I’m finally getting around to share a few of my thoughts on chapter six. I’m champing at the bit to move forward in the book (and actually already have a bit), but I wanted to get down a few of my observations before they get muddled in with the next chapter (which is a GREAT one).
Of course, I immediately think of C.S. Lewis (whom Sally also alludes to) with this chapter title. Appropriately enough, Sally also named her late-in-life baby Joy, when I suppose she was well on her way to putting much of what she had learned about parenting into practice. As C.S. Lewis also said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven,” and the longer I live (and parent), the more I realize how true this is. I want to be joyful: not happy, necessarily (although I certainly wouldn’t choose sadness or discontent on purpose!–at least I don’t think I would!), but joyful. Sometimes joy seems like an impossibility, given the curious, sometimes seemingly incongruous particulars of my own life: an introvert with melancholic tendencies who chooses to homeschool her children. This is what I’m learning: joy isn’t necessarily one long, unbroken emotion or state or whatever-it-is. No. It’s little moments that buoy me up for the next task. I think I realized that last week on a family walk. I took the time, probably as a result of reading about one such walk of the Clarksons’, to really notice what I love so much about our family and where we are right now while we were taking an ordinary walk together. Yes, the children were bickering a bit. Yes, I was feeling a little fatigued from carrying Benny in the Moby wrap while he snoozed. Yes, I had oodles of work awaiting me when I got home. Still, I allowed my heart to see my life for how wonderful it is, bickering, tiredness, work and all. That’s joy.
Here are some quotes that resonate with me from this chapter:
These kinds of joyful moments catch me by surprise. I’m not looking for them or expecting them, but all of a sudden my eyes are opened and I discover another of the joys that God meant for me to know. It was there all along, but I had missed it. The joys get lost in the blur of too many activities, dimmed by a nearsightedness that sees only the housework that must be done, the educational goals that must be achieved, and the needs that must be met. It shouldn’t be a surprise to me that there would be all kinds of joys just waiting to blossom out of the family and home-centered lifestyle of homeschooling. If that is how God meant us to live, then he wants to bless us through it. Nevertheless, I often find myself delightfully surprised by the joy of the life God has given me. (110, emphasis mine)
Being pulled out of the work, pulled up short to notice my blessings–that’s what happened to me on our walk. I wonder how I can make it my practice to do this when the pressure is really on?
I struggled with these areas [feeling inadequate to teach her children at home] briefly until I stumbled upon a truth that seems obvious now but was a revelation at the time–I didn’t have to teach my children how to learn. god had already prepared them to learn, and I Just needed to give them room. I am simply a facilitator, releasing skills and abilities already there in my children. This was an unanticipated surprise. (112)
This year, Amy, get out of the way and let them learn!
In spite of my own ups and downs, bad habits, weaknesses, inconsistencies, immaturity, and blind spots, our children continue to grow and mature. They aren’t perfect, but they’re getting better all the time. At this point, that is enough for me. I have to admit, I find myself looking forward to those corners yet to be turned. Yet even while they’re still on their way to the corner, I am constantly surprised by the interesting and enjoyable people my children are becoming. (114)
As are mine.
What did you glean from chapter six?
I am blogging through Seasons of a Mother’s Heart by Sally Clarkson this summer for my second annual Homeschooling Mothers’ Bookclub. You can read more about it here. Won’t you consider joining us? Here’s the link-up schedule:
- Monday, July 8–Spring, chapters 1-3
- Monday, July 22–Summer, chapter 4-6
- Monday, August 5–Fall, chapters 7-9
- Monday, August 19–Winter, chapters 10-12
- Monday, August 26–final thoughts (Notice this is one week after the last post, not two.)
- chapter 1 scripture art journal entry
- chapter 1: “Celebrating Life”
- chapter 2: “Changing My Will”
- chapter 3: “Beside Still Waters”
- chapter 4: ”Building Your House”
- chapter 5: “Planning to Live”
- chapters 4 and 5 scripture art journaling