Education as Imitation

13 Apr

Education is the art of imitation.

I think that I have made it clear in previous posts that my desire in educating my children is to lead them to truth, to goodness and to beauty.  And, so, if educating is imitating, it leaves me pondering an essential question:

Am I worthy of being imitated?

Repeat that question slowly, friends:  Am I worthy … of being imitated?

Because if we open our minds to the truth that education is about so much more than textbooks, workbooks, and tests, we are left with the painful, yet liberating truth that life is education.  So, how am I living my life?

Am I worthy of being imitated?

For me, that question begs a lot of other questions about what that really looks like on a daily basis.

What have I placed as priorities in my life?  How are my habits of rest and work?  Is there an ordered balance that reflects biblical teachings of honoring the Sabbath?  After all, we were created for the Sabbath.

Have I spent time valuing things that do not pass my Litmus Test of truth, goodness, and beauty?  How have I modeled a pursuit of these truth? When have I allowed the world to lead me instead of God?

What about my words and attitude and body language, especially towards the little image bearers of God who are named Analise, Jonah, and James—how have I treated them that is worthy of imitation when they interact with me, Jason, one another or friends and family outside of this home?

Education is about being a living, breathing human being created with a soul that longs to love and serve the Lord.  Our minds, bodies, and souls are intricately connected, incapable of being separated like the three persons of the Trinity.  Am I recognizing and honoring this truth?  Am I modeling that?

In taking this all to prayer and mulling over these questions in my sub-conscience, I’m left with the painful realization that I have a lot of work to do.  Soul formation is not for the faint of heart.  It takes work and continual abandonment of oneself and our fallen nature and resting in the Lord’s hands, begging Him to carry us, to change us,  to sanctify us.  Simply, it takes prayer and the sacraments.

And, the truth is NO ONE can do this work for me.  Only I have the ability to swing the pendulum to a resting place that allows rest, work, prayer, and true soul formation to be in their proper balance.  Only I can do the work of taking the time to nurture my mind, body and soul.  And, that job—well, it takes a hefty dose of courage and trust.

I know that I write about this quest often—finding a better balance to my workaholic ways.  Obviously, I still have a lot of work to do because it hasn’t been until recently that I have been able to step back and truly access the ramifications of leading a life that is not oriented towards balance.  When I reflect on my own upbringing and my own education, it’s no wonder that I am wired the way that I am.  And, I know that I am not alone, for our culture screams the rest is for the weak and that education equates to standardized test scores.   And while I know those sentiments are lies from the evil one, I also know that every day I have to make the choice to focus my attention and energies towards orienting myself to truth, goodness and beauty.

Christ gives us countless reminders of His desires for us in scripture.  At the Wedding Feast at Cana, for example, we know that the bride and groom ran out of wine.  We know full well that Jesus could have snapped his fingers, and from nothing  filled the pitchers with wine.  But, that is not what He did.  Instead, He instructed the servants to first fill the jugs full of water.  And from that, He performed his miracle of creating wine for the honored guests at the banquet.

So what does this mean for me?   I’ve come to recognize that He is asking me to fill my jug, my soul, brim-full, and from that He can work His miracles as He sees fit because *I* am one of his honored guests.  He desires to work a miracle in me.  What an amazing truth to ponder.

When my children reflect back 20 years from now, I pray that they don’t remember me as a crazy mom, short on patience, high on unrealistic expectations, and overflowing with too many days burning the midnight oil to get just “one more thing” done.  Rather, I want my children to know that they have a mom who sought balance and respected herself enough to take time to read a book, to go on a walk for the explicit purpose of enjoying the beauty that surrounded her.  I want them to remember a mom who enjoyed seeking knowledge and growing in truth through her own studies and development of skills through having hobbies that brought her joy—a joy that comes from a place of rest and peace.

I want them to imitate these practices and beliefs so that one day they, too, can educate their own children by living a life that is worthy of imitation.

That is certainly no easy task.  But through His grace, I know it is possible.

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One Response to “Education as Imitation”

  1. Jason April 13, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Extremely well put, and I couldn’t agree more. I know sometimes making these types of realizations about ourselves can be, as you put it, painful. But rather than pained, I am encouraged and excited for the realizations that are coming to light in both of our minds, and for the changes that will mean for us and our family in the years ahead.

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