My family has enjoyed English country dancing for more than a decade. Ray says it’s just geometry on the floor. It’s simple once you learn the basic steps. Most dances are just a combination of these steps, rearranged in a variety of ways. Here I am during a break in a dance class from 2006. That’s our daughter Mary Evelyn in pink and green. Our son John is in the background with his hand on his hip and wearing dark green pants. I’m the one with the broken arm, but that’s another story.
To make it even easier, English country dances have callers who tell you exactly what to do. One such call goes like this: “Forward 2, 3, 4 and Back 2, 3, 4.”
For a long time, I have felt that we homeschoolers have concentrated on the Forward 2, 3, 4 without enough emphasis on the Back 2, 3, 4. We have spent much time thinking about our children and our future generations (the “Forward 2, 3, 4” folks) and not enough time honoring the “Back 2, 3, 4” who went before us. It takes a lot of old-fashioned gumption to homeschool. If we are not careful, all this gumption can make us prideful. We just might look back at our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents and think we are so much better at this parenting thing than they were. It’s easy to get puffed up and to forget the shoulders on which we stand, those of our mamas and daddies, their parents, and the generations before them. Christian homeschoolers who were not reared in Christian homes themselves may be especially vulnerable to this, but none of us are exempt. It’s easy to think we are more faithful Christians than our parents. Shame on me for falling into that myself in the past.
The ancient Israelites were constantly reminded of those who had gone before. They knew that God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They didn’t worship their ancestors, but they honored them. All of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents (aunts, uncles, and cousins, too) are flawed human beings. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were far from perfect. Some of our relatives are more flawed than others. Some have even been abusive. Those scars are terribly real. We may not be able to honor all of the individuals in the “Back 2, 3, 4” generations in the same way. For our own safety and the safety of our children, it may be necessary to honor some of them from afar.
The important thing is to look deeply into our hearts and examine how we are honoring our own “Back 2, 3, 4” folks. Are they lonely? Do they have needs we could meet? Are we making them a priority? We want our children to honor their father and mother. Are we setting them a good example?
Make this Mother’s Day special for your mother. If she is living, make this her best Mother’s Day yet. If she is not, tell your children something wonderful about her. That way you can make this a Mother’s Day you won’t forget.
Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
Ephesians 6:2-3, NASB