Finishing the Race
In April 1999, I ran the London Marathon. My version of “run” was a great deal different than that of the winner of the race. The winner completed the marathon in a mind-numbing two hours and some odd minutes. Me? I finished several long, hard hours later. The goal of every runner was different; some wanted to cross the finish line first, while others wanted to beat their own best time. Me? I just wanted to live to cross the finish line and be able to call my brother back in the U.S. and say “Ha, I did it!”
Homeschooling is a lot like that marathon. We all have different goals. Some homeschoolers want to get on the fast track and be done as soon as possible. There are others who take the scenic route, enjoying every little rabbit trail and going off the beaten path. Still, others who really just want to survive until the end so they can look at their parents or in-laws and say “Ha, I did it!”
Regardless of your goals, there are a few things to remember as you go through the race route. Pace yourself; you do not have to do every single thing on day one, don’t burn out in the beginning — this is not a sprint. Take advantage of those refreshment stations along the way: spend time in prayer, have coffee with a friend, enjoy a mom’s retreat or a quick walk around the block. These are necessary to keep you from getting parched and weak as you go. Watch out for potholes. Not every opportunity is a good fit or beneficial, and they can trip you up. Don’t collide with other runners. Remember, it is an individual event; you don’t have to be like everyone else. Also, don’t try to make them like you. Finally, in a long, grueling race, bad things can happen internally. Avoid the porta potty at all costs! Don’t allow self-doubt, jealousy, the comparison trap or the venomous words of others pull you into an ugly, smelly attitude that permeates your soul and your homeschooling.
At some point during the London Marathon, I became discouraged and fatigued, and to be honest, I stopped in the middle of the street in some little residential area. I stood there having an intense internal battle with myself, my mind flooding with thoughts of failure. My body ached in ways I’d never fathomed; then something miraculous happened.
A little, white-haired lady quietly opened the door of her cottage and walked out onto the street with me. In her hand was a slab of bread with a thick slice of butter (or maybe it was cheese?) on it and a glass of water. She shoved the food into my hand and quietly stood as I choked it down. As I slurped the last of the water from the glass, she spoke in her thick British accent, “Just keep moving. Put one foot in front of the other; just keep moving.” I hope that I had the sense and the courtesy to thank her before I lurched forward back into the race. I replayed her words over and over in my head until I crossed the finish line.
So, this is me, telling you the same thing. “Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can do this!”
Joesette Huffman is a dynamic speaker, blogger, wife and homeschooling mother of two. She is is active both in the online homeschooling world and in her local homeschool community and church, as well as a volleyball coach and co-op leader. You can find her weekly at Learning Curve.