Helping Families Thrive In Life
To many people, homeschooling is a way to keep your children away from the peer pressure of the school system. To others, it's a way to protect their children from the sinfulness of the world. But to few is a way to disciple your children at home and receive their hearts.
In the process of home-educating your children, you will encounter various challenges that most people feel like pulling their hair about.
The challenges are tough. From not knowing exactly what to do, to finding out what works for your child in terms of learning abilities, curriculum environment, etc. Which that alone is a chore in itself. Let's not even mention the financial stress that comes with the often one income household in a two income world.
Meanwhile, people joining different groups trying to find answers. Many parents go from convention to convention, seminar to seminar, and of course, from one support group to another. A fun and enjoyable situation, turns into a stressful chore - yet in the name of loving our children.
I am by no means degrading or cracking down on homeschooling parents, since we are a homeschooling family as well. But what I will attempt to do is to clarify some of the pitfalls and reasons why we encounter some of the problems we face while trying to home-educate our children - God's way - the bible way.
In the following blogs, we will attempt to give you principles, concepts, ideas, approaches and ways to conquer these Goliaths in our home classrooms (your own classroom or your kitchen table). These giants are often not temperamental, emotional or learning skills limitations - they are often spiritual; and if not understood and dealt with, we will forever struggle with what we were called and love to do in the first place.
We have faced our own share of of these struggles, and we know what we are talking about. Don't mean to sound arrogant, but rather, confident in what works when it comes to educating your children at home - that is - if you want to use the biblical approach and not just another idea that worked for a family somewhere in southern Ohio.
We hope to equip you in such a way, that you will find yourself overcoming and realizing that you are an overcomer loving your children through their efforts to have a much more advance education, loving home, strong character and a committed life to serving the One who gave their lives in the first place.
We look forward to sharing with you. So if you want more of these posts, please leave your comments below, we'd also like to learn of your struggles or what works for you.
For many, including homeschooling families, pets are not “just dogs” or “just cats” or “just horses” or whatever. Pets are, more often than not, beloved members of the family and, when they die, you feel a significant loss.
The level of grief depends on different factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant the loss, the greater your grief could feel.
For our family it was a variety of emotions. This is why I want to share our experience of the loss of our dog. This is the first time our family has experienced the loss of a dog.
There is much information out there on how to deal with grief over the loss of a pet, so I won’t get into all the technicalities of it, rather, just our own experience. Hopefully, this may help you, or someone you know, deal with the loss of their own pet.
Our Quick Journey
We all loved Snuffy – our Black Lab. I always teased my kids for naming a Big mean looking Black Lab, “Snuffy” (can you imagine? – it was funny to me) but that’s what the kids chose and so we went with it.
He was a great dog! And last Sunday morning, as one of my boys went to feed him, he found Snuffy dead. We all reacted differently. When I heard the news, I was rather shocked, but rushing to get out the door for church didn’t give me much time to think about it – so I dealt with it quick, and thought “well, that is really sad, and too bad” Yet, my analytical mind took over realizing that Snuffy was actually 77 years old (in dog years), but having him since he was born, it was still hard to deal with it.
For others in our family, the emotions were different. Some cried, others were too mad to cry. Needless to say, the rather long ride to church was very quiet, still with a sniffle here and there as some tears were shed.
Several emotions were experienced. How do you help a big family with various emotions, while dealing with your own? The grieving process happens gradually. It can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal time” for grieving. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold. Not easy, but I prayed and ask God to help us deal with this.
Tips to Dealing with the Loss of a Pet
1. One thing that I believe has helped us recuperate quickly is that we live in the country. My boys and I have become hunters in the past ten years. We’ve hunted deer, squirrel, rabbits, and fox. We know what it is to process these animals once hunted. We do it every year. So we have experienced animal death and we all get involved in the processing of deer, for example.
This experienced, I believe, helped us to get over the grief rather quicker than I expected. When it comes to your own pet, your buddy, your friend, and a part of the family who constantly needs your attention and support, it’s not as easy as hunting another animal, however.
