Friday, December 19, 2008

Our Children...Our Future

Wednesday afternoon the boys and I ventured to Howard's school for the afternoon. They were so excited to see where their Daddy works and to go to big kid school. We packed lunches and headed out around 11. When we got there we ate lunch in the lunch room with all the big kids. Part of the reason Howard had invited us was because he was excited that a project he had wanted to try was coming to fruition that day. It was called "Mix it Up". It is an effort to teach tolerance. The kids were assigned different lunch tables from the one they typically sit at. They were forced to sit with other students they would not normally have hung out with and after lunch they did some discussion with that same group and a team building activity.

I was so proud of Howard when he told me with great excitement his plans for the day. I have to admit though that seeing it in action was much different than I anticipated. It has not been long since I was in the public school system teaching. Quite honestly, I do not remember kids being SO disrespectful, rude and hateful toward teachers and toward each other. I was especially surprised by the behavior of the girls. They were so cruel to each other and so disrespectful to the teachers. I was stunned. All I could think as I sat there was "no wonder Howard is so frustrated when he comes home each day!" and "there is NO way my kids are going to a school like this". Those were my initial reactions.

Howard met great resistance with this project. Yet he stood his ground and went on with the day. I could see the disappointment in his face, but he kept going. Some students certainly did not get the point and were just going to be belligerent, but others did. I am so thankful for Howard. I admire so much how he goes back into a school where his hands are tied in so many ways and tries to be a beacon of light if only to a few who respond. I was actually impressed by ALL of the teachers that day. They are an amazing group of people!

We then were blessed to stay for the band and chorus concert which Luke and Ben THOROUGHLY enjoyed! I am so glad we went, it gave me a whole new appreciation for what Howard does everyday. I think I had forgotten the battleground that is a middle school classroom.

All that said, I have to say it saddened me to think of these students. I wonder sometimes how we got to this point. The point where it is acceptable to be rude to teachers and to eachother without consequence. The school makes attempts at discipline, but basically their hands are tied as there is little support from parents. Children learn by example, and I must say I am a bit worried about the example they must be learning from.

Now don't get me wrong, I KNOW this is not the case for all students. There were also great students who were respectful and kind. I know that some parents are involved with their children's schooling, but I think as a society we are dropping the ball with these kids.

Which brings me to another point...in the past week or so I have gotten a few "anonymous" comments asking why I don't just get a job. I had let the comments go thinking I didn't want to give a voice to those who are just trying to stir up trouble. I have since felt led to share with you honestly where I stand on that issue, maybe the questions were posed out of honest curiosity. Though I do not have to defend myself or the decisions Howard and I make for our family, I want others to know that there is great VALUE in choosing to stay home, value beyond the salary I would earn outside of my home.

When Howard and I married, I was the one with the good job. I paid the bills so he could go to school. I carried the insurance. I had a steady secure good job that I enjoyed. After finding out Luke was on his way, I assumed I would have him and head back to work six weeks later.

When Luke was a month old Howard got a teaching job in St. Mary's PA. About three hours from our home and we felt that it was something we needed to do so Howard could get some experience as teaching jobs are not easy to come by in Pennsylvania. I left my job and we headed to St. Marys and spent a year there. This was my first experience as a stay at home mom. I was in a town hours from anyone I knew. (and if you know the area, saying there isn't much to do, is a gross understatement). It was hard, but I could not imagine not being there for every one of Luke's milestones. I am so thankful God took us in this direction to force me into my new job.

The following summer Howard was hired where he is now and that was a complete blessing. We were able to move back home and soon found out Isaac was on the way. After having to let go of Isaac so soon, I knew that I would never go back to work again until my kids were in school. I became so keenly aware of how precious each moment with my children would be.

I have mentioned in previous posts that we struggle financially. This is true. When I sit down to do our budget, the amount going out is greater than the amount coming in and yet we always make do. I have asked God to show me what I am to do and I feel he has answered me loud and clear. He honors the decision we have made to be good stewards of the gifts he has given by always providing for our needs. He has also provided me with a "paying" job that I can do from home in the evenings to make the extra money we need to get by.

