00:15 Sonja Wood: So Tracey, would you like to… Well, first of all, thank you, we’ve got rid of the monkeys by the way. There was a little bit of a flurry because we had some monkey problems. Literally, the monkeys were eating our lunch. So now we’ve sorted that problem out and we’re back here again to continue sharing with everybody. And Tracey is going to share with us now. Would you like to tell us how old your children are and your story about coming into home education?

00:39 Tracey Parr: Yes, I’m a mom of twin boys, they will be 16 in September, and basically homeschooling was never on the cards for me. My children have always been in the system, and last year February, one of our boys fell ill. And we basically just moved him from school to school through the year thinking maybe the school hadn’t suited him, it was the beginning of high school, and ultimately landed up towards end of last year, hiring a tutor who came and taught him at home. And then beginning of this year, we started again with, “No, we’re gonna put him back into a schooling system,” and I signed him into another school, and it didn’t work.

01:25 Tracey: Basically, for all my fighting of homeschooling, because I’m a working mom, I’m sort of in a situation where leaving work wasn’t an option ’cause we run a family business. And it’s funny because Dylan is now homeschooling, and then I sit with him in the evenings, I’ll try. We do have days where we just fight ’cause it’s quite challenging to discipline him. We go through everything and it’s actually been quite fun the days we do sit together ’cause I find I’m learning. I’ve come to realize that homeschooling’s actually been the best thing for him. It’s a much calmer situation. He can do it at his pace.

02:13 Tracey: What I’ve noticed with Brent being still in the system, the other one, there’s just so much unnecessary stuff, and I see the pressure he goes through. And I often say to him, “Are you sure you don’t want to homeschool with your brother?” You don’t think… But he’s very much… He needs the social side and he’s worried about leaving and not having his friends. Even though deep down, I do believe he’s actually starting to look at his brother and think, “What am I doing?” Because the stress of being in the system and the pressure, really, and then he comes home, and then he sees how calm his brother’s environment is. Dylan, we managed to school in two hours, and I’m one of these moms that I’m really struggling to cross over from the conventional. I’m very structured and I look at… is Dylan doing enough? Am I making sure he’s getting everything? In a way, I think God’s also put our family down this path because it’s taught me a lot, as well as our children. I find… I’ve got to just keep reminding myself, “It doesn’t matter, if he misses a day, is it really the end of the world?”

03:30 Sonja: So it’s really great. Thank you for sharing. I know that it’s not easy, I understand that you’re bearing your heart as far as your difficulties, but I was really interested for you to come and share with us because of the few things we’ve chatted about at the Encouragement Day and at the retreat as well, about how things have changed in your life since, as you say, you’re a mom that likes things to be in a certain way, and you’re thinking that he needs to be measuring up against…

04:01 Tracey: The brother that’s still in the system.

04:01 Sonja: The brother or the system or the world. But now God is starting to show you that that’s not actually what you must be measuring it against, must be measuring against God, not against the system.

04:11 Tracey: Yes, and I find as well, you get so caught up in… The way the world goes, your child must be this and everything’s achieve, achieve, achieve. And I’ve always had this thing that my kids must get good jobs and they must do this, and you get so caught up in it. And with Dylan’s journey of getting sick, and just the way the last year and a half has gone with him, his growth spiritually has been incredible. If anything, I would say that, my husband and I were actually talking about it ’cause obviously we have days where we distraught him, we do worry, we think, “Oh my gosh, what is his future? Is he gonna be okay?” And I said to my husband, “I think God’s trying to show us that what our plans are for is not what His plans are.”

05:00 Tracey: I think the most important thing is just, like I say, Dylan’s spiritual growth. It has been an incredible journey which we’ve thoroughly enjoyed with him. We were actually saying the other night, we think he’s gonna land up becoming a pastor or… ‘Cause he’s… Or a missionary or something ’cause he’s talking a lot to us about it. He definitely feels a calling in that direction, and not in the direction that we getting caught up that we think he must be an architect or this or that. So I’m actually… As frightened as I am, ’cause it is scary, every day you worry, I’m also so excited.

