Melting Pot vs Tapestry

When I was a kid, I remember watching “Schoolhouse Rock” about the “Melting Pot” that America is but I didn’t think much about it. Years later when my own kids were watching them on DVD, I saw that one again. The visual of the words “melting pot” didn’t sit right with me. It seemed strange to think of all those that come to this country may melt into one stew. I imagined a box of crayons being thrown into a pot and being stirred up together. It isn’t a pleasant, kind of a deep brownish mud color. That can’t be the image for what I see in my country. I see something more like a tapestry. All those individual and unique threads when you look up close and the big picture they create when you pull back.

I’m reading the other day and the thought comes to me again. I decided I should write about it, but Googled the idea first to see if anyone more elegant than I has written about it. Of course! There are tons of articles and books about it. Some people call it a “salad” or “mosaic”, but it’s all the same idea. I love it. When I look close, I see in my own neighborhood different ethnic restaurants. I see holidays being celebrated. I see people that look so different than I do. I see clothes, fabrics, and words. So many differences when you look up close! But when you pull back in your mind and see the whole nation as a tapestry, you get the big picture.

Watching the video again, I love the words. I love the idea of people from all over coming to America to be part of the dream. But what is that dream? To me it is independence. Self-government. Property rights. To others it seems to be very different. Diversity has become an ugly word to me. Can we be diverse yet united? Can we be interdependent yet individuals? It seems (online anyway) that we aren’t allowed to think outside some kind of box and who constructed the box is a mystery.

Hmm…the words just aren’t coming to me today. I guess I’ll just post this and maybe come back to it another day.

Ambition

Do you drive? Have you ever noticed that there are some people that just have to zip back and forth through traffic? The flow isn’t moving fast enough, so they weave in and out and around to go faster. But are they? Many times, I see them stopped at the next light maybe one or two cars ahead of me. They really aren’t getting anywhere faster, although it may seem like it to them. And while they are making their maneuvers they’ve missed the happy kids in the car next to them making faces at other drivers, the beautiful flowers the city planted on the median, and that awesome old restored vehicle. They may even have made someone angry or stop short to let them into the lane causing a chain reaction of slowing down other drivers. What would happen if we all drove like that? It doesn’t matter how aggressively we drive. We only save a few minutes of our time and we miss a lot of the peaceful feeling and views.

I think life is like that as well.

Concerns

I’ve heard many of my Christian friends talk about how terrible the Muslims are and that they are so “warlike” and infused with evil. I’ve heard that their whole religion is based on killing and hatred. Personally, I can see that in any religion, including my own, throughout history. It’s usually not based on any sacred text but on interpretation by a group in power wanting to keep it. Humans being humans.

I wanted to ask some of them, if they believed that these people are so evil would they kill them if they saw them? If they had the chance to rid the world of a little of this so-called evil, would they? I highly doubt any of them would. They really want someone else to do it. They want the military/government to do it for them. After all, “thou shalt not kill”, right? But it doesn’t say anything about promoting someone else to kill.

It reminded me of something I recently read in my morning Bible study time. If the Pharisees and Sadducees had been so offended by what Jesus said He was, why didn’t they just kill Him? If He was such an affront to God, wouldn’t God be happy with them if they stopped Him? But they didn’t want to kill Him themselves. They wanted Rome to do it for them. They begged the secular government to do their dirty work for them. All they wanted to protect was their power over people and their position in society. They weren’t interested in protecting God’s honor or defending their people from a perceived evil.

I don’t think God wants us to kill anyone. I don’t think there is an evil in this world that God cannot control. I believe He has called us to “Love God with all our hearts.” and “Love our Neighbor as ourselves.” And if that brings us death, then we are sooner reunited in His presence. God is my defense. I trust in Him completely.

Pilgrim’s Progress

My Harvard Classics reading today was a few of the last pages of Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”. There is a children’s version that I used to read to my sons when they were little that is so cute. I’d never read the real one until a few years ago and I loved it. I hope they read it themselves some day.

This morning though, this passage hit home.

“only when they tasted of the Water of the River over which they were to go, they thought that tasted a little bitterish to the Palate, but it proved sweeter when ’twas down.” and in the margin “Death bitter to the flesh, but sweet to the soul.”

The whole last chapter is portraying many of the characters as they cross that “river” into spirit. It’s very touching. While I do not relish the thought of dying and leaving loved ones behind, the idea that once that bitter part is over the sweetness will overwhelm me comforts me. I hope that it comforts those I leave behind as well.

When my Grandma died, and we were very close, it was so hard to see her go, but I know she walked across that river into our Father’s arms and is happy there. That comforts me. I know she isn’t “watching over” us. In the blink of her eye we will all be with her in Heaven.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of that Truth!

Diversity

Has anyone else noticed that the more we are told that we need diversity in our lives, the more we have all become completely averse to dissenting opinions?

It seems to me that the louder people scream about other people accepting them, the more they seem incapable of accepting others. On many of my chat style groups, most people seem unable to have a conversation or to let people state their opinions without attacking others.

It’s all very strange.

Unschooling “done right”?

This article was posted in a group yesterday. It is a wonderful and uplifting article. I highly recommend reading it, especially if you are new to the concept of homeschooling or unschooling.

It got this response.

I’ve seen parents do unschooling well by still instilling learning even if it’s not with curriculum. I’ve seen horrid jobs where their older kids spend their days playing video games, not able to do simple math and unable to read at 15. It’s a case by case situation.”

In my opinion, the person did not read the article but just responded in her own judgmental way to what she has previously perceived as parental error. The following was my response.

“Maybe that kid who spends most of his days playing video games is following a passion that will lead him to be the next Bill Gates. Maybe the kid that can’t do simple math has not found an interest or use for the subject just yet but will in time. I’ve never met a kid at 15, without mental delays that would hold him back regardless of whether or not you were trying to teach him to read, that cannot read at all. It kind of comes naturally in a world filled with print. There are kids (and adults) that are just natural doer’s, not readers. They learn and explore through the world at large, not through print. I’m a reader. I’d rather sink into the printed world than be out in it. My husband and sons are quite a bit different.
My point is that I don’t think it’s a case by case anything when looking from the outside of an unschooling family. Let’s not be so quick to judge what is and is not important learning for another human being.

We all need to stop worrying about what other people are doing and whether or not they are doing things the “right” way. Why can’t we believe they are doing what is best for the situation they are in, the people they are, the goals they have, and with the information they possess. Sure, mistakes will be made, poor choices will happen, but the best kind of learning will also happen. More people will grow into mature adults. The alternative is to control people so that they make the decisions that would seem right to YOU, not them. This does not make independent and self-governing adults.

Creating Students?

“We need to create students that think.” That is what I heard in a TED Talk this morning. To me this is fundamentally flawed thinking.

Children are created as thinking individuals. We don’t need to teach them to do that. They are born with the innate desire to know more, to understand the world around them. Schools take that from children. They create several kinds of citizens; good automatons, rebels/outsiders, and failures.

In my opinion, all children are born with genius inside them. If allowed and encouraged to investigate and grow, they will become what they were born to be in their own way, happy and satisfied.