Messy Monday…on Friday

Yes, I know it is Friday.

I also am aware that I began homeschooling three boys, three weeks ago.

I wanted to write that first Monday…to speak of the joy we had as we started. Real excitement of this new adventure. That was a busy week, though, and there was little time in front of the computer.

The second week, well, we realized some of our insufficiencies.

The third week, I yelled a few times. I got frustrated.

But there is still joy.

Messy Monday? Oh Lord, you should have seen the house on Monday.

Now it is Friday and the end of the third week. I think we are just beginning to hit our stride in the homeschool adventure. maybe another week or two and we’ll know better how to approach the day. We have to learn how we all learn, and we have to learn how to learn with a energetic and appealing little girl running to and fro. We have to learn, me and the boys, how to do this to our best ability.

I have to admit I had visions of us all reading together and joy on our faces as we learned new things. It is impossible not to have those expectations, at least in glimpses. One of the aspects of homeschool that was so inviting was this concept of getting the boys excited about learning. We still have to do math and writing and reading. We still have to work. We still have to read things that might not seem that interesting at the moment.

Learning is a discipline as well as a joy, and, as is often the case, the discipline comes before the joy.

We’re getting there, though, and the boys are hanging in there with me. We had our first day at the tutorial this week and it added such a great element to the mix. The boys were all chattering and excited about the classes and the people. I had not seen that level of excitement about the subjects they are learning in a very long time. It’s wonderful.

I have an awareness growing within me about what this is all about, for me. It is about providing them a great education that is tailored to them, and it is about spending time with them and being with them in a different way than I have to this point. It is about wanting something deep and rich for their childhood, but it is also something different. It is about discovering who they are and allowing them to see who they can be. It is about hearing them differently and exposing them to things that awaken in them not only the desire to learn more, but the desire to be more. It is about reading together while sprawled out on the couch, writing at the table…and on the floor…and in the ‘school room’; it is about sumo wrestling at snack time and giggling and engaging as siblings. It is about being frustrated and learning how to work through that, about having to do what we might not want to do at the moment…but doing it anyway. It’s about life.

I’m very thankful for the educators I have been exposed to, and for the educators the boys have had to this point. We’ve learned something from each of them. There is simply something different about educating a child who is yours, and that is what I am learning. It is not that homeschool is the perfect way, and I am not trying to make it out as the perfect situation….however, when teaching the boys i am teaching them with an eye to their character and their personhood that an educator in a school does not have. I am teaching them with prayer that is different than the educators they have met so far…and the boys teachers have held them in prayer, and I am so thankful for that.

I, however, am entrusted along with Steve in creating a place where these four children discover not only the world, but the God we claim to follow. We are entrusted with laying a foundation that gives strength to who they will become, and having them home for their education is providing such a great avenue for this endeavor.

I know that I will be frustrated and they will be frustrated and the house will be dirtier probably more days than I’d like. I know that there are things that happen in the school environment that they will miss, and yet I think there are such great possibilities for what can happen in the homeschool environment that I am not worried about what they will miss.

I am also aware that I need to read more, to enliven my mind more and to be excited about learning as I have been in the past. I need to write more, and to be more faithful to the discipline of learning so that they see the joy of learning in me as I seek to find it in them.

I’m excited. The adventure is under way and I’m excited. I’m grateful to be able to do this. I’m eager to see how it plays out and who these young boys become as men. And a little princess who is watching it all…what she will become!

Messy Monday on Friday. Maybe I’ll have TGIF on Monday!

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Chic-Fil-A and Ethiopia…….

I have hesitated to write about Chic-Fil-A, mostly because it has all already been said on so many blogs and tv shows and FaceBook pages…on both sides and all the spectators.

It is rather amazing how we get stirred up.

I went to Chic-Fil-A on the “Appreciation Day.” I did not decide immediately to go, but ultimately I went because I appreciate the fact that we have the ability to speak out in this country and to take a stand.

Here’s the thing, though…and more what is on my heart than another blog post about just Chic-Fil-A…I went with a heavy heart.

I read through a fair bit of discussion surrounding the whole situation, and I was taken back by the dialog.

I was taken back by the hate. I mean, real hate…the words slung at one another and the language used was filled with hate. From both sides. Dialogs and comments that I could never let my kids read because of the vulgarity of the language.

Then I looked the other day at a video my brother posted of his dogs. He was joking a bit and titled it “Pit Bulls Fighting”…but in actuality they are just messing with each other. Still, the comment thread is filled with vulgarity and hate. Astounding.

Then I looked around at other issues on politics and a variety of topics people are talking about…and again, we speak with such hatred.

We have the right to speak out in this country and we use it to sling crass, vulgar or petty comments at one another. We speak and grab at our right to speak, and yet we say very little of value. We speak at one another and do not dialog. We show our ignorance when our comments devolve into jabs about people’s appearance and sexuality rather than working to think through our politics or theology or perspective on life.

The days surrounding the Chic-Fil-A situation left me feeling frustrated. Honestly, I believe that some of it is just the out-spurting of emotions from people who are living with stress in a season in this country that is not easy. Sometimes we need to vent, but unfortunately we tend to vent at the expense of those around us.

The other thing it left me with was the deep awareness that we are in need of something outside of ourselves for help. I was left constantly with the prayer, “Lord, have mercy”. Have mercy on us, as we hate each other….rescue us from ourselves.

Lord, have mercy.

Then, today I came across something that lifted me. I wish that things like this took off on the internet and in our discussions, but I think we like to be angry more than we would admit. Still…I’ll leave off with this, and tomorrow I’m going to spend some time with my kids showing them this video and letting them see what an amazing impact one person can have. Out of great pain, acting in love…

Rachel Beckwith’s Mom Visits Ethiopia. from charity: water on Vimeo.

I am very humbly grateful that I live where I live and I have the right to take a stand on what I believe. I am very frustrated that sometimes the taking of that stand is seen as hate. I am saddened by how angry so many of us are.

I am lifted and encouraged and humbled by the actions of the quieter among us who do truly great things.

When we are left to ourselves we show often how arrogant and selfish we are. I do it all the time. When we step outside of that and are unselfish, God can transform our actions and do some rather amazing things.