Preparing for Life, Not for College: A Practical Guide to Home Education – Planning Ahead (Part 2)

God did not call parents to prepare their children for college but to prepare them for life, both on this earth and for eternity. There is a big difference.

Even if college becomes one of the steps taken along the way, it is not the focus as much as a means to an end that no one can accurately predict.

While the parents’ job is certainly to encourage children to be the best that they can be, to direct them with an eye to the future, and to praise them always for a job well done, it is the students that need to prepare for their future, for life and for college if, indeed, that becomes part of the plan.

One of the best preparations for the future is something that usually comes naturally with home education. Those who have been sentenced to school are usually either completely confused about the world and themselves, and/or pressured to make decisions before they have the personal knowledge and confidence to do so, but this is not so with the home educated.

You have been given one of the best gifts any growing and maturing child could receive; the privilege of being who you are. Not only did you not have to sacrifice yourself on the altar of unreasonable, peer-pressured expectations, but you were given plenty of uninterrupted time to make informed decisions.

You were raised in the only environment possible where you could truly receive unconditional love. This is not to say that your parents did not correct your errant ways while encouraging you to model your life in accordance with a code of conduct that has withstood opposition since the dawn of time, but they did not try to recreate you into something that wasn’t you.

This freedom to be who you are gave you something most in the jungle environment and laws of school are robbed of. You were directed to have confidence in yourself, your abilities and to be exposed to and familiarized with your shortcomings.

This is not to say that you are the centre of the universe, but that you were given the opportunity to be aware of your being, within a universe much bigger and older than yourself.

This knowledge and confidence about yourself provides you with a much clearer vision of options for how you will occupy your life and you are not as likely to be choosing a career based on money, prestige or power.

Children may make decisions based on faulty premises such as uniforms, world-saving ideology or self-aggrandizement, but you were encouraged to grow up and put away childish things. Your focus on the future is more mature because it is, hopefully, less self-centred.

The home educated students are, therefore, more likely to follow a more successful career path as they are less likely to be confused about who they are and what they are capable of, reducing the experimental fact-finding needed for those less confident of themselves.

Being familiar with yourself, your gifts, strengths, weaknesses, faults and shortcomings is the key to finding the appropriate pathway in life.

Starting with the knowledge of what you can and cannot do will quickly eliminate needless “dreaming” about things out of your grasp or undervaluing yourself. On that note, always challenge yourself by reaching beyond what you think you are capable of.

Understanding that you are unique in this world, and not simply a clone of someone else’s design, also better equips you to find your particular place in this world.

Celebrating what makes you different rather than trying to confine yourself to the conformity of school will serve you very well in determining what you will do with your life.

Remember that, unlike the world’s measuring stick, it’s not what you do that determines who you are, but rather who you are that determines what you do.

Being comfortable with being different also places you in an advantageous position. After all, assuming that you do not see this world as being here for you as much as you being here to serve the world, you will want to make a positive impact on it or to make a difference within it.

And it should be obvious that in order to make a difference, you have to be different.

This is not to say that everyone will be in a leadership position, but to understand that we all affect those around us, one way or the other. It is my hope that you want to affect those who have found themselves as part of your life, in a positive way.

Finally, I most certainly do not subscribe to the belief that God has a perfect plan for you. Outside of Salvation through Jesus, which indeed is the eternal perfect plan, God gives you all the latitude you need to make life choices.

Indeed, He gives you enough freedom to make wrong decisions, too. If you truly want freedom to make decisions about your life, you need to take responsibly for it and the decisions you make. Also, you must be prepared to admit error when it happens, do what you can to fix the problem and move on.

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