder than I was used too, but I had TV shows that I wanted to watch.
My life has completely changed. I can’t tell you how different I feel. And amazingly enough, the Lord has blessed me with more time to pursue worthy interests than I ever had while pursuing worldly interests (seriously, how do you expect to find personal fulfillment in weekly manicures and shopping?).
Have you ever thought “You know someone should…”. Well I’ve been thinking for the last several months that someone should find a way to encourage more mothers to learn. I just wish that there was some way that I could transfer my love of learning to others. Well, I’ve decided that if I can’t find someone to support in encouraging moms to learn, I’m going to do it myself. I’m in the process of creating just such a place for us mothers. I want to not only inspire other mothers to educate themselves but also to show them just how much power and influence women and mothers have. There is no such thing as “just” a stay at home mom. There is nothing ordinary about being a woman or a mother. We are extraordinary. We literally hold the future in our arms. But if we aren’t active and involved in the present, the future that we have made for our children won’t be nearly as bright and beautiful as we had hoped.
Love it! It is sooo true. At first it seems fun to be apart of the “world” but it has a huge price tag. Once you start to change and leave it behind you realize that it really wasn’t all that fun. Who are you really impressing? And what do you really learn? More importantly, what do you gain or lose in the process? I tried it the world’s way for a while but I learned that I was trading many things and getting nothing of worth in return. I was mainly sacrificing my family in many ways along the way. Whether it was keeping up with the latest fashions, scrap booking must haves, mani’s & pedi’s, latest home decor, etc I was too busy for my kids doing meaningless things or running them all around to do everything so they could be well rounded individuals and losing precious family time or digging us deeper into debt buying more things like than we needed. (Although, I do still have a hard time with the clothes and shoes… I am a work in progress)
I am so glad that you wrote this post. I fear we are at a critical mark in this age and whether it can be changed or not I am not sure, but even if one person gleans something from your post it will be worth it. Everyone complains about society in todays world but no one wants to change where it is really stemming from… their homes. We can change the world by recycling, being green and upcycling but we can’t save the family by starting within our own homes. What good will a cleaner world be when the people are messed up?
Very good words here. I encouraged my daughter and other young women to take courses in college, choose interesting subjects, learn, learn, learn, enjoy it. It’s hard to get a degree when you are a full time mom, but not impossible — just a slower process. It’s good for our daughters to have a way to make money if needed (my daughter does hair for some extra cash now), but it is also vital to take classes in Shakespeare. My daughter-in-laws cant imagine homeschooling, but I try to tell them, you don’t know until you get there, with your own kids, prepare. Love your thoughts on all that home decor.
Beautiful article! And I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. I’m amazed at how much I’VE learned in our 6 years of homeschooling and it’s only the beginning. There is so much more knowledge out there for the taking. I’m in the process of totally dejunking the house because I want to get rid of all the stuff so I can concentrate on learning instead. That scripture says it all! I remember a couple of years ago, there was a VT message about educating ourselves and gaining knowledge and I was so excited to share it with our sisters. My companion started out by saying that we’re basically past that point now but we can always encourage our kids to learn! Education ends with that degree in hand. I was speechless. So it’s so wonderful to find other mothers who believe the way I do. I’m intrigued by your last paragraph and I’m excited to see what you’re planning. I’d love to be a part of it.
Well said, Courtney. I am excited by your vision and can’t wait to be a part of your rallying cry for mothers everywhere to give up watching The Bachelor and pick up a good book and get lost in it.
(I’ve been reading your stuff on Latter-day Homeschooling but I have trouble logging in to comment there, so I thought I’d just pop on over here and tell you directly.)