to be or not to be…what other people want you to be

It’s Spring Break for the school kids in our part of the world. So when the flooring guy came to fix a tile yesterday, he couldn’t resist expressing concern that the kids were doing work on their holiday. His intention seemed kind-hearted. He wasn’t the curmudgeonly sort in the grocery store yelping, you should put those kids in school (yes, I’ve met him). No, this guy seemed concerned.

I then infused the tile guy’s world with a new thought: Our kids don’t go to school; they’re home educated. We get breaks all over the place, but we’re not taking one now. Still, I’d be well on my way to Hannah’s college fund if I had a quarter for every concerned comment I’ve heard. With raised eyebrow, he left our kitchen floor a little more intact, but also left with skepticism.

To be or not to be what other people want, that is the question. This home educating lifestyle has equipped me with an awful lot of independant muscle, since I’ve grappled with the why am I doing this cause so few others are question? I’ve had to decide why I am choosing to pursue a path that ninety seven out of a hundred are not choosing. I’ve learned how to stand on my own feet, not search for others affirmation, because it’s not often forthcoming. I’ve had plenty of time and practice.

When I finally didn’t register people’s comments as affronts or challenges (well most of them anyway), I realized that often people just cared what happened to other peoples’ kids. They weren’t intentional picketers for the institution; they’d just not thought of another way to educate their children. When I stopped caring what other people think, I could decide for myself what I wanted my day to be filled with, how I wanted to approach formal studies, whether I wanted to do an extra curricular activity every day or twice a week. I could decide everything. And there’s a lot of freedom in that! To be or not to be: I’ll decide that question.