It is easy to get lost in the endless to-do lists of homeschooling. We’re always juggling so many things, and all of them are important. With our eyes on the balls we need to pick up next, we miss the magic of the moment — the fact that we’re juggling all of this at all.
Have you ever watched a juggler in action? Our city has an annual juggling festival every February, and we always make time to go. The experienced jugglers, who can casually toss flames and glass and eggs, are totally impressive, but I’m always drawn to the new jugglers on the sidelines, the ones who are still glowing with the excitement of being able to keep three balls going at once. I watch them, and I see the carefulness of their movements, their delight when the balls come down and go up the way they are supposed to. And of course, sometimes I watch their balls fall, and I watch them pick them up and try again.
Homeschooling is a different kind of juggling, but it’s no less a combination of effort and grace, willingness to flex a little while maintaining a steady rhythm. It’s easy to drop those balls sometimes, too. (My Laundry ball has apparently rolled somewhere under the couch, and I may never meet it again.) But I think we spend so much time chasing balls and worrying about dropping balls that we don’t appreciate the most important thing: A lot of the time, we’re keeping all those balls in the air. We’re juggling — maybe not perfectly, maybe not always the way we’d like to, maybe not with fiery batons — but we’re juggling, and that’s a miracle of gravity and skill that we don’t give ourselves enough credit for.
It’s totally fine to push ourselves to do better, to do more, but we have to balance that internal drive with an equally powerful commitment to acknowledging all the things we do right — all the times when we aren’t actively dropping balls. It’s easy to fall into a mindset that focuses on what we’re getting wrong — after all, that’s what we tend to notice. It’s really obvious when a juggler misses a catch, and his balls go spilling across the floor. But pay attention to the times when you’re not missing the ball, too. Pay attention to the many, many moments when you’re juggling, and the balls are staying up. And give yourself the credit you deserve.
Food for Thought
What are you really proud of in your homeschool life right now?
What could you do to celebrate that achievement?
How can you recognize yourself for the work that leads to that achievement?