421 | Sacrifice is Beautiful (Sean Allen)

421 | Sacrifice is Beautiful (Sean Allen)

Show Notes:

It's impossible to know all that schooling your children at home will require of you when you get started, but it's a lot. In fact, it's everything. In its truest form, homeschooling is a selfless act and it requires sacrifice. To modern ears that truth is like nails on a chalkboard, but to those who yield themselves to the requirements of the task (the privilege, really) comes the realization that it is in fact one of the most beautiful endeavors you could ever be engaged in.

About Sean

Sean Allen is the founder of The Well Ordered Homeschool, husband to his beautiful bride Caroline and a proud father of eight. He has a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and is passionate about creating materials to assist parents in the incredibly challenging, yet surpassingly beautiful, work of schooling and training their children at home.


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Show Transcript:

Sean Allen Hello. Welcome to the Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Sean Allen and I am one of the many hosts here on the podcast. Since you're listening to this, I'm guessing you already know that homeschooling is both incredibly challenging and incredibly beautiful. Every week we're here doing a little guidance, some helpful counsel, and a whole lot of encouragement your way as you navigate this busy, yet blessed journey of educating your children at home. Now, even though the show is called Homeschool Solutions, it should come as no surprise to you that we do not have the answer to every homeschool related question. But if you come away with nothing else, our hope is that today's episode will point you to Jesus Christ and that you will seek His counsel as you train your children in the way they should go.

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Hello, hello! And welcome to the podcast and thank you for joining me. We are so glad that you are here. We thank you for checking in on us and seeing how things are going. And I think I speak for everyone on the podcast, we're very grateful for your support, and it is our sincere desire that the information that we bring—these talks that we give—are helpful to you and are a blessing to your home. We would love to hear from you. Let us know somehow if that is indeed the case. It's a little bit— Obviously, it's a little bit different of an exercise to speak into the ether when there's nobody there, and it's just you and your thoughts and this microphone. And so feedback is nice. And quite honestly, I'm not sure exactly how you would go about that, but I'm sure you could find a way to communicate with someone. We would appreciate it. But we do appreciate you joining us every week. And if you're just joining us for the first time, welcome. And, again, we hope that you'll find something here on the podcast that blesses you and encourages you, -and maybe even answers a burning question that you have on your heart. So, today, just a little check-up, or check-in, we are in the thick of convention season. We just had our first convention last weekend in South Carolina, have another one here coming up at the time of the recording of this podcast in Saint Charles, Missouri, which is kind of in our neck of the woods. It's on the other side of the state, but that's not too bad of a drive. We'll take that. The one that's the longest drive for us is the one out in California, and, boy, that is a drive. But it's beautiful country on the way out, and challenging but also wonderful at the same time. And we met so many wonderful people over the course of this last convention. And it's always good.

You know, we're tired at the end of the season and we're ready for a break, but, right now, it's exciting, and we're so happy to be back. We're so happy to see everyone. We're so happy to be able to set up our booth, and to talk with different individuals, and also to speak there at the GHC convention. That's also a blessing. I'm very grateful for that opportunity and speak about a lot of the same things that are on this podcast. I think we go a little bit more in-depth on here, but I just feel so passionately about this work that we're engaged in with raising our children. It's such an important work, such a critical work. And really, above all, it's such a privilege to be able to do what we're doing. It's hard work. It's very difficult. And that I think came through even more clearly as we spoke with a number of you at the convention. You know, that's what I want to talk a little bit about today, is just to let you know that you are not alone. There are people out there just like you, who are struggling just like you are. And there are parents who—I'm one of them—who have either gone through periods of time, or are now going through periods of time, where they just don't have the answers for the struggles that they're having with their children. And you love them so much, and you want the very best for them, and you would think— I thought this— I struggled with this many years ago. I thought to myself, "Here I am. I've committed myself to this work of raising children, and raising them up to the Lord as best as I know how, to the point that I've kept them home and I'm raising and educating them at home, my wife and I. And we're trying to keep them from negative influences. We're trying to present them with the best possible information—" Obviously, it's ultimately up to them to choose which direction they will go, but we want them to be surrounded with the character of God as far as— As much as lieth within us, I guess I should say. And all these are good desires, and it's a good work on the whole, and you would think, well, considering all of that, that the Lord would just grease the path, just make it so straight and easy. And yet that's not always the case, is it?

