The Perfect Family

by lora on November 8, 2007

In this post I am going to try to be transparent about myself, and my shortcomings, in regard to being the “perfect homeschooling family”. I am not trying to be self-deprecating; I hope that my transparency will help someone else. I have recently come to see what a disservice I have done to my family by trying to attain the “perfect homeschooling family” status that is promoted. At each homeschooling convention I attended I was given a verbal checklist of what the perfect husband/father, wife/mother, and child should be. I have spent years in frustration with myself, wondering why I just couldn’t “do it all.” I see others whose homes are perfect, their kids look great… they seem to have it all. As a wife, it is painfully obvious to me that I have not matched up to the criteria that was put forth. Looking at the husbands of these families at the conventions… well they sure seem to be great leaders of their homes…. they seem to be so spiritual. Why couldn’t my husband just be like all of these other dads?

Then something began to happen. As I became closer to some of these families and their children began nearing adulthood… something happened. Some of these families fell apart. I know of at least 5 families in the last two years where things have gone really bad. Watching these families caused me to really begin to look at why they were falling apart and how to prevent it within my own family. One thing we learned from a small incident that we went through was the importance of communication. It is vital that our children understand the “why” behind our actions and decisions and if we are too proud or busy to take the time to be open about these things, we will breed rebellion.

I also noticed a common thread among these families: usually there was an expectation of perfection. When we expect perfection out of others, or even ourselves, we are being unfair. We are placing undue pressure on those around us when we expect them to fit into the model that a mere man has set up. I don’t typically expect perfection out of my children or husband, but I know that my expectations for what Gene “should” be have been unattainable. The list of standards for a “Godly” husband that has been set forth is unrealistic. That is because it is set up in a extra-Biblical, man-made system.

While many of the things that are touted are good things, no man can do them all. Each husband, wife, and child is a unique creation and is going to handle things in a unique way. While some husbands are outspoken and opinionated, others are quiet and reserved. Why should I expect my husband to respond like someone else’s? Is that fair to him? I should have recognized the unique way in which God created him, and not compared him to others. I know that I have been unfair to Gene and placed a mantle upon his shoulders that God did not give him to bear.

Unrealistic expectations have a very real and detrimental side effect… anger. When perceived expectations and standards aren’t met, anger follows, and it can destroy a family. We have had a couple of very difficult situations that were forced upon us dealing with the anger within another family. The result was devastating and the fallout can have eternal consequences.

I see one simple way to prevent a great deal of this thinking, which is to stop relying on man, and to turn back to God’s Word. We are living in an age where we have the need to hear from an “expert” on every topic. We buy books and tapes with the expectation that this “expert” will have the answer we need. We have become so dependent upon the experts that we are unlikely to seek out the truth of God’s word for ourselves. It seems as if we don’t trust that the Holy Spirit the Lord has given to each of His servants will lead us on the path the Lord would have us to follow. Our family is in a place of truly trying to seek out what God’s direction is for us, and to accomplish what He has for us. This has meant that we are putting aside much of the traditional thought, seeking where the truth lies. This does not mean that we don’t seek advice from others, but we weigh the advice we are given against what the Lord has been showing us.

My hope and prayer is that each family will seek for themselves what God’s will is for them, and that we will love our family members for who they are in Christ, not placing our expectations on them.

Other articles in this series:

How We Raise Our Daughters

About College

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