Sure, he’s quick to fight with them in natural sibling-rivalry fashion, but he is and has been, above all, kind.
And then he turned 12.
I’m not saying he’s not kind now, because he is, but that kindness is mixed with all sorts of preteen angst and attitude. After saying something to his sister today that clearly hurt her feelings, ~~we had a long discussion~~ he listened to me express my displeasure as I tried to make him understand that his eventual consequence was because of his actions. His reply? “But I’m just expressing my opinion. Why can’t I tell my opinion?”
Good question really. And very age-appropriate for this boy-teen who has been raised to not be timid. And despite my frustration with the fact that he didn’t quite seem to be getting it that while his opinion may be his opinion it doesn’t necessarily need to be shared aloud if it’s hurtful to someone else, it was in that moment that I was glad that we chose to homeschool. Because really? I would much rather have that discussion here instead of a school office somewhere.
Here’s the thing about homeschooling. It’s tough. Really tough. It’s not all happiness and cheerful, happy children and a mom who has it all together. But, like all good things, it’s worth it. These lessons of the heart that we’re dealing with as the kids get older are the lessons that will shape who they are. Meanness has no place here. Opinions matter, but the heart matters more.
So, the lesson we’ll be focusing on and living these next few days, weeks, and years is that forming opinions and being strong in your convictions is important, but kindness is infinitely more important. And being kind when you disagree, approaching something in a respectful manner? That’s really the heart of this homeschooling season.
And a note to my oldest when he reads this in the future: You’re amazing. You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re just plain terrific, and I love you to the moon. Be kind. Always. Always.