Wednesday, January 2, 2008

They Learned By Example

As I’ve written elsewhere, we homeschooling parents teach a hidden curriculum that goes beyond the math and writing books we buy to use with our children. When we live with our children 24/7, we continually teach them about life…by our example.

This might be a daunting thought, but it’s an inescapable fact. When you’re with your children day in and out during their growing years, they’ll take their cues for handling life from you and the example you set.

I’m thinking about this today because we just spent several days with our son and his wife, AKA the newlyweds. They're not brand new newlyweds, having recently celebrated their six-month anniversary :) But to old fogies like us, they’re newlyweds.

This morning, as they were packing up for the 10-hour drive back to their new home, it struck me how well they work together. They very efficiently put the sofa bed back together, found their belongings and gifts, and packed up their car. Over the five days they were here, I had noticed several times that they work as a team.

This may sound very matter-of-fact, but not all married people behave that way. I remember back to our pre-children years, when my husband and I took a trip to Michigan to stay with my grandmother for a few days. We had a great visit with her. As we were leaving, she said to us, “I’m so happy to see you two working as a team. I never had that with Louie.”

When Gram was a young mother, she threw her husband out because he wouldn’t stop gambling away his paycheck (when he wasn’t using it to buy a round of drinks at the corner tavern most paydays). She told him she didn’t need a fifth child, and that he should get out if he wasn’t going to bring home his pay to feed their children. That’s how she ended up a 20-something single mom of four (during the Great Depression, no less). Gram had a very hard life raising my dad and his siblings to adulthood on her own. She would have much preferred to work as a team, but her husband was not interested.

Gram was right about us. We have always been a team. God has really blessed me with a husband who will do whatever needs to be done. When I was floundering, trying to homeschool three children plus care for our developmentally disabled toddler, he even quit his job and started a business from home so he could help me with the kids and the house. Our newlywed son was nine at that time; I believe the example he saw of us working together on a daily basis for the past 13 years was his “course” on marriage.

This is not to say that homeschooling your children is the only way to set a good example for them in the marriage arena. Our new daughter-in-law was not homeschooled. However, she is a child of long-married Christian parents, and this certainly shows in her demeanor as part of a newly married team. She obviously learned from the example set by her parents.

It’s no secret that it’s been hard for me to let go of my kids. But it certainly makes it easier when I see that the hard work of parenting has borne fruit, and I’ve enjoyed a little taste of that fruit over the past several days as I watched the newest team in our family.


Susan said...

That is a beautiful post. Thanks.

Janet said...

It's so important to work together. We have learned it over the years. We've always worked well together, but over the years we have honed it a bit. What I mean is, when we first got married, there were things I WANTED him to help me with, but he never saw his parents doing it, so he didn't think of it. I had to point it out. Now he does these things without even thinking about it. Working as a team also involves honesty and good communication.

Hope you are having a good week!

BarbaraLee said...

This is my second marriage which began with a ready made family of 2 children. Even though we had a rough start we have become a great team. I never saw my parents argue but hubbies parents did and his dad was a drinker. I am from a family of 4 kids & hubby 9 kids. At first I didn't know how too react to this behavior because hubby was quick to argue. Thank God he showed us how to communicate. Now that hubby has his own business I am his #1 helper. People have made comments that they could never work w/their spouse. I told them that if they are married they should be working together anyway. Not to many responses.