by Te’Essence Mack, May 2021
“Hey, how are you?” I nod with a smile, as I walk into the room. Adjusting my bag on my shoulder, I speak to those passing by as we all shuffle to get into our seats. Weaving the stroller through the crowd, I scan the room, hopeful. Unable to find what I am looking for, I sit down whispering positive encouragement to myself. Then, just like that, walking into the room I see what I had been looking for. I know that I am not alone.
There is something about an unlikely person becoming successful that encourages the underdog to pursue their passions. There is something about seeing a woman in a position of influence that inspires a little girl to be whatever she dreams to be. There is something about a father’s presence, that motivates a little boy to grow up strong. There is something about seeing someone who looks like you doing something great that informs you that you can do it too.
This is why I was scanning. That is what I was looking for. Another brown face in a sea of non-brown faces to encourage me, to inspire me, to motivate me, and to inform me that I can do this. I can in fact homeschool my children with confidence and joy. I can instill a love for learning into my children. I can stand against the oppositional ways of culture and instead cultivate traditional values and godly morals within our home. I can take the time to develop relationships and memories with my children that will last a lifetime. I can do this, and I am not alone. I am not an outsider. My children are not the odd ones out. We should not just go back to where we came from. We belong here. We can do this.
Unfortunately, in the absence of such examples the opposite effect is too often proven true. The underdog remains as he is. The little girl remains discouraged. The little boy remains unsure. The minority remains uninspired. This is why it is necessary to intentionally create spaces and seats for diverse families within the NCHE and homeschooling community. When it is not done, we run the risk of communicating to such families that they do not belong within the homeschooling world. We unintentionally point such families towards isolation or worse, back towards the broken educational system and value systems prominent in the public and worldly sector. What a disservice that would be to us all!
So let us do something about it. Let us take the time to invite our non-white families to be a part of our clubs, our co-ops, and our organizations. Let us invite our fellow ethnic homeschooling moms and dads to share their perspectives and insights as members on our boards, speakers at our events, and leaders within our communities. Let us be sure to go above filling the “quota” of one or two “other” families and strive for truly representative seats and voices in the homeschool community. Let us glorify God by endeavoring to love – in deed – all of His children, and teaching our children to do the same by our own example. Let us be intentional so that when families from all ethnic backgrounds walk in and scan the room, it is clearly communicated to them that they belong here and that they can do this.
My name is Te’Essence Mack and I am a child of God and lover of Christ. I believe the most potent ministry is that of motherhood, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do so full time to three beautiful children in various stages of life – a tween, a preschooler, and a budding toddler. Therefore, I gladly accept all prayers offered up for me! I also have the privilege and honor of serving as a wife for almost 5 years and counting. This life that I am living is one I never imagined for myself, yet better than anything I could have dreamt. I look forward daily to embracing the beauty of this simple, natural, and abundant life in Christ!