Here in the USA the natives are restless in schools across the nation as they wrap up their studies this month and anticipate a lengthy summer break from the monotony of classroom routine.
How we define ‘school’ and ‘education’ is no small thing because our beliefs will determine a heck of a lot about our lives, our children’s lives and our future, separately and together.
Most of us, understandably, have a conventional view of schooling. We’ve watched it modeled, we’ve lived it for decades, thus we became it. It simply is.
Typically children go by big yellow bus or carpool to institutional settings where they sit in desks in classrooms with peers, line up to go to the bathroom, water fountain, lunch room, and playground then line up to go back to desks for hours and hours with a few variables. Then these kids go home to do homework, play on the computer, maybe play outside if there’s time, sleep and wake up the next day and do it all over again with the occasional holiday, sick day or field trip thrown into the mix.
This was my experience while growing up minus the computer while adding significant time playing outdoors, riding bikes, climbing trees, exploring the neighborhood – because that’s what we did every single day for hours after school, being unencumbered by the copious amounts of homework required of kids these days.
When I had children, I used to believe they were empty buckets needing to be filled with all the necessary information and knowledge determined by an unidentified expert somewhere. As I endeavored to home educate my sons (another story for another time) I nervously eyeballed the ‘scope and sequence’ timelines I would come across, fearing I’d miss a major building block in their education, thus crippling them for life.
I’ve come to understand that children are born brilliant and educating a child is simply tapping into the genius already there by nurturing it with the necessary components for growth. God fills in the gaps of the ‘scope and sequence’ organically as we do our part to attend to our little human; loving, training and providing nourishment.
It’s as if mind-blowing seeds of GENIUS are locked within every single child and it’s up to us to unlock that ‘seed-potential’ lying dormant in that kid by providing the necessary components for this ‘human plant’ to thrive, not unlike gardening. Whether it be tomatoes, marigolds, cucumbers or melons we’re tending to out in the backyard, the principles remain the same. When we nurture these seedlings in healthy, rich soil, with fresh air, fertilizer, water, protection from the elements and destructive enemies in their many forms, while providing appropriately-measured boundaries so as to avoid root bound conditions, or watering carefully to avoid root rot, we will be amazed and even ecstatic to see the hearty, miraculous fruit that emerges from our humble efforts.
Children are exactly the same. As I spend time with my grandchildren, these principles are underscored and highlighted for I feel as though I’m homeschooling all over again, just engaging with them, because learning comes so naturally to children. Their hunger for knowledge and understanding – to know what, why, how, where and when – is so God-given that if our radar is on we will see that real, valuable education is happening constantly, even on summer ‘break’ when you think they’re simply playing.
As I interacted with my grandchildren this week, we participated, unintentionally in so much learning – we sang songs, built Legos, named our letters and counted while we played on the swings, colored and drew, investigated the horses next door, the airplanes in the sky, the irritating crows and seagulls.
We chased butterflies, ducks and bees…
…caught a frog then gently led him back to freedom.
We entertained old and new friends, showing hospitality and love, and stopped along the way to reiterate our “please” and “thank-yous” and “I’m sorry’s” and our “yes, Nana’s.”
My granddaughter chose to read to us for over an hour, suddenly left and re-entered the room in her Laura Ingall’s Wilder costume and in-character we interacted about her new teaching job at the one-room schoolhouse and how the kids were behaving – no joke – it’s like our curriculum just rolls on and on and on…
Suddenly she was inspired to create some fresh-squeezed juice drinks for her parents, decorated with fresh fruit.
She interjected little bits of wisdom along the way about how we should train the puppy and what little sister can or cannot do. We prayed, we talked about creation, and we snuggled.
Perhaps I’m stating the obvious, but this holistic approach to life IS AN AMAZING EDUCATION and develops the entire person: mind, body and spirit setting their wet cement according to our values. I’m excited to be able to participate in the informal education of my grands a lot this summer (click here to read my recent post), and I can only imagine what we shall discover together even as their intellect is stirred and our bond is deepened – what a privilege to be available for them in this season.
Your Two-Minute Takeaway
Want MORE? I’d love to be a voice of encouragement on your parenting journey! Grab my FREE gift: 7 Simple Steps to Raising Happy Kids Who Persevere (while building team spirit in YOUR home) by clicking HERE.
