When my oldest was 3, and it was time to go to preschool, I received an interesting phone call from a lady I knew.
“What’s your problem with preschool?” she demanded. “We’ve all been talking about you, and we’re ALL sending our kids to such-and-such, and want to know what your issue is that you aren’t sending him to preschool. He should be going – your kid is going to be screwed up if you don’t send him. What’s your big problem, anyway??!”
I hadn’t said anything judgmental to these women, but had remained silent while they talked about their preschool. When they asked me the week before what I was doing, I just said we weren’t going to do preschool – and then I asked them questions about the one they had chosen, and listened to them talk about it. I was careful not to be condemning or insulting, but rather supportive, instead. I remember saying that it sounded like a nice place, and that their kids would probably enjoy it.
We could have chosen to not do preschool because of financial reasons.
We could have chosen to not do preschool because of other reasons.
We chose not to do it because of something else, however, and it was a personal choice my husband and I made, that had nothing to do with them. And the reason we didn’t send our kids to preschool was this: the research at the time (and I don’t know anything current here, this was about 12 years ago) indicated that preschool made boys more aggressive, and taught social behaviors that were inappropriate. More importantly than that, however, we both felt led by God to keep him home with his family, and do supervised play dates instead. Preschool looked like the blind leading the blind to us, especially at age 3, and we wanted our kiddos to learn their social skills in an environment where I could coach them, and then when God showed us they were ready, start their interactions with others where they wouldn’t have coaching available and would have to learn some things on their own. And we didn’t wrap him in bubble wrap and keep him away from other kids 100% of the time, either.
And when he was 5, we did actually end up doing a “kindergarten prep” program one morning a week – but I was there the whole time. And my kids were in childcare at church, too, twice a week, while I went to Bible study and service. I know the other extreme exists, too, where mom never exposes her kids to others…but that’s a discussion for another day.
The other thing I knew back then and had researched because I was also working part-time, was that evidence also showed once mom was away from kiddos more than 15-20 hours a week, there were negative ramifications on the child. When I counted up the hours I was gone for work, church, study, and the weekly date with my husband, preschool didn’t fit. Again, this had nothing to do with the ladies who had decided that I had an issue with them.
So I told this woman that called me this: “I’m so sorry my choice has offended you! I really didn’t mean to do so. It sounds like you feel judged by me because I’m not doing what you all are, and I assure you, that’s not the case. I would hate to feel like that and I’m so sorry you do! Jim and I have made a decision about this after much research, prayer, and consideration of our family situation, and we are just doing what we feel is best for our family and for our child. I am sure you and your husband have done the same – and I am sorry if my choice communicated some kind of judgment towards you – God trusts you with your children, and I don’t have the right to criticize the choices you make. Again, I’m really sorry that you are feeling like this.”
She was taken aback by my apology, and she calmed down. When we ended the conversation, all was well.
I also realized that if I defined myself by what other people thought of me, I would be making choices that sacrificed what we felt led to do (which is everything this life is supposed to be about – aligning our will with God’s, instead of asking Him to play Santa) in order to make “friends.”
It’s always the same old story. And it can be hard to go against the grain of the world’s ways. This wasn’t really that hard for me, though, because I had friends from church that were wise. And I cared more about doing what God wanted than what the world wanted…
I still do – and that’s why I wrote The Respect Dare. Ask my team – I had no intentions of writing a book! We do training. J And I still don’t consider myself an author. J
So, today, I dare you (actually HE is always on this one!) to do what God wants – and be loving to the world you are going a different way than.
Double dog dare you to subscribe, share, or comment!
Thankful to be on the journey with you!