Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Curriculum, scheduling, extra-curriculars, school supplies, co-ops, social activities are all important things we organize and plan. Yet when we look at the basic needs of our kids, the foundation must be established before other things can matter.
In my college years, I was required to take an educational psychology class. It was there that I was first introduced to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s pyramid of five levels of needs suggests that a person is not motivated to move up to the next level until the foundational needs are met.
Our physiological needs are at the bottom tier and include food, clothing, and shelter. This explains why public schools spend time and money to make sure all kids are fed, and why it’s hard to learn when we are hungry.
The second level of the pyramid is safety needs. This one makes me realize why so many homeschoolers cite bullying as one of the reasons parents have chosen to pull their children from public school. 2020 has been a year when many people have had their foundations of safety shaken. We’ve all experienced those moments of insecurity, uncertainty, and anxiety.
I’m going to assume that your children have food, clothing, and shelter so basic needs are met. Then from your child’s perspective, does he feel safe? Let’s look at some questions that might address possible hindrances to feeling safe.
-Are schedules in place so he knows what comes next?
-Are you calm and patient with him when he is struggling over a concept, assignment, or task?
-Does he know the consequences that will result from behaviors that go against your expectations, and are those consequences logical and reasonable for a child his age?
-When there are conflicts with siblings or friends, do you work through solutions that require him to be part of the solution and to equip him with problem solving skills?
-Do your words and actions show him that you love him unconditionally?
-Do your child feel safe and confident in the marriage relationship he sees between his parents?
-Does he hear too much talk of what’s going on in the world rather than talk of what the Lord is doing and how our hope and trust is in Him?
The third tier is love and belonging. Now as a Christian, I know that the Lord can turn all psychological theories upside down. I know that the peace of Christ surpasses all understanding. Therefore, I know that I need to reflect Jesus to my children on a daily basis in regards to all of the needs listed above, including food, clothing, shelter, safety and security, and love and belonging. When worry over my needs are offered up to the Lord, my children will be able to do the same. This will allow the Lord’s peace to reign in their hearts, and in turn will open up capacity in their minds to learn the things that we want to teach them each day.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7. NIV
What can you do differently today to choose the peace of God and to allow feelings of safety in your home to open the doors to learning for your children?