There are different categories of what we need to learn. Those things we really need to learn for life and those things that we need to learn as sort of a "check off the list" to get on with life. Generally speaking I think different people put varying things in the two categories. Sometimes there's a lot of overlap, sometimes not. I was thinking about this today as I dropped Jonathan and a friend off to play 9 holes of golf. While he is playing golf, his Algebra and Science curriculums will be left undone. In his real world adult life (which seems to be getting closer and closer everyday), he will most likely spend a lot more time playing golf than doing Algebra. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those "why do I need to use this, will I ever use it?" kinds of people. I think all learning is important, Algebra is good for brain development etc...etc.. and by golly that book will eventually get done! I'm just saying, I've been doing a lot of stressing lately over our not being home and not getting "stuff" done. The thing is though, we are getting tremendous amounts of "stuff" done, just not the check off the list things. While he is playing golf, he will need to interact with various people on the course and in the club house. He needed to remember to bring money, a hat, and a water bottle. He is to call me to come get them when they are ready. If they choose to eat something there, they each have their own money, and lunch will be at their discretion. If Jonathan wants to save money (likely), he may wait and eat at home. These are real life things. He is more than capable of handling this sort of thing. This is the way I've been educating him all along. Yesterday Madi and I had an appointment an hour away and weren't necessarily going to be back when the two year old we babysit for was going to get dropped off. The mom was aware of this and Jonathan was prepared to be the babysitter until we got back, he was already home with Jake. Yesterday afternoon I dropped Jonathan off at the gym after babysitting and his volunteering at Homeschool PE and before his tech work at Theatre and our having friends over for dinner. Keeping yourself healthy, helping friends, yard work, keeping commitments, praying for the sick, visiting with friends and relatives from out of town. THIS is real life! We're doing it! My kids are basically living the same life as I am (albeit with a slightly different perspective), and I think I'm a relatively productive member of society, so then doesn't it follow that they are prepared to be productive members as well? In a lot of ways they are already contributing (often more than I am). This is why I place much more value in commitments that involve other people than those that don't. In bookclub, we show up and we've read the book! In Theatre, the kids are there, lines are memorized, sets are put up and taken down, Jonathan "works" there! Jonathan is a helper at PE and AWANA these are jobs too. He has jobs at church and home as well. When my kids have committed to write an article for a magaize for kids by kids...it gets done (and a deadline is looming large right now!) So the curriculum books might sit for another day, in the meantime "LIFE" is being lived.
This would seem like a good place to end this post, but there's more. When I was pregnant with Jake someone asked me what Jonathan had been "studying" lately (he had just turned 7). I made a comment about Jonathan and Madi getting ready to be present at the birth of the new baby. "That's not in the second grade curriculum," was the person's sincere reply. I think far too many people are too bogged down by the check off the list things and are letting life just pass them by.
Jonathan will be Confirmed in the Catholic Church on Saturday evening. For some interesting articles about Confirmation you can go here or here. One way to understand Confirmation is that it is "the occasion when young people baptized as infants put their "personal signature" on their parents' decision". This is a very important step and Jonathan's now taking for his own, one of the most important things we have given him.
Are you spending too much time trying to check things off your list? Are the things that are occupying your focus going to really matter next week? next year? in eternity? While I was composing this blog post about getting stuff done/ not getting stuff done...what's important/ what's not...I was hit over the head twice this morning with the truth of this whole continuum. "Check off the list things" are on the bottom, the life that we are living is in the middle, Eternal Life has to be at the top.
This person says it better than I ever could.