You know, if it was easy, folks, if what we're doing was easy to accomplish, it wouldn't be beautiful. Let me say that again: If it was easy, it wouldn't be beautiful. Because everything that is worthwhile, everything that is praiseworthy, or that is holy, or is good, or that is worth achieving is hard. And when I say hard, I mean it is fraught with all kinds of difficulty and challenges—unforeseen challenges that you did not expect lurking around the corner, if you could put it that way. Maybe "lurking" is not the right term. I think it's there for a reason. There's a purpose behind all of this. And I think that that purpose is, as best as I can tell— And I'm going to pass this on to you— It sounds simple, but as far as I could tell, I think the reason for the difficulty is, is that it drives us to our knees. And when we're on our knees, we're striving to get closer to the One who made us. And that's precisely where He wants us to be. If this were easy, it would not be beautiful, because easy things aren't worth much. You think about the society that we live in, and it seems as if everything is geared towards making things simple and easy, or that we revert to, or prefer paths that are easy. And I think that's why over the past however many years—fifty, sixty years—the entertainment industry has exploded, and it just continues to grow. And that includes everything from movies and TV to video games and sports and everything else. It's just— That's easy to watch. It's not so easy to engage in. And I think the people who are producing that material have to go through their own struggles to be great at what they do. But as for us, those of us who consume this material, it's easy. And you can just sit down and forget your worries and watch someone else do something that takes a lot of skill and time and effort. But that's not beautiful. Living that kind of a life is not beautiful.

Now, I'm not saying that you should never watch anything, but you should certainly be careful. And I think you should be very, very picky about what you watch. And quite frankly— You know, when we travel around to these conventions, of course, we're staying in hotels all the time. And we don't we don't watch TV at our home. I'll just let you know that. And we'll flip on the TV in a hotel room and you go channel after channel after channel after channel after channel after channel, it's like, "There's nothing on here. There's nothing worth watching." There's like one, maybe two things, and even at that, it's like you could certainly do without it. It's kind of bleak out there. So anyway, that's not a beautiful form of living. But to the Christian parent, to the homeschool parent—Christian or not—death is life. And I say that oftentimes in my talks at conventions, and I know that sounds a little morose. It's very morose, actually. But if you dig a little deeper into that statement, you will realize that death was life to our Savior as well. That path that He pursued, that He chose to walk on for the salvation of our souls, required His death. And because of that death, we live. Do you see? Now, because he defeated and vanquished that enemy there is unspeakable beauty that was birthed and that act. And the whole world has forever been changed by that one act of unspeakable sacrifice and, therefore, unspeakable beauty.

Now, what you are doing in your home is in and of itself a great sacrifice. It's a worthy sacrifice, and if you will allow, it will take all of you, everything that you've got. Now you can hold part of yourself back, and most of us do. And we certainly go through periods where we hold maybe a lot more than what we should because there's still me in there. You know, I want what I want. And when I want what I want, I want those things irrespective of the people who are around me, including my spouse and my children. And so I'm here to please me and to get what I think that I need. And I'll do that at the expense of others, even the most important people in my life. But if you will allow the love of the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into your life, that is what directs you to give yourself up. It encourages you, and gives you the strength and the courage to be able to give yourself up because that's hard work. But it's beautiful work when you die to yourself so that others may live. And isn't that precisely what you're doing in your homeschool? See so many people, and I'm sad to say this— And I don't know how many of you out there are listening to this right now or will listen to this, but this includes homeschoolers— So many homeschoolers do not understand this, or if they understand it, they resist it. This is the way to abundant homeschooling, is through death, through the sacrifice of yourself. And many people who hear that, who do not understand it, will shrink when they hear that. That's an uncomfortable thought. It's a repulsive thought to some.

"You mean I've got to give myself up?! I mean, I think I'm a pretty good person. I like these things." And I'm not saying that your hobbies and your interests and your pursuits and things like that— I'm not saying you have to give all of that up, but I think all of it has to be redirected. And isn't that what you signed up for when you said that you would follow the Lord? When you gave Him your life? You said, "I'll follow you to the end of my days, whatever you want me to do, Lord." Isn't that what you said? That's what I said. Now, do I always make good on that covenant? No, I do not. And that's not excusable, I'm not saying that out there to comfort ourselves and say, "Hey, we're all like that, aren't we?" No, it's not excusable because you promised. And in this instance, for those of you who—I'm assuming most of you, if not all of you—have children who are being schooled in your home, and if not, they will shortly in the years to come, that's what you said. That's part and parcel to the covenant that you made, is that you would give everything, and that includes your time and your money and your energy to your children, because He wants you to do the best that you can in all the responsibilities that He's entrusted to your care, and this is among the greatest. For most people, it's the greatest. And if it's not, it's right up there with the rest of them. So it's a worthy endeavor. And death is life to the homeschool parent. And some of you out there who are listening to this have learned that, and you have submitted yourself, you've yielded yourself to that truth. And you know there are few things on earth or in this life that are more beautiful than that.

