Missed understandings

Originally Appeared in : 9918-8/29/19

Magan’s commitment to our children’s traditional education and faith education knows no bounds.


For a solid week, Isaac complained the robot in the hallway was “supuh scaring me,” and that’s why he had joined the “Never Nap Club.” As it turned out, his boycott of afternoon sleep had started weeks earlier, and the robot was a poster of the human anatomy hung on the back of the hallway door. We’re studying anatomy in science this fall.


Along with statues of our Holy Mother, crucifixes and Bible verses throughout the house, the next most frequent items found on display at our home are educational such as the visible spectrum (in both English and Spanish) in our bonus room.


Magan’s meticulous focus is the reason why Jesse just recited Ephesians 6:1 (a fantastic verse, by the way) in the middle of watching “Bumblebee,” and why our 2-year-old robot spotter can also point out Iowa, Arkansas, and Mississippi with ease.


To keep Magan’s mind from exploding like the robot just did on the TV, though, she’s created a simple-yet-effective folder system to manage the kids’ school work. They retrieve their work from the left side each day and return it to the right when completed.


The folder system hasn’t been so simple for Simple Simon, though. Simon, our resident contrarian, has continued to “forget” to follow the rules to the point that Magan had to act on an earlier threat of zeros for improperly submitted assignments.


Then Jesse dropped our homeschool threat assessment from Defcon 5 to Defcon one-half. 


“Jesse asked to try real school today,” exploded off my screen like the apocalypse scene of every Terminator movie.


A hurried exchange of text messages ensued, as I tried to understand Jesse’s reasoning.


“I spend hours each day doing all this stuff for them, and they truly don’t even care. Like not in the slightest,” Magan said. I had to act fast, or risk a fallout that would last well after Simon forgot to wipe the counters after supper...again.


Magan heeded God’s call a half-dozen years ago to homeschool our children, but we’ve always said that their best interests would ultimately determine whether they schooled at home or away. I just hadn’t expected their best interests to change on a Wednesday afternoon.


I let, “Maybe God wants us to do something different?” cross my mind only long enough to begin shaking my head “No” simultaneously.


A half-hour later the world finally righted itself, hands were removed from ignition switches, and the crisis averted as quickly as it had begun.


“He makes no sense. Now he is saying that he thought I wanted him to go to school and he didn’t want to hurt my feelings,” Magan texted. “I was fussing at Simon about school earlier, and Jesse thought it would make my life easier if he were at school! Lord have mercy.”


A misunderstanding that evolved out of misplaced papers had nearly spiraled our family into an unwanted family meeting but, instead, transformed into surprise afternoon milkshakes for everyone as a literal display of cooler heads prevailing. 


At the core of that misunderstanding was Simon’s disobedience. I’m sure one of my kids will try to use deductive reasoning to conclude “Simon disobedience equals milkshakes,” but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.


Disobedience is likely the oldest sin in the books. Mostly, it’s us saying we know better than God what should be happening in our lives. The lesson we should all learn is that an obedient heart will always be open to God’s will, and his will is always what’s best for our lives.


By keeping our hearts open as it applies to the children’s education, we’ve watched Noah flourish as a dual-enrolled student at a local college and look to do the same for the other half-dozen as they come of age. If, however, God needs us to consider a new option, then we’ll also cross that bridge when we come to it, too.


As Paul points out in his Epistle to the Colossians, “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one the many will be made righteous” (Colossians 5:19).


Jason Halcombe has five sons and two daughters. He and his wife, Magan, are members of Immaculate Conception Church, Dublin.

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