“I am in a season of my life right now where I feel bone tired almost all of the time. Ragged, how-am-I-going-to-make-it-to-the-end-of-the-day, eyes burning exhausted … I have three boys ages 5 and under. I’m not complaining about that. Well, maybe I am a little bit. But I know that there are people who would give anything for a house full of laughter & chaos.”
– Steve Wiens, in his article “To Parents of Small Children”
My wife and I have four children (ages 13, 11, 9, and 6). We are thoroughly blessed, but sometimes we forget it. The eternal pile of laundry that swallows rooms like an avalanche, the Lego land mines that bruise your feet in the middle of the night (every dad knows what I mean), and the constant reckoning of all things broken, tend to temporarily overwhelm any parent.
My wife is a “stay-at-home mom” and carries the bulk of responsibility for homeschooling the kids. If one wished to assign our day’s greatest misnomer, we could say that she does not “work.” Hilarious, I know. True, she does not have a “job”; she has a calling, a vocation. As Chesterton once noted, a homemaker’s “function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”
Years ago, while strolling through the grocery store with the family, I became aware of a meaningful tradition that my wife had established. Inevitably, when she would go shopping with the kids while I was at work, some well-meaning soul would smile and say, “My, you sure have your hands full!” Though Shannon understood that the comment was (usually) innocent enough, she wanted to make sure that no one pitied her for her blessings or that our children somehow developed the idea that they were simply “too much to handle.” So, every time someone commented on her “full hands,” Shannon would smile and answer, “Yes. Full of good things.”
Too often, we trip over the innumerable blessings God has given us, only to complain, “Great, now my toe hurts.” We are profoundly skilled at being frustrated with the never-ending goodness of God. Among the blessings of God are the labors to which He has called us. For those of us laboring in Christian classical education – at home, in a school, or in some other context – we would do well to remember that, while our hands are full, they are full of good things. Nurturing the souls of students on truth, goodness, and beauty is a high calling indeed. Sure, it would be easier without students, but it would also be non-existent.
Certainly, I do not mean to imply that genuine problems will not arise or that they should not be addressed. But, I assume that you all need the same kind of encouragement that I often need; a little help in sorting out the mole hills from the mountains, a reminder that full hands are not a bad thing. Thank God for giving us a high calling, for meaningful work, and hands full of good things.