"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." Frederick Douglass

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." Frederick Douglass

My oldest. 14.

What a reasonable, articulate, considerate and sensitive boy he has always been.

One in millions and millions.

Do not many mothers think this? Oh, I know they do.

A gentle soul to people and animals alike.

How often I hear what a remarkable boy he is. . .and with him, I know how honest a report this is. . .not flattery. Not in his case.

My other two. . well, I hear they are charismatic fellows, but wild and hard to deal with.

This one, my first. . .

I fear I've never hugged him enough. Never told him how I love him enough. . . how could one, really? Ever do enough?

How reasonable and insightful he is for such a young age, but as some may know, he has watched more than his fair share of sadness unfold for me since he was such a little boy (http://lucasfarmwv.com/ourfarmsname.html)

. . .and while it could have made some hardened, that is not what took place. It created a person even more inclined to compassion, if one could believe it.

As a little boy, he towered over all of the other kids his age, so well spoken . . .no one ever expected he would be a bit different in the way he would learn. . .

It is true for him even now at age 14 and 6'3''

When I, with much chagrin, let him start into a public school's Kindergarten in 2007, It was painfully evident the traditional classroom would destroy his confidence and make something else of him if I allowed it . .

If I allowed it. . .

This isn't about making a child tough with the real world. This boy has seen the real world. He has seen his mother stand in front of a building on fire while her siblings perished inside, he has helped deliver goat kids when the dams struggled and helped put food from our farm on the table. He has defended what is he believes in to adults without hesitation. He has helped and watched over the younger brothers like a second father. He is who he is with confidence, but. . .

His way of learning didn't mesh then or now with our bizarre government standards.

He was left behind as a little boy in public school and becoming sad and feeling as if he was lacking, as if he was not "enough" or was "wrong," but that was far from the truth.

A dishonest label poised to follow him and leave him behind was developing.

I am thankful I was in a place that I could decide to home-school him. So many parents aren't able to do so even when they wish they could. I was able to start down a path at home where I figured out what he needed, what his weak and strong points were. . .where I could find out his strengths and keep his confidence growing instead of receding.

Nothing is more important than confidence, in my opinion, and while hard times come and real life is very difficult, I believe a child who grows in a system that tells him he is failing when that isn't true will never serve him well.

I could not let this wonderful boy, because he was different. . ever doubt himself.

7 years later, there is no question, for him. . .that was the right choice.

My only advice. . .is grow your child's self worth while you can. However you can.

This never means making life easy. This doesn't mean inflating egos.

It means believing in their strengths, teaching them how to appreciate their talents and their differences. It means we try, before they are confident and bold, to prevent them from being destroyed when they are too young to be able to put the pieces back together.

It will vary child to child, but you find a way to make sure they believe in who they are. . .

With that intact, they can go so very far in the area where their talent will lie. . .

Who knows what works for your children?

I have no idea. . .but I am so glad I know my own and am able, through the grace of God, to give them what they need to be the characters I know they can be. . .