Longing for Real Education

When I was in college at the University of LaVerne, we did “The Threepenny Opera”. I remember building the set and painting it. I was very proud of that set. There were some catchy tunes in the show as well, that I still hear once in a while and smile at the memory of the production. But I don’t remember learning anything about the play, its authors, or its history. I remember learning about production work; designing, painting, lighting. I remember hearing the performance classes in the hall as I painted and set light angles. But I don’t remember really reading the play and understanding where it came from and what it was meant to portray. It came up in a book I’m reading today and it sounds so fascinating. I’m a tad disappointed at my short college experience once again.

I wasn’t planning on going to college but during my senior year of high school, our theater department participated in a university contest of sorts. Everyone brought their best work and entered it in several different divisions. This was the first one I’d been to that had a division for “design” which was what I was primarily interested in. I won first place that weekend and fell in love with the campus and the theater department there. The next year I was enrolled and looking forward to “real” education far beyond the boring and repetitive stuff we were learning (again) in public high school.

One year into university life and I was bitterly disappointed. The same old “general education” classes, taught the same way. The only good part was the freedom I had in the larger theater realm. I went for one more semester and dropped out when I got a part-time job at Knott’s in their Entertainment Department. That proved to be a great move on my part, contrary to the naysayers around me.

What I did miss was the chance at a “liberal education”. I wanted to read philosophy, learn more history, biography, and art. I wanted to read the classics and discuss them with people that were yearning to learn more about the world as well. All I got was training. Theater was a great creative outlet and we did have some awesome discussions in my theater history class, but other than that I was stuck in math, grammar, and basic history filled with dates of wars and political wins and losses. I was bored, so I left.

Here I am twenty-five years later just scratching the surface of classic literature and philosophy with no one to sit and talk to about it. I think that’s the one thing I’d love to snap my fingers and have in my life; a community of open-minded learners to sit and discuss books and ideas with over coffee and pie.

Self Help

I was just listing to the Isaac Morehouse podcast and heard something fascinating. A “placebo effect”. Why don’t we research that more? If our minds have the power to heal us physically and mentally, then why wouldn’t we be researching how to actively make that happen? I’ve been given a sugar pill and told that it is an anti-depressant. I feel better and go about my life making other people happy, being productive. The power of my mind did that, not the pill. So why not figure out what that is and how it works? Some people have. There are loads of positive thinking books, meditation techniques, etc., but most people including scientists just dismiss the idea. Is it because something like this would set people free from a drug company or medical profession? Is it because having the knowledge and wherewithal to know how to start curing yourself would make you an independent thinker? If I knew I could change my way of thinking and create a better world for myself mentally and physically, I may not ask a physician for help when I really need it, right? Why? Why not raise humans that know themselves well enough to say, “Hey, this isn’t working. I may need more help.” and then go get that help. I’ll tell you why I may not ask for more help. It’s because I know that the physician or medical professional I end up asking for more help from will most likely disapprove of my trying to handle my own problem first before asking them to cure me. It’s because that person will not take me as I am, a person capable of thinking about and making her own decisions. They will take me a willful child that has attempted to thwart the authority of the doctors. Why not have doctors that support the idea that you would do best to make your own decisions about mental and physical healthcare and then ask for their help when you’ve exhausted your own resources, need a second opinion, or want the point of view from someone outside the situation.

A follow up to yesterday’s post!

My reading today was from Genesis 3, about the fall of man. You know, Eve taking the fruit and then giving it to Adam, which would make sense from yesterday’s post, right? I mean, if Eve was created as an ally to Adam, a kind of guide, then her taking the fruit and giving it to Adam would make sense. Adam, like a nut, went ahead and did what she told him without thinking about it. If you had a guide leading you through a desert and he said that you were going to jump off this cliff and then keep walking would it make sense to follow him? Wouldn’t you have some responsibility in your death if you just trusted something like that? So Eve hands him the fruit God specifically said not to eat and Adam takes it. When God questions him, he points at Eve. “She gave it to me. You said she was my ally and guide.” I can just see God shaking his head. Eve says the same thing. “That snake told me to do it.” They’ve both been given the gift of free will and neither of them accepts the responsibility that goes with it.

