All Callum had to do was go online and log in to find out if he had been accepted on the university course of his choice.

“Did you get a place?” I asked eagerly.

“I haven’t yet worked up the courage to look,” Callum admitted.  But a few minutes later, he emerged from his room, a huge smile on his face, “I did it! I’m on the course!”

I remember how elated we felt that night. I walked around feeling like the best homeschooling mother ever. My job was over. I’d guided Callum perfectly and now he was on the pathway to his dream career. He was going to be a nurse. One day he would be working in the casualty department of a hospital, calmly dealing with any emergency the ambulance delivered. I could imagine it all.

Callum grinned and I smiled and we couldn’t wait to share the news.

Callum accepted the place and he decided to study part time and continue working as well. The first year went exceedingly well. Callum stood out from the crowd. He was the only student with practical experience due to his excellent St John Ambulance record. He was also the only homeschooled student and he impressed and annoyed the tutors with his persistent questions and knowledge:

“Callum, draw the patient in the correct position.” A few minutes later, a perfectly proportioned, realistic looking man lay in the required position on the whiteboard.

“I suppose you learnt art while you were homeschooling,” sighed the tutor. He’d been expecting a stick figure.

“Does anyone know what this Latin word means?... No? You tell us, Callum. I assume you learnt Latin while homeschooling?”

“Not another question, Callum! Homeschooled students want to know too much. You’re not supposed to think. You're supposed to sit quietly and listen!”

Yes, Callum was proving a headache for his tutors but they couldn’t deny he was set for a brilliant nursing career (or was that only his proud mother's opinion?)

That was just over two years ago.

But at the start of this year, Callum didn’t look happy, in fact he was rather grumpy and hard to live with. I thought he would enjoy getting back to study after the long summer break but it seemed he was reluctant to attend lectures and tutorials.

“I don’t think I want to be a nurse after all, Mum,” he confessed one day.

“But Callum, you are so good with people. And you loved your work with St John Ambulance. You said you wanted to do something worthwhile to help others.”

“I don’t know, Mum…”

“Perhaps you should have studied full-time. This would have been your final year. Have you just had enough of studying?”

“It’s not that Mum. I just don’t know if I want to do nursing anymore.”

My vision of my son with a stethoscope around his neck, working in casualty, dealing with all the emergencies in his calm and confident and compassionate way, was fast disappearing. And I didn’t want it to.

“If you persevered you could have such a wonderful career. There are so many options within the nursing profession…” I knew from Callum’s face I couldn’t convince him.

I have to admit I could have argued and debated with Callum:

“You need to learn to stick with things.”
“You’ll regret giving up your course in the future. You should take advantage of your chance to get a university education.”
“You’ve come so far, you ought to finish.”
“Don’t give up your dream because it’s got hard.”
“Every course has its boring basic units. Just wait till you get to the practical units. That’s where you’ll excel.”
Don’t take away my dream.
What about my homeschooling success story?

I remember chatting to Callum a few years ago. “I’m sorry Callum, I’m not praying for a perfect life for you… life’s not like that. There will be struggles. There always will be when you are doing God’s work. Difficulties are the only way you will grow.”

Callum just grinned and said, “Why didn’t I get a regular mother who just wants her children to be happy?” I could see he understood.

Yes, life isn’t perfect. Sons change their minds. Mothers' dreams evaporate. But that’s OK.

A few days ago, Callum arrived home, bursting with something he wanted to share.

“OK. Tell me,” I said, seeing he couldn’t wait a moment longer to share his news.

“When my boss heard I'm no longer studying, he wanted to know if I would be interested in a store manager apprenticeship.”

“Is that what you want to do?”

“It sounds good at the moment.”

“Then it’s fine with me.”

Then today...

Callum again arrives home bursting with something he wants to share. "OK. Tell me," I say.

 “Hey Mum!  I had my employee review today. I got full marks for customer service. Apparently all the customers like chatting to me.”

“You’re supposed to be an unsocialised homeschooling graduate, Callum! You shouldn’t know how to talk to people of all ages and situations.”

We both smile.

So my son is going to lavish his charming smiles and caring bedside manner on all the customers who come into the supermarket looking for a bit of human contact in their day. And I can accept that. It's Callum's life, not mine. This isn't about perfect homeschooling success stories, or perfect mothers, or what other people think. No. My job is over and I'm letting him go.

The future? That is in God’s hands, not mine, just the way it should be.

This story was written with the full permission of Callum: “Hey Mum! Perhaps you can write a blog post about me dropping out of uni.” He really is a true blogger’s son.

Post a Comment

  1. "It's Callum's life, not mine."

    Very very wise.

    God bless.

