My work in missions and the church has allowed me the opportunity to minister to various types of individuals and families. I find that people who end up in poverty, at least here in America, often do so because of bad choices or decisions they have made. These decisions are bad in the sense that they are not beneficial, not that they are actually evil. Yes, there are those who end up in poverty because of alcoholism, drugs, and crime but often the decisions are just poor ones.
A family can end up homeless simply because they rented a house or apartment that is beyond their means. They made the wrong choice in choosing a home. It wasn't bad to want that nicer or larger home for their family but it was a bad choice because they couldn't afford it. After months of getting behind on their bills they ultimately can end up evicted and on the street. That certainly is bad.
There are tons of choices that families make each day that affect their life and I am finding an entire population of people who simply do not know how to make the right ones. Helping these families finally overcome those obstacles takes a lot of time, patience, effort and leadership. You have to come along side of them and help them see how each life choice really impacts their future.
It was in trying to help one family that I realized that it would take that kind of work to help them learn. Giving ladies classes on economics and housekeeping is not how we are supposed to teach women to be keepers of the home. The fact that these women do not already know how to do it is proof of that because they all probably took home-ec in school. Each one had to care for a pretend baby, make a household budget and learn how to cook and follow recipes. That turned out to be totally insufficient because they still ended up pregnant before finishing high school, don't know how to cook and can't figure out how to pay their bills.
There really are some things you just can't teach, at least not in the traditional classroom style of teaching that we are accustomed to. Being a homeschooler you would think that I am already past the idea that classrooms were imperative to teaching, especially basic life skills. Whenever I hear of these girls struggling my first instinct is to start a class, a bible study or hold a seminar so we can "teach" them how to fix it. Classes, however, are not the answer.
These poor girls were ill-served by public education and yet we keep
looking to it and it's methods to fix the problem. That is not going to
happen. The only way we can teach younger women to be keepers of the home is to come along side of them and actually help them to do it. Be an example and be there for them. Point out wrong decisions and encourage wise ones. This will take time, lots and lots of time.
For those young people who are in our own homes, our precious children, we need to make them aware of and involved in our housekeeping and budgeting efforts. The earlier the better. It's easy to do as a homeschooler but we sometimes get overwhelmed and fear that we aren't doing enough teaching. This can keep us from taking time out of our day for the life lessons that are so essential, like how to take care of the baby brother, cook dinner or pay the bills.
In my house there are days we skip school to catch up on some much needed housework. I have to remind myself that is a good thing! Kids need to learn that no matter how much you want to do something, having a clean and healthy living environment is important too. Sometimes the house needs more than a simple pick up or dusting. Taking time to do those things IS teaching them. It doesn't have to be a class or on a schedule to make it learning. In fact, they probably learn more when it's not. One the biggest hurdles in life will be learning to balance your finances, schedule and time. It will help them define and determine what is important in their life. We need to do what we can to help them prioritize those things now. They will not learn that by what we say in class but by what we actually do in our every day life. They will do it by watching us and following our example.