Friday, October 28, 2011

Caution: Radical Thoughts

This is an entry I made in my journal. Gonna let you have a peek into my thoughts. But beware of radical thoughts........

October 20, 2011

I have thrown the home-school schedule out the window. You know, the schedule that says how many learning days we need to complete or how many hours we need to "learn" to meet "standards". Actually....I have thrown "school" out entirely and made the decision that we will just learn instead. Who's bright idea was it to tell kids that they were to do their learning M-F 8-2:30 and of course, during homework time and then they could have free time with no learning. Essentially that is what my kids took from their "time served" at school. They came to believe that learning was something forced upon you, and to avoid outside of school hours as much as they could. They rebelled against constant pressure to perform and "learn" upon command. No wonder kids get burnt out so young. Where is the time to discover who they are in Christ and discover the talent God put into them? Proverbs 22:6 says to train up a child in the way he should go. That includes helping them discover their "bent" and their purpose. When can they spend time discovering what they are passionate about and what they themselves are truly interested in learning more about. Kids are naturally curious and ask questions to get answers until they are stuck in a system designed by government and taught that their curiosity or individuality doesn't have a place until they have finished "learning" what has been chosen as important by others. By the time their energy and brain power has been used up, or more sadly, squelched, and are free to do something on their own, they are wiped out and just want to turn their brains off. Again, this is my personal experience. Many times, our girls would say to me, "Mom, we're not in school now; I don't want to learn anything." when I was talking with them at home about something that came up and was wanting to use as a teaching moment. Or they would ask, "Is this going to be learning, cause I don't want to do learning now?" They had equated and made synonymous the words "school" and "learning" and they didn't want any more than that which was forced upon them. Sad. That's why we have decided to give up "school". Yep, my kids are "school" dropouts. I have decided that learning about and in the world around us, and discovering who we are is a better use of our time.

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. ” – Albert Einstein

. “Just as eating contrary to the inclination is injurious to the health, so study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” – John Holt

“The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure, punishment, and disgrace, severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied into strategies for fooling teachers into thinking they know what they really don’t know.” – John Holt

Monday, October 3, 2011

What's Weighing You Down?

This morning, after Maddie had gotten herself a tumbler full of water, she asked me how many of them she needed to drink for the day. As I said, "Well, let me see....", she exclaimed, "Wait! I'm going to weigh myself!" as she proceeded to run into my bathroom to procure the scale. Setting it down on the kitchen floor, she stepped on it and immediately stepped off again, announcing, "I'm going to exercise first." She then began jumping around, and waving her arms for a minute or so, after which, she decided to strip herself of some extra clothing, namely, her sweatshirt and pajama pants, leaving her in leggings and t-shirt. "Now, I'm ready." she declared, stepping onto the scale, very lightly.

You, see, she knows that I am going to base my answer on what she currently weighs, and her thinking was, the less she weighs, the less water she will be required to consume. There has to be a lesson in that.

How many times do we ask for an answer and then hope to hear only the one we want? Or perhaps our true desire is to do only the "bare minimum", not considering how much is really the best for us. We pray, or we read the Bible or listen to a sermon, or we "talk the talk", or we resist that dessert, or exercise, just enough to make us feel better about ourselves and not considering how much we really NEED to thrive and flourish and be as healthy in body and soul, as we could be.

Do we ever underestimate ourselves so that others will hopefully not expect to much from us? When we are around others and don't want them to see our true selves, do we "strip off" anything extra that we don't want to measure into what people see in us? Just as we could possibly change the scales by fractions of a pound by ridding ourselves of extra clothing, or perhaps not eating for hours before we get weighed at the doctor's office, we cannot change our true weight. We do not change who we really are, by what we allow people to see. There are no short term "fixes". Let's desire to accomplish all that God has planned for us. To be who we were created to be. We were each designed for a purpose. Let's find out what that is. Let's not sell ourselves short by only doing the minimums required. God desires us to be all that we can and to see ourselves through His eyes of love.

After Maddie weighed herself, the other two also wanted to see what they weighed and were quite surprised at how much they had "grown"...:) They either felt some need for improvement or were encouraged to do something else good for their health besides drink a bunch of water, because, as I have been writing this, they have all been outside with a timer, doing "fitness tests" on each other. Timing themselves running around the perimeter of the fence, riding their bikes around the block , and jumping rope, and have now just run back in  and are taking turns weighing themselves again, disappointed that the scale did not go down, as they had expected it would. Too early, they have come to think that perhaps what the scale says about them matters. I hope not and a discussion to that end will happen soon.   I also hope they don't get snared and distracted from who they are, measuring themselves under what the world says they should be in order to gain acceptance. As in the instance of drinking just enough water to "get by", that they would settle to just get by in life, instead of striving to be the best they can be through the redeeming love and grace and strength of Jesus Christ. They did get one thing right though. Just before they ran out the door, Hannah and Grace also stripped off their extra clothing that could slow them down and then all three proceeded to give all they had to their endevour as they cheered each other on in encouragement.

So,we could ask ourselves, "How much "water" do I need to drink today?" "What race am I to run?" What do we need to do to be healthier in body and soul alike? Who do we have around us to run with and shout words of encouragement and to hold us accountable in areas that we want to improve in? Do we need to throw anything off in order to run the race set before us better?

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to "...strip off and throw aside every unnecessary weight which readily and cleverly clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. Looking away from all that will distract us, to look to Jesus, Who is the Leader and Source of our faith...."

In Colossians 1 we are given an example of encouragement that we can share with others or even speak to ourselves. Let this be an encouragement from me to you today....

"I continually give thanks to God for you ....and I have not ceased to pray and make special request for you, asking that you may be filled with the full, deep and clear knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom, in comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God, and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things. That you may live and conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing with a fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, the knowledge of God. I pray that you will be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory. To exercise every kind of endurance and patience and perseverance with joy, giving thanks to God Who qualified and made you fit to share in a portion of the inheritance of God's people."