    1. Victor,

      I guess there was a temptation to pressure Callum to continue studying. I might have said, "He'll thank me in the long run". But maybe he wouldn't. At least this way, Callum has cheered up and we can live with him again!

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. Sometimes, it seems that we do our own thing for 12 years and, then, we expect the children to conform to some sort of artificial standard at tertiary level. I'm beginning to think that there are a lot of alternatives to university which may be even better. Some homeschoolers are entrepreneurial and others self-teach, with mentors, through uni. I don't know enough, yet, but, knowing what I've learnt about secular universities, I'm interested in the idea.

    And, congratulations, Callum, on your new career! Well done:)

    1. Vicky,

      Yes, university isn't the only option. Also, there is no reason Callum couldn't return at a later date if he changes his mind, or wants to study something different.

      We never know where opportunities will lead. Who knows where Callum will be in a few years' time. He has lots of talents. It will be interesting to see what he does. In the meantime I need to support him so that we can keep talking and enjoying life together.

      I'll pass on the congratulations!

  3. ------“I’m sorry Callum, I’m not praying for a perfect life for you…”
    “Why didn’t I get a regular mother who just wants her children to be happy?”------

    sadly, my children don't have a "regular" mother either. :)
    praise God for your prayers to conform to God's will.

    1. Lena,

      I used to want to be in control of my life. Then God turned it upside down and I found out that there is nothing more important than following God's will even if it seems very difficult at times. I found it hard to surrender and trust in God at first. However I think doing this puts us on the easier pathway and leads to true joy. God's plan for our lives is so much better than our own.

      This is what I was trying to explain to Callum. Having a perfect career, house, car, life... are not necessarily the right goals. To be open to what God desires, regardless of the difficulties, is the better pathway.

      Lena, I am sure you understand what I am trying inadequately to put into words. Reading your blog, I see you have your own difficulties which you try and accept joyfully as having come from the hand of God who loves us so very much and so knows exactly what we need to grow and become who He wants us to be.

      I guess it is because we love God so much we try to accept and trust.

      May God bless you my non-regular-mother friend!

      Nearly forgot! Thank you for following my blog.

  4. I just love what God has done in Callums life.
    Don't you love how they change there minds regarding careers. Louise was doing an apprenticeship as a chef, and 2 and half years in changed direction and went back to Uni to gain her degree in pre-6 teaching. Her Dad was the hardest to convince, I was delighted for her.
    People skills are a real Blessing for Callum. It will get him far....
    God Bless, Leanne

    1. Leanne,

      I was thinking about Louise as I was writing this post. It sounds like everything is working out well for her. I know I wasted my time at uni studying the wrong subject. Sometimes it takes courage to admit to a mistake and to start all over again.

      Yes, people skills are very valuable. They will help Callum enormously whatever he decides to do in life or wherever God leads him. I know that Callum takes an interest in everyone who comes into his store. Some people have a knack of making others feel special.

      It is so lovely to chat. We haven't done that on our blogs in ages!

      God bless.

  5. I think it takes a bit to find your place, your passion. It's okay to dabble here and there until you do, trusting the Holy Spirit along the way :-) I was on a research science, medical track for a while before doing a complete 180 into early childhood. Nothing wasted, loved the things I learned in both fields and in my fast food mgmt/aa positions. Callum is blessed to have the perfect family for him!

    1. Beate,

      You are so right! Sometimes we are interested in different things at different times. Each experience can be a stepping stone to something else. I like the thought of the Holy Spirit leading Callum on. Just need to trust he'll get there.

      Nothing wasted? Yes - I worked in a science research lab once! Veterinary science, not medical. I actually have a degree in botany and biochemistry so I wonder how I got the job in vet science! I wasn't passionate about the job but I learnt a lot of skills. I was asked to do many things that I was hesitant about like surgery but I did it and gained so much confidence. I've never had to assist at an operation on a sheep since those working days but that confidence has come in useful in other areas of my life!

      These days my passions fall in the area of Arts rather than science but I am still grateful I call talk science with my children.

      I've just realised I have been chatting about myself and not Callum. Thank you for listening, Beate!

    2. I love listening to you Sue :-) I think my passions have drifted towards theology the past decade - something that was just instinctual several decades ago, but has become more a more intellectual pursuit of late.

    3. Beate,

      I suspected you know a lot about theology. You will have to share what you are reading. Have you taken any courses?

      God bless!

  6. Yow are a wise mom indeed! It all goes back to that "control thing" doesn't it? We think we know what's best for us, and our children but God often has other plans!!

    1. Noreen,

      You are quite right about the control thing. I was thinking about this post and suddenly I found myself writing the next one on Losing Control. One thing leads to another...

      I am sure God has everything worked out for Callum's life. He just needs to pray and listen!

      It is always so lovely to share with you,Noreen!


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