[00:00:00] Amy: The enemy certainly wants more than anything for us to be discontent and angry and upset, and not smiling at our husbands or our children.
[00:00:10] Hi friends, and welcome. I’m your host AmyElizSmith. I’m a homeschool mom of three and have homeschooled each from the start. While I have a master’s in elementary ed, I want to teach other mamas that you don’t need a fancy degree to have the passion and knowledge to successfully educate your children from home.
[00:00:29] I hope to bring you encouragement to jump in and start your homeschool journey and provide my absolute best recommendations to help you begin your homeschool journey. Thanks for joining us along for this crazy, messy, grace-filled homeschool ride.
[00:00:44] Welcome friends. I am so excited to talk to you today about staying in the right mindset in your home and for your homeschool. So this may seem a bit of an off the wall topic, but please bear with me. We can be doing the right things, using the right curriculums, finding a group of like-minded parents to get a group together, or we can find the right co-op, go to the right church.
[00:01:12] But if we aren’t in the right mindset, our kids will be able to tell and our family culture as a whole will suffer. Now I have struggled with this and I have been there. I struggle with this daily. I am in the trenches with you too, and I have to work hard to maintain a positive attitude and protect my thoughts from the negativity or really what the evil one wants my thoughts to be. This is not silly stuff. This is so, so important. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” It becomes harder to shift our day from bad to good in the day to day, and I am there with you. It is difficult. Let me just give you a scenario, which I’m sure all of us have experienced. You decide you’re gonna wake up early, you’re even gonna read your Bible, you’re gonna maybe start your fresh cup of coffee. It would be tea for me, but your toddler or your baby wakes up, or your child wakes up and interrupts that time and you then you are just grumpy. You are upset because you’ve craved that time. You actually need that time, and then you go into the rest of the day. What was supposed to be lovely and pure and it festers into anger and bad thoughts.
[00:02:42] Oh, that’s so hard. Friends. Negativity when it looms in someone’s mind, it’s really, really hard to get out of a negative thought. Actually advertisers, they know this, they know to frame their products in a positive way rather than in a negative way. Just real quickly, toothpaste commercials, they often say something like 95% cavity busting effectiveness.
[00:03:07] They say that, they frame it in the positive because they know the negative would loom large in your mind and make you not wanna buy their product. If it said, “Only 5% chance of getting cavities if you use our product,” you definitely wouldn’t wanna buy that brand of toothpaste and just like that in our lives, the negativity can loom so large and it’s hard for us to get out of it.
[00:03:32] It’s hard to see the upside of things when we’re not purposely willing ourselves and praying to God to help us stay in those positive thoughts in that mindset. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on the things above. Nod on the things that are on earth.” I know I gave you this scenario of a morning gone awry when you wanted to have a quiet time, maybe after very little sleep.
[00:04:00] That can be a small situation compared to what many of us could be experiencing, whether it’s tragedy in your family or long-term sickness or disease or illness, or if you’re facing an injury in your family. But please feel encouraged. Ephesians 4:23 says, “But you have not so learned Christ. If indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus that you put off concerning your former conduct .The old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
[00:04:35] And that you put on the new man, which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness.” These verses are talking about putting away corruption and being holy just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is holy. Paul is directing Christians to renew their minds daily and to put off all of the corruption that’s going on in Rome during that time.
[00:04:57] We can do the same. We can put off the corruption in our society and put off the things that are not of the Lord, but we can also put on renewed minds and being cheerful and happy and thankful in our hearts and in our minds. Now, our salvation comes through Christ alone by grace alone in faith alone.
[00:05:18] But Paul is here giving us instruction on how we can live. This is truly for our benefit. Renewing our minds includes thinking about the pure and the right, and the lovely and admirable and excellent and praiseworthy. This takes work and time and effort to see the upside of things and not focus on the negative, like that negative commercial.
[00:05:44] Advertisers know, and we should take a note from their book that positivity is harder to focus on than the negative. It takes more to walk away from our sinful nature and from those sinful thoughts, our minds and our brains need that practice to focus on the good. So let’s think about what happened today that was good.
[00:06:08] Today was a blessing from God, and we can be thankful in that. We can see the glass as half full rather than half empty. I know that that’s such a, a phrase that everyone uses, but it’s so true. A really tangible way we can use this mentality is to create a gratitude journal and remember our wins, express gratefulness to God.