Money is a tough issue, but after doing the math, we would not solve our money problems by my working. I would be working to pay childcare expenses and I would not have the opportunity to prepare my children for life. Please hear me on this. I am not in any way saying that staying home is the answer for every family. I cannot pretend to know anyone else's circumstances or family. For us it was clearly the answer. My going to work would not answer our financial problems, in fact we are certain it would only bring on a whole host of other problems. If we have to struggle through this stage of our life, so be it. We will cut out extras. We live a simple life and we are happy.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

Our children are the greatest gift God has given us. Howard and I are so very aware of the honor it is to be the stewards of these gifts and it is a responsibility we do not take lightly. God's word tells us to:

"train up a child in the way he should go and he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

That IS my job for right now. It is the hardest most frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming job I could ever have imagined. I know it is not something that is possible for everyone and I am so grateful that we have been able to make it work. It has been more rewarding than any job I have ever had and my heart overflows with joy that I am the one training my boys. I am the one equipping them with the tools they will need to be a light to the world. We have had to make sacrifices, and it is a struggle every month to pay the bills, but it is so worth it. God has been so faithful.

Psalms 127:3-5 Sons are a heritage from the Lord , children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

It saddens me that the stay at home mom profession is no longer valued. If a woman doesn't go to work she is often looked down upon. Like I said, I know it is not something all moms can do, but I do think it is a job that we should value and respect. Our children are our future, and if we don't train them up in the way they should go who will?

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

I have found great joy in things I had never imagined could bring joy. I love taking care of my home, cooking meals for my family, even changing diapers. I praise God that I have been blessed enough to have been given this family to care for.

God is very clear about the importance of raising our children. On paper our finances make no sense, but I assure you God has been so faithful to us. We have not missed a meal, we have a warm home and our needs are all cared for. I said before that I am not telling you that I think all women should stay at home, I know it is not a possibility for some, but I would challenge you to pray about the situation you are in and ask God to show you what He has for you to be sure you are not missing out on His blessings. He IS faithful and if you earnestly seek Him, He will show you the way!

26 comments:

Nichelle said...

Thank you for your honest post about your "job". It is hard being a working-out-of-the-home mom and a stay-at-home mom, I have done both...we as Moms do the best we can...and no one should judge another mother for the choices they make that best suits their family, we should be there to offer support, understanding and love.
I did work for many years...and we had a family tragedy...it changes how you parent and the choices of your focus in life...I am sure you can relate...praying for your family to grow and grow...love your post and you just being you...thanks for opening your lives to us readers...Merry CHRISTmas

Michelle said...

Well said Kristy! YOU are doing exactly what God instructs us to do!!! I am confident of it! :)

Heidi said...

I think this is a very well written post and I applaud your decision to stay at home with your kids. I know at times it is just not possible for some and do not judge anyone for the decisions that they make, but I do think that you are making a very wise decision! I do daycare and I can tell the difference in the kids whose parents spend time with them and which kids are passed from daycare to another babysitter. I pray that you and your family are truly blessed!

my3sons said...

Great post! I am also a SAHM of three sons. I worked until my third son was born. I have loved every minute of being home with the kids. Like you, the cost of working isn't worth it. Child care for my boys would be almost $400 per week! Crazy! So, for now I am home with them, don't feel guilty and love it! You should not have to explain why you are home with your children. I agree with you about the lack of respect the kids seem to have. We never would have gotten away with that behavior when I was a child. I am now 38, it hasn't been that long:)
I have been following your blog and enjoy reading your honest posts. Your family is in my prayers and I can't wait to see what God has in store for your next little one! Have a joyous holiday with your family.
Katie

msharae said...

Amen, Kristy! I totally applaud your husband's commitment to teaching public school. I think it's fantastic that he's working to show Jesus to these kids. I believe that God will honor his actions... and, as I think I remember you mentioning before, God can use each and every act of kindness and right-action to make a difference.

While I was in college I did some work as a substitute teacher... One day I subbed for a high school English teacher. Wow, okay, wow. Let's sum it up by saying that I sent a tenth-grade boy to the office so that I wouldn't throw my full can of Dr. Pepper at his head!

