This weekend, I have the wonderful privilege of again speaking at the NCHE Thrive! Conference in Winston-Salem, NC. Last year was my first year and I so enjoyed sharing the vision of Lifeschooling that the Lord has put on my heart.
So as I filled out this year’s application and contemplated the topic, I considered possibly giving the same presentation for those who may have missed last year’s talk. But God continues to press a burden on my heart for the topic of labeling. So often now I see qualifications on Facebook posts from moms who are desperate for help: “We are homeschooling next year because my daughter is not receiving the help she needs for her ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia…” or “We are looking for curricula that will be appropriate for a child with learning disabilities…” and a number of other similar things.
Rarely do those posts include exclamations of the child’s unique gifts, abilities, and personalities. It’s as though children have become nothing more than a set of labels, qualifications, and symptoms… A lot of “She can’ts” and “he hasn’ts.” And it simply breaks my heart.
It’s as though children have become nothing more than a set of labels, qualifications, and symptoms… A lot of “She can’ts” and “he hasn’ts.”
And yet, don’t special needs exist and don’t parents need support? Don’t children need to have resources that are designed for their specific struggles? Certainly there are plenty of arguments for the use of labels in certain circumstances. But perhaps we are becoming a society of label-dependent parents who are unintentionally limiting and stereotyping our own children to their detriment!
This topic continues to burden me, and so here is what I will be speaking about on Thursday at 4:00:
The Power of a Label—Lazy, slow, depressed, fearful, angry, rude, disabled—bright, funny, gifted, faithful, diligent, kind, intelligent. Which set of labels would you like to have? Words have power, and how we use them matters profoundly. But often we allow the perception of others (including so-called experts) to influence us in the labels we put on our children, rather than asking God, “Who is this child?” Instead of employing negative labels, we must learn to see our children as who they are to become, not as who they are now. But rather than just turning to positive labels, we must help them to find their gifts.
Here is the basic outline of my talk:
- Labels are everywhere. Look around you! We can’t get away from them. Even in my introduction to my presentation, I will have to fall back on labels to explain who I am and who my family is. In fact, a big part of who I am and my life’s mission is lifeschooling, a term I actually coined! So, it is obvious that I am not completely against labels.
- Why do we label?
- Benefits – Certainly there are benefits or we wouldn’t feel the need to use them, right? From gaining support and resources, to finding ways to think through issues, labels do have important benefits.
- Drawbacks – There are always drawbacks to every decision we make in life. Sometimes the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. What are the drawbacks of labeling?
- Is it even necessary? If there are serious drawbacks, then we must consider whether or not it is truly necessary to use labels, particularly in the education of our children.
- Are all labels inherently bad?
- What about “gifted” or other positive labels? Are some labels okay to use without any discretion? Can there be any negative consequences to a label like “gifted”?
- The power of a label
- What does the Bible have to say about labels? In all things, the Bible is our final authority. Does it have anything to say about labels? Are there examples in Scripture?
- The Bible clearly tells us that there is power in our words and that they DO matter.
- What can we do differently? If there is a need for change, then I would be a poor speaker to not give any ideas of what we can be doing differently! I will share some ideas and tips that I believe will transform the way you use labels with your children.
I truly hope to see many of you there! However, I know how difficult it can be to get out the door just to run errands, let alone reserve a hotel room, pack up the family in the car, and make a trek of many miles (and many potty breaks) for that much-needed time of refreshment (needed much more, sometimes, after the arduous trip)! So that is why I am also so thankful for virtual conferences, such at the 2018 Homeschool Moms Conference where I am giving this same talk! And you will also have lifetime access to 100+ other homeschool videos and 50+ work-from-home videos (if you choose to also purchase those)!
It’s certainly not the same as being there. And I truly hope to get to chat with some of you in person this Thursday! But if not, I hope you will consider this wonderful opportunity to learn from me and all my online homeschool blogger friends! 🙂