[00:06:30] Thank Him for the little and the big moments. I like to use a gratitude journal, and it doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to be an expensive journal. It can be just be an ugly notebook. But I like to write a few things down. What happened today? I was able to do a little gardening, or the children responded when I asked them to clean up, or my husband and I had a little time together.
[00:06:54] All the things that you wanna be grateful to God for, you can write them down, and that can really help us cultivate that positive mindset that we need and that God calls us to have. So I wanna share something personal. With you and I actually broke my arm nine years ago. It was a freak accident. I had a three-year-old and a one-year-old.
[00:07:18] The one-year-old was sleeping at the time, and the three-year-old was yelling in his room, and I did not want him to wake up the baby. So I ran. To go get him and cuz he was in his room and I ran through the kitchen and I slipped on my pant leg and I fell in this very weird way. And my elbow right above my elbow joint, my left humerus, it broke in half.
[00:07:42] I mean, this was obviously very awful and went to the hospital, had to wait a couple days for my surgery. I had excruciating pain, excruciating physical therapy for almost a year actually, and I still don’t have full range of motion, but I got most of it back. And that, that was a bigger episode.
[00:07:59] That wasn’t just, oh, the kids disrupted my quiet time. But I chose, at that time I wrote 85 Things I’m Thankful For on my blog. I had a blog even at that time, nine years ago, and I just wanna read a couple of these things to you. Number one, I wrote, “Thank you, God. It was me and not my son, who foolishly ran through the kitchen and tripped and fell over and broke my elbow.”
[00:08:24] Two, “That both of my children were safe in their rooms when I fell and our neighbor came to care for them.” Three, “That I was able to calm myself safely and grab my phone and put my legs up.” Thank you for 911. Thank you for the frozen peas on my head. Thank you for pain medication and that I live in in a culture that allows it.
[00:08:44] All these things. So I took that big, huge moment, that incredibly difficult time, and I chose to lean on God. I think a lot of us do that when we can either turn to God or completely turn away from Him in those really tragic times, but also we can turn to him in the mundane moments where it may not seem like there’s a lot of exciting things going on right now and we can get trapped in just the day to day, but God seeks for us to keep our minds on Him. We still need Him in the day-to-day. He wants us to call out to him, to cry out to Him, and He wants us to renew our minds, transform our minds every single day. And I can tell you, being grateful and having that gratitude journal can really help us do that. So I started out this episode talking about mindset.
[00:09:40] It’s so important on how we conduct our day-to-day lives and our families. When we have the correct mindset, we’ll focus on the important things and our family can achieve their goals, achieve your daily goals, achieve your family goals. But when you’re in the wrong mindset and you’re only remembering the negative, this can really hold us back from our achievements and really from our happiness.
[00:10:03] Let’s just take a quick look at what the definitions of these things are. A growth mindset is the beliefs that an individual’s most basic abilities and skills can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. Conversely, a fixed mindset is the belief that an individual’s basic abilities and skills, their intelligence and their talents are just fixed traits and cannot be changed.
[00:10:30] Now, you may have heard this concept before, but I wanna jump in just a little bit further. How many of us have said to ourselves, I’m not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’ll never get it. I can never be as good as so-and-so. I know that I’ve said this to myself before. I’ve been really hard to myself and my thoughts.
[00:10:49] Have you ever thought, oh, I just wasn’t born with that ability or talent or gift? And many of us choose to not try new things because of our fear of failure. If we are honest with ourselves, so many of us have thought these things and felt these things. This is a fixed mindset. This can also relate to if you’ve even decided to jump into homeschool, this may resonate with you because you feel like, wow, I could never be as good as so-and-so.
[00:11:16] They just are naturally good at homeschool. They just are naturally patient with their children. I could never do that. Let’s try to replace that fixed mindset of negativity and bad attitude and failure with one that seizes the day and thinks I am stronger because of this. And hard is actually good and I can figure this out.
[00:11:40] Here are some ways to build a growth mindset. Be 100% accountable and accept responsibility. Do not be concerned with what others have. Stand out and be willing to learn and grow. Don’t focus on our failures. Do the work it takes to learn and put in the time to learn. Do what you love for the people you love.
