Tuesday, February 23, 2016

on anxiety and worry

Last night was the first night in 3 days, since pulling Chana out of Chumash, that I didn't wake up in the early morning hours full of worry.

For three days after letting Chana stop Chumash, I worried if I had made the right decision.  Yes, Chana is happier and more relaxed.  But no matter what I learn at home with her, we are not spending an hour a day, 5 days a week, on Chumash.  I really liked what she was learning in that class.  She was experiencing group dynamics and group discussion.  She was socializing daily.  Will she be able to make friendships now that she's only there a couple of times a week?  Now that she's no longer eating lunch with the girls?

My worries are an amalgam of anxiety over skills, content, and socialization.  What if this was good?  What if, even though she was finding it stressful, she would have made some good friendships?  It takes her a while to warm up.  What if she doesn't make those friendships now?

What if she doesn't love Torah?  What if she doesn't want to partake of Jewish community and social life?  (I don't know if I've written about this yet, but at some point I would like to do a post or a series about introvert homeschoolers.  I often feel like I'm navigating very much in the dark about this issue, and guidance is contradictory.)

A wise friend of mine reminded me that getting attached to a specific class is really my anxiety of wanting to produce a certain product: a "good Jewish child" or, more accurately, a "good Jewish adult that was brought up 'right.'"  In reality, each human being has bechira and we cannot control the outcome.

Chana has definitely given me the information that she was deeply unhappy with the situation as it was, and she is definitely happier now.  She agreed to up her game in terms of learning limudei kodesh with me, and now the ball is in my court to find the time and energy in my busy schedule to learn with her.  We started learning Perek 11 in Yishaya yesterday (I thought that best exemplified the times of Moshiach portrayed in Nach) and I started feeling more relaxed about the content/skills part.

I'm not sure if Chana would have gotten close to any of the girls in high school.  I'm not sure if being there every day when she didn't have any days off would have made her less receptive, and maybe being there less will make her more receptive.  I really have no way to tell what might have been and time will tell what will be.  I have been davening a lot the last few days to help me cope with my worry and to remember that I do my best and make the best decisions I can, and that the outcome is not in human hands.

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