Working Together So That Everyone Succeeds

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In the late 1990s, Ray and I began thinking seriously about publishing curriculum. For several years, we had enjoyed writing Sunday School curriculum for the churches where Ray served as minister. Ray and I and our son, John, began talking about going into business together. In 1999 Ray seriously considered leaving the ministry and making a living fulltime as a writer, publisher, and supplier of books for homeschooling families. One Sunday, as he was sitting in church, he thought: “If only I knew that we would be taken care of if we did this.” Then he realized that He did know that God would take care of us.

On July 1, 1999, Ray went full-time in what was then a tiny, one-computer-in-the-living-room company we then called The Notgrass Company and now call Notgrass History. Yesterday Ray and I had a fun opportunity. We got to sit down with Michael Aikens, director of the Tennessee Tech (Tennessee Technological University) Center for Rural Innovation, and host of It’s Your Business, a once-a-month show on our local PBS station, to tell our story from then until now.

The release date of the show that includes our interview is to be on April 12. It is to be on YouTube as well as the local PBS station, WCTE, so I look forward to sharing a link with you when it becomes available to me.

I knew things would go well during this interview, and they did. We met Michael a few years ago through our local Jackson County (Tennessee) Chamber of Commerce. I knew that we liked him and he liked us, and that we wanted him to succeed and he wanted us to succeed. What could have been a hand-wringing experience was a lot of fun.

We were at ease with Michael, and we were soon at ease with the two videographers, Craig and Josh. Soon after we met, Craig asked me, “Are you Mev McCurdy’s . . .?” “I’m her mother,” I replied. “My sister’s children have been in her plays,” he said. “I ran into Chrissy on Saturday,” I replied.

Michael, Craig, Ray, Josh, and me

At the end of the interview, I told Craig that he looks like his sister. He told me that he saw mannerisms in me that are like Mev. (By the way, you usually read my references to our daughter Mary Evelyn. Mev is Mary Evelyn’s nickname; her Homeschool Dramatic Society kids call her Miss Mev.)

Children learn valuable lessons from competition. One or more of our children entered cooking and handiwork in the county fair and also participated in competitive soccer, baseball, basketball, and marble tournaments. Children also need to learn how to work together to accomplish group goals. They do learn that in team sports, but they also need opportunities where everyone works together for a goal that does not include competition.

One of the advantages of homeschooling is that parents can make more choices in how much time their children spend competing and how much time they spend learning cooperation.

As iron sharpens iron,
So one person sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

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