Coming Up for Air

Mrs. Mandi Gerth
I have spent countless hours poolside while my kids received swimming lessons. It takes a serious amount of time to teach five kids to swim. But I willingly committed my time and energy to this purpose because, to put it bluntly, you cannot breathe under water.
Not too long ago, we had a particularly stressful home day. I found myself growing angry about the amount of schoolwork we had to do. The self-condemnation was palatable: Why are we not further along? Where have I failed? Why is this so hard? Following quickly behind was self-pity: This is so not worth it. This model asks too much of me. My life has been hijacked by this school and I’m done.  

I was totally drowning and I was saved by a very simple discipline: I came up for air.  

When we get stuck under the water of assignment sheets and corrections and checking off boxes, we often forget the whole reason why we are doing all that work in the first place. We start drowning in the to-dos. We have lost our vision of the for-what. 

So let me remind you of a few things, which I had to remind myself. 

I am not doing this because it is convenient.  
Spending days hip to hip with my kids working on school is not convenient. It doesn’t fit neatly into little boxes of time that I can control. I can choose to see the joy in being my child’s teacher, or I can complain about the inconvenience of it all. 

I am not doing this because it is easy.  
We are pioneering something for our children that most of us never had: a classical Christian education. We will often feel confused, embarrassed, ill-prepared, and frustrated. We can choose to roll up our sleeves, pray for help, and do the work, or we can disengage and make excuses.  

I am not doing this because it is cheap.  
Coram Deo is a good value, but it is not cheap. This education we are choosing for our kids comes at a great cost and that cost is paid by us. We can choose to joyfully give over and over, day after day, because we are investing in our children; or we can plant nothing and reap nothing.  

I am not doing this because it is no big deal who controls my child’s brain.  
The world wants us to believe an education is just a minor thing. Everyone gets one…there’s a public school down the block…But no, not everyone gets one. The material your children read matters. Who they talk to about it and whether or not that teacher shares your family’s world view matters. 

I implore you to come up for air. Regularly. Remind yourself of the why before you dive into the to-dos. This work you are doing matters for eternity and the one who gave it to you asks for your obedience and He promises His help. There’s no better air to breathe than the gospel kind.  

“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.” Colossians 1: 28-29 

My name is Mrs. Mandi Gerth. I teach fifth grade at the FM campus.  
My family and I moved to Texas in August 2014, and we’ve been actively involved at CDA ever since. I graduated with a liberal arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I enjoy talking about books, cooking, and finding ways to make crunch day less “crunchy.”  
My five children attend the Monday/Wednesday program at CDA, and classical education has been important to our family for years. 
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