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Keeping up with the Joneses

Several months ago I read a book called The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey . It is a great book about managing your money and getting yourself out of debt (He considers anything that is not your mortgage that you are paying on, debt . . . some people do not see it that way). In that book, he says to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses because they are probably broke.

For some reason that stuck with me. I have always struggled with the desire to keep "up with the Joneses". In Christian terms, let's call it what it is . . . sin . . . coveting your neighbors' things. I have wished I could have someone else's house, their car, their husband's salary. Thanks to reading Dave Ramesy and some grace from the Holy Spirit, I gained a great deal of peace in this area.

But, over the last few weeks, I have realized that this mentality, "Keeping Up with the Joneses," can be found in any area of life. Homeschooling is no different, except that it could be called "Having you kids keep up with the Joneses' kids." Truth be told, it is hard not to compare your child and what he or she is doing, or not doing, to other children you know.

Since I just started to homeschool this year, a common question that I am asked, or that I ask too, is "How is it going?" Usually, I go through what were are doing, the special things we have done and the things that Joshua likes (and not to mention, the things that I am most proud of). And, others I speak to, usually do the same. I am amazed by what others have accomplished with their children. How they can write. Recite things. Read things. I used to get upset and think I was not doing a good job when I heard these stories. I used to want to "Keep up with the Joneses."

Now, I have come to realize more and more, something that I knew, but did not always "Live out". My son is unique and God created him with special gifts that others may not have. And others have gifts that he does not have (it is the "Body of Christ" as mentioned in scripture). Realizing that has allowed me to let go of trying to keep up with what others do with their children and allow our family and each individual to move at their own rhythm and pace (After all, that is one of the blessings of homeschooling). It has been freeing.

Still, I sometimes need to mentally cover my ears and go "la, la, la" when someone is telling me all of the wonderful things that they have taught her child and what her child can do, but I can let go of it more easily and be confident that what we are doing here is growing the children that God entrusted to us in the way that is best for them.


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