05:38 Sonja: You have heard that worry is a sin, hey?

05:39 Tracey: I know.

05:40 Sonja: So you better do something, you can push the delete button, sin there, oh oops, delete, bomb, carry on.

05:46 Tracey: That’s why I say, I think a lot of this as well is God dealing with me in my personality, and showing me you’ve got this all wrong.

05:56 Sonja: Yes, but what you must do is do something for him, for God, that will help you to get that worry out. So, “I’m worrying again Lord,” now it’s an opportunity for you to call on Him. And ask Him, “Help me please, I’m worrying again, I’m sorry, I know I mustn’t worry, I’ve got to trust you.” Dylan is in your hands, he’s on your path, we know that, we feel peace about it. That’s what I picked up from you as well, is that you’re confident that he’s in the right place now. Because if you… What you’ve just told me, he went from place to place to place to place, and now you’re settled and he’s settled.

06:25 Tracey: He’s actually very calm. And the funniest thing is, the other day he was pushing, ’cause obviously he’s finding it very lonely and he does miss his friends. Even though I’ve got amazing friends who do homeschooling, and we do, I go to the art lessons with him, and we try and encourage as much, but he does often say to me he does miss that little bit of interaction. So he brought up going back to school next year, and I just laughed at myself. ‘Cause my first reaction was, “Oh no. No, no, we’re not going down this road.” Because I’ve just found, just watching him, and the spasms have stopped. Life is just simpler, and he’s learning. I don’t need to… I need to stop stressing that he is picking up those textbooks. There’s nothing wrong with him. He is gonna be fine.

07:18 Sonja: Wonderful.

07:20 Tracey: He was probably learning much better lessons than being in a school.

07:24 Sonja: I don’t know it’s almost probably. I think it’s…

07:27 Tracey: Yes, definitely.

07:27 Sonja: Yeah, I think so, because from what you’ve shared of his health struggles going from place to place, even from a schooling academic point of view, he wasn’t coping from what I’ve gathered. So now, there’s all these positives that you’re talking about, so it seems to me that it is very much that. Just positive on his life and for the calling on his life as you said, and he’s been able to find that now as well, rather than the focus being problems. And also his brother. I remember also you mentioning that you were concerned about how much time Dylan was taking of you because… And you were feeling your concern towards the time for his brother because… And now I would imagine that’s changed.

08:09 Tracey: No. Our whole family dynamic. I mean, if I’d have spoken to you last year, I would have sat here crying because last year was a horrific year for us as a family. We felt like our family was falling apart and we couldn’t understand what was going on. The brothers weren’t getting along, it was a very difficult… And our whole family dynamic has done a 360, it’s been incredible. My sons are close again, I can see the support there.

08:36 Sonja: What a gift.

08:39 Tracey: God definitely heard. You know, my husband said to me when our son fell ill, my husband got quite cross at our situation and said, “Why? Why him? Why is this happening to us?” And I think we’ve had to realize, there was a reason this happened. ‘Cause our family needed to be bought back to where God… We had obviously wandered off the path, and was God’s way of saying, “Come, you need to get your gas.”

09:03 Sonja: Come back to me.

09:04 Tracey: Back on track now. Yeah. So it’s been an amazing journey, and to a level that I’m even looking at trying to alleviate my work schedule to become more now… Where I’m more available and being at home. So we’ve got a lot of change. ‘Cause on the horizon…

09:23 Sonja: On a different sort of thought on that, because of Dylan being 16, isn’t there a way that you can pull him into the family business?

09:32 Tracey: Yes.

09:33 Sonja: Rather than you pull yourself out, you pull him in.

09:36 Tracey: Yes.

09:36 Sonja: And then you’re not trying to tear yourself into compartments of… Just rather let it be a natural developing thing where he’s more available now because he’s not in school all day, and not doing the extras and everything else. He’s at home. So the learning that can take place with pulling him into a family business, is quite amazing that you’ve got that opportunity. ‘Cause if you were employed somewhere whereby you wouldn’t be able to take your 16 year old son along with you to pull him into the… But it’s your own family business. So if you could involve him in some way. Remember the words that the Moors said in one of their books, I think it’s Minding Your Own Business, it’s one of the resources that we have at Oikos and they said, “If your children are not part of your family dynamic as in having very specific roles, whether you are running a family business or not, but if you don’t involve them on every level, then you’re making a mistake.”

