It is not customary to praise a group to which one belongs. However, it is possible to "step out" of a group enough to appreciate and evaluate the talent and achievements of the group.
Recently, our home-fellowship hosted a home schooling seminar. About 60 persons attended and listened intently for about 2 1/2 hours to a curriculum philosophy and absorbed many practical suggestions for implementing it. After we arrived home, my husband commented how impressive (and somewhat intimidating) home schooling mothers are. I think he was most impressed with the questions and comments that arose from the audience. The knowledge of various orientations to learning, the experience of teaching different ages at the same time, and the obvious desire to refine and improve teaching skills was apparent. It's not that he hadn't had experience with a home teacher (we have been home schooling since 1983); it's that he assumed I was the exception rather than the rule. I have received his praise over the years, but his assumption was that I could do all this because I had received a superior education growing up.
Back to my praise of home schooling moms. Many of the women across the country who have responded to God's mandate to educate their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord did not receive superior educations. Many have had to re-educate themselves in order to educate their children properly. They have managed to accomplish this without the praise of the world or even the credentials of the world. In fact, very many continue to persevere and raise the standard of education in our country not because of taskmasters hovering over them but in spite of those who spend much of their efforts to stop them. They are working to produce the leaders of tomorrow.
It is to God's glory and by his supernatural grace that he has allowed us home schooling moms to go beyond ourselves. Thanks to his call and strength, many of us are moving closer to the standards proclaimed in Proverbs 31 and we thus need to recognize that our merchandise is good! I know it's difficult to view ourselves this way when the hair is getting gray and the figure reveals our age and the number of children we've had. I know that victory isn't always evident and failure not always distant. However, a proper view of our overall effectiveness in performing the tasks God has called us to can bolster our courage. Courage needed to recognize that the future of our civilization depends very much on what we do now and how we do it. May God grant us the vision to see the fruits of his victory.
I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only. O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works, Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shown thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. (Ps. 71:16-18)