Also, your words about being a homemaker are timely in my life. That's a discussion I've had quite often lately. I know exactly where you're coming from...

Naomi said...

Hi Kristy,
You do not know me, but I have been following your blog for some time. I have laughed with you, smiled with you, and sobbed with you. Thankyou for todays post. I have a little boy who has just turned 1, with another on the way. We, too, struggle to pay our bills each month. I have stayed at home for the last year (in Canada we do get a years paid maternity leave) but now that has ended, and I cannot believe the pressure we are getting from people- friends, family, etc, for me to return to work. I feel so strongly called by God to stay at home and raise my children. God has given us amazing gifts, and I cannot bring myself to put their teaching and loving and training in someone else's hands. Your post was such an encouragement. I will pray that your finances continue to work out for you. I will pray that you continue to find joy and blessing in the all-important job you have of raising your children and being the wife Howard needs you to be. Praying for you and your boys, and your baby on the way!!!
Naomi Orrell (naomiorrell@yahoo.com)

Nichelle said...

I had posted a comment but did not take..so I will try again...thank you for your honest blog about your "job". It is so hard being a work-out-of-the-home Mom or a stay-at-home Mom. I have done both. We Moms do the best we can for our children because we know them and love them and no one else should be judgemental, other Moms should be there to offer, support, love and understanding to eachother. We had a family tragedy that helped me refocus what was truly important in life...as I am sure you can relate. Don't let anyone make you feel bad for choices that you make for your family, you know what is best for them...that is why God made you their MOMMY..I enjoy your blog greatly, thank you for sharing your thoughs and life with all of us. Praying that your family will continue to grow and grow...Merry CHRISTmas.

Susie said...

Kirsty,

I'm really happy that you posted so honestly about this subject. I usually let those nasty comments slide too. But it's so good to hear your hear your heart on this issue. I'm really happy with the way we do work right now - Mat works 3 days a week and I work 2 days a week. He's home whenever I'm not, and vice versa. She's always with a parent. I mentioned day care earlier this year and Matt made it clear he didn't want to do that if we didn't absolutely have to. I'm so glad he did! Next year if I'm still working I'll be taking baby with me to work (and the office staff can just DEAL!) Haha :). I don't want to put a volunteer job before my children. I don't want anything but my hubby and my God before my children. Not even money.

And believe me, I understand being on a tight budget. :) We're completely support-based and have been for over 2 years now. It's painful sometimes. Especially on the nights that your girlfriends go out for dessert and coffee... $15 seems steep for an evening out!

But you're right. God's always been faithful. And we always have just enough...

bri said...

Kristy, You said it in the beginning... you should NEVER have to explain yourself to those who truly don't want to know other than to cause Chaos. You have written it beautifully my friend. You do a great job being home with your boys.

The question you asked about what happened to the school children these days is clearly answered in the rest of the blog. I know, like you said it is not a possibility for everyone to stay home but a majority of the "rude and disrespectful" children come from families that see no value in their children and send them all over the place just to get a "break". Well they get one and the rest of the world suffers for their inadequacies. I know a lot of parents that do need the assistance of child care and I even from time to time would like a break from the crying babies attaching themselves to my legs but it is the ones who don't care when the children are at home to spend quality time with them that grow up to be "hurt" and therefore they lash out at others. "hurt people hurt people". Is a saying that I revert to often when facing an issue of this kind. It is saddening. I often find myself frustrated and wanting to have a job outside the home where there is production at the end of the day but then I know where my place is in this season. I am grateful for my boys and love being with them and if this is where God has called me then this is indeed where I am going to be happiest!

zanesmommy said...

Kristy,
First let me say Thank you to Howard. I was a middle school teacher/junior high. I NEVER want to go back for the exact reasons you stated. For him to stand firm in his idea, HOW WONDERFUL. We need more teachers at this level to move up into administration. I also want to thank you for stating so wonderfully why many of us stay home. I know that this was something we planned for from the get go and budgeted that way. It made it much easier to loss the extra paycheck. I also know that Zane has benefited much more by having me home than going to daycare. Yes, we have to watch our money, but we are not spending it on someone else raising our son. And how much more, like you said, I treasure my time with Zane after having Micah taken too soon. Praying for you and your family. Have a wonderful Christmas!

