I believe that every problem carries with it an equal solution, and that if we have a solution-oriented mindset, problems can be embraced in anticipation of the satisfaction of the solution, which either appears simultaneously with, or follows, our awareness of the problem (depending on how aligned we are to our well-being).
So I particularly enjoyed reading Laurae Lyster Mensh’s thought-provoking article “Is Homeschooling Sexist?” on the Home Education Magazine website, because it gave me clarity on an issue I have been pondering in the background of my mind for some time. In her article (which was originally published in the magazine in 2000, but is no less pertinent eleven years on), Lyster Mensh invites us to reflect on the question (relevant to the vast majority of home educating families):
“With mom almost always at home and dad at work, what kind of message does it send to our daughters? To our sons?”
I have asked myself a similar question often throughout my years as a full-time home-maker and now home-educator. Having been delighted to have an excuse to leave a stressful and unfulfilling career as a lawyer when I had my first child, I was thrilled to discover, shortly after the birth of my youngest, a way of earning money that is a perfect match for my values and skills – I trained and began working part time as a cognitive hypnotherapist. Although I don’t currently see many clients, those I do manage to fit in leave me with a feeling of energy and upliftment that comes from doing something that is a true calling. I also feel satisfied knowing that as the years go on and my children become more independent and ultimately leave home, I will be able to expand my therapy practice and develop my skills and experience. My husband, meanwhile, commutes from Monday to Friday to a full-time job which keeps us in an extremely comfortable lifestyle but which deprives him of any meaningful interaction with our children for five days a week. This is certainly not something I would wish for my either of my children when they become parents. So what is the alternative?
I think the answer lies in the kind of people we are encouraging our children to be: free-minded, creative life-long learners, with all the the skills they need to support themselves and their families doing work they love, on terms set by them. One way this might look would be for my grown-up children to share with their respective partners both the privilege and responsibility of raising and educating their children, and the opportunity to engage in fulfilling income-generating activities. There are a great many possible permutations of such an arrangement, and it is my sincere hope and belief that by virtue of who they are and the kind of education they are experiencing, they will each find a way to not only precariously balance their desires to spend time with their children and to do meaningful and lucrative work, but to thrive on the arrangement.