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Yes, the school year looks different, but there are ways to enjoy home education and value time with your kids

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Duane GarnerElection season is always crazy, and this year is no exception. Stuff happens that makes you stop and scratch your head and wonder where logic has disappeared to.

Politicians jockeying for position, making outlandish statements, trying to get a rise out of someone else. Yard signs go up, bumper stickers get plastered over the car, and people you once thought were nice folks are suddenly posting "crazy talk" on social media.

In my opinion, 2020 has definitely been a year that will go down in infamy. One observation I've made is that many people are just plain old mad and frustrated. They are mad because they have to wear a mask; they are mad because someone isn't wearing a mask. Some are mad because they believe that politicians have overstepped their authority and have taken away their constitutional rights while others are mad that those in government are not doing enough.

There are those who are mad because they can't work, and those who are mad because they have to go to work while others are getting paid to stay at home. Some folks are frustrated because their kids can't go to school, which creates issues trying to work because childcare is hard to find in Prineville.

This whole COVID-19 situation has turned life upside down for many people, and the tension in the air can literally be cut with a knife.

Here we are in September, and for many, the new school year looks nothing like normal. Nearly everything we have been used to is cattywampus. For those of you who are facing having your kids at home a whole lot more than ever before, I thought I would give you a little encouragement as you navigate this new challenge.

I was homeschooled all the way from elementary through high school back when homeschooling wasn't common. When I was growing up, my parents would have to explain to people what homeschooling was and assure them that yes, it is legal. Their friends and acquaintances would ask the anticipated and frequent question: "How are your kids going to make friends and get socialized?" Somehow, to everyone's shock and awe, my siblings and I managed to survive, get educated, and yes, we did have friends.

Homeschool? Why on earth would anyone do that? My wife homeschools our six kids, and let me tell you, homeschooling is not the easy road, but it also has its blessings. It takes patience, it takes effort, it may involve giving up something else in life that you value in order to create the time and money to even make it work.

The question that must be asked is, "Is it worth it?" I have never met anyone who is close to the end of life say they wish they had spent more time at work and less time with their kids! Think of it like a retirement account. It's painful to put money in every month, but if you are faithful, there is a great reward at the end.

Even if homeschooling is not a long-term plan for you, look for ways to enjoy it and value the extra time you have to invest in your children's lives right now. Years from now when you're reminiscing about this period of time, it might end up being the thing you never would have chosen for yourself, but a time you would never choose to change.

So, here are a few thoughts to focus on as you manage the ever-changing tide in your world.

C.S Lewis writes: "Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny."

Mary Tyler Moore says, "You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you."

Albert Einstein mused: "Don't be disappointed if people refuse to help you. I'm thankful to all those who said 'no.' Because of them, I did it myself."

My great-grandfather used to say, "I've never learned anything while talking."

Kids have plenty of thoughts to share, so learn to be a good listener! Make it your goal to have meaningful and respectful conversations.

Challenge each other's point of view without destroying each other in the process. In the Good Book, it says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17

Look for ways to build each other up when things are hard. Learn how to "love your neighbor as yourself." Focus your attention on the things in life that matter most, like your family! Think about what you want to be remembered for after this life is over, and then do something about it. This life is too short to get to the end and wish you had spent your time more wisely.

Call that person you offended, reach out to the one in which your relationship has broken down, and show some kindness and love while you still have time.

Be brave, live without regret, do hard things.

It's worth it.

Duane


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