So where am I going? Well, yesterday I read and researched a bit the idea that Eve was not created merely as Adam’s helper but as his ally, partner, and guide. And I wondered what happened to that role? Why do we not promote that idea in the Christian church? It turns out, I think, that the answer is right in Genesis 3:16 “To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” There you go, folks. Childbirth was painful already but we willingly went through it because we were allied with our husband to “be fruitful and multiply” but now it would be very painful and make us not want to help our husband. Because of Eve’s role in the fall we will still desire to have children with him and he will rule over us instead of ally with us.

It sounds so sad. I wonder what Adam and Eve’s relationship looked and felt like before that. I wonder what their relationship with God looked and felt like! But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a similar relationship with our husbands. It doesn’t mean we are doomed to bear as many (or as few) children as our husband wants and live strictly under his rule. We were all given grace for our transgressions as a race of humans. Jesus was born and died to forgive all sins, including that first one that started it all. In my book, that’s just one more reason that I thank God for that gift. I have a wonderful partnership with my husband and I credit that to God’s grace on us both. It’s one more thing I thank God for every day, for my partner and my ally against the evils of this world.

Turn Around

Some songs that were just pretty or vaguely moving when I first heard them in my teens have become painful and clear with age and experience. I was listening to Pandora while I did the dishes this morning and heard “Turn Around”. I’ve always loved that song. What does it mean? The lyrics seemed to contradict themselves. Music lyrics are like poetry. Well, the good songs are anyway. They mean something. They are trying to express a feeling or concept. I love them. This one I just couldn’t decipher, until now.

I live this feeling. In the past, I’ve felt pulled in two by conflicting or irrational feelings. When I was younger and first married, I felt stranded between my family life and my independence. I could not succumb to the feeling of being eternally connected others. The responsibility of living up to what other expected of me was just too much. It still is at times. But then he’s there, kind, reassuring, calm, my solid rock that I can never let down, not because I cannot do wrong or fail but because he loves me unconditionally whether I’m happy or sad, rich or poor, grumpy or sweet. When I see that look in his eyes and feel his arms around me, I’m immediately lifted up and powerful. It’s wonderful and terrifying at the same time, a pain in my heart that I treasure more than life itself.

“15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management” by Kevin Kruse – Reading Notes

Why did I choose this book? I heard Kevin Kruse interviewed on a podcast! I know I’ve written those words before. I love productivity, time management, and leadership books. They give me great ideas and some of them I actually get to use. I feel like there is so much I want to do, so many ideas I want to communicate to the world, but I don’t feel productive or efficient enough to get anything more than the housework done. I do realize that this is just a period of my life that will change. There will be more time in the day to do these things in the future. There already is so much more time in my day than when my children were babies! But I get impatient and want to do something now. I mean, people ran farms and raised children. I think there should be a way to be able to at least read and write a bit each day!

Page 16 He asks, “What do you value most?” That’s what we should be focusing on. It’s probably cliché to say it, but my family is what I value most. I value time spent happy and relaxed with my husband and sons above all else. It’s why I turn down evening and weekend events, or reluctantly go when I can’t get out of them. I have precious little time on this earth. I want to spend it with them, not working on something else.

Writing this I feel like I’m having a small revelation. Why do I spend so much time trying to create some kind of homeschool social thing for others? I feel that they want it. They ask for it. And I want to show them that it is possible to create these things for ourselves without government help. Now that I’ve got something started, I want someone else to take it over and make it something even better, bigger. I want somewhere to be able to direct people who want social gatherings to. But I don’t want to be the social director either. I want to encourage others to take matters into their own hands and create something. Maybe I should step away from people and just write? But then I wonder if my words are getting across to anyone out there.

What is my MIT, “most important task”? It changes daily. Or does it really? Something I need to think about.

Messages, FB, emails. They only distract me from what I have already planned to do. Every message does not need to be answered immediately. There are no emergencies in my world. I can have loads of information up on the internet for people to read at their leisure and then ask me specific questions. I can answer them when I have time.

Revelation: It’s ok when things just don’t get done! Right?!

I really need to schedule a weekly lunch date with a friend. It’s making time for myself to connect with people in person. It’s a way for me to recharge.

Page 95 “…realize that every yes will be a no to something else when the time comes.” There is always an opportunity cost. Nothing is free. It doesn’t mean say no to anything that is out in the future. It means we need to realize that when we say yes, we need to mean it and will be forced to say no in the future. For instance, signing up for soccer ties up our time and we will need to say no to some parties. In our family’s case, signing up for a motocross series and it’s related practices will limit the amount of time we will have for family get-togethers and long hiking days.

