Jeff's Journal: Examining Your Focus

17 Sep 2000

by Jeff Townsend

Another summer has ended, and it is time for many homeschools to begin the official education process once again. That would mean schools that do not operate full-time all year. Most homeschool parents I know never stop educating their children at any time during the year. I think most homeschool parents couldn't stop teaching even if they tried. I watch homeschool parents incorporate just about everything that happens in their daily lives into their teachings. Educating our children has become such a fundamental part of our everyday lives. Last weekend, my wife Cindy was out on the back deck with my two children, Casey and Amy, standing in the rain, analyzing the rain clouds. I’m just glad the neighbors couldn’t see us. Yes, I was with them.

One of the complaints I hear from the parents of public school children is that they have a hard time getting focused on going back to school after the summer break. Getting focused and staying focused are sometimes difficult for homeschoolers too.

When the word focus is mentioned, most people usually associate it with taking pictures. This word can take on several different meanings. When I was serving in the military, I was part of a rifle team. Before we could ever fire a weapon in competition, we had to develop certain sharp-shooting skills. I remember that we spent one solid week pointing our rifles at barrels with small dots painted on them. We did not shoot the first round of ammunition. Our only task was to practice our focusing techniques. When the actual competition started, we were shooting at stationary targets for score. The instructor insisted that we work on staying focused. He would tell us over and over that the target we were shooting at would not move, but the barrel of our rifle would. He explained that if we focused on the item that was fixed, and we had no control over (the target), we would lose concentration on the only item we could control (the end of the rifle). I think that our lives are like that sometimes. Occasionally we spend too much time focusing on something that we cannot control or change and lose sight of the things that we can control or change. I have seen that happen with the way parents respond to their children. It is vitally important that we have a target or goal to help us be successful. Once the target is established, we then need to concentrate on meeting that goal or hitting that target. Spend your time wisely by focusing on the things you can control.


Jeff and his wife, Cindy, have two children. They have homeschooled for nine years and live in Bolivia, NC.

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