Katie said...

"It is the hardest most frustrating, exhausting, overwhelming job I could ever have imagined."

From one stay at home Mom to another - Amen, Sister!

I love my life, but financially and emotionally it is the hardest job I've ever had. And I've had some doosies! I was in the mortgage industry for years and it's notorious for being stressful and difficult. It is, but it's nothing compared to being a full-time Mom.

I would not take for what my children have by my being home. It's truly a blessing.

Thanks for your post. Thank you for your openness and heart. I appreciate it.

Katie
katie75009@yahoo.com

Devin said...

Kristy--

Thank you--this could not have been put more eloquently.

I will never forget the time when I went into the hospital with Ethan and they asked what my occupation was--and it was repeated this way:

"Oh. Just a housewife."

Grrrrr....

That stirred many emotions in me, and to this day it saddens me as well to see the lack of value that our society puts on staying home and raising children, and being the keeper of our homes.

I have decided I don't care what people think--I'm doing it the way I believe God wants me to....and I've never been unhappy or felt 'worthless' ever since.

I'm just a mom....but so, so much more!

happy gram said...

i can't imagine having children and letting someone else raise them. there are sacrifices that must be made in order to stay home with them and they are well worth it. but i'm preaching to the choir!! :)

Nancy said...

Kristy,

Thank you for your heartfelt post. I also stay home with our four boys (and #5 is due in July). My husband was laid off in April and has not had steady work since. Some months the bills have remained unpaid, but GOD remains faithful to always supply everything we need in His timing. Keep your faith and enjoy being home with your boys! Merry Christmas!

Mrs. P said...

BRAVO! Well spoken. As a fellow mommy who literally lives with pennies to spare (except this month where we have a red bank account) I applaud your conviction.

Michelle said...

Kristy--
You are doing the most important work in the world.
Good for you!
I want to recommend an excellent book along these lines : "I Am a Mother" by Jane Clayson Johnson. She used to be a CBS correspondent, and gave it up to be a SAHM. I love her defense of our work!

Mrs B said...

I believe your feelings are correct. When feminists fought for a choice to work...why did that turn into we have to work or be looked upon as setting back women? I feel liberated to be able to stay home and sacrifice HBO for my children. It works for us. The older they get, the more important I see that it is. Thank you for saying this. It isn't said enough.

Laura said...

I admire you for you honesty!!!!! I too am a stay at home mom of 4 very active boys ages 8 and under. I would not trade it for the world. I get the feeling alot of people think that this is an easy job. It is by far the hardest job I have every had, but is worth every moment. As a family of 6, we too have struggled with our finances, but always make do to have everything we need such as a roof over our heads etc. God has made it possible for my children to have the best possible life they could have by me staying at home with them and I would not trade it for the world. Keep up the good work, and thankyou for standing up for us stay at home moms!!!!!!!!!

Hugs,
Laura

Anonymous said...

Thanyou!!!That was very well said!!!I too am a stay at home mom to four very active boys 8yrs and under. This is by far the hardest job I have ever had and at times I feel over worked and underpayed. The end result is very well worth it. What people do not realize is that our job is a 24 hour 7 day a week job, but somehow we are still looked down upon by some as taking the easy way out by not getting a "Real Job". We have given up alot and sacrafised so much to be able to be there for our children during the day. This is the most rewarding job that god has given me and I would not trade it for the world. Keep up the good work. You are doing a beautiful job and god is smiling down upon you. Your children are beautiful. Give Howard and big thanks for the wonderful job he is doing for our children!!!

Happy Holidays,
Laura

Becky said...

One of my son in law's is also a teacher - that is his mission field. Thank Howard for letting His light shine. Once I did diversity training with my company and we saw an experiment a teacher did called Blue Eyes/Brown eyes. It was absolutely astonishing. One of my daughter's and also my daughter-in-law is a SAHM. What a blessing! You can never re-capture those early years and let me tell you, NO amount of money is worth that!

