Scripture tells me “They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.”(Isaiah 65:23 NIV)
I watched a programme recently about three boys from a state school who got scholarships to Eton. It is a prestigious British boarding school for boys from eleven to eighteen years old. The fees are 33,000 pounds per year. Music tuition is an added cost. Princes and Prime ministers are educated there.
Each child is allocated a room with a bed, desk, chair and wardrobe. A matron does their laundry and carefully returns it folded and pressed. I wonder does she have any trouble loosing socks in the wash? A cleaner refreshes their rooms each day. Food is provided in the refractory.
The boys are free to concentrate on their studies, homework and other school activities. If they are homesick they are able to be in touch with parents by Skype. The boys settled into their new school and did well in their exams. After a hectic term the boys go home to rest and catch up with their families.
I was thinking it must be difficult for them, leaving family and friends at such a young age. No home comforts or times to relax with family at the end of the day. No outings to the beach or movies! No coffee times with mum or football matches with mum and dad cheering on the sidelines. No drives to school if one missed the bus. No fights with their sisters or brothers. All the normal things that in the tumble of family life causes one’s character to develop.
My last nine children lived in their new home with plenty of space. Some of them had a room on their own, with a desk to study at, thanks to their dad. We made sure they kept up with their school work but I seldom had to help them with it. They were successful in exams, music and sports.
I did the washing, cooking, and cleaning when they were younger. Mum was laundress, caterer, nurse, cleaner, advisor, protector, trainer, comforter, intercessor, taxi driver and cheer leader. If there was any trouble at school the teachers knew we were nearby, and things got sorted. If a child got mistreated we always defended him. Above all I prayed for each one. We would pray together each evening as a family.
My husband was their mentor, helping them fill in forms to apply to university and advise them about life choices. He was there model too. He has travelled to the nations and our children are extending their wings as well.
As they grew older chores were allocated to each child. The oldest at home would cook the evening meal. Someone else was in charge of washing. Another, hoovering. Each one tidied his room.
Eight of the children were able to walk to the grammar school ten minutes from home.
They came home for lunch. I had a warm meal ready for them. No lining up in the school canteen for them. One of my sons could see the smoke rising from the chimney of our home and he said he looked forward to seeing me at dinner time.
The teachers were great and encouraged my children in their particular talents. My youngest daughter played the double bass at school. She took part in the yearly school orchestra performance in Belfast. There was room to practice her double bass at home.
Another son played the Tuba. He took part in school orchestra events. All this experience for free!
We are priveledged to have free education to second level in Northern Ireland. We have great schools.
My children had many of the benefits of Eton College but were able to live at home and it did not cost us a fortune. Think of the thousands of pounds we did not have to pay. If all nine of my children went to Eton We would have had to pay 2,000,000 pounds in total.
My husband says I have saved him millions of pounds. It is true!
All fourteen of my children have gone to third level education. Some of them have been rubbing shoulders with students from Eton!
I can truly say God has blessed our children as I mentioned at the beginning. It is not in my own strength I was able to be a multi task mum. God gave me the strength and he still does. My children have done well because God promises to bless our children if we obey his voice.