[chuckle]

10:33 Sonja: They’re basically encouraging you to not run your household separately from your children. They’re saying they should, everybody should have a part to play and should know what their part is, and have the responsibility of their part. And then that just extends even further if you’ve got a family business. It starts just with the family in the household, but it can go further with a family business. I mean, I know that’s how I learned. As I mentioned before, my mother raised us in entrepreneurship and we all had our roles. It wasn’t easy. I can’t say it was easy, because it’s tough being part of family business and everything, but the thing, what we learn and what God teaches us through that is many opportunities for Dylan that he would never receive in a system. He would receive academic education and what they’ve got to offer, but you’ve got to offer him so much more in the fact that you’ve already got a family business.

11:25 Tracey: Yeah. I must say talking about that, funny enough, we had an opportunity last year where a whole load of tooling, we’re hardware wholesalers, a whole load of tooling came up that my husband had been watching. It was some of the products we were already selling in that, and it was funny because almost stock came up about three months after our son fell ill. And my husband just said to me, “We need to make a plan, we need to buy this tooling, ’cause this is what’s gonna settle and it’s something that he can run with if he has a permanent problem. He would be able to run it quite easily, make a living for himself. It’s quite a fun side of our business, and the manufacturing and all that. And so we did. We bought the tooling. My husband bought it with the idea that, if anything, we starting set this up ready for Dylan to be able to come in and have something that is his that will provide for him. And a part of our business.

12:22 Sonja: And you know what is coming to me so strongly, Tracey, is the fact that the parents of Dylan are so invested in him, more than anybody else. You went through a traumatic year of being so anxious about his health. There wasn’t anybody else that was as concerned.

12:39 Tracey: Yes.

12:40 Sonja: About his health and his… There wasn’t somebody crying themself to sleep as much as his mom when she was anxious about his health. So I’m just saying that that picture of your investment in this person is such a strong picture that’s coming to me as far as what God wants for us, the way He invests into our lives, and the example of Him to us that you are being to Dylan. And that, as you said, He’s pulled you together. Your family dynamic has changed, and your focus is now not about what is he going to, prepare him, make sure he’s getting his schooling so that he can get whatever it is, to do whatever it is that you don’t know. But now you are considering investing, you’re considering his future. You’re considering being there for him, involving him in the family, and setting him on the path that is one where you say there’s more peace, there’s less stress and strain in the family and the dynamics of the family, and just everything’s calmer.

13:39 Tracey: It does, very calm. And pretty much we are just trusting in God. We trust that God is love, and while our whole family is in God’s hands and He knows what’s gonna happen. And we need to just sit back and enjoy the ride and stop worrying about it.

13:56 Sonja: You see, you’re telling yourself to stop worrying about it.

13:58 Tracey: I know. I have days where…

14:00 Sonja: You’ve jumped on the ride. You see, you’re going on His ride, which is a different ride.

14:03 Tracey: And I have days where I fall off, and I’ve got to go, “No, no, no. Remember what she said, get back on and leave it with God. Everything’s fine. God will be there and He will provide.” It’s pretty much if we look back, the way things have fallen into place. God has, He’s been carrying us, and He’s been putting everything…

14:23 Sonja: And you said… Why I really wanted you to share with everybody and you didn’t feel like you had much to give. But now I was really encouraging you because the fact is that you are taking your stand as a parent. You were concerned about your son’s health more than anybody else and you’ve made changes. You’ve tried and tried and tried. And now you’ve found something that’s working. You’ve found that God is in the center of it, God’s got your attention, and that there is what I believe God is wanting to say to parents. I think He’s wanting to say to them, “Pay attention, please listen. I’ve got a plan here that I want fulfilled in your lives. One that is better than what you’re doing at the moment.” This plan or this brothers being at loggerheads with one another and things just not going well. And now you say it’s so different because God has come into the scene. And because you as parents are looking at it the way God wants it looked at, rather than you concerning yourself with your own career or work or whatever. You’re considering yourself first and foremost with the children that He has entrusted to your care to raise them for Him. And that’s what is becoming more and more your focus, if I can say.

