Homeschool Reflection No. 10 | For the Children's Sake

My grandmother liked to fish. She would let you come along, show you how to bait your hook, how to cast, how to feel the bite, set the hook and remove it from the fish's mouth if you caught one. But, she would only show you how to do these things once. Then you were on your own, because she was fishing. Of course, sometimes you needed a little more help, and she would give it, grudgingly. You tried harder to do it by yourself after that. Gram proved that learning to fish was worth it, that it was something grown-ups wanted to do, that it was fun for them. (Gram also taught me how to knit).

My mother has always sewed and baked and made all sorts of wonderful things: pies and fudge, stuffed animals: elephants, chickens, puppies, kitties, and dolls and doll clothes. She made most of these items for church, to raise money for the poor. She grew up on a dairy farm and knows the names of wildflowers and birds. When I was growing up, she always, always sang in the kitchen while she worked. She visited the bookmobile when it made its rounds to our neighborhood, because she loves to read.

Guess what I learned? Guess where I learned it? 

When I was little I saw my mother sewing and wanted to do it too, so she gave me scraps of fabric and showed me how to thread a needle. She taught me some basic stitches and left me on my own, because she was sewing. I learned to try hard, to be patient and to do things carefully.

If there were children's crafts items when I was a kid, my parents couldn't afford them, and I didn't know about them. Everything I made was from real materials.The grown-ups in my life invited me to try what they were doing, so long as I didn't bother them too much and ruin their own fun.

It's different today. Everything we do is for the kids. We lament their childhood when it passes, because we no longer do the things we once did together. We no longer make things, because really, it was only something we did to entertain them. We no longer sing, because we only sang for them. We no longer visit places, because we only went there so they could see, not because we wanted to see. We make such a special effort for our children today, but do we invite them into our lives? Do they get a chance to really know us, to learn what we are about and what we love? 
I plan to write some more Homeschool Reflections this season. This is a re-post from that category. 


Fools Like Me

The other day it dawned on me that for the second month in a row I did not receive a bill from the cable company. I called to find out what was going on, and the customer service rep said that my account was paperless. "No, I've always received a paper bill. Someone at the company must have accidentally changed it." The rep explained that they are not authorized to make changes to customer accounts, that I had to have changed it myself. When I told her that I didn't make any changes to my account, she insisted that I did. "Well, if the company didn't make the change, and I didn't make the change, then it sounds like you have a security breach," I suggested. This idea didn't bother her in the least. I explained how disappointed I was that I would have to drive to the company to pay my bill in order to avoid a late fee. She said, "Well, you don't have to do that; you can pay the bill online." Uh-huh.

I received a phone call from the gas company last week informing me that it was time to install a new gas meter. I scheduled an appointment for last Friday. They told me that a technician would arrive between noon and 6pm--a six hour window. I stayed home on one of the brightest summer days of the year and waited, but no one ever showed up. I called the gas company on Monday and was told that the appointment had been cancelled. "By whom?" I asked; "I didn't cancel it." The rep explained that the technician cancelled it, as he couldn't get into the house. "Actually, the technician did not show up," I said. "Well, what we can do now is schedule a new appointment," the rep said. Uh-huh.

Last week I read an online article that irked me in its doublespeak. Early in the article the author states that she wants the opposite of internet regulations, but in the last paragraph she says, "I am bothered by the uncontrolled and chaotic nature of the Internet. I believe, internationally and nationally, we need to take major steps to limit hate speech against individuals and minorities." For some reason, she cannot see that the  "fakeness" she applauds in her article is the very vehicle that allows people to escape online accountability.    

In business, in politics, in religion and on the internet we have become a culture of liars. It is so commonplace that it is now widely accepted as "the way things are". Apparently, only fools like me would expect honesty in their dealings with people and organizations. If a blogger writes about her children, I expect those children to actually exist. If someone says they live in a moss covered hut at the edge of a forest, I don't expect to find out that she lives in a city high-rise. I also expect the opinions expressed by an online author to actually be held by her.

I am certainly not against pretending. However, a simple disclaimer would allow online writers to preserve their credibility and their readers' trust; something like:  "If I had my way, I would live in a moss covered hut at the edge of the forest. This is where I imagine that life."  Or even, "Nothing you read here is real, although you may find a few things that are true. :)."

I would like my readers to know that even though this blog presents a very limited view of my life, everything you read and see here is real. I am not pretending. I really am as crazy as I appear. ;)


For Everything There is a Season

maple leaves
cardinal, female ruby-throated hummingbird, and American goldfinch
sisters sharing secrets in the woods
Some leaves are beginning to change--the earliest I can remember it happening--, and the sky above is the clear, vibrant blue of autumn. Last week the temperatures were cool, fall-like, but according to the calendar it is summer until September twenty-third (of course, the trees were bare this year until the very last days of April, and we were still buried under snow on the first official day of spring). It has been a beautiful summer and also the most difficult one for my family that I can recall. Seasons can be confusing. But time rushes on and soon we will return to the familiar routine of lessons and books, baking and making. Tonight, we're staying up to watch the Perseid meteor shower.

“He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11