Saturday, May 29, 2010

Stop The Train

God's plan is perfect.  When my children were born, I was so busy taking care of their hour to hour (or minute to minute) needs that I didn't ponder on God's will for their lives much in the very beginning.  But as the years have been passing by, I do.  I wonder what they will be, what they will do, who they will marry, the places they will travel to, and so many other things.  I have moments where my chest tightens, my breathing shallows, and my eyes well will tears that eventually spill over in prayer.   It's at those moments I realize that I am not in control.  Only God has the plan.  I can teach them, model what I want them to learn, love them, care for their needs, feed and clothe them, provide all I can to prepare them for what God has planned for them.  Am I doing a good enough job?  Am I giving them all the bits of knowledge I can before they are out of my grasp?  All this pondering leads to panic at times.  Panic that I bring on myself.   It is then that God reminds me once again that He has the plan, it is His plan, and He will see it to completion.  Phew! That is a relief.  I am learning to let go of things that once bothered me greatly.  Grades lower than "A" on a test, forgotten homework once in period of a month (yes, ridiculous, I know), and so many other unimportant things. 

I watch my students at school struggling to "make the grade", take the "right" class, and apply to the "right" college.  But are they really becoming who God ordained them to be or who others expect them to be?  We have been discussing our classical method of training our students at the school where I work.  We are on a fast-moving train that is gaining speed at an uncontrollable pace it seems.  We have been discussing ways to slow the train down and really look at how we are teaching.  A question that has come up many times is "What is the outcome of an education?"   It has become college acceptance.  But, the outcome of a true education is virtue.  People say they believe that, and then their actions continue at the pace of that fast moving out of control train.  The train to get into the college they think they are supposed to go to.   If college is a goal for some, I wish they would look at how many colleges are out there.  It doesn't matter where you go.  No one will even know where you went ten years from now.  I have a Bachelors degree and a Masters Degree, and it really doesn't matter where they are from.  They happen to be from two very good schools with good reputations....but that really doesn't matter.   God has a plan.  His plan may include college for my children.  I pray that I will be open to allowing my children to pursue worthwhile passions, develop talents, pursue virtue, and become the young woman God intends for them to become.  I don't have the perfect school picked out for them.  It doesn't matter if they don't want to go to my Alma mater.  What matters is that they are happy and educated.  God will take care of the rest.  Life may seem competitive, but God is in control.  We need to let him drive and we need to let go of the map we create for ourselves. 

Stop the train.  I think I'll walk.  The view is much better.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Summer Songs

Finally.  I am a beginning to see it coming.  Summer.  I have been longing for it, but unable to allow myself the time to really get excited about it.   Tomorrow is the last day of school.....for the students.  They are, after all the reason we are there!  Everything we do after they leave is about tying up the loose ends, entering grades, cleaning rooms, and storing things away for the fall....all the while we are planning and dreaming of the fall.  (really, we are!)  We dream of the things we will do differently, things we will do better, and new things to try!

One of my fun things I like to do at the end of the year is to take my two daughters to the bookstore on the way home from their last day of school.  I'll never forget the first time I did this.  I was so excited!  I got them in the car and we left school singing and cheering for summer!  I told them I had a surprise!  We drove up to Books-A-Million and I told them we were buying books for the summer.  They were thrilled...until they realized that the books I was referring to were summer WORKbooks.  Their singing and cheering quickly took a nosedive.  Even though they didn't get the type of books they were expecting, it still brought me a bit of excitement.  I love "homeschooling" during the summer.  Every morning they start their day in their workbooks.  After they complete their daily activity, they are free to go outside and we will also go to the pool.  There is also something satisfying and cleansing about getting my home in order after an avalanche of chaos.  My refrigerator needs rescuing, my pantry is calling for organization, my laundry baskets are not separated by colors right now and my closets are frightening.  Then there is the other side of me.  My piano needs playing, games that haven't been out of the box in months, bedtime stories that need to be shared, lightening bugs that need to be caught, books that need to be read, and miles to go before I sleep.

I still have a few more days full of jobs that will sign my name to the year.  Once that is finished I plan to make my trip to the bookstore and celebrate!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Keeper of the "Coolness"

We've all been there. We have all found ourselves in a place where we hide our true personality, convictions, and beliefs. We have even found ourselves hiding the fact that we "like" or "dislike" something. Simply put, we are afraid or ashamed to be ourselves. We find that someone else seems to have "the list" or "the book" that lists the things that are "okay" or "cool" or "approved". My question is this: Who died and made that person "Keeper of the Coolness"?
Who gave them the badge? What makes this person the authority on what is "cool", "right", "approved" or "okay"?

One of my daughters is 10 years old. She is still a little girl who loves to play! She loves to dance, sing, pretend, dress up, make up plays, put on shows, and yes...play with Barbies. But for some reason, she thinks that if certain people in her class knew that she not only plays with Barbies, but likes playing with Barbies that they will make fun of her, shun her, and talk about her behind her back---or in front of her face for that matter. This is an age-old problem. For centuries people have hidden things they enjoy or thoughts and opinions they have from others for fear of ridicule or embarrassment.

So who made this person or group of people "Keeper of the Coolness"?? Well we did, silly. The simple fact that we hide our true selves from others elects them to this "office" by a landslide with no competition whatsoever. What reaction will they have to our transparency? What if we replaced this unhealthy fear with a healthy fear of the Lord?
Oh, that we might fear the Lord instead of another human being!! God already knows our true heart. We are transparent whether we intend to be or not. He sees us and knows all. Are we being true to who He created us to be? Are we enjoying the personality he instilled in us? Are we walking with joy because we are bringing Him glory by fulfilling our purpose?

I implore you to pick up your badge. Put it on. Grab your bumper sticker or your car magnet and show the world that God is "Keeper of the Coolness". As long as God is pleased with who you are, everyone else should be, too. Don't elevate others to the position of deciding who you are and what you will think. Live in God's word. Listen to His truth. Reflect His image! By doing so you will become your own keeper!

Keeper of the word.
Keeper of the way.
Keeper of the truth.
Keeper of the love.
Keeper of the coolness!

You will be happier, healthier, and more peaceful.
You can show others that they are unique human beings, created by the One whose opinion really matters. His approval is all we need.