Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - Volume 16, Number 1

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Keep the goal in sight!

by Mark Maguire

Many times in the thick of things, we forget what our end goal is and why we fight the good fight.

Think of the children of Israel wandering in the desert for so may years with a great promise before them and a miserable past behind them. Our lives are so disconnected from their daily life. The closest we get to that much sand is a weekend trip to the beach. We really cannot understand why the Israelites grumbled and complained. Yet the answer is simple: Amid the daily grind, we can forget what we are doing and why.

Having the opportunity to be involved in the home schooling of my children, it was easy to see the flaws of institutional education that we had abandoned, and it was clear the promise of what lay ahead, but some days, I just lost sight of the real end goal.

Like the wandering tribes in the wilderness we as parents can have a fuzzy idea of what that end goal is. I believe many of us with the best intentions, are focused on trying to mold perfect children. In reality, this is not our purpose, and not the task that God has given us. What we are striving for is not to create the model student or even the well-behaved child. These are wonderful results that will come along the way, but the real end goal is to help create a responsible and successful adult.

How does this fine distinction help homeschool parents? I think it gives us patience with the strong-willed child by understanding that as the child becomes an adult a strong will can be focused to become endurance, perseverance, and moral fiber. It helps us bear with the child who is a daydreamer when we realize that creative adults with discipline are the great innovators in society.

In my own family, I recognize the differences between my children. I realize they are not like me. They realize they are different from their brothers and sisters. I see that each of our different perspectives help broaden my own scope. It helps my kids to gain from the others, learning points of view they might not see on their own.

The true end goal helps me to allow my child to fail from time to time, and through failure to refelct. It is through this reflection that character is formed. I have often heard the phrase: "I have told you that a hundred times." It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that constant repetition does not produce education. It is only when the child begins to think on his own, to own his failure or his lack of knowledge that many hard lessons are learned.

Picturing my child as a young adult helps me to look down the road and to be happy if a life lesson is learned even if the schoolwork is not picture perfect. I encourage my children to figure things out on their own and to ask questions that may reach beyond the scope of their studies. In difficult discipline situations I have had great success in asking my children what they think was wrong with their behavior and what they think will help them learn not to repeat it.

Because of my involvement in homeschooling, I see a great advance in society coming and a bright future, one where morality and righteousness are again the foundations of human interaction. If enough parents have the courage to homeschool and keep their eye on the goal of creating responsible, spiritually strong adults, and allow their children an opportunity for a true education rather than institutional mediocrity, then the rapidly deteriorating morality of this present culture will be a thing of the past.