"Dear Younger Me" is an occasional theme on the Practically Speaking MOM Podcast. In this episode & blog post, we feature Jyl Griffin - wife for 28 years and mom to five children, ages 25-11, with four biological and one adopted child.Jyl was also an adopted child. She beautifully shares how her being adopted impacted how she has chosen for her child's adoption to function. CLICK HERE to listen to episode 181, where we talk about
*What an open adoptions looks like in their family
*Things Jyl wishes she would have done differently in parenting if she could do it all over again
*22 Lessons she would tell her younger self - Dear Younger Me
I asked her if she would share those 22 Lessons here in a blog post as well.
Jyl is also a homeschool mom so some of her 22 points are specific to homeschooling, but many of them apply to all intentional moms.
She says, "One of the my biggest rewards in homeschooling is being with my children in their everyday life, teaching them about God and instilling in them our family’s Christian values. As their teacher, I love the flexibility to teach them in various ways that draw out their interests, abilities, strengths, and growth areas.
I have also had the honor to be the leader of my local homeschool support group for the past eight years. My heart is in mentoring and encouraging women in their daily walk with the Lord, and desire to be intentional in equipping them to homeschool their children.
In my free time, I hang out with my family and friends, running and exercise, and being outdoors hiking and camping."
Twenty Two Things I would Tell My Younger Self
by guest author Jyl Griffin
Hello, my sisters in Christ,
Over the years, I have learned many things, grown in my relationship with the Lord, with my husband and gained much insight from others along the way. As you read this, know that the object is not to reach perfection, but to submit yourself to the Lord, His Word and obedience to Him throughout all your life. He is the master molder and pruner of our lives. This is a process of growth, trust, and dependence on Him. I hope you find this encouraging.
1.Begin your day with prayer and time with the Lord. Even if it is a shorter time in the morning, begin with that and find more time later. If you do not have time to grow with the Lord, you are too busy. Keep your mind and heart filled with regular reading of the Word and prayer. Psalm 5:3- In the morning, O Lord, you will I hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to you and eagerly watch.”
Over the years, I have tried to consistently read the Bible daily, to be active in a ladies Bible study- either with a friend at my home, or at our church. I have made a priority over the years to be a woman of prayer and schedule time for just praying. The scripture reminds us that we are to be renewing our minds by reading the word, applying those truths in our lives and get rid of ungodly thinking. It is a continual- growth never stops. *Remember each day is a new day- don’t beat yourself up when you are establishing a routine with the Lord in your day.
2. Plan & Prepare- Have your plans for school written down in a planner. If you can, plan out what you will be doing the week before. Get all your books and supplies together. Even it is a few days ahead- this will help you stay on track and be ready for a smooth start each day. I get things ready the weekend before and make sure I have all that I need, and I keep all my school things in one area, so it doesn’t “walk off”.
* Have totes and activities for your younger kids to do while you school older ones. I would spend time with my littles before I did work with my older children and then had an area of things for them to do quietly if they wanted to be near us.
*For older kids, if they finished a subject while I was working with another child, I had a white board of lists of seatwork for them to do while they waited. This way, time was not wasted for them. They would do Bible reading, verse memorization, writing, extra practice on math, reading to a younger sibling, and chores would be on the list. They would start at the top of their list and work their way down until I came to get them for the next subject.
3. Be flexible. Plan, but be flexible! There will be interruptions or pauses in your life. Use those God moments to stop, listen and hear from the Lord and grow with your family. A Flexible, calm, and relaxed spirit will go a long way and your kids are watching how you respond to plans that change.
4. Purpose- Why are you homeschooling? Know your why and have it written down to remind you. Keep those reasons close and share them with your children. Having your Why in place reminds you of the purpose, the priorities in your family’s life and will help when you have hard days.
5. Your marriage- For those that are married, work hard and make time for your husband. Don’t allow school, an overflowing schedule, and busyness to get in the way of your relationship with your husband. A strong marriage can only coast for so long without maintaining it. We must be careful what can choke out and dry up a marriage- watch out for weeds of bitterness, unforgiveness, discontentment, neglect, and busyness. Be intentional and a team with your husband. Be patient in growth, consistent in nurturing and loving to your husband in your thoughts, words, and deeds. Be focused on the Lord to change you to be a loving wife.
6. Meaningful family time- enjoy fun times together as a family, have quality time, and build memories. Be intentional with your family and growing your relationship with them.
7. Fight against the pressure to school your child before he/she is ready. Be a student of your child. When we listen more to what meaningful friends around us are saying we should do, we can lose sight of what is best for our children. Look for signs of readiness in your child and wait for them to be ready before more formal schooling. You may find waiting is while they mature.
8. Customize your homeschooling for your kids and family’s schedule. Your curriculum is your guide; it’s not your master/boss! Get to know your kids as you school them- it takes time find a routine that works for you and ask your kids grow, customizing their education can be a joy as you discover their interests.
9. Treasure the younger years- Give yourself permission to relax. Learn to be flexible early on, enjoy the exploring the years, being outside, going places, play dates, playing with your kids, and not letting little things upset you. Just relax, keep things simple and work on just being with your kids in the day.
