Monday, April 28, 2008

Real life vs. Academics

Break down of a typical day's tasks and experiences (and accompanying skills, character traits, habits required):

- Get out of bed (self discipline)

- Get ready for the day (hygiene)

- Get kids up and supervise getting ready and chores (responsibility, leadership)

- Housework (self discipline, work ethic, organization, perseverance, home economics)

- Bible time (Biblical knowledge, reading, observation, drawing application, leadership)

- Desk work (spelling, organization, math, prioritizing, following instructions)

- Homeschool/teaching/homework help (teaching skills, creativity, math, reading, observation, patience -- okay homeschooling calls out almost all of my knowledge, character traits, and skills on a daily basis)

- Cooking (organization/planning, math, home economics)

- Raising kids (compassion, mediating, leadership, consistency, self-discipline, home economics, diligence, modeling, conflict management, honesty, respect, serving, etc -- another area that requires much of what I have learned and am)

- Being a wife (love, respect, obedience, selflessness, organization, responsibility, humility)

This list does not cover every activity, or every skill required, but it does encapsulate the main things in my day, and the main knowledge required to accomplish them.

You know, as I look at most of my responsibilities that I face on any given day, I realize that much of my life requires life skills. However, not much requires simple academic skills. Yet, in my homeschooling and child-raising I often place more focus on and stress more about how my kids are developing academically, rather than how they are faring spiritually, emotionally, and socially.

I teach character, we study the Bible together, we desire to model Christ in our home, we learn and practice social skills, the children acquire responsibility, but what is my main focus? If my child struggles with a math concept or a letter sound I worry that this will set them back academically. I stress over long term ramifications, college scholarships, others' opinions (I know I get carried away). If my child disobeys I just find it frustrating and discouraging for the moment. I don't find myself worrying about their walk with the Lord 20 years from now, or if they will always have this tendency to buck the system.

A little more balance in both areas might be called for. Academics is only part of what we are doing. If they struggle through an area, they struggle, and maybe learn more through the struggle than they would have otherwise! Any challenge or obstacle is a lesson in reliance on Christ, discipline, patience, hard work, and compassion. The topic is no longer decimals or phonics or handwriting, but character and Christ-likeness (which hopefully was the focus all along). If they struggle with their character and walk with Christ, maybe I should worry a bit more, casting those anxieties on Him and praying all the more for their growth and my own wisdom.

So much of the adult life is simply about life. Working out our faith each and every day with fallen, human individuals, in unusual situations, with full schedules, with responsibilities, and with others watching our every move. The academics need to be there, held to a high standard to glorify our God and King in every area, but our focus needs to remain on Him and our internal obedience. Walking faithfully, building relationships, making the most of each opportunity.

1 comment:

Toni said...

Thaks for this post!It is a great reminder of our call!!
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