Have you ever been away from your children for a period of time? Were you really excited about getting back home and seeing them again? As you were nearing your arrival did you picture the perfect homecoming and reunion with your children?
Recently, Steve and I had the opportunity to go away to a cabin in Colorado for a week to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We loved our time together but were both anxious to be back with our family. We were so excited about returning home that, when we were awake at 3:30 a.m. the morning of our trip home and not sleeping well, we decided to start back then rather than waiting for the planned 5:00 a.m. wake-up time. All the way home I imagined what our evening with the children would be like.
Our homecoming was exactly what I had pictured–for the first couple of hours. Then I went downstairs into my three little boys’ bedroom and playroom! Yikes! It looked like they had left everything out for the entire week I was gone, even getting into the locked storage closet of extra toys.
So what would you have done? What do you think I did? I wish I could tell you that I decided the night of my return home was the night to love and enjoy my little ones, knowing that we could tackle putting items back in place another time. Instead, I decided we had had enough homecoming time. I chose to call them downstairs to begin the task right away. The evening ended with me being frustrated with the children and myself. I was disappointed I had not let the pickup wait and unhappy with them for not keeping up with their room while I was away!
I am still learning and growing in this area of right timing. As you can see from this situation, while I may understand the need for right timing in my mind, my emotions in the heat of the moment do not always agree. Sometimes I follow those emotions rather than that still, small voice of the Lord.
Does right timing enter into our lives as homeschooling moms? I believe it is very vital and key in many areas of our homeschooling.
When we have had a night with little sleep and wake up feeling drug out, is it a good day to tackle a problem that has been looming on the horizon for months? The answer to that is an easy, “Of course not!” But what often happens? In our tired state, that problem is so discouraging and looks so big, we jump right on top of it. Usually this means we do not deal with it in a way we would have preferred if we had really thought and prayed about it.
What about right timing in teaching a child a concept in school? Have you ever been frustrated with a child who is not catching on to something–perhaps it is fractions in math? You work and work, explain and explain, search for alternative ways to demonstrate, and still the light does not come on. Finally, that section is finished, but you know very well your child has not grasped what they were to learn. You are discouraged, while at the same time relieved to be done with the struggle. Then you get into fractions again the next year, and suddenly, even at the beginning of the study, your child understands fractions!
What about right timing in working with the heart attitudes of your children? Will they respond to your discussions of the need for changes in their heart when they are angry, rebellious, or distraught?
Yet, how often do we as mothers try to reach our child’s heart at exactly that moment? Then we wonder why their reaction was not what we wanted it to be. What would happen if we waited until the emotion had passed, on our part and on our child’s part, and spent the ensuing time in prayer for our child’s receptivity? Then we could find a non-confrontational, quiet moment to pursue the problem.
This issue of right timing affects our interactions with our husbands. Have you ever had a terrible day? Then the moment your husband walked in the door you began to dump on him all the frustrations that had built up. It wasn’t just from that day, but the problems that had been hanging around for some time. Is this the best time to share these concerns and seek solutions together?
I know that although Steve is willing to listen to me, allow me to emote, and try to work through the difficulties, we are not very productive at this time. Whereas, if I will wait until our weekend date to bring up the situations from that week that are ongoing and need to be addressed, then we can discuss them in a calm, rational manner. This allows me to weed out the small issues that are not ongoing, plus I have time for prayer in the meantime.
I wonder how much better off we would be to learn, in each of these areas of right timing, to take just a moment to ask the Lord, “Lord, is this the time for me to deal with this situation or is there a better time?” If He gives the go-ahead, then the timing is right. But if He whispers to our hearts “No,” then we need to let go of our agenda, lift the situation up in prayer, and listen for when the timing is right.
I have to tell you that I have a long way to go in this particular area. I know that there are victories I can point to, particularly in learning the signals my body and emotions give me when I am very tired. This is not the time to do anything except maintain the status quo and head for bed as soon as possible. Even though there is much for the Lord to teach me in the discernment of right timing, it is my heart’s desire that I would be submissive and teachable.
May I encourage each of you to consider right timing. As you become more sensitive to the Lord in this, what difference will it make in your mothering? What about your effectiveness as a homeschooling mom? Could it affect your relationship with your husband? I believe the answer to each of these is a resounding “YES!”
Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” May each of our words fit into this category. I know, for me, this is much more likely when my heart is attentive to the Lord for His timing.