[00:12:04] Don’t focus solely on material, possessions, wealth, money, or status. Instead, focus on the intangibles that matter. Not being obsessed with perfection and being willing to learn and jump into things. And not always questioning yourself, being grateful for what you have, and exploring and embracing the moment.
[00:12:23] Lastly, being self-aware and understanding your purpose as a mother and a home educator, knowing that you were doing the most noble work there could be educating your children and raising them up in the Lord. I’ll have this list of 10 growth mindset tips. If they’ve resonated with you, I’ll have a list of them in the show notes so that you can print it out and think about this further.
[00:12:43] Think about what are your roadblocks here? What has stopped you from taking a step towards homeschool or towards a decision in your homeschool, or really just having a positive attitude in your home. So I’d really encourage you to grab a gratitude journal and encourage you to write down that gratefulness that you have to the Lord. In a future episode, we’re gonna be talking about goals, daily goals, weekly goals, and monthly goals for your family and for your life. And that’s also gonna really help you think forward rather than just staying in one small area and just being in your thoughts and that having that negativity fester. This I believe, can help you get out of that slump. And that is hard. And mama, if you are in the trenches and you are up all night and you don’t have any sleep, take care of yourself. Take those naps. In those moments take care of yourselves, but we can change our mindset.
[00:13:43] And be grateful for those moments, even in the middle of the night that we’re allowed to care for our little ones. I can tell you now that I don’t have a little one who needs me in the middle of the night that I miss those little baby squishes and those hugs and those kisses in the middle of the night.
[00:13:58] Let me give you an analogy from Rory Vaden, who is a New York Times bestseller. I love his books. He had this great analogy about storms and when there’s a planned or an unplanned storm in your life, how will you face it? So he explains that everyone has storms in their lives. Now, these could be little, little things, even though sleep is not a little thing, but being up at night with your child or your children waking up too early.
[00:14:26] Those are little but bigger things like illness or tragedy. He talks about how are we gonna respond to these storms and when do we respond to these storms? So in Colorado there are both buffalo and cows, and he takes a look at how do buffalos and cows respond to actual storms. When storms come, cows can sense that a storm is coming from a specific direction and they will run in the opposite direction to get away from the storm.
[00:14:56] But because cows are pretty slow and they’re not running fast enough, they are actually gonna be in the storm longer, and it becomes more painful. And more frustrating. In contrast, the buffalos know the storm is coming and they decide to charge directly toward the storm. When they run at the storm, they are minimizing the amount of time they’re in the storm.
[00:15:20] So that minimizes their pain and their frustration during the storm. This is the same storm, and Rory goes on to say that this is a great metaphor for all of us in many different places in life. How do we respond to our storms and when do we respond to our storms? What a great way to think about our mindset.
[00:15:40] Are we looking at the storms in our life? Are we experiencing the storm in our life and facing them head on, knowing that God is with you, he is on your side, he is here for your good, or are you just festering in the storm? So upset, blaming others, and that would be the fixed mindset that I would encourage you to get out of. I know that I need a growth mindset. I need to improve my thoughts. So they stay on the Lord and they stay on thankfulness for all that He’s bestowed upon me.
[00:16:11] Can the way we think about our circumstances and ourselves and our abilities, shape our lives? Absolutely. The way we think not only affects the way we feel, it also affects what we achieve. Whether we’re gonna stick to our good habits, or we’re gonna develop new skills. Many people have that negative inner voice that acts against God’s plans for us and they can’t get out of it. Do you know someone like this who is always complaining or blaming? It’s so sad and frankly negative people are hard to be around. And if we’re honest, we want close friends who are encouraging to us and positive with us. My prayer would be that if you need additional support, you could seek out a counselor or seek out an older woman, a mentor who could walk you through this.
[00:16:57] We don’t get to choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose our thoughts and make choices based on our thoughts when we are in those circumstances. In the next episode, we talk about those family habits and small and daily habits that can help change our lives for the better and create a better home environment.
[00:17:15] That correlates directly with being willing to grow and change and being positive even when things are hard. And I don’t negate that at all. There are hard things, but again, if we go into them knowing that we can change, that we can overcome our lives, will be all for the better, and our children will benefit immensely.
