What old and new traditions highlighted your holidays, friends?
What old and new traditions highlighted your holidays, friends?
Tonight, as my hubby and I sat watching the evening news and flicking through the few channels that our antenna gets, it seemed that a sad theme was jumping out at us…
Can it really be only a few days until our next Charlotte Mason gathering in
Thank you all for your grace in my silence when I promised to share some notes from our gatherings. Here’s my little bit…
We discussed chapters 3 and 4 from Educating the WholeHearted Child: “Home Nurture: Shepherding Your Child’s Spirit to Long for God” and “Home Discipleship: Shaping Your Child’s Heart to Love for God”. Practically, we also looked at the first part of chapter 11 on Language Arts which I will try to summarize that in a later posting.
Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up [nurture them] in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Nurture is more than just checking off your spiritual teaching from a daily checklist of “educational things to do”, more than filling your day with praiseworthy things and activities. When we make the decision to homeschool, I think that we all struggle with wanting to help our kids to have a proper Christian education and yet we don’t want to minimize faith to a subject in school. What are some ways that you, Friends, help to take spiritual development beyond being a simple subject to learn?
We talked about making sure that Bible reading time wasn’t just done during school hours, that we needed to model for our kids both our devotional time and that we serve others as a manifestation of our faith. But biblical nurturing is more than that. Biblical nurturance of our children must be a constant and ongoing investment in the growth of and caring for the faith of the children that we have been entrusted to raise!
The Clarksons write (on page 47), “If the purpose of biblical nurture is to feed your children with God’s life, then it must involve more than just doing Christian things at home. Biblical nurture opens windows for God’s life-giving grace to enter your children’s hearts.” God does this by way of His Word (“Scripture is grace in print”), prayer (“Prayer is grace in words”), and Fellowship (“Fellowship is grace in person”).
Then they went on to give a model of home nurture. (Good, I needed some concrete instruction!) Their model follows the acronym GIFTS and show five key areas that we should work to develop as we nurture our children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Note that the different areas span the spectrum of desire at one end to ability at the other. In other words, to nurture desire for God we focus on heart issues through Grace and Inspiration, whereas we use our abilities in Training and Service to develop the hands that do. All of this is anchored together in the centre at the heart with faith:
Grace: “The gift of grace is the desire and ability to relate personally and purposefully to God and people. The gift of grace prepares your children to become channels of God’s grace and love to other people.”
Inspiration; “The gift of inspiration is the desire and ability to view all of life in the light of God’s sovereignty and purpose.” Inspiration helps your children to live with hope in a fallen world.
Faith; “The gift of faith is the desire and ability to study God’s word and apply its truths to every area of life.” Faith is the heart of these gifts.
Training; “The gift of training is the desire and ability to grow in Christian maturity in the power of the Holy Spirit.” This is more than just training in right conduct or knowledge but also in choosing what is right to do and doing it.
Service; “The gift of service is the desire and ability to minister God’s grace and truth to the needs of others.”
Some action points (A muddle of ideas that we chatted about and suggestions from the reading):
*Visit elderly neighbours, family members or church family to help and encourage them.
*Make meals for families with new babies or who are struggling with illness.
*Shovel the neighbours driveway or plant some flowers in their garden.
*Have a weekly family games night in which you practice good sportsmanship.
*Have regular personal and family devotions.
*Read the biographies of Christian heroes.
*Share answers to prayer with one another.
*Discuss questions of faith and belief.
*Learn together about biblical truths, history and wisdom.
*Allow kids to hear the scriptures and to understand them themselves without having to “dumb down” the language or to be given the moral of the story.
*Practice godly disciplines like tithing, good stewardship, submission to authority.
*Develop your own list of family values.
*Get involved in service projects.
*Keep a garden of blessings (the produce of which goes to a food bank or other food distribution agency).