Great pains are obviously being taken to plan the Big Day, but judging by the dismal outcome of too many of these pricey unions, many of the kids marrying aren’t prepared for life after the ceremony.
Building a life that stands the test over time isn’t luck and unicorns. It’s real, raw and often rugged. We must dispel popular culture’s pretty little lies about fairytale futures. Here’s a good start:
1. Marriage is a marathon. A very long, tiring, and at times, soul-crushing race. A race indicates a lengthy stretch of rough road that leads to a glorious finish line. Most modern humans I talk to want a finish-line relational experience every single day, with full make-up, goosebumps and a photo shoot.
We’ve all heard the phrase, if not vowed it ourselves, “for better or for worse.” In real life, there’s a whole lot of ‘worse’ you’re gonna experience along with the better in this marriage thing. Yes, the ‘better’ is priceless, but it only comes with the daily investment of long suffering, hard work and compromise over the long haul.
Nora Ephron, screenwriter of blockbuster romcoms Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and Harry Met Sally said “most people learned their beliefs about love from my movies.” Even she knew, after 3 marriages of her own, the reality vs. fantasy of romantic love.
And while we’re on the topic, ‘conscious uncoupling’ is a sentimental fallacy created by a bazillionaire Hollywood Hamptons ditz who is not in touch with the true spirit of marriage which has it’s roots in the term ‘covenant.’ Look it up, it’s brutal. More brutal however is divorce, which, in the words of my good friend, a divorced mother of four, is, “a death that never dies.”
2. Family is Complex. It’s a multi-generational conglomeration. A household of foreigners, ofttimes speaking different languages, trying to live together in harmony. Close families are not created by accident. It takes large amounts of grace extended to build a strong family.
How is it that the one family member you want to kill on Monday, saves your life on Thursday? Am I right? And you think your job is hard, but you’re a piece of work, too, even though you may not be in touch with it. We’re all like diamonds, many faceted, all having sides to us we cannot see. We see our good side; our family members see our not-so-good side. And we love each other through it all.
This is the mystery of family. This is the truth of covenant relationship. The staying power of staying when you often feel like fleeing. So much of the magic of life is simply not quitting!
3. Mothers. Are. Priceless. They cannot be rented or bought. The ‘I wanna nanny’ mantra parroted by so much of the Gen X young mama population is a worldly idea created by Hollywood starlets who are out of touch with reality and will one day, all-too-soon be found old, wrinkled, washed up and alone on the shores of Santa Monica beach. And for the rest of us overtaxed serfs of the world, surrendering our children to full time daycare centers and systemized, confining public education from age zero-18 will generally not produce the specimen of human being that our heart longs to raise.
Do your job today, Mama, with all you have to give, and you will rest well on your pillow 20 years from today when your children are impacting the whole wide world with the heart and soul YOU gave them.
4. Fathers have super powers! The smear campaign against men over the past several decades has impacted our culture in an enormous way, redefining manhood and casting suspicion upon men who dare to display strength and leadership in most any context. Meanwhile, strong women are cheered on.
Men are not the weak, bumbling idiots media has portrayed them to be, nor are they the arseholes they’re often implied to be. The trickle down effect of this narrative has infused poison into family life where it seems to me that many men have become tentative about their role, defaulting to their very capable and dominating wives, which often leads to chaos, confusion and ultimately the breakdown of the family.
(Conversely, ask most any single woman what she’s actually looking for in a man, and it’s not weakness. #scratchingmyhead)
After parenting for 33 years, I know the power of having a strong man at the helm of our family. Gregory is the steel beam holding up our dynasty – invisible at times, but more necessary than could possibly be imagined. We would be lost without him. Moms can do a lot, but they can’t take the place of a father.
5. Money Has Never Made a Human Heart Happy. All of creation chases the dollar bill and what do most of them have to show for it? More debt, distress and brokenness. Most double income families are spending 1/3 more than they bring in each month. Fact. The more you have, the more you spend. It’s a tireless backwards cycle, leading to chronic stress that destroys families. The love of money is still the root of all evil. Don’t love anything that can’t love you back.
The plumb line your children measure their lives against will determine how strong, straight, tall and for how long the building stands. Let’s help them form their measuring stick with truth, not Madison Avenue myths.
Your Two-Minute Takeaway