I often lament the slow plod of our days. I start off each week with big plans, each day with a long list: school work to be done, chores that need accomplishing, tasks to tackle. But how often am I really able to check everything off in a day? Not often. Then I cry, “We didn’t finish our reading lesson; the laundry is piling up again. Yikes! We have to get that present before the birthday party!” But in the end, as I look back, I have to remember that there is so much more to life than checking things off of a to do list.
When thinking of our little homeschool and the lessons that my children have been learning I need to realize that there is much more to the educated life than reciting facts and digesting information.
This is the substance of our chat at this past week’s Charlotte Mason Support Group: atmosphere.
Miss Mason says that ideas are the substance upon which our minds feed, the stuff of education. If we provide our children with a bountiful diet of ideas, then they will grow and thrive educationally. And how do they acquire these ideas? She maintains that there is much more to gaining an education than just having information thrown our way. Atmosphere is a key ingredient to a vibrant education. It is through our atmosphere that we show our children our values, we help them to love learning, to have compassion, to practice patience, to solve problems.
Listen to what Miss Mason says about atmosphere: “a child draws inspiration from the casual life around him. The thought of any of our poor words and ways being a daily influence on a child should make the best of us want to hold our breath.” Sigh, she knows my thoughts. I wish that my kids were gleaning positive lessons more often. No, more often than not it is exasperation, frustration, impatience that they soak in. My list! When will we get to my list? But alas, “what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15.
So how do I find hope? Just as I will never have a house that would pass a white glove test, so will I constantly fail and be the wrong influence on these children I have been entrusted with. There is another way. My hope lies in knowing that my priorities are wrongly placed when I make the outside charm in either my home or the lives of my children or me the paramount cause. Instead I can gain real value in knowing that it is the inner relationship that counts, knowing Jesus and his priorities. Will I ever get through all of my to do list? No. But if I look at what it is that really counts, knowing and loving Jesus and people then I can reorient my measurements of success.
So the list will live on but I commit myself to measuring the quality and success of my children’s education by the depth of relationship that they have with Christ and the way that they are able to love those with whom they are in contact. Our education is about continuing to live the life of captive pursuit of Jesus.
Wishing you success in Jesus’ eyes.