Thirty-one years ago, our oldest little boy headed off for his first day of school. He was very cute with his navy shorts, white polo shirt, and lunch box in his hand. We took his photo before he left the house to get on the school bus in order to capture the memory of that momentous day. He only headed away to school one more year. After that, he was homeschooled.

Even with homeschooling, we made it a priority to take first-day-of-school photos. Now there were two children to photograph and eventually there would be eight. No longer did the children have their lunch boxes in their hands but instead they held a few of their school books for their pictures. We took an individual photo of each child and a group photo. Those photos were put in albums with the rest of our family photos, but I had a plan in my mind to someday, when life slowed down, collect all those first-day-of-school photos into its own special album.

In 2010 something happened. When school began, we were preparing for Christopher’s wedding in October and also our fall speaking trip. We planned to do the photos the evening of the first day of school, but we forgot. We didn’t think we had time to reschedule them before our speaking trip, and when we got home late in October, we decided that since we had missed the actual first day of school, the photo didn’t matter than much anyway. Because we missed the 2010 photos, we decided it wasn’t that much of a priority in 2011. We were down to only two homeschooled students and besides we had never done anything with those photos anyway.

By 2012, I had almost forgotten about the first day of school. We had one homeschooled student who was in tenth grade and by choice started her new school year as soon as she finished her last one. She was way beyond the excitement of first-day-of school special breakfasts, school surprises, and photos.

However, this year my heart was heavy when I thought about the missing first-day-of-school photos. My last homeschooled children are as important to me as my first ones were. Sadly, I let the urgent push out the important. We thought we had good reasons for choosing the urgent, but in hindsight they were only excuses. A photo takes very little time, and it would have been well worth the effort.

I regret those three years of no first-day-of-school photos. I can’t redo those particular days and get the photos, but I can learn from that mistake. This year, even though we missed three years, we have a first-day-of-school photo for Mary for 11th grade.

What about you? Could I encourage you to look for what is important in your life and not let what seems urgent push out what is important?

Trusting in Jesus,


“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Colossians 3:17

10 thoughts on “Regrets?”

  1. Aww, I’m sorry you missed some of your first day pics. I have many regrets in my life of things I wished I had done, but didn’t. Your family is such and inspiration to me. I really am inspired by all your family has accomplished through hard work. Thank you for teaching hard work, schedules, and self discipline in this self indulgent, self focused, lazy, and tech. obsessed, age.

  2. Dear Terri,

    This is such an important point that you are making and one that I feel has literally hit me head on. Thank you for making me stop to think about the real difference between the urgent and the important. It is not easy to do that as a busy Mum.


    Cate N.

  3. I too missed my daughter’s kindergarten first day of school photo…she was being homeschooled and I just didn’t think about the importance but over the last month I have seen all my friends post pictures of their kid’s first day of school photos and realized I didn’t have that memory. Just because she is homeschooled doesn’t mean I shouldn’t capture that special moment. We are still working to finish A Beka Kindergarten (it has been a very busy full year so we are not done yet!!) but we only have 28 lessons left and she will start 1st grade after a fall vacation (I thought I would give her a month off) and start around Dec.1 and I will take that first day of 1st grade photo!!! I don’t know that I could ever thank you and your family and God enough for everything that God has taught me thus far from the knowledge He has blessed you all with and the obedience you have to serve him. Thank you…there is so much more I feel I should say but Thank you many many times over is what seems important!

  4. Oh, I do understand your heavy heart about what wasn’t done. I’ll bet your family surely has individual pictures of Mary near enough to the “first” day of those missed years to use with the others if you ever decide to compile them.

    Mary has such a lovely first day smile!


  5. What a wonderful reminder for each of us—to make certain we take the time to focus on what is really important and not become so caught up in the “busyness” of that moment.
    Mary is such a beautiful young lady. 🙂
    Love, Mrs. Patti

  6. Thanks for the encouragement to not let the urgent push out the important. This reaches into so many areas as a Mom … it seems there are always “urgent” things, trying to choke out the important ones. Only as I learn to look more fully to Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2), and ask Him for wisdom and right priorities throughout the day, do I not have to look back with regrets on my day.

    Thank you also for the wonderful idea of taking a photo on the first day of school. I am notorious for forgetting to bring out the camera! But thanks to your post, I was able to get some really nice beginning-of-school photos today, the first “official” day of preschool for our 3 year old–and the official beginning of homeschooling in our household. This is a day that I have sooo been looking forward to, and I am sure the photos will be a treasure for years to come. 🙂

  7. I have not commented for a long time but I have enjoyed reading all your posts.
    DO you have any up-to-date photos of the family you could show us all?
    Its wonderful to watch all those little ones growing.

    God Bless
    We usually try to have a full family photo in the fall.

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