Yet, the idea that animals do die, was easier to handle. Like I said, everyone loved and was crazy about Snuffy. But we all knew (and also talked about) the fact that he was getting old and may not have much time with us. So we were getting prepared for it – to some degree.
2. Another thing that I believe helped us was talking about it. My wisdom filled wife, on the way to church, begun to talk about how good Snuffy was, along with the fun and enjoyable years we had with him. A few funnies and goofiness about Snuffy were also said. This helped lightened the pain as we as remembered the good times and how grateful we were to have him.
3. We allowed our kids to deal with the pain on their own. We didn’t tell them how long to grief for or if it was ok to cry or not. We just let them be and prayed for them. Time is a factor. Some people take longer than others to process grief. Much like it takes time to grief over the loss of a human loved one; it also takes some time to grief over the loss of a pet.
4. The most important step we took in helping our family process this loss was, as I mentioned above – prayer. We prayed and thanked God for allowing us to have Snuffy for eleven years, and prayed that he’d help our family deal with it.
To be honest, I didn’t expect the family to recuperate as soon as we did. Twenty four hours later, we were all fine. No one, and I mean, no one, was in denial. Everyone had accepted it and everyone moved on. I am not saying that everyone or anyone should be able to heal within twenty four hours. Goodness no! Everyone is different – everyone grieves differently and heals differently.
Truthfully, church services were a little tough for some of them. We are all involved in our church services and it was tough for our children to play and sing during worship, work the sound booth, etc. But at the end of the day, everyone was able to let go and receive God’s healing, his peace, love and joy. Our trip home from church was much better.
5. Focus on others. After church I decided I was going to take the family out to lunch to help out and do something different. To our surprise, one of our church members invited us to her house for lunch. We had a great time! We talked, we laughed, we watched some TV, and we ate to our heart’s content. You’d be surprised how much this type of activity helps with this process.
6. Do the honors. Another important factor was that two of our boys wanted to do the honors of burying Snuffy. The next morning (Cause we didn’t have time on Sunday at all) they went out and dug the hole that took them over 2 hours to do. They felt they did something good for Snuffy and helped them bring closure to the loss in the process. By the time they came up for lunch, their resemblance had changed from sad, angry, etc., to pleased, and relieved.
7. Help other “Pet Friends.” Not only did we have to deal with our own emotions, help our kids with theirs, but our kids even realized that our other dog, Snuffy’s buddy, needed closure as well. Amazing how this works! They took Walker, our other dog, and let him go by Snuffy to let him see that he was dead. Walker knew that something was wrong and was concerned about the situation. In addition, while burring Snuffy, the boys let Walker be around just to help him be a part of the process. Walker was a different dog at the end of the day.
This quick journey has allowed me to see how strong our kids are, and how to hopefully help others when they go through this journey of their own. I’m not sure that we will heal as quickly the next time (with Walker or any other Pet), but we know what it took the first time, and we will attempt to put into practice the same process.
This experience has also helped me realize that people are more sensitive to life than we give ourselves credit for. We often live as if life is never going to end, but when that time comes when we have to say goodbye to a loved one, or to a family pet, it rips our hearts to pieces.
Allowing ourselves and God, help us go through the process of healing, accepting his hand and embrace of love, comfort and rebuilding of our lives, the healing process becomes that much more easy to cope with.
I am proud of our kids that took time to pray and give God their pain, understanding that Snuffy was not an “everlasting” dog; he had a limited time on earth.
We too, have a limited time here. A reality for us to know, is that how we live our lives will determine how great the pain others will experience during our departure. More importantly, our relationship with God will also help us accept the fact that we too are not physically “everlasting” and one day we will be standing face to face before the majesty and awesomeness of the One who gave us our life.
Phil 4:7 (GW) Then God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus.
I wonder what other forms have you used to deal with your grieve over your pet? Give your comments below.
Alex & Deborah Colόn
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