They Call Her Blessed

Mar 1, 2005

by Terry Bowman

In the kitchen…

“Mom, I need help with my math.” Mom gasped, dried her dishpan hands on a kitchen towel and turned to respond to her youngest child. “Lori, you’re not ready! We’ll be late for your orthodontic appointment. We’ve got to leave in five minutes!” A mad rush ensues over the next ten minutes, and then Mom delivers final instructions to the two children remaining at home. “Boys, I want you to do your chores and work on your school assignments while I’m gone. Neal, remember to take out the trash, wipe off the counter and table, straighten your room and feed Daisy (our faithful canine). Mark, don’t forget to unload the dishwasher, sweep the kitchen, clean your room and feed Cuddles and Snuggles (our attention-demanding felines) and Perky (our talkative parakeet).”

 

In the van

The Windstar zips out of the garage and down the driveway. Just prior to reaching the end of the drive, the van screeches to a halt. The backup lights appear, and the van traverses the driveway in reverse. “Lori, run in and get your retainer!” Five minutes later, as the van zooms toward the orthodontic office, Mom calls home.

“Hello, this is Neal.”

“Neal, make sure that the stove is off and the doors are locked. Have you finished your chores yet? Is Mark still at his desk? You guys keep working on your assignments while I’m gone.” The van pulls into the parking lot of the orthodontist’s office two minutes early. A voice from the back seat says, “Mom, I forgot to brush my teeth.”

“Auugggh!”

 

In the waiting room…

Lori whispers, “Mom, that boy has an earring in his…”

“Ssshh!  Lori, do your math problems.”

“Do I have to do every one?”

“You only have to do the odd problems, but if you miss more than a couple, you’ll have to do the even problems also.”

An electronic cricket chirps from mom’s pocketbook. “Hello.”

“Mom, Neal is annoying me.” Mom replies, “Mark, the Good Book says to love one another; but for the time being, why don’t you and Neal do your school work in separate rooms.”

 

Back in the van

            Mom phones home. “Neal, we’ll be home in thirty minutes. We’ve got to stop by the grocery store and pick up a few items. Have you finished your chores and started your science? You guys aren’t roughhousing are you? Is Mark still in the house?”

            Mom coaches the young backseat reader. “Lori, read that last line one more time. This time read it with a little enthusiasm. You’re putting me to sleep.”

 

In the grocery store…

            Mom calls Dad at the office. “Hi Honey. It’s me. How is work going? We just left the orthodontist’s office and are in the grocery store. What would you like for supper? Spaghetti? OK. Love you. Bye.”

 

Home at last…

The horn toots as the van pulls into the garage. “Boys! Help with the groceries. Did you get your chores and a lot of school work done while I was gone?”

There is a joint response, “Sort of.”

Ten minutes later as the last of the groceries are put away, Mom cries, “Bummer! I forgot the spaghetti noodles.”

 

Refuge in the master bedroom…

At 2:55 p.m. Mom listens to the answering machine. “Beeeeep. This is Marion at Dr. Seewell’s office. I just wanted to remind you of Mark’s three o’clock vision appointment.”

“Oh bother!”

Three voices sound in unison from down the hall, “Mom, I’m stuck. I need help with school!”

“Uuggh!”   

It should be obvious by now why I (the dad) have chosen to be the principal of our homeschool instead of the teacher. Many of you homeschool moms can certainly relate to a typical day in the Bowman household.

As I think about the life my spouse has chosen as a homeschool mom—the life many of you have chosen—it becomes apparent why occasionally when I arrive home at supper time, she has not yet curled her hair, and the curling iron has been heating the house since her early morning shower. As I reflect on the challenge before her, it becomes obvious why sometimes at night she seeks refuge in front of the office computer playing solitaire and enjoying the soothing sounds of a silent screen; it becomes clear why she often seeks an escape late in the evenings behind a closed bedroom door snuggled up in bed with a favorite book.

You see, the course she has taken, the route she has selected and the trail she is blazing is not an easy one. From dawn to dusk she juggles four different hats, four different roles. She is schoolteacher, homemaker, mother and wife. Unlike those of us with careers outside of the home, she cannot wear just one hat at a time. Rather, she is forced to wear three and sometimes four hats simultaneously—this is typical of most homeschool moms. It can be a hectic lifestyle, one that can chase the sanity from even the sanest individual, the patience from the most long-suffering saint and the serenity from the calmest person. It is often a demanding job, a thankless occupation and an overwhelming mission. So, I penned the following words of tribute to my wife, Karen, and in fact, as a tribute to all homeschool moms.

There is a Biblical passage that well describes my wife and homeschool moms, in general. It comes from the book of Proverbs and was written by Solomon, the wisest man in history.

She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.   Proverbs 31:26-28 (KJV)

I think Solomon was thinking of homeschool moms when he wrote these words as it describes the four hats that every homeschool mom wears. Is my statement that Solomon likely spoke of a homeschool mom in this passage such an absurd thing to postulate? In fact, were not all moms in Solomon’s time homeschool moms since they provided the majority of the child’s instruction?

Solomon described the first role of the homeschool mom, that of teacher, when he stated, “She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” I especially like the New International translation of this verse, which says, “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Truly the words of wisdom and instruction are always on her lips. She seeks to seize and maximize every teachable moment. Our vacations become field trips and history lessons. Our times on the beach evolve into marine biology lessons as we spend time identifying shell types, plant life and the remains of marine creatures. Our family walks in the woods develop into forestry lessons as we identify trees, nuts and leaves.

Solomon addressed the second function of the homeschool mom, that of homemaker, when he said, She looketh well to the ways of her household.” Karen cleans the house; cooks the meals; balances the checkbook; pays the bills; shops for groceries, clothing, Christmas gifts and birthday gifts; and does the laundry. Certainly she tends well to the affairs of her household.

Solomon described the third role of a homeschool mom, that of mother, when he said, “Her children rise up and call her blessed.” Karen shuttles the kids to extracurricular activities and medical, dental and vision appointments. She settles childish disputes, offers words of encouragement, provides correction, teaches responsibility and provides hugs and kisses. As a mother, she is sensitive to each child’s struggles and pains and suffers with them. She encourages them in each endeavor and rejoices with them in their successes. I am certain that one day when my children mature and begin to recognize and appreciate the depths of their mother’s passion and commitment, they will rise up and call her blessed.

Solomon identified the fourth and most important function of the homeschool mom, that of wife, when he stated, “Her husband also [calls her blessed], and he praiseth her.” Karen is a confidant, a cheerleader, a psychiatrist, a masseuse and a friend that provides unconditional love to me, her husband. She shares my values and morals and my hopes and dreams. In her God-given role as “help meet” (Genesis 2:18) she both complements and completes me. After twenty-one years of marriage, I recognize her as God’s gift to me, my greatest earthly blessing.

I think that Solomon had the homeschool mom in mind when he said, “She does not eat of the bread of idleness.” If Karen is not teaching the children, she is tending to the affairs of her household, meeting the needs of our children or ministering to Dad. Know what I mean?

Homeschool moms, like my wife, Karen, are among the noblest of people for they seek to serve their family and place the needs of their family before their own. They are giving the best years of their lives to ensure that their children are raised with virtuous character, a strong education and a faith that reflects their own. Surely, they deserve to be honored, praised and called blessed.

Terry Bowman and his wife, Karen, make their home near Wilmington, NC with their three children: Neal, seventeen: Mark, fifteen; and Lori, twelve. The Bowmans have homeschooled nine years.

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Comments

Christie Cheatham's picture

Thank you for this.

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