GREAT, adj. It may be a simple word, but the meaning is tremendous! This seemingly simple word is one that I ponder frequently. Frankly, it’s a word that outright haunts me. There is so much wrapped up in these five letters that motivates me, encourages me and inspires me. I often hear words from years past echoing in my head, “the single greatest enemy of GREAT is good enough…” or “GREAT things are worth the hard work required.” This always leads me to think of the areas in my life where I desire greatness… my faith, my marriage, my children, my health, and my relationships… sure there are many more things that I’d long to be great, but one must prioritize so that the truly important ones are the ones receiving the attention needed for the effort.
Years ago, I discovered the serene quietness of gardening. It was there in that first plot of designated space that I remember having a season-long conversation with myself and my Lord. It didn’t matter if I was preparing, planting, watering, weeding, or harvesting… the time was filled with great conversations pondering life. I remember a specific vision I had while planting the seed (yes, I converse with myself in pictures). I saw the ludicrousness of one thinking that they could simply throw the seed out over the land and expect nice, neat, tidy rows of organized vegetables at harvest time! I still chuckle at the thought. I have yet to meet anyone in my life that believes such a thing could happen. Yet, surprisingly, I continually meet people that live their lives with the exact expectation! I have met people that put little effort into their marriages yet somehow think that they are going to wake up and live happily ever after… parents that are simply walking through 6,574.36 days anticipating their release of wise, skilled, productive human beings into the world… even people putting much effort into ignoring every imaginable danger sign while tending to their diet with the full expectation of avoiding disease. It is here that we often lie to ourselves that good enough is good enough.
Not for me! I don’t want good enough! I want GREAT things in my life! I want GREAT children! The gardener that prepares and plants their seed with purpose is going to end up with a more organized and purposeful harvest. It’s truly that simple. Yes, the gardener will have weeds, bugs and even disease attempting to devastate the crops, but the harvest will still be closer to the plan than it would have been otherwise. Great things are never a result of some cosmic happenstance, but rather the result of purposeful planning and purposeful effort.
I have made many commitments throughout my life, some big, some not. However, raising children is by far the single most important task I have ever committed to… again… and again… six times. I have always desired great kids (which requires great parenting) but unfortunately I have spent many of my days as a parent settling for good enough. I have had the joy of releasing three of my six children into the world to spread their wings. Throughout the years of raising children, I have experienced three different seasons: knowing everything about everything, knowing nothing about anything, and knowing something about some things. With three little ones still at home, I am back in the season of knowing everything about everything. On the surface, being so highly esteemed by our children is like a badge of honor. A smile creeps upon my face when I hear “just ask my mom.” Yet, deep down, this badge of honor is a burden and a heavy weight… a constant reminder that everything I do is modeling behavior for my children. Bottom-line, being a parent makes me one of the greatest influences on my children and a primary example of what it means to have character. I fall short. The burden is great. It is with this humbling reality that I continually remind myself of our overall purpose… raising great children.
Although we have a plan for raising these awesome children, the imparting of knowledge into them is only a fraction of that plan. Today, where opportunities for education abounds – public schools, private schools, charter schools, alternative schools, and even homeschools, we have chosen to homeschool. Whether we are conquering math, studying spelling or Early American History, we HomeschoolOnPurpose! For us, we simply HOP one day at a time…
What about you? When you think of greatness in your life, what do you long for?