Friday, April 29, 2011

Knitting, Education & the Fabric of My Kids Souls

Yesterday the kids and I sat around the computer and listened to David Wilkerson's A Call to Anguish. By the end of the 7 minutes there was a palpable silence in the room.  I asked the kids what they felt anguish for. Their answers did not surprise me but the depth of their feeling did. Not because my kids don't feel deeply, but because the things they anguish over are God sized things, not 8 and 11 and 16 and 20 year old things.

We'd finished reading Joshua the day before and I asked them what they wanted to read from the Bible next. Feeche suggested Nehemiah, based on the sermon. We sat outside around the fire pit, roasted gargantuan marshmallows and read and talked and applied what we were reading. It was a time of sweet, and, thanks to the gargantuan marshmallows, sticky, fellowship.

My husband is reading Our Father Abrahamand I picked it up and read a section in the back on education:

"In comparison with other cultures, Jewish education was meant to be education with a difference.the quintessence of Jewish education: "the ideal of holiness, of separation from all other peoples in order to belong to God." In contrast, the Greek world did not understand education to be tied to holiness of life....The aim of the Jewish teacher was not so much to develop certain intellectual or practical faculties in his disciple but rather to summon his learner to submit to the authority of the divine message of the Scripture upon which he was commenting. Here the Jew's whole personality is involved; to be called for radical obedience to that higher divine reality outside oneself. To sum up this point, we may state the contrast no clearer than this: "The Greeks learned in order to comprehend. The Hebrews learned in order to revere."

I thrill to these words. They make my heart sing. I resonate with these words like I do when I read anything by Chiam Potok. Potok describes an education that encompasses the whole person. It is not compartmentalized learning that divides science from faith, faith from action or self from God. It is learning that pushes and grows and demands exertion and maturity, struggle and firm foundations.

I think about education a lot. It's what I do. It's what I do even though nobody pays me (though if you want to send me money, I'd be happy to give you my paypal account #). And I have a clear goal for the educating that I do. My goal is to knit in to my kids a culture that is based on something bigger than themselves, their family, place of birth, their own goals or dreams. I want them to get the principals of God's culture; mercy, justice, humility, work, love, joy, belief, heaven, hell, salvation, eternity. To be trained and challenged to revere.

I do not sound hip or postmodern or tolerant or accepting of other's beliefs systems, I know. Sometimes I surprise myself with how pedantic and rigid I sound. But the noises that I emit are born out of belief system based on the person called Truth. It's not something I've made up, it's someOne I try to live up to.

So, listening to an old time gospel preaching like David Wilkerson crying over the church today and talking in hushed tones about the anguish of our hearts, reading the Bible outloud and discussing with each other at odd times of the day is all part of our homeschool. Because our homeschooling is about creating a hunger for deep things, a call to worship and reverence and a hope for reality that transcends a subject area or skill set.

Our home school is about knitting into the very fabric of our children's beings a reality that they'll love, that they never want to be apart from, that they are not ashamed of, that they bind their hearts, minds and souls too.  I love it when we have moments like we did this week. The kids quiet and contemplative, thoughtful and reverent, broken by deep things, compelled by compassion. seeking answers, prayerfully considering. It's like the joy of knitting home spun wool in a lovely color. Creating something amazing and beautiful and lasting.

Find more inspiration at Pebble Crossing & Legacy of Home


Hen Jen said...

oh wow, I just want to 'amen!' this whole post! So true, I think we need a reminder that we are not just teaching to posses knowledge- but yet, to lead the student to render his whole being to God. Wonderful post, so much to think about...

Karen said...

Wow. terrific. Thank you for this.

Anonymous said...

This post was very thought-provoking and inspiring. I think those are goals many of us want for our families.

I am glad to have found you through Legacy of Home!

Hope you have a blessed week!

lydia said...

That difference between education for understanding vs. reverence has been big on our minds lately. It sure does take a lot more devotion to teach than simple fact mastery! I appreciate that you share how you work on it with your kids. Thanks!