I considered taking a picture, or listing titles, but then I figured I’d rather be reading than promoting. So here I am, emerging for a breath of air before I decide how (or where) to dive back in.
I’ve been revisiting my how of homeschooling (never the why or whether to) and that is what prompted my latest stack of acquisitions (never mind that more than half were actually storytelling books I want to explore and see about connecting them to my children…)
But the last day and a half I’ve been feeling a bit as I did when I was 19 and listened to Jane Eyre for the first time. I remember thinking, I really like this story then freezing mentally and wondering, Is that okay? Who do I ask? Who do I go to? (Today I’s probably ask whom…)
That led to an interesting time of introspection where I realized my main survival mechanism through high school was to filter everything I was learning through outside sources, because I didn’t particularly trust my teachers. Which meant I also didn’t trust myself.
You see, if I trusted myself I would have been running everything through my own filters. But I had learned very well that teaching most teenagers seem to miss, and that is Your perceptions are not the final word on reality. And I’m not knocking this, much, but it did leave me with some catching up to do.
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That said, I have been taking notes as I read, and I’m finding myself falling into a student mindset that is only vaguely familiar and teasingly enticing. I appreciate the organization of thought I’m seeing in these books, and while I’m waiting to embrace even the things I like, I have certainly gleaned a bucket of new things to think on.
From The Art of Education (Linda Dobson)
First from John Taylor’s foreword:
He says to be “educated” one must first accept the “terms of Mortality;” understand the obligations which have to be accepted to be fully human. He says there are two stages of this:
- Recognize obligations
- Welcome them. “So they may be discharged lightly with a glad heart, not in some grudging, mean or perfunctory way.”
Also from him (about the role of the family):
“The actual truth is that your family is necessary, irreplaceable, and quite incomparable with other families (except in irrelevant ways). Inside your family orbit you are automatically someone significant and special… This is an essential form of nourishment, It cannot be reliably supplied by strangers or even friends– only by the family over the long haul.”
Four prerequisites for “taking control of life.”
- A consistent personal awareness of Good and Evil
- The necessity of work
- The development of self-control; self mastery
- The ability to accept loss; particularly losses which arise from aging and (your inevitable) death
- “An acknowledgment and acceptance of your personal mortality.”
That’s probably enough notes for now, actually.
I found this clear delineation most helpful. I’ve been contemplating over the last month or so the frustrating fact that I grew up pursuing a million different things, and realizing that now I need to retrain my habits to be more in line with my current responsibilities (and goals).
Frustrated at feeling hobbled I debated how I might spare my children the “sudden stop” I feel when adult responsibilities kick in.
As in, It’s not the fall that kills you; it’s the sudden stop at the bottom.
But everything I came up with left their childhood looking more barren than I would have wanted.
The conclusion I have now reached (a better argument may change this, but it’s true today) is that in the divine allowance of “seasons” a deal of freedom and even self-indulgent pleasures is not bad of itself. What my system is objecting to is the new demands on my underdeveloped muscles of of self-control.
This is simply evidence of my immaturity, and not something that could have certainly been avoided if I had one less hobby.
With this new vocabulary I realize that I’m thinking and praying something new and specific:
That I might teach my children to be flexible; to accept the necessity of work (I love that phrase) and the impermanence of things in this world where we currently live (thick with both evil and good), and trust that God’s Spirit will grow in them the self-control to tie it all together for the right time(s), as life begins making greater and greater demands.
And I pray the same thing for me.