When you meet someone— If you know someone who has yielded themselves so that others may live, there's no greater beauty, folks. There's just nothing that can surpass it. Those are beautiful people. Their souls are beautiful. Their spirits are beautiful. Their attitude is beautiful. Their countenance is beautiful. And, as the scriptures say, their feet are beautiful. You know why their feet are beautiful? Because they're going around spreading that beauty to other people. You can just feel it. It's in their face. It's in the words that they speak. It's in their demeanor. Their children recognize that it's beautiful. And they just soak that up and they are so blessed, forever blessed, because they have a witness that has been given unto them of the beauty that could also be theirs, if they likewise yield themselves to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that just a wonderful thing? Now again, the world is going to look on and they are going to be repulsed by this because they don't understand it. It's a sad thing, and it's becoming more and more prevalent as the days go by—and I don't expect that will ever end until the end— but they have such a difficult time understanding this to the point that they have to assign some kind of ill intent to what we're doing. They ascribe other motives to what we have set out to do. We're the evil ones. We're the ones who are bigots, and we're the ones that are cruel, and we're racist, and we're all kinds of other things. I don't want to go into all that because it's not pleasant to think about. But nothing could be further from the truth. All we want to do is bless our children, and we want our children to go out and bless other people. That's all we want. Are we perfect? Absolutely not. There's still flesh, that we're walking around in this..on God's footstool. Isn't that the case? But we war against it in and through the Spirit of God, and we look forward to the day when we shall utterly be free and clear of this flesh that drags us down. We war against those things. And we do it by the grace of God. We do it that our children might flourish and might prosper, and again, that they might be equipped to go out into the world and to bless the world, to lift the world up, to call as many as will to this same fellowship of sacrifice. That's what we're doing.

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I know I talk about these things a lot on this podcast. I talk about it quite a bit at conventions, and we're working on some other things too to get this message out. It's not a new message. It's not anything revolutionary. It's revolutionary in the sense that people have forgotten it, really. Some people hear this and they're like, "Oh my goodness, I never looked at it like that." It's like, well, that's because we've strayed from these principles. And over the years they've been tossed to the side and they're gathering dust in the corner. And in many homes they've just utterly been covered up by other concerns. And you got to go and allow the Lord to help you dig that out and rediscover it. And it's like a— It's a pearl. It's a pearl of great price. It's a jewel of unspeakable value. And when you allow this to work in your life, you'll never be the same. Your children will never be the same. And praise be to God for it. So that's why I just keep saying these things cause I know we need to be reminded. It's hard. It's really hard. And I don't want you to feel bad when I talk like this. You're like, "I'm just trying to struggle to get our math homework done." Or, "I'm just— We're having the hardest time doing the most basic things in our homeschool, and I feel like I'm neglecting their education. I feel like we're falling behind. And I've got this one"—or you've got two children—"who just will not mind." And you've got these baseline concerns that you're wrestling with, and that's perfectly understandable. Again, you're not alone. That's the case in most of our homes because we're human beings. We're all wrestling with this carnal nature that we have. And it's co-mingled there with the Spirit of God. There's blessing and cursing mingled together. And there's good and there's ill mingled together in these singular bodies that we possess. But nevertheless, we trust in God to ultimately give us the victory, and that we may one day stand as blameless before God as we continue to walk in His ways.

We're learning about Him, aren't we? Everyday. And we're learning right alongside our children. Our children look on and they see us learning. Now we trust God for everything that we have and we trust Him to save us. We trust Him that He has the power to do all of that. But in the interim, we're trying to be more like Him, so that when our children look on they see His image in our countenance. And that when others look on, they see his image in your countenance and my countenance, in our children's countenance, and that they are blessed by that, and that they're drawn to that. And they ask, "Why are you doing that?" Not in a— What's the word I'm looking for? Not in an accusatory or— I can't think of the right word right now. In an accusatory way. They're asking "why" in a genuinely curious sense that expresses desire. What they're saying is, "I also want what you have." That's what you're doing, folks. So lift up your heads when you're in those moments of wrestle and, "I don't know that I can go on. I just don't have answers. I've tried everything." And every convention we go to, we talk to somebody like that. And it's okay. I love talking to people like that. I don't always have answers for them, but I do the best that I can. I try not to come off as having answers for everything because I don't, folks. And anybody who suggests to you that they do is not being genuine. I know that there are people out there who claim that they have formulas and they have steps and they have secret words and they have all kinds of different— I don't know, it's like a formulaic approach to raising children. It just doesn't exist. It's just not true so don't listen to that.

