"Thought breeds thought; children familiar with great thoughts take as naturally to thinking for themselves as the well-nourished body takes to growing; and we must bear in mind that growth, physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, is the sole end of education." ~ Charlotte Mason

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A beautiful Weekend

For the first time, since having my firstborn ten years ago I was able to steal away by myself for an overnight with some lovely women to attend the annual Kitchener Waterloo Homeschool Conference. I've been away on day trips but never for an over night. I confess I was conflicted, sad to leave but feeling joyful to have some fellowship and to have myself 'fed' in this journey our family is on. While there, I had an amazing dinner out filled with laughter and a sense of togetherness with the women I am so blessed to know and walk beside. We later giggled in our hotel room chatting about anything from parenting, childhood, marriage, to our relationships with Christ. This time was golden. The conference itself was incredible. I hadn't planned to spend more then $60, and I didn't! I had fun looking through the venders to get ideas of what I'd like to do for Canadian History. The seminars I attended were nothing short of an example of how the Lord moves when He sends a clear message you need to pay attention to. Today, I am amazed. The first one was called Charlotte Mason in Real Life. I am, for all intents and purposes, a CM educator. I believe God has called me to home school our children and in doing so, provide them with strong spiritual guidance that will prayerfully order their steps. The most significant gem I took from that particular seminar is that CM in not about the curriculum, rather it is a philosophy, a way of living that ignites a child's love of learning in an atmosphere of security and growth. Our children are capable of great thought and deep understanding, even at an early age. What I desperately want is to impart the passion that learning should never be confined within four walls but that it should be something one does each day of their life to the fullest. The second seminar I sat through was Ann Voskamp's. It was a late start as the power point wasn't working at first and she answered questions at the beginning. As she answered the questions I could feel the Holy Spirit moving, preparing hearts for the message Ann would eventually give. This is difficult to describe, if you were not there. But as she spoke, she talked about all the endless deeds we as mothers do, the sweat and tears, the moments of doubt, fear and failure as you seek to rear your children in an environment that for all intents and purposes runs contrary to the secular paradigm of education. As she eloquently spoke the list in short sequences she ended with "I know - I do too." A reality that connected her audience to her and her audience to one another. How do we then find joy in the journey of Homeschooling? Her answer was startling simplistic but the truth of it, was like an arrow piercing to the deepest part of my soul. Many of us cried and felt the touch of our Saviour as Ann's message reached our hearts. The answer: gratitude - found in each of the moments of our life, in the midst of the chaos. The ability, the discipline to find gratitude in all the feelings that consume us in the moment, to teach our children that in those moments we can choose God's grace over the feelings that draw us away from Him. Ann said it so well: "It's impossible to feel gratitude and negative feelings at the same time." As I learn this discipline of gratitude, not only do I embrace this for myself but it is the gift I offer my children. They see that my relationship with the Lord, my creator, is real, as He works on me to the inner most parts of my soul. It is that gift I give them, my legacy of love, hope and grace that will remain when I pass from this world. So today I begin the journey of gratitude, as I embrace it for myself, I pray that in the most complex moments of life, in the dark times where failure looms and I feel the walls closing in - I will choose gratitude and thanksgiving. As one of my children challenge me, with a bad attitude or fight, I will say: "Thank you Lord, for this child(ren) - your gift to me, to teach and love, instantly I am gentled, reminded of His love and grace for me, one of His children. And finally the verses Ann reminded us of at her seminar Philippians 4:8 "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy -- meditate on these things."

1 comment:

  1. This was not only a beautiful inspiration to me Cindy, but very beautifully written!
    You have a wonderful gift of writing so smoothly and holding the readers attention until the very end, just like an author!
    I just loved it.


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