April McGowan

You’ve Got A Friend

I might have mentioned once or twice that we homeschool. There are many reasons we’ve chosen to do so, and I won’t take the time to list them now. But I have to say, the evidence we saw last week solidified our certainty in our choice even more so.

We’ve had doubters in our lives. People that thought we were nuts to take on the job of teaching the kids. And more so, people that were worried about how they were being socialized. For some reason, folks outside the homeschooling environment have the idea that the best way to socialize kids is to throw them into a room with forty students, one teacher and an aid, and hope all will work out for the best. Coming from that environment, I can say that didn’t work out so well for me.

Back to last week: My children were invited to a friend’s birthday party. In attendance were a number of homeschooled children, ages sixteen down to nine (I’m not including the nineteen year old in this, because, legally he’s not a child, and he’s a college student now-you know who you are and you can thank me later). We were at a family-fun center, playing mini-golf, video games, laser tag and the like. In the package, they had the choice of a virtual ride or go-karts. Of course, they all rushed to the go-karts and got in line.

The two youngest (one being my son) were tall enough to ride in the go-karts, but unbeknownst to us, if they were under a certain age, they couldn’t ride alone, and that the other person had to be an adult. The adults didn’t have tickets. So, out of the line came two teary-eyed kids, leaving the rest behind. We walked away, deciding to try and look on the brighter side and comfort those who were left out of the fun.

Here’s the neat part: Quite suddenly all the rest of the kids (six of them) showed up around us. They’d, as a group, decided it wasn’t fair that they went on the go-karts when the younger two couldn’t go and instead opted for the virtual ride where they could all take part. Now, let me be clear—those six WANTED to go on the go-karts. Those six were mostly teens. And no adults tried to encourage them in any way, shape or form. In fact, we adults were heading inside with the younger ones.

I can’t tell you how good that made my son feel. His friends (one of them, his sister) had sacrificed their fun time out of a sense of fair-play and togetherness. They said, “It wouldn’t be right us getting to go and them feeling badly at a party.”

I can honestly say it’s been NEVER since I’d seen a mixed peer group give up something they wanted to do just so two little kids wouldn’t feel badly. I don’t know about you, but my heart warmed at the selflessness of those older ones. Yes, it was just a ride, and they went on to have fun on another ride—but it’s those little things that solidify relationships, reveal kindness and build us up. I was so glad to witness it.

 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (Full text here.)

6 Comments

  1. heatherdaygilbert
    Jul 30, 2012

    Great post! We’ve been involved in a homeschool co-op for years, and I think those kids are far more socially involved (soccer, ballet, AWANA, etc) than other kids. They simply have more time, and a mom who’s willing to tote them around to stuff! Sounds like your kids have a great group of friends, too.

    • amcgowan
      Jul 30, 2012

      I particularly like the side effect of siblings caring about siblings. I remember my friend’s brothers and sisters ignoring us in public, because it’s not cool to talk to your siblings, right? It’s nice knowing we are planting seeds of empathy and they GET it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Jill Richardson
    Jul 30, 2012

    They’ve been surrounded by people doing the same for them, and they got it. That’s so beautiful to see!

    • amcgowan
      Jul 30, 2012

      It was amazing. We’ve witnessed the care and concern of other HS kids when a littler one was injured–they all stop and make sure the child is cared for before they continue play…but this was a lot more selfless. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  3. Naomi Musch
    Sep 16, 2012

    That’s really neat! Hang in there. The blessings will continue to show up unexpectedly, and it all pays off. My youngest of 5 (homeschooled) graduated this year. They are all social butterflies, btw, as are most of the homeschoolers I know. I don’t regret our decision to homeschool for a second! Blessings~
    Naomi

    • April
      Sep 18, 2012

      Hi Naomi 🙂 Congrats on your graduating homeschooler! Big stuff! My oldest is starting 9th grade this year. Daunting! And my youngest is in 4th. You’re right about the social skills–my daughter has easily twice the social life I do! The blessings do show up daily. So grateful we are on this path. Blessings to you and your family–April

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