Begin With The End In Mind

by Amy Anderson

There I was, with four small children and my public school-employed Science teacher husband, at a homeschool high school graduation, in Laramie, Wyoming. No one I was related to or even knew too well was there, let alone graduating. How did this happen? As we showed interest in homeschooling, we started asking questions in the best grassroots place to find homeschoolers,  at the local daytime library’s story time. Our questioning fruited invites to local park days, where I could ask questions of other mothers, and then invites to their homes, where I could observe the day-to-day goings on and the graduation. What did I see at the graduation? Three graduates, their families, and supporters, along with my family of surveyors. The countenance of the graduates, their personalities, destinations, and experiences obviously differed wildly, yet their symbolic completion remained the same, and I was pleased with it. What I learned would take a while to gain a footing in my heart.

Through not-so-delicate miracles, we chose to homeschool. Our spousal agreement was to try it for the year, and then the next, and then the next. It was in the second or third year, as my husband relates the tale, that he vividly remembers a conversation we had.

I approached him with a change in terms. We couldn’t keep reopening the question of whether we were going to homeschool another year or not. We needed to commit 100% or stop. For him, this was a turning point and a realization that this was a lifestyle commitment, not just a type of educational program. Not until this point in time were we truly able to embrace the freedom that homeschooling gives. 

How can such a simple change in our approach grant freedom where no oppression ever was perceived? Simply put, the answer is faith. Indeed, Prophets through the ages have used what scholars call the prophet perfect tense to display their faith in future Messianic events, thus giving us examples of how current mindsets in choices can cast shadows or shed light on future events. 

While pleading for his life, Jonah declares, in the belly of a fish, “Yet I WILL look again toward thy holy temple,” “But I WILL sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I WILL pay that that I have vowed. “(Jonah 2: 4,9). Jonah was blessed to the extent of his will, indeed the fish spit him out, but in his story, there is more for him to learn. Conversely, Abinadi said, “Now if Christ had not come into the world, speaking of things to come as though they had already come, there could have been no redemption” (Mosiah 16:6), long before our Savior walked this earth. Famously, Isaiah states, “he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Nephi, too, uses prophet-perfect speech to talk of Christ and his baptism (2nd Nephi 31:8). Using prophetic perfect speech denotes a faith in so great a cause that the cause is imminent; probable, possible, and forthcoming. 

When we struggle with what level of math our daughter seems to spin her wheels in, how often we find our son outside, building rather than writing, or when the toddler will finally be potty trained, we can gain a clearer picture. We can remove our myopic view and express faith and gratitude in our family lifestyle. We can meet our daughter where she is without lengthy paperwork and a red tape process. Our son can learn the skills in his outdoor pursuits that will benefit his family and his future. As for the toddler, I don’t know any 20-somethings who haven’t mastered that task.

Years later, we chose to truly embrace what we had been invited to know from the start. Seeing children through their formative years of homeschooling, and preserving their divine sense of self, while enabling and supporting them to build and grow into their mission and adult life, takes confidence, trust, and faith. We have enjoyed the fruits of our labors. This lifestyle, once so foreign to us, has indeed, intentionally, become who we are. We have kept in mind that our children would, indeed, grow up, pursue external healthy relationships, serve others around them and in far corners of the globe, and pursue higher and lifelong education, all the while dealing with life’s trials and tragedies. We must begin with the end in mind. Our experience has been all the better for it.

Amy Anderson cherishes the demanding roles of mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and wife she holds space in. Afflicted with the trait, to know and serve you is to love you.  She enjoys adventuring with her clan from the outlandish to the most mundane pursuits in life. Her family has done so, serving and loving, from Alaska to Arizona. She enjoys counting how many days in a row she can stay home. To borrow many a line, she attempts to live content;  seek elegance and refinement rather than fashion; be worthy; study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; listen to stars, birds, babes, and sages with an open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, and only hurry sometimes. In a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. Her superhuman power is reading and writing upside down. She understands yelling should only happen in the home during instances of fire and finds many representations of fire in the latter days. Her admonishment to those leaving her home, on any particular day, is to remember, remember! Lean not unto thine own understanding. Acknowledge Him! Have courage, and be kind. Trust in the Lord. Live by faith. Be humble. Keep loving, trying, trusting, believing, and growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.