Friday, December 03, 2010
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven”…(Eccl. 3:1)
“I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything beautiful in its time; also He has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; also that it is God’s gift to man that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil.” (Eccl. 3:10-13)
I hope you enjoyed a very beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving with your families. The holiday seasons give us many opportunities to create memorable experiences for our families while focusing on our faith. Family traditions are rich in warmth and joy and forge long lasting happy memories for those that experience them time and time again. In fact, I recently heard that gifts involved in experiences will not be as memorable as the experience itself; the smells, the atmosphere, the social aspect, the feeling. Creating positive joy filled moments for our children to recall in later years will cause them more happiness than “things”. Relationships with other people, family and friends, will be the most meaningful inventory they can own and love.
One tradition on my husband’s side of the family that we have enjoyed for many years, is going out to eat at a buffet with his father, sister and brothers and their families a certain Sunday in December for our Christmas gathering. The children look forward to it more than any item they could receive; it seems the togetherness (and food!) trumps the materialistic aspect. It’s the sharing, the story-telling and joy in joining together in a meal with the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins; in a word: atmosphere. This makes Ecclesiastes all the more meaningful; how wonderful it is written into God’s plan for man to enjoy life and be happy, “also that it is God’s gift to man that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil.” Smile here :)
Charlotte Mason, one educator that I am particularly fond of, said that education is “..an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.” Atmosphere is something we can change to our advantage. With home schooling, we can sometimes grow tired or frustrated…changing things up on occasion can be refreshing and just what we or the children need. We can tap into “atmospheres” of learning all around for our children (such as that at our Checcs co-op weekly), as well as “create atmospheres” in our homes. These learning environments are safe havens in which we can supply our children with learning materials and tools to help tap into our children’s God-given potentials. I think there is a great connection between creating atmosphere and our children’s potentials….atmosphere being another way to bring out potentials. While looking through the recent Apologia 2010 Catalog, there was an ad for the book: 7 Tools for Cultivating your Child’s Potential by Zan Tyler. The Christianbook.com description reads like this: “Educating children and developing their potential are inextricably linked. In Tools for Cultivating Your Child's Potential, Zan Tyler helps parents recognize signs of each child's potential that may be easy to overlook and emphasizes the importance of family and home in the lives of children. This book will help you discover more ways to help your kids develop a godly identity, discover their purpose, and build leadership skills.” Naturally I am intrigued by this book! As a home educator I am always looking for ways to develop potentials in our children. We are not given a map or instruction guide with each child, but we know that God has gifted each child with wonderful abilities and talents and I know I feel a duty to help cultivate those hidden treasures in my children, for only God knows where He is leading each child, we can not see what special place, career or vocation God has planned for each individual, because of this, I feel I must stay open to possibilities and be broad thinking in terms of education – giving and guiding my children as much as possible and letting them also go off on rabbit trails of learning where they seem most interested.
Atmosphere…Potential….it’s a little bit of a rabbit trail of its own, isn’t it? It would make for a good side-study for mom during the long winter months ahead.
In this season of awaiting the celebration of Christ’s birth perhaps you can adjust the atmosphere just a bit in your own small corner of the world. You might not be the person in charge of climate control, but you have more control over the climate in your own home and school than you think! You can make pleasant changes that can lead to better focus and joy in your household. Give up your anxieties to God; don’t panic at the big Christmas countdown….that’s a secular pressure that Christians really need no part of. Decide right now to give it all to God. Ask God to guide you through the busy days ahead that you can feel peace of heart and mind. Then, receive the gift of Christ with all your heart and mind and soul and know that this is a gift that will never die or go away….it won’t only be a good memory, or feeling, it will be eternal happiness. When we keep our sights on eternity our atmosphere changes …..we bring a little bit of heaven to earth.
May God bless you and your families with Peace, Joy and Love this beautiful season ahead!
Your Sister in Christ,