Almost twenty years ago my parents visited us for the birth of our fourth child. We had chosen to homeschool and were just beginning our third year. My parents were rather appalled at what they thought was a discrepancy between where our oldest was and where they believed she should be. She was a delightful, imaginative child, but at age seven was still not reading. They pleaded with us to put her in public school so she wouldn’t fall behind. We stood firm in our desire to do what we felt the Lord had called us to do.
The situation was stressful to say the least. I prayed to find a better answer to give them as to why we chose to homeschool. Many months after they left, while I was reading in first Nephi, a verse came, in the words of Joseph Smith, with more power to my heart than any other.
Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men, but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men.
(1 Nephi 18:2)
Here was our answer. We were educating our children not after the manner of men, but after the manner the Lord had shown us. We know that not everyone will be called to homeschool their children, but we were.
Since that time I’ve pondered in what other ways we are building lives, not after the manner of men, but after the manner the Lord shows us.
We build our financial lives differently through paying tithes and offerings. We take care of our physical bodies according to the Word of Wisdom. We choose our entertainment according to the Thirteenth Article of Faith. We date, court and marry according to the blueprints in For the Strength of Youth and The Family, a Proclamation to the World. In so many areas, in fact, all areas of our lives, we can live according to the manner which the Lord has shown us. We need not be ashamed or embarrassed by our differences to the world. The Lord is faithful, and when he commands he prepares a way for us to keep those commandments.
As for our oldest daughter? Shortly afterward she did learn to read and has kept on reading, and writing. She has amassed a library of over 1,100 books, learned a second language, traveled overseas and is a delight to all who meet her. She is an aspiring writer and has several books in the works.
Before my mother died she confided to me that she was wrong to worry and that we had done a great job with our children. I can’t claim credit, we just did what the Lord instructed and He prepared the way.