Please, Friends, share some of the ways that you keep the faith alive in your home…
Thank you for you many words of encouragement and your prayers for our little girl and for our whole family. We wait and pray and try to keep all things in perspective – really, so much worse could happen! For now, our daughter is well and we are continuing the daily struggle of fitting it all in: school and play, hiking in the woods and tidying the house, preparing for Christmas and enjoying visits from friends.
As such, I am behind on my blogging. I want specifically to get my next blog out on our virtual Mother Culture meeting. This past meeting was on nurturing and discipling our kids. We also talked practically about language arts and came up with a great resource list.
As we slog away, rather distractedly, at our reading and math lessons this fall I am constantly reminded to keep worthy goals in mind and am thankful for God’s grace which I know will sustain us. We are also focusing on giving our kids the skills to fill in the gaps for themselves which are bound to come in any education let alone one with so much humanity interspersed into it as our little one room school house has.
Yes, there will be ways that a licensed teacher would far surpass me in her teaching skills and knowledge – I am acutely aware of this as I, the Math Mama, am teaching an art class to a group of elementary schoolers. On the other hand, in our home we can focus on helping our kids to learn work ethic while they are cleaning a bathroom, or to learn problem solving skills when they need to help their sister find her missing pair of runners, or logic when they have to decide how to arrange the plates on the table for the guests that are coming. Our lessons may not always be formal but always we are teaching and our children are learning. The rest will fall into line. I pray for that everyday.
I have been silent for a while. Waiting. Trying to find peace in the middle of a storm.
In the quietest moments I put my ear up to my little daughter’s chest and listen to the bump-bump of her little heart as it keeps time. It’s not the thrum of her rhythmic living that I am listening for. I wait for the silence in between, holding my breath. It seems like it is only in those tiny little snippets, those fractions of a second when I can hear the still small voice of my creator whispering to me that he is the one that keeps the rhythm of life moving, that I don’t need time to stop to hear him. I get so caught up in the noise, in the busyness of all that is going on around me but he is there keeping the planets in motion and this mother’s heart from bursting.
I don’t know about you but it seems that when one thing goes wrong, everything seems to go wrong. I get caught up in the frustrations that don’t matter and can’t see all that is still going well, all that is still functioning to the rhythm that God set it in motion with. So I’m agitated that my daughter lost her iPod. (Thank you Lord that they called from the bookstore to say they’d found it.) I wonder why the bills are so much more regular than the paycheques. I am bugged that the plate for the microwave got smashed on that merciless ceramic floor that seemed like a good idea at the time. I am irritated that that horrible big box retailer is stalling at getting me my money back because they sent me a light cover instead of a turntable plate. “So very sorry, ma’am. That’s our mistake but I don’t deal with returns and yes, their phone lines are down again today.” It almost seems therapeutic that the dishwasher went caput and it was so comforting that a kind acquaintance offered to try to fix it but it wasn’t worth the cost of the parts.
On the other hand, my children are happy, we have food and clothes and a warm home. We have a hope and a future. And even in all of my grumpiness we have been able to help a friend to find a much needed bed. I count my blessings realizing that I’ve never wanted for a bed and yet need of a bed hasn’t made this friend nearly as grumpy and sullen as I. Self pity is exhausting.
So, I bring myself back to the silent moment with my ear up against my little girl’s chest. If only I could count the blessing of every heart beat knowing that the Lord doesn’t owe me a single one more than he has already given. It isn’t the beats that I am listening for but the silence in between because at a routine check up a few weeks ago the pediatrician mentioned something about a murmur and a cardiologist. A few days later the cardiologist said things like heart block and pacemaker and it seemed as though my own heart had stopped. How could such a happy and healthy little girl as my own princess be broken hearted?
Over the next few days we learned that he had decided that the need for the pacemaker wasn’t as immediate as he had prepared us for. He does expect her heart to deteriorate and then they will tear my heart open even deeper as they operate to repair hers. Until then I am striving to live each moment thanking God for the rhythym, not waiting for the silence even though I know that he will still be whispering to me in those moments…
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, your consolations delight my soul.” –Psalm 94:19
Wishing you Peace in all of your moments Friends.