Soon the only people that want to be around you are those who enjoy the delectable aroma of a nice pile of steaming trash...which is you. You’re the pile of trash.
If you homeschool, don’t trash talk traditional schools in front of your kids. You never know what a day may bring. You could wake up tomorrow with an illness or a financial crisis that causes you to need to go to work or just a different leading from the Lord for your kids and they need to not think they’re walking into a lion’s den. If your kids go to traditional school, don’t trash talk homeschool moms and their kids. You never know if a situation will cause the need for you to pull your kids out and bring them home and they need to know that this won’t make them feel like they're going to live on an island with just their crazy mother.
Don’t trash talk the parenting choices of others around your kids. If other parents are making different parenting choices, maybe even some obviously bad choices, don’t trash talk them in front of your kids. Tell them parenting is exceptionally hard and every set of parents has to weed through all those hard choices and decide what’s best for their kids.
Don’t teach your kids to love the smell of trash. You making trash talk okay is like not showering for a year and teaching your kids that that is perfectly normal. It is quite not normal.
Our sinful hearts love to tear down our neighbor’s house so our own house looks all the more impressive. When you explain to people why you homeschool, that does not mean you need to tear down the traditional school system so your school looks like a shiny mansion next to a bombed out shack. I’ve made that mistake too many times and then I feel like complete trash afterward.
I have four grandparents and one uncle that have been public school teachers all their lives. My mother has a degree in education and my father also taught at a public high school for a short while. I finished my associates when I was 20, half way to my teaching degree so I could be a high school English teacher like my uncle. I don’t trash talk schoolteachers and tell my kids that I’m saving them from the lion’s den. I don’t trash talk you; I want to be you one day! (Please tell all your teaching connections that I would like a position teaching English and history at a classical Christian school and that I’ve been practicing on four bright, young children for the past ten years and I haven’t ruined them yet. Also speak of my large intelligence. Thank you ahead of time.)
God had a lot of work to do to remove the trash talk from my wicked heart. This was an especially difficult extraction. Some of us deal more with anger, or addiction, or depression, but me…I was a very self-righteous teenager. My holiness was a huge source of pride. My choices of piety and purity turned into putrid pompousness. It was stinky. It wasn’t until parenting got really hard, around the time I had my third child, that I realized how much I smelled like trash. Through my husband’s example of a humble and gracious attitude toward people and God’s abundant forgiveness of my own trashy pride, my heart and thoughts were changed from looking down from my high tower to looking up to Jesus on the cross and realizing how much I’ve been saved from.
What a wretched pile of trash I am next to Jesus. God gave me abundant piles of grace and took away massive piles of trash that I had piled up all around me. He tore down my trash fort and ushered me into a sparkling home where His grace and forgiveness dwells.
Grace is extending love, understanding, and forgiveness when your natural reaction is to judge and put down and trash talk. Grace does not smell like trash. Grace is sweet and gentle and loving. Second Corinthians 2:15 states, “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
I want to be the fragrance that draws you in from the rain and the cold to be surrounded by comfort and warmth and not the pile of steaming trash that only attracts other piles of steaming trash. I long for the same thing for my kids. This is all part of the master plan of raising them to be a JOY to this world and not a JERK.