What is the difference between important and essential? As a newish homeschool mom, I continually find myself struggling and drowning as I try to push my kids. I want the best for them. I see potential in them and feel it my duty to expect more, more, more.
But, sometimes it’s miserable and honestly ineffective. A few weeks ago I was feeling particularly overwhelmed (again) and I asked for a priesthood blessing looking for help and direction (What’s a priesthood blessing?). While priesthood blessings are personal, I will share that I was reaffirmed that taking this on is the right thing for me to be doing and then I was taught that through love I would be able to discern between important and essential.
A few days later we were invited to attend a Christmas concert at a beautiful private school. We circled the perfect campus looking for parking then Dave dropped us off at the grand entrance to go park further away. I trailed behind my kids as they went through the doors and down the hallway. I watched them. I looked at the intentionally placed paintings and quotes and statues. It all looked professional and so put-together.
Then the concert began. My treasures were lined up next to me in a row and we peered through the gaps in front of us to see better. We saw amazing things. We saw lots of talent, lots of friends and smiles and I saw lots of what I’m not giving my kids.
I was trying to remember my blessing. I was thinking it’s because I love them so much that I want the best for them. Thinking about all I’d seen that night and feeling like maybe what I’m doing is a disservice to my kids, I prayed to Heavenly Father, “I can’t give them this.” And in one of my first moments of discernment since my blessing, His response came, “I haven’t asked you to.”
What a relief. Perfect, pristine, professional is not what God has asked me to do. I think I’ve known that before but I needed a reminder. Success for my family will be different. It will look different. And if I can keep the essentials forefront, it will feel different (going for more love and less misery).
Since then I have tried to loosen up a bit on the to-dos for each of my kids each day. There are so many things that are important but none of them are more important than that which is essential. Maybe it’s meant to be that we focus so much on getting along and serving each other. I’m starting to realize there is more happening than meets the eye. If I stay close to God and teach as Jesus teaches, my family will receive the exact, essential education Heavenly Father wants for us, all of us – at home.