[00:17:39] Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is. That which is good and acceptable and perfect.” We can change our thoughts daily and be thinking on Christ, remembering to serve others and have happy hearts while doing it.
[00:18:00] That’s what I tell my children all the time when I give them a task, when they have work to do. I say, you need to do this and do it with a happy heart first time, every time, and with a happy heart. And I need to tell myself the same thing. I need to not do a task begrudgingly and not have a negative attitude, and be grateful and thankful.
[00:18:20] God has been really working in my own heart with this, and in that, several months ago, I just, God struck me about the washing of the dishes actually, and I never really enjoyed washing dishes. I felt a little bit angry about the dishes. Now my, my husband works very hard and he often does do dishes.
[00:18:42] He is an excellent cook, so he is helping around the house certainly. But I just got irritated by doing the dishes and God has changed my heart around that. Washing my dishes is worship. It is a form of me. Serving my family and I can have an attitude of grace and worship towards the Lord during that time.
[00:19:03] In a way that I’ve helped cultivate that time of doing dishes is I have a Bible verse. Right there at my windowsill and it’s 365 verses. So you turn it every day and you have a new Bible verse. I love that. Another thing is I do is I put on my Williams Sonoma apron, which I love putting on, and then I also will listen to an edifying podcast or book that I’m reading or even a novel so that it can become a fun time and I’m not upset. I actually like those 10 minutes. I get to wash all the pots and pans and have a couple quiet moments. Now I don’t have babies and toddlers right now, so I can do that without worrying about safety issues or anything.
[00:19:45] But right there too, here’s a call to action. Think about what is edifying you. If we have good things coming into our lives, we will be able to have those things come out. But if we have garbage in, garbage is gonna come out. So what is coming into our lives? Are we, first thing in the morning, are we on our screens?
[00:20:09] Are we scrolling? Are we listening to things that aren’t great or watching programs that aren’t great? Are we reading our Bible before we’re jumping on the screens? Those things are so important.
[00:20:20] We truly can learn from Charlotte Mason, who called this mother culture. Mother Culture refers to mothers cultivating our own hearts and souls, making sure that they’re being edified with good books, with literature, with poetry, and making sure that we ourselves are learning alongside our children.
[00:20:39] That has just been such a joy to me when, as I’m trying to dig into some classics. John Ruskin, author of the King of the Golden River from the 19th century. He said, “Make yourselves nest of pleasant thoughts, bright fancies, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb nor poverty takeaway from you. House is built without hands for your souls to live in.” It is hard, but it is so worth it, friends, to replace our frustrations and replace our complaints with gratitude, making it simple, making that attitude shift going forward. I have also created for you some scola cards. And scola is actually a Greek word for leisure, and it comes from the root word school.
[00:21:31] So it means restful learning. And these Scola cards are some beautiful quotes and bible verses of encouragement that can hopefully help you through your journey. You could put it up at your window sill or put it above your sink so we can have positive attitudes while dishwashing and just be grateful in general that we get to be here.
[00:21:52] We get to be here with our children, reading with them. Day-to-day washing, laundry, doing all the things. Homeschool is hard, but we are doing eternal work. Our minds can be either positive or negative. The choice is up to you. The enemy certainly wants more than anything for us to be discontent and angry and upset, and not smiling at our husbands or our children.
[00:22:18] But instead we can be happy about all the messes and the crumbs and the too many shoes on the floor, and the sticky hands and the sticky fingers, and even the permanent marker that has made its way to the walls. We don’t have to live in a prison. We can be happy. Our homes can be full of laughter and joy, and it truly comes from, asking God to help us have that positive growth mindset.
[00:22:41] I’m here for you friend in the tough, and it is tough. It’s important to acknowledge, that we can make conscious choices to improve our mindset. And I hope this has been encouragement to you, your spouse, your children, your family. Your whole family culture will be encouraged and they will see the difference and you’ll be grateful.
[00:23:00] It is daily work, hourly work, minute by minute work to just submit ourselves to the Lord and be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Thank you so much for joining me today. Friends, I can’t wait to hear hopefully how some of these positive changes have uplifted your homes and helped your homeschool and uplifted your lives for the better.
[00:23:22] I am cheering you on, friend, and we will see you next time.