Holidays, Families and Breaking the Chains

Just got back from a four-day road trip that included an Easter visit with relatives in Chicago. One highlight for me was Friday night, when our immediate family got together for dinner: my husband and me, plus all four kids, our daughter-in-law and our daughter’s boyfriend. It’s so nice to have everyone together! I’m sure grateful that we had all those years of homeschooling. My memories are a comfort to me now that my adult kids live in other states and it takes planning to put us all around one table again, if only for a few hours.

If you’ve read The Imperfect Homeschooler’s Guide to Homeschooling, you’re aware that I came from a pretty messed-up family. Lots of dysfunction there. In fact, when my husband and I were raising our own kids, I chose to maintain a certain distance from the chaos of my family, in an effort to keep the latest generation on an even keel.

My relatives can take the most innocent holiday plans and turn them into a fiasco, even before the holiday arrives. That happened again this year. While most of the fuss occurred before I arrived in town, and all of it happened without my participation, it did change some plans I had made.

When I tried to explain the dust-up to my kids, they didn’t get it. That’s a relief! That tells me that they’re still not used to the dysfunction, that it doesn’t make sense to them. We may not be a perfect family, but at least we don’t operate the way my birth family does.

Many years ago, I heard someone say that a person who’s been abused as a child has to “break the chains” of abuse by making sure they don’t abuse their own children. It really struck a chord with me, and it was only due to the grace of God that I was able to break those chains. I’m not a perfect parent by any means, but I do believe that God enabled me to keep from doing what my parents did. He did so by bringing people and books into my life that gave me a vision for what to do.

He’ll do that for you, too. Just ask Him! That’s what I tell the homeschooling parents I meet at conventions or who write me and ask how to break those patterns of the past, the ones you don’t want to repeat but somehow find yourself doing just the same. Ask for help. You can’t do it alone.

2 thoughts on “Holidays, Families and Breaking the Chains

  1. Barbara,

    I’ve had to make the same very difficult decisions. It is only by God’s grace that I’ve broken the chains and given my children a life fairly untouched by the craziness and destructive ways of the family I was born into. I consider it a huge blessing to have been given the awareness so as not to repeat my growing up years in my own home.

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