15:30 Tracey: Yeah.

15:30 Sonja: Well, fantastic. That’s why I’m glad that you’re sharing. Because I really believe God wants to get parents’ attention on this.

15:38 Tracey: Yeah, definitely. And I think you just gotta remember for us, one of the things is we believe that our children were given to us for a reason. And my husband said God gave us Dylan for a reason, and he can’t imagine Dylan with any other. You know what I mean? He’s been quite amazing.

16:01 Sonja: It’s a very specific purpose that He chose you guys and created Dylan.

16:05 Tracey: To be his parents…

16:06 Sonja: Yes, exactly.

16:07 Tracey: And that we would do well. I hope we’re doing well, but I think we are.

16:11 Sonja: Yes, you are.

16:11 Tracey: We try very hard. [chuckle] Like I said, I was a nervous homeschool mom, beginning. And I’m now at a stage where the mention of him going anywhere other than being at home scares me. I’m like, “No! Stay at home, it’s lovely.”

16:29 Sonja: Whereas before you were scared to homeschool and now you you’re scared to not.

[overlapping conversation]

16:30 Tracey: Now it’s the other way. I was trying to get my head around how do we do this? Now I’ve gone the other way. I’ve heard, and if it’s God’s intention, that my other son will possibly join. But I’m not gonna to push it. We’ve put it there and said, “It’s there if you wanna do it.”

16:47 Sonja: And you said there’s signs that might be.

16:49 Tracey: There’s a lot of way he’s saying, “I like… ” And it is, it’s hard, I pick him up from school some days and he’s frustrated and so I do believe it would most probably benefit him so much as well.

17:02 Sonja: Do you know what I say to parents as well, Tracey? And that is if you look at… Your boys are 16… And at 18 now they’re officially men in the world. And all the things that they can have as an adult, licenses, and driving cars and all those things. So the thing is, is that if you’ve got these two years, that’s what I suggest, if you’ve got a family business and you’ve investing in Dylan to be able to run something from a family business point of view. And if you think about what you can teach those boys in these years before they’re out and being men standing on their own, as it were, grab that opportunity if you can. Because somebody said to me the other day, ’cause we’ve been going through some structural changes that have required all kinds of new documentation with things, laws changing and all the rest of it, stuff I’ve never felt equipped for.

17:57 Sonja: But I have to go to God, and say, “Well Lord, help us with this, what do we do now?” And one of the young men that is in Oikos said, “Nobody ever taught me how to apply for tax or fill in provisional tax forms, or what is UIF and why is it there and why do I need it? And do I need to comply with this? I have to have a business license now because this is the new law,” but it’s not actually, it’s not a given that you have to do that. But how does he know that? Is it just media saying that, “I’ve got to do this and so I just go along with it and pay a whole lot of money I don’t need to, and how do I know how to do that?” And he’s sharing that he doesn’t actually feel equipped to handle all of this. And so then we go, “Well, that’s why you need God, because you got to pray. You got to check with God, does he want you to do this?”

18:47 Sonja: I’ve got to check with God all the time, “Do you want us to do this in Oikos? This is your ministry, it’s your heart, you want parents to hear you and to raise children for you and to make them ready for him. So how do we go about that, now there’s all these laws and regulations, and you’ve said that we must obey. So how do we obey this according to you, God?” Not according to what society is or systems are dictating, but rather what is God saying? And so all of that needs to be taught to your children, to your sons. So when they’re men, they know what to do with it, not at this stage of being a married man going, “Well, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’m gonna just do what everybody else is doing.” And it’s actually theft, because he’s paying for all of this stuff that he doesn’t need to pay for.

19:31 Tracey: Yeah.

