Alike and Different

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I like the golden fur of this squirrel that was scurrying about near Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home last month. I think of squirrels as gray, but, of course, I know that squirrels come in a variety of colors. Squirrels are like children (and grown-ups, too). Not one is exactly like any other.

Dixon and Tampico 033

One of the stepping stones of learning is to understand opposites like black and white, loud and quiet, alike and different. It’s we grown-ups who have a hard time with different, especially when it is one of our children who is “different.” It is a challenge to homeschool a child who learns in a different way. Sometimes we can get really worried about his or her future.

Some moms have found it encouraging to hear the story of my mother’s experience in school and the life she has lived since then. When it came to school and Mother, she was not “alike.” She was “different.” Mother did not hear well as a child and school was often a struggle. In fact it took her fourteen years to complete twelve years of schooling. She graduated when she was twenty. Has mother’s limited success in school hampered her life as an adult? You decide.

Mother learned to sew in her high school home economics course. When I was very young, she started a home business. She made clothing and did alterations. In my hometown, if you wanted clothes made or fixed, Mother was the woman to call. I laugh and say that there was always some woman in a slip in our living room (for you younger women, a slip is a piece of lingerie that you wear under a dress!). She made Sunday dresses, bathing suits, cheerleader outfits, everyday dresses, sequined costumes, bridesmaid dresses. You name it. Mother lives only twenty miles from Nashville. She has altered clothing for several country music stars. Once she made a costume for an Elvis Presley impersonator to take on his tour of Europe.

Mother is now 81 and she still sews for a few longtime customers. In recent years, she has taught sewing to 4-H girls and to seniors at her local senior citizens center. A year or two back, the local newspaper did a story about her career as a seamstress.

My daddy died in 2003 and in 2011 Mother married the father of one of my good friends from high school. We didn’t send out wedding invitations, but did put a little notice in my hometown paper. You should have seen the crowd.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6, NASB

Hang in there with your child who is more “different” than “alike.” God has a plan for this child. Part of your job is to help him figure out “the way he should go.”

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