10. Treasure the teen years. I have found in my teens, that they need me just as much as they get older. They just need me in different ways of support. Still be involved in their education with developing good study habits, sitting down to make sure their work is done well, catching problems early on, listening to them and helping them discern making decisions and paths to take, help them develop a good schedule in their week and let them grow in maturity these last four years. Avoid the hands-off parents. They still need your guidance and oversight. This is a great time for them to learn from their decisions and mistakes as they are still in the home. This time goes by quickly. Encourage them in the Lord and to seek Him with their future.
11. Roadblocks: When you get stuck with a child and don’t know what to do, or they just aren’t getting a subject matter-- take a break! Pause, Pray, and remain patient. Walk away and have a snack, go outside, and do something else. Let them know it’s okay to place the subject down for a bit and come back later, or set it aside completely until they are ready. Let them know it’s okay and that you two will get through it together. They are not alone.
12. Meals: Meal prep on the weekend, when you make menus for the week, keep and store them in a binder so those can be used again, have favorite crock pot meals, freezer meals, and cook enough for lunch leftovers. This will help your family to eat well and lessen stress for you.
13. Be grace-filled in your speech. Speak truth in love and kindness (Proverbs 25:11).
A gentle word turns away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Respond to your kids, not being reactive in speech that stirs up anger. By responding in gentle words, this can help a child who is angry, or frustrated to change how they communicate with you. Be clear in what you say and think about how to parent with grace and boundaries.
Proverbs 14:1- The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her hands.
14. The waiting season and trials of life: Remember each of your kids will learn at differently and be ready at varying times. Be patient. Persevere through trials and hard seasons of teaching, learning, and maturing. Also, when you, or your family are going through trials, think about the winter season. God uses those to prepare us for growth. God uses times of trials to mature our faith, our dependence on Him, to strengthen our obedience to Him, and God reveals Himself and His faithfulness to us. Fruit does not grow all at once.
Psalm 130:5-6- I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.
James 5:7-8- Therefore, be patient, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient, until it gets the early and late rains. You too be patient; strengthen your hearts.
Continue to nourish yourself and your child/ren in the Word - there isn’t a fast formula for academic growth, character, or spiritual growth. It is all in the Lord’s timing.
15. Avoid the comparison trap. Your kids and your family are unique. Learn from others around you and take what applies to your own family. The Lord knows what your child/ren need. Ask Him as you receive lots of great advice and knowledge- ask the Lord what is to be kept and used at the present time.
16. Homeschooling is not a replacement to look like a public, or private school. Take the pressure off of needing to look like a brick-and-mortar school.
17. Community- don’t go solo. God provides that Christian community within the church for growth, serving and being with the family of believers.
The Lord is also so gracious to us here in Oklahoma with community within homeschool support groups/co-ops. Grow in our group here in CHEER. Who is teaching you? Who Challenges and encourages you in your walk with the Lord and as you teach your kids? We all need those ladies in our lives! Those sweet ladies help us persevere and stay the course when we are tired and discouraged, and we do the same for them.
*Surround yourself with godly women who will hold you accountable in your walk with God, your growth and in your personal life. Ladies that will encourage you to walk faithfully in your life and not straying from the path. Stick with your Christian community.
19. Live life with eternal perspective. Teach your children of the Lord and the truths in the Bible as you walk daily. These are the true gifts of planting seeds of the gospel, how to love the Lord and seek Him in all things. Nothing else matters in life, if this is left out, or becomes “leftovers” in your family. Stay faithful in teaching your kids by your growing love and obedience to the Lord. Wait on Him to nurture and grow those seeds you have planted. Our life is short, and our focus needs to be heaven bound- make it intentional.
20. The Prodigal child. Stay connected to your prodigal child. Give them the truth in love in the midst of their rebellion. Remember those younger years of developing your relationship with your child? They will have those found, close family memories. Don’t lose heart. They may try to push you away, continue to be steadfast in love towards them and pray earnestly for them. Stay anchored in the Word and let them know you are there for them.
21. Refiners Fire- Raising your kids will bring you to your knees more than anything else. If you are rooted in the Word, growing in likeness of Jesus- he will be pruning you as you teach your kids along the way. The Lord refines us more and more as we humble ourselves to Him.
22. Keep your eyes on Jesus. We make great plans and have such a great opportunity to invest and enjoy our kids. What a blessing it is to do this. Moms, we work hard for our families- give yourself grace. You and I can’t do it all, it will not be perfect, so we look to the Father for help. As you walk in the journey of parenting, remember who the Lord is and who you are in Him.
Remember Psalm 121- I lift your eyes to the Lord, He is your source of help, your rock and refuge. Another favorite verse 2 Chronicles 20:12- Lord, we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
This is one of my favorite passages about King Jehoshaphat. He was surrounded by the enemy. He cried out to God. He then called on His kingdom to fast, pray and praise God. The next day, they set out in obedience to fight. God had gone before them and took out the enemy. Jesus is your source, your lifeline, your air- in all things through the valleys and mountains- He is present with you. Remember His faithfulness, recall His faithfulness in the Word and in your life in all the seasons as you walk with Him.
Go to the Lord in fasting, prayer, and praise.
Want to listen to this podcast episode with Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM, and Guest Jyl Griffin? CLICK HERE
Thank you, Jyl, for joining me on the podcast this week and for writing this wisdom-filled blog post!