Trisha said...

Kristy,
LOVE your post. You have reiterated many of the same thoughts and emotions that I have felt for years...the overwhelming lack of respect and sassiness of kids these days (yes, not all kids) and the choices one makes when deciding to stay home with their kids. I was working on my teaching credential when I found out that I was pregnant with our first child, Lauren. We were elated and yet Jeff and I had always planned on me working for a few years before we started a family. Well, God had another plan when he brought us Lauren...we too, did the math...I would have worked 5 days a week (as a Kindergarten teacher)to basically pay for childcare. It made no sense to us whatsoever. We asked ourselves what we were trying to accomplish? We agreed wholeheartedly that my place was with our child and not working to support the notion of someone else "raising" her. It has been that way for 9 years now...not always financially easy, but worth it beyond measure!!! The greatest gift we are given are these children and the greatest gift that we can give to them is our time. Everyone must do what is right for their situation...We all do what we feel is right for us. For Jeff and I, we needed me to be home.
With that said...Merry Christmas. I continue to think of you and pray for your beautiful family. Thank you for all of your heart-felt insight. You are a blessing.
Love,
Trish
San Diego

Ang said...

I just found your blog thru another and wanted to comment if that's okay. I too am a SAHM & enjoy every minute of it..is it hard financially, yes most of the time. But the benefits outway the other. Since both of my kids are in school now, I'll occasionally substitute at the schools, one for extra money, 2 to get to see the other children my kids see on a daily basis..it's a win/win for me. Also I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for the loss of your precious children. I too have a precious little one in Heaven that one I WILL SEE again. I will be praying for this precious gift you are now carrying!!

Jena said...

Kristy--Great job standing up for the hardest job any woman can have. Being a stay at home mom is the most demanding and yet the most rewarding job. I too am a stay at home mom and work harder than I ever did working out of the house. Keep up the good work!!

Nanny said...

I have followed your blog and prayed for you but without ever commenting. Today I feel I must! You are so right in what you are doing. You don't need me to tell you that, you know! But, for those people who might read my comment let me tell you....been there done that! We struggled for years and years! But, at this stage of my life, things are easier. AND, I raised our children! They aren't perfect but they are wonderful human beings and we have a great relationship with them and now their spouses and children! You will get your reward in heaven but believe me when I say, you will see it here on earth, also! I love the contentment I have in my life right now knowing that our sacrifice wasn't really a sacrifice after all!

Christy said...

I think it was "happy gram" that put it best "why have children to have someone else raise them". When children are in daycare for 8 or more hours a day, just how much "raising" is one doing of their children? Not much!

I worked one time since becoming a mom, outside of the home, for 4 months and it's such a regret. I went back to being a SAHM when Jacob was 6 months old and have never looked back and most definitely NEVER regretted that decision. It is without a doubt what God has called me to do for our family.

I think when we can't sacrifice our selfish wants, to stay at home with our children, maybe it's not the right time to have children. I know there are circumstances, but honestly I think they're far fewer than even those who are both working want to admit....few people HAVE to have both parents working. It may call for downsizing the house, having one less vehicle, maybe not doing a fancy vacation, etc.

We truly live in a world of such greed and instant gratification that most just can't understand to not be able to have what they want at the snap of a finger.

Perfect verses! I truly believe that God calls for us to be the ones raising our children, not other people who could not possibly love them as much as we do!

God Bless

Staci said...

Good for you Kristy!
By the way, I applaud Howard for teaching middle school! I taught first grade for 7 years and thought that was tough. As far as how did the kids get so rude and disrespectful?...well, let's just say I dealt with many parents who behaved that way and it answered many questions about why their kids behaved that way as well. Seriously, children learn by example...maybe parents don't think about their behavior when their children are around or maybe they just don't care...but when a parent is rude and disrespectful to their chid's teacher and the child sees/hears it, do you really believe the child will then respect the teacher? Oooh, soory for the run on sentence there...got on my soapbox again...Merry Christmas!