One of my favorite books as a little girl was The Little Engine That Could. So, let’s talk about how this story relates to our mindset and to our thoughts and feelings as homeschooling moms. What can the Little Engine teach us about homeschooling?
Mindset: It’s more than a mantra!
I love this treasured, childhood story about the little blue engine that seemed so unlikely to be able to pull all the train cars full of children and toys and food up over the mountain…
The Little Engine That Could wasn’t the biggest and she wasn’t the strongest. But she was enough!
The odds seemed stacked against her. Others had tried and failed, so why should she even try?
But yet, the sun was setting and the children needed to get home and the food and toys needed to be delivered to town. So she gave it her all.
The Little Engine hooked up the train cars and chugged up the hill.
She went slowly at first…
But she employed a tool to help her achieve her goal. And what was that?
A mantra: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”
She used the power of her mind to rise to the occasion and be of service to others. Joyfully.
And! It worked.
I share this metaphor because, as homeschooling moms, we often feel like the stakes are high and the odds are stacked against us…and it feels almost impossible to have a simple happy homeschool some days.
We feel discouraged, we give up, we numb our stress, we stall, we buy more curriculum, we change our philosophy or approach – we don’t believe it’s possible to really create harmony in the home and feel good about what we’re doing.
We so often feel like we’re behind or not doing things right.
It’s so disappointing to see things unravel and as moms, it can just break our hearts!
Our strength as moms is that we don’t just give up. We’re keenly aware that this is the most important job of our lifetime. Raising these children.
So we carry on!
But I want to let you in on a little secret today. In order to feel better about this whole homeschooling thing, we can’t just replace our negative thoughts and emotions with positive ones. If we’re the Little Engine in this story, and we don’t truly believe we will get over the mountain, saying “I think I can” over and over may not cut it.
Why? Because we don’t believe it’s possible yet. Instead we need to find a thought to replace the negative one that we can get behind wholeheartedly, with acceptance and confidence. Something like “I don’t know how to do this yet but I can figure it out.”
For example, perhaps our children are fighting with each other. Again. We usually feel like this reflects directly back to our own feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, to something we did wrong or neglected, …like “There go my kids fighting again. I’m such a bad parent and this is mortifying.”
But what if instead, we thought “The kids are having a problem and need my help. It’s my job to teach them to work things out. And I can do just that.” Suddenly, we feel empowered to try something new, so we set our course, make wise, confident choices, and begin to lead the way for our children.
The Power of Inner Work
This is the power of inner work and thought work. To take the time to examine our own thoughts and feelings so that we can begin to feel better about ourselves and everyone around us. To explore our limiting beliefs and seek acceptance and hopefulness.
If this kind of deep, personal work interests you, I invite you to consider joining me and a small group of homeschooling moms for Inner Work Journey, a new course I’m offering that starts in February. This 12-week experience includes 6 live gatherings full of teaching and conversation, and 6 reflection weeks in between. So you can dive deep into your own inner work, transform the way you view yourself and your work as a homeschooling mama, and re-frame the thoughts and emotions that roll through day to day. This work will benefit you now and for the rest of your life.
Inner Work Journey…
This is a journey to harness our power and creativity, and find freedom on the other side.
Together, we can get up and over the mountain!