How can we possibly measure success with love? I’m still figuring that out. But I wanted to share an experience I had that helped me learn that the best approach to feeling accomplished as a mother is by measuring success with love.
An Early Morning
My toddler wandered in during the darkness of early morning that envelopes us now. He was wet, a leaky diaper. I changed him and as we lay there, I wondered about a post that I wrote last week that never made it to the blog. Something about it just wasn’t sitting right.
I thought it was great, a beautiful description of my homeschooling goal for my kids: to support my children in becoming the people God sent them to earth to become. It was all about how this was such a good measure of success because it applies to every kid regardless of their pace in academics or motor skills or their abilities. And I wasn’t wrong about that, really. But still, there was something missing.
As I pondered, my mind drifted to something I learned at a Church leadership training a month or so ago. We discussed measuring success as ministers by helping people feel loved. Instead of looking at what they learn or their activity in our classes, focusing instead on being a vessel for them to feel the Savior’s love. I realized it was a perfect measurement for my motherhood and homeschooling as well.
But that morning, I saw that counsel in a new way. I can influence my difficult preschooler, but his choices are his. I couldn’t put him on a life path any more than I could make him use the potty. He could always refuse. And I need to accept that.
And it became clear that my goal of supporting my children in becoming the people God made them to be is too much out of my control. What if they don’t become who God created them to be? Will I have failed as a mother and as a teacher? How could I review any day and not be totally focused on my children’s choices if my main goal was so contingent on those choices?
Lying in that dim, dark, lightening room, I reimagined it. I could love them. I can love them.
I can love them.
Success at Home
I realized that the best way for me to measure my own success as a mother and as homeschool mentor is to focus on how well I love my children. Measuring success with love puts all of the control on what I am doing. Do they feel the Savior’s love for them through me? Do I treat them with respect and concern and charity and kindness? This way I can keep my focus on my love for them.
I still hope that they’ll become who God sent them to Earth to become. I hope they work to fulfill the work He has for them to do, just as Jeremiah. But I know that no matter what, their success in my eyes cannot be defined by what they accomplish. I must learn to feel God’s love for them and honor who they choose to become.
Because that is what the Lord whispered to me through His Spirit in that calm, quiet dawn as I lay with my toddler pressed to me in the beginning of a new goal: measuring success with love. I want to let my children know that God loves them and there is always the promise of redemption.
He will not forsake them and neither will I.