19:32 Sonja: You see, because he doesn’t know the difference, and he doesn’t know to check with God necessarily. So I’m just suggesting that it is an opportunity that you have to prepare them for things that are not, not being prepared for in the world. In fact, in the world, they’ve been prepared for things of the world. And so, that is what the preparation is for, but it’s changing all the time.

19:54 Tracey: Yeah, it is.

19:56 Sonja: Changes, and changes and changes. So this year it’s this, next year it’s something else. And so you can’t really prepare them, equip them well enough, because this, back to this young man, he is saying, “They didn’t tell me this when I was in school. I wasn’t trained or prepared for this. Nobody taught me about credit cards, and how you can get taken advantage of and what you got to be careful, how to be a good steward of your finances.” How they’re teaching them that? And even if they are teaching them that in the system, it changes all the time. But God is consistent and He’s the same yesterday, today and forevermore. So if we can give them God, we’ve given them that, we’ve given them that strength, we’ve given them that consistency that God will not fail them, they must go to Him.

[chuckle]

20:37 Sonja: That is their rock. Not go and get council from systems that are shaky or…

20:42 Tracey: No, you’re not.

20:42 Sonja: Unreliable. So I’m just saying, those are things you could be imparting to Brent. Whether he continues in the school system or not, those are the things you ought to be preparing him for, and pulling him into your family business. As I said, it’s not easy, but if you’ve got that advantage, we share with them things like VAT returns and bookkeeping. And all the things you now know that you have to run, that you have to look after and take care of. Are you teaching your sons about that? Or are they just getting an education?

21:12 Tracey: No, you’re right.

21:16 Sonja: You see, that’s my question, because you’ve got the opportunity to be teaching them those things. So do it. Because they’re not gonna come out of a system being equipped with that.

21:25 Tracey: No, definitely not.

21:26 Sonja: No. You already know that, you said that you’ve said, ’cause I’m not in the system, so I don’t know. So I’m picking up from what you’re saying. You said that you see that there’s a lot of stuff spent on…

21:32 Tracey: Unnecessary.

21:33 Sonja: Things… Unnecessary things. So, rather use that time that’s been spent on unnecessary things to put in what you feel is going to be required and necessary for their adult lives.

21:44 Tracey: No, definitely, you’re right. And funny enough, one last thing, talking about the business, it just suddenly dawned on me while I was sitting here. Our business actually started about 22 years ago with my father in law. He was actually walking in the cane fields, took the dog for a walk. And God actually put it on him that he was to start this business, and he started the business and he designed a small range of gate hinges and that. And that is actually where our business started. It was actually from God, and my father in law always says…

22:19 Sonja: So generation to generation, you know how it must have…

22:21 Tracey: Yeah.

22:22 Sonja: Yeah.

22:22 Tracey: And my father-in-law always says to us, “This business is from God.” And like I say, we… I mean, I can talk all day about the things that’ve just happened in the business, and it does…

22:33 Sonja: It’s God’s hands on it.

22:35 Tracey: It is. It’s been amazing. We’ve had times where… And God’s just always provided and the answers…

22:39 Sonja: Sure.

22:40 Tracey: Yeah, so it’s quite amazing.

22:43 Sonja: That’s a gift to give your boys.

22:45 Tracey: It is. Because it’s been given to us…

22:45 Sonja: It’s all what you’ve… Yes, all what you’ve learned from that, to share that with them.

22:49 Tracey: Yeah, I know it is. So yeah, it’s been quite exciting and next year, we might have another chapter. [chuckle]

22:56 Sonja: Yes, well, you will have.

22:57 Tracey: Definitely.

22:58 Sonja: Yeah. We want to hear about the next chapter.

23:00 Tracey: Yes.

23:00 Sonja: Good, thank you.

23:02 Tracey: Thanks so much.

23:03 Sonja: Well, thanks for sharing. I’m sure many are very blessed by that, and are supported and encouraged.

23:08 Tracey: I hope so.

23:08 Sonja: So let us see which lady out there is ready to come sit and listen to us. Warm seat here by the fire.