Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Little Ripples Moving Outward

I think that much of our lives reminds me of little ripples moving outward. In our normal daily living as well as in the intentional work we do, we never know what impact (good or bad) we have on other people.

I think of this as little ripples moving outward, such as when a pebble dropped into water.

The thing is we never know how far out the ripples go, for how long, or what impact those ripples have on the lives of other people.

Last night I was rejuvenated while listening to homeschooling parents present on the topic of designing our own classical homeschooling curriculum. I was one of the presenters and I was a bit worried about the long list of questions that we were given to work with and to try to answer, all in fifteen minutes. I thought long and hard about what I could or should say to try to answer all those questions in so little time.

There were 50 parents in attendance. Some were parents of toddlers and preschoolers. Some were on the brink of pulling their children out of public school. There were a number of newbie’s in the room. There were also experienced homeschoolers who were thinking of changing to the classical method.

In the end what I spoke about was general in nature and was, I think, very down to earth. I spoke from my heart and tried to light a fire in the hearts of the parents that homeschooling is do-able and to give them a sense of empowerment. I spoke in general terms and gave some examples but I did not tell exactly how I teach my children or with what materials. If there is one thing I have learned is that every child is different. I didn’t want to just tell what I do, as I don’t think that it is necessarily right or best for the other children (or their parents). I didn’t get the impression that I overwhelmed anyone and that is something that I am happy for and if I did nothing other than to not scare the parents then that is something that I should be happy about!

At the end of the meeting I found out from someone that a certain family who lives over an hour away, had attended a homeschooling information session that I helped coordinate along with a support group leader. The two of us had put many hours of work into that project and I arranged for all the speakers and that the forum was held at my town’s library. That was exactly three years ago. What I found out was that one family who attended that meeting met a support group leader and signed up for the free e-newsletter of that support group. They said in these last few years they’ve received a lot of encouragement and information from that e-newsletter and that they were ready to give back something to the homeschooling community.

Stories like that warm my heart. For me that event was a lot of work, time and energy. I was happy on the day that the event took place. However I never will know how much the attendees liked or didn’t like the event, or what they got out of it.

Basically what I do is tell myself that something good must come out of such endeavors and so I plug along and contribute to events such as these. I can only hope that someone gets something out of something that I say or do. I have to tell myself that something good comes of these things or else I’d not continue to help out.

I think that in our homeschooling community that we need to support and to encourage each other. Since the homeschooling movement is a grassroots movement it means that we (busy) homeschooling parents have to step up and offer things like homeschool support group meetings, enrichment evenings, presentations, seminars and conferences. In the midst of our busy-ness I feel that we must take the time to do work like this in order to help others in our community. Just as I look to others who have more experience than I do, for information and support, I feel the need to give back to the others who are following in my footsteps.

Today I feel happy and fulfilled knowing that my short presentation at last night’s homeschooling presentation helped someone. Hearing some words of thanks and direct feedback from some attendees afterward was refreshing and made the whole thing worth it. So I do know that what I did helped some people. It feels good and I am going to revel in that feeling today!

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1 comment:

Sherry said...

I know I always appreciate encouragement! I learned early on to "pass it on" when I was a new parent, and others so generously offered encouragement along the way. I think encouragement is a reflective gift: it feels as good to give it as to receive it.