Parents: Stay Hopeful and Turn Struggle into Strength!

As a parent, it may be years before we ever see the fruit of our labor…but when we finally do see the fruits, it is so incredibly sweet!

 

Scrapbook photos of Stacy Lyn Harris's children when they were young, scott and kids fishing on the pier
Scott with the kids fishing at the lake.

 

 

Having kids is not a sprint, that is for sure. It can feel more like a long distance ultra-marathon. There are a few breaks to gather your strength, get nourished and rehydrate, but for the most, you are left breathless. That’s not a bad thing, or something to be dreaded. You see, there’s a reason that people do run those ultra marathons— they’re actually quite invigorating! As I tell my kids almost everyday, “nothing worth having comes easy.”

I’m certainly not at the end of the race with any of the kids, but I am beginning to reap a few sweet rewards from the work I put in. In the moment, I definitely had to fight back thoughts of inadequacy and self-doubt. Parenting is such a tough, thankless job, and every mistake will make you question what you’re doing. But still, even after all that self-doubt, there are still rewards to remind me that our hard work did pay off.

Stacy Lyn harris children
My oldest and youngest – 15 years apart. Forrest right after he found out he passed the boards. Milly painted him a good lunch picture and made cowboy cookies for him.

Keeping up with my 10 year old and homeschooling the three that haven’t entered college ensures that I still have some work to do, but I can’t help but enjoy the successes of the older kids. I’m much more calm with the younger ones in that I’ve seen incredible miracles take place with the older kids.

The reason I’m writing this post today is that my oldest son Forrest just passed the National Board Dental Examination!! This weekend, he officially became eligible to practice dentistry. All of the kids who came after him were fully homeschooled, but he went to 4-year old kindergarten, and very reluctantly at that. Often it took at least two workers to pull him from his clutches of the seatbelt. It was a real production.

Scrapbook photos of Stacy Lyn Harris's children when they were young, sons hanging out in the truck
Hunting has remained a passion for this two – actually for the entire family.

Math, even Algebra, came super easy for Forrest. He was using algebraic skills at age four. BUT he couldn’t read until he was eight. He was able to sound out letters perfectly at a very young age, but putting them together proved incredibly difficult. His brother, Hampton, two years younger, was reading at three, but math didn’t come as easily.

This is all quite ironic—the kid’s struggles transformed into strengths. Forrest is an avid reader and is known by his peers as a walking encyclopedia. He seems to be nourished by words. Because Forrest wasn’t in traditional school, I allowed him to take a break from formally reading for one year when he was seven. I know that seems crazy and believe me, I was quite nervous about it. I truly felt I had no choice. Reading had become an intense frustration to him, and I knew that continuing on this path would lead him to a hatred of the beautiful written language that I adored.

Scrapbook photos of Stacy Lyn Harris children
Graylyn, Forrest, and Hampton in our first home in Montgomery.

As for Hampton, I would venture to say that he didn’t “get” math until college. He had an incredible economics teacher and fell in love with it. Of course, I knew he had it in him. He just needed a reason to stretch his mind in this area. He graduated summa cum laude in Economics. I can hardly believe it. He is selling real-estate now and is waiting for admission to medical school.

Scrapbook photos of Stacy Lyn Harris's children when they were young

Hampton, my second baby. We were in the backyard in Birmingham while Scott was in Dental School.

I’d like to get back to this weekend. Not only did Forrest pass the dental boards, but Graylyn received a statewide undergraduate writing award on an essay she wrote that was nominated by Dr. Harris-Fain, one of her marvelous professors. Truly, I am amazed. You have to know Graylyn had tremendous trouble spelling. I cannot tell you how worried I was to send her to college knowing that! Mama tried.

Stacy Lyn Harris daughter graylyn
Graylyn with Professors at Award Ceremony. Pictured left to right: Dr. Harris-Fain, Dr. Sterling, Graylyn Harris

The thing is we cannot put our kids in a box because we think they may be weak in one area. Because I’ve homeschooled seven kids, I can attest to the fact that they don’t learn at the same speed, but they always seem to catch up. The kids soar when we do our best and leave the results in God’s hands. God has proved time and again that He is in control as much as I think I am. Though we have to put forth the effort, the results are really not ours.

Stacy Lyn Harris and daughter Graylyn accepting Graylyn's essay award

This journey of parenthood has been full of trials and tribulations to say the least. Some things have been disappointing, but there was beauty in that struggle too. The kids’ hard work is starting to pay off, and they’ve even learned to tough it out through adversity themselves and turn their weaknesses into strengths. To say the least, I am an extremely proud mama!!

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2 Comments

  1. Rebecca Epps says:

    Thank you for this post. I am a long time follower/fan of yours. I am new homeschool mama, just started in August of 2020. I sometimes feel like we are winning with homeschool and then other days I feel like we are going in circles. I’m very proud of my kids for transitioning at a time of crisis such as the pandemic and where they are in grade level (3rd and 6th) so easily. But honestly, some days are just hard and full of “did we make the right choice?” I never fully realized where my kids struggled at until I became their teacher. I guess what I’m saying is, even though they are struggling in some areas, there is still hope for them no matter what and it also gives me faith knowing we did the right thing by pulling them out of public school. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    1. You are to be applauded first of all! Thank you for this comment. I am at the moment writing a book on homeschooling. It has taken several turns, and I’ve even thought about hanging it up! I decided exactly how to write it yesterday (decided the climate of the book) in that I want to encourage moms and dads like you. Yes, to give direction, but more than that to trust yourself in making crucial decisions on behalf of your children. Just as you said, you didn’t know their struggles until you became their teacher. You know them better than anyone else in the world. God gave you these children and will guide you with the answers you need. You may not feel you have gotten them, but trust that you are the loving parents and you have the answers!! Don’t look back (although I feel sure you made the right decision); only look forward to the upcoming year. You WILL know what to do. That I am sure about. There are no better people that you and your husband to make these decisions. Your love is evident! Whatever you choose to do in the future will be the right one because of your love! By the way, the “going in circles” is a normal feeling. You have to run a household too. You are still going somewhere though you feel you are running in circles!! The kids are learning A LOT even when you feel academics has been subpar. You will catch them up. Give yourself a break and let them see a joyful rested mom!

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