Now, there are principles that I think that we could all agree upon and that we should all cling more closely to. But to suggest that your children could be plugged into some kind of a formula is just not— Look, we've tried it and it doesn't work. We've learned by sad experience that it doesn't work. But it's okay to talk and to ask and to say, "What do you think about this?" And sometimes, if I feel like I have some insight, I'll offer that for whatever it's worth. And it may be helpful and it may not be helpful. But just sometimes being able to talk through these things, or just to get it out can be helpful. And again, I want to remind you, you're not alone. There are parents out there, just like you, who are struggling just as much as you are. You are not the only one who feels as if they do not have it figured out, or who feels like, "We'll never get past this problem that we're having." Let me just offer this, not knowing who you are or what you're going through, but in my experience— This has been the case many, many times in my life. I did not like hearing this from other parents when I was younger. I'm not exactly sure why. If I thought about it, I could probably unpack it, but I didn't like hearing it. Actually, I think I know why. They would tell me that, "You may be going through a season with your child"—your three-year-old, or your seven-year-old, or your 12-year-old, or your 16-year-old. He said, "You may be going through a season. And this too shall pass." Now, that doesn't mean that you don't do anything, or that you don't keep wrestling and seeking for answers. But, it very well could be a season. And in three months or six months or eight months or a year or whatever— Those all are very lengthy periods of time when you're going through a wrestle. It feels like forever, doesn't it? But you'll wake up one day and you'll be going about your day, and some days and some weeks and maybe a month or two will pass and you'll realize, "Wait a minute. We're not struggling with that issue anymore. Where did that go?"

So don't over complicate it. And don't worry yourself too much. Continue to pray and to seek for those answers, and the Lord will give them to you. Or He will just ensure that the time passes and the lessons will be learned. You may not be cognizant of what the lessons are, but they were learned. And you went through that trial for a reason, and your children went through it for a reason, and it's just time to thank Him and to move on. And I think the reason why I didn't like hearing that about seasons is because it indicated to me that I wasn't in control, because I wanted to conquer every little issue in my child and I wanted to be responsible for— I wanted to claim responsibility for that. Like, "Oh, you're acting out or you're misbehaving or you're not obeying me and doing what I ask you to do, well, then we're going to fix that, aren't we?" And then in the end, I get to claim victory. Well, it's not about victory, folks, it's— The only one claiming victory is Christ through you. And so let Him do that. Just get out of the way. I'm going on too long here, there's lots of things— I'm going in other directions that I've probably— Well, there's probably six or seven other podcasts that we could present on some of that stuff.

But, if you don't take anything else away from this, just again, death is life and sacrifice is beautiful, and you are doing some of the most beautiful work that the world has ever known. So do not give up and keep with it, and you will see the fruit of it. The Lord will allow you to partake of that fruit and to enjoy it, and to be blessed by it, and it will be such a rejoicing to your soul. There's nothing to compare to it. Certainly not if you had gone the other direction, or in an errant path, which leads to just selfish pleasure and, at the conclusion of, that you look back and there's no joy. There's just no delight in that. And so just stay the course and may God bless you as you do. And thank you for your time today, and I hope to talk to you again soon. And I hope also to perhaps see you at some of the conventions that are up and coming. I should make mention of that. So again, we'll be in Saint Charles in this— Ah, it probably would have passed by the time this episode is aired. But, after that is Cincinnati, which I believe is the biggest homeschool convention in the country. If not the biggest, it's right up there. So we'll be in Cincinnati and then I think Texas and then California, if I'm not mistaken. And, there might be some others in there too. But anyway, if we get a chance to see you, come by our booth and say hello, will be at the Well-Ordered Homeschool or Chalk Full of Design. We would love to meet you. And we're just so grateful for every opportunity to meet new people. So, thank you again. And bye for now.

Thank you for joining us this week on the Homeschool Solutions Show. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at Homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share because you deserve health care you can trust. To learn more about Medi-Share and why over 400,000 Christians have made the switch, go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. That's GreatHomeschoolConventions.com/Medi-Share. If you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast. And while you're there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show. This will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected to our community. And finally, tag us on Instagram @homeschooling.mom to let us know what you thought of today's episode. Have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the Homeschooling events of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topic, and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit halls in the US. Find out more at GreatHomeschoolConventions.com. I'll be there. I hope to see you there too.

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