Suzanne at Blessed Among Men recently posted a question in which the reader wonders about "what ifs." The reader asked Suzanne if she ever worries about her children having to go to school (if Suzanne were to meet a premature demise.) The reader goes on to say that she (as a homeschooling wanna-be) gets hung up on the idea that her children's education would be dependent solely on her if she homeschooled them.
Suzanne gave a wonderful answer, and pointed out that no matter how our children are schooled, we parents are still ultimately responsible for their education. She also addressed the practical question of how to delegate various parts of a homeschooled child's education, thus relieving the parent of that sole responsibility.
But I keep going back to that "What If?" We've homeschooled for seven years now and it's a question that has crossed our minds. I'm sure most homeschoolers can say the same.
But, it seems to me that the question ultimately springs from fear.
Sometimes, people avoid homeschooling purely out of the fear that they will not always be able to homeschool, as if it's a course that, once embarked upon, cannot be recharted.
Homeschooling, like all choices, is subject to change. Don't fear it for its lack of permanent assurance. There's no assurance that the school of your choice will always be there, either ... or that it will always be safe or appropriate or properly staffed (or ... well, you get the idea.)
As for fearing that something could happen to me that would force my children into school: yes, it's quite possible. It could happen to any of us, at any time. If I should die tomorrow, my children will have to forge on -- no matter what kind of education they've had up to that point. Obviously -- and I know that the questioner understands this -- adjusting to life without Mom would be the real struggle and tragedy, and that would be enormous, no matter what. (On a practical note: if it's affordable, one might consider having enough life insurance on each parent so that in the event of the death of either, the other could continue to stay home.)
But, while adjusting to life in school would be a huge shift for my kids, I can't imagine deciding that they should adjust to life in school now, just in case they have to adjust to life in school later. God will help us handle "later" ... He wants us to make our current decisions through prayer and prudent discernment, not out of fear.
Decisions based on fear leave our souls trembling. There's no sense of peace. I don't think we can imagine applying this standard (of fearful "what ifs") to other life decisions: "I could marry him now, but what if he dies? Should I stay single, just in case, so that I'll never have to adjust to life as a widow?" I hope that doesn't sound mocking -- I assuredly don't mean it to. Suzanne's reader has a sincere, legitimate and very good question. She truly wants to know how homeschoolers answer it ... she wants to know how we deal with that fear.
The bottom line is that if I approach God in prayer and His answer calls me down a new and challenging path, I have to trust that He will help me through all the "what ifs" (which are very real and sometimes scary.) It's possible I could die tomorrow (as could Atticus, or my children, or a family member or friend.) Whatever happens, I have to trust that if I've reached my decisions with God's help then, when circumstances change, He'll keep on helping.
That's the long answer.
The short answer is the subject line: Be not afraid!