Page 126 “Free Days” Days without any kind of work. I need these and I need to work on making them happen more often and not just when I give up on the whole “getting done” idea.

Page 145 Something I think is so true and I have really made happen this last year, “Life SAVERS: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing. It’s from Hal Elrod’s 6-Step Morning Routine.

Time management = More done with less stress. That’s why I read books like these!

A TIMER! I need to set a timer more often. I’ve noticed that I tend to get more done between laundry loads because I think, I’ll just keep doing X until the laundry is done and then take a break. I need to do that more often. Set an afternoon timer, one hour of focused time on writing something and then take a break for 15 minutes. It’s worked for cleaning. I bet it would work wonders for my writing.

Page 164 “Mute the phone and turn off notifications” That’s a must from today on. I can’t be jumping up from whatever I’m doing an answering messages from people. It’s going to have to wait.

Watching TV. I used to watch a lot more TV. It came on first thing in the morning. I’d turn on the news and just vegetate while I had a couple cups of coffee. A few years ago I stopped and decided I would spend that time reading and writing. It’s been amazing. Two hours every day. That’s 14 hours a week, 728 hours of reading! In the evenings, we like to watch a couple shows after dinner. That’s also about two hours of our day. I usually knit while we watch TV because I’d rather listen than watch most things. That’s another 728 hours of knitting!

Page 187 I might start to you an app like SelfControl or StayFocused on my phone during the day. I like to have my phone near me. I would like to answer if my Mom or Dad call. I use the calculator, listen to music and talk shows, take a note, or look for information. But then the phone is right there to tap FB or Email and just “see”. Then my mind is there for at least 10 minutes, probably more even after I close it. There are only 1440 minutes in a day, right?!

At the end of the book I wondered about a time-management speaker at a homeschool conference. That would be super helpful, wouldn’t it? I mean, all of us have a hard time being full-time Mom/Housekeeper and now educator as well. I wrote a post about it on my homeschool site. I wonder if I should suggest it to one of the statewide groups?

Just Stop

We all need to stop trying to change the world and focus on our immediate surroundings. Seriously. I’m starting to think that’s the only thing that really matters.

Are you stressed? Find a way to relax.

Husband angry and unhappy? Find something you can do that will make him happier.

Kids bored and disconnected? Find something you can do with them.

Your home needs repairs? Find one thing small and fix it or clean it up.

The bottom line is YOU and what YOU can do to make your immediate surroundings prettier, happier, and healthier. Stop looking for someone else to fix it. Stop worrying about getting the right politician elected. Stop looking a law to be passed that will make your life easier. Just stop.

If everyone worked on their own person and space, the whole world would be so much nicer. That’s what I’ve been doing. My life is happier the more I worry about that which I can actually reach out and touch instead of what my neighbor is doing.

I can’t!

I realized something on Monday afternoon at the indoor climbing gym with my younger son. My sons have been climbing for a year and I recently found the courage to give it a try. I really like it but I hate what it does to my poor hands! I’m getting stronger though and that’s nice. My sons encourage me by challenging me to try things they are doing. They help me by pointing me to different grips or showing me where to my feet to get to the next one. It’s fun to climb with them and it makes me proud that they want to spend time helping me. It’s a challenge for them as well. They are taller and stronger than I am and they have to take a few moments to really understand what they are doing to be able to share it with me. It’s that old “to teach something makes you know it even better than before” idea.

On Friday there were a few places I was trying to climb but couldn’t reach. My younger son pointed to a spot just above my knee and said, “Put your foot here.” “I can’t!” was my immediate reply. I tried something else and then gave up trying to get to the top. On Monday I gave that same route another try. He told me to put my foot there and push up. I looked at it and again immediately thought “I can’t.” without really even trying. Wait. I hadn’t even tried! I didn’t reach for it and miss. I didn’t try to lift my knee that high and fail. I just looked and gave up. I realized that right as I was about to give up and decided to actually try this time. It was easier than it looked! I pushed up and grabbed the next hand hold and got to the top.

You hear people telling others to try something. Don’t give up so easy! You haven’t even really tried. I would not have said that I was the kind of person to not even try, someone that is afraid to fail. What else am I saying “I can’t!” to without realizing it?