Thursday, March 27, 2014

Focus on What Matters

Anyone that has poked around The Zoo Crew, even the slightest little bit, surely has discovered that we are living a life a little less ordinary.  Life has a way of catching us off guard, turning us on our heels, and sending us in a whole different and unexpected direction.  I am not saying this is bad, per say.  It does however pose some challenges.  As the years have gone by we have learned more and more how to respond more effectively and transition more quickly to our new found place in life.

I have learned to pray more; more often, more fervently, and more specifically.  Life is SO MUCH easier when I start my day with prayer and bible study.  It is AMAZING the difference this one act can make on the quality of my day.  Beginning in prayer sets the tone for the day, and it centers my focus.  I am more conscious of my purpose and much more aware of what is truly important.

Listen to my words, Lordconsider my lament
Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. 
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
 Psalms 5:1-3

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  
 Phillipians 4:6-7

Our newest transition involves two beautiful girls and a headfirst dive back into active homeschooling.  We have learned some things along the way, and we are working on making a safe and stable home for the entire family.  This means some trial and error has taken place, and we have had to learn a new way of living.  One thing that we do is to begin and end our day with biblical focus.  The kids love it, and it brings us together as a family.  So, not only am I beginning my day in the bible, but the children are as well.

Currently, we are reading the book of Luke.  We have traveled our way through the Old Testament over the last year, learning lessons through our previous curriculum. We loved it and look forward to more in depth study in the future.  Now, we are beginning the day with me reading an entire book from the bible.  Then Harmony reads aloud a complementary bit from another source reinforcing what we just read and helping her to grasp the scripture more fully.  All of the kids enjoy this part of our day, and it sets a nice tone.

I share this with you to demonstrate that we are focusing on what is important and cutting a lot of slack in other areas.  The biggest lesson that I have learned is that there are seasons in all of our lives, and the areas of most importance change with those seasons.  Through it all our foundation, our relationship with Christ, holds the highest importance.  It matters not if we travel the valley, climb the hills, or rest on a plateau.  Our connection with Christ is our life force.  It is our purpose; our guiding light.

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: 
but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
- Ephesians 6:4

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, 
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
- Mark 10:45

For our family it has become essential to get back to the basics, find our center, and focus on the core.  Your basics, your center, and your core are very likely different than ours.  What it means for us now, during this season of our lives, is to slow down and focus on the basics.  We are learning to lean on Christ, respect ourselves and others, and to live life with an others focus instead of a self focus.  It is more challenging than you might think.

What does this mean for our family?

Aside from putting Christ first in our daily lives, each day we keep the same "schedule".  This means we try to have the same flow throughout each day.  The exact time on the clock may not be the same, but the order in which we do things is consistent.  This fosters a sense of security and stability for the kids, and it is remarkable the effect it has on their behavior.  This becomes completely evident when we stray from it too long!

You see?  I am really not a schedule person.  I am a total unschooler at heart, and I LOVE freedom!  However, the most important thing in the happiness, well being, and educating of my children is by far for me to maintain a consistent schedule.  This means 24/7, even on Sabbath!  UGH!  I do it kicking and screaming all the way, but each time I get too "relaxed" with my approach I am quickly reminded of the error of my ways.  So, we keep a schedule of sorts, and the kids thrive in knowing what to expect next.  

He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, 
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
- Proverbs 10:4

In regard to "academics" I have also discovered that there is a season for things of a school nature as well.  We follow a basic outline, but it changes greatly based on our current circumstances, the needs and desires of our children, and even the weather.  Yes, the weather!  Life is seasonal, and learning is life.  So, it makes perfect sense that what we learn flows with the seasons.  I am excited for spring this year for possibly the first time ever.  We are on land now, and we have young children, and this winter was C-O-L-D.  We have projects waiting to be done, and we have children desperate to be outside.  This year will be my first year purchasing rain coats.  We will be outside rain or shine, as long as it is warm enough, all spring, summer, and fall for the first time ever in my life.  The land will not wait for us.  It will do its thing whether or not we are outside and active, so if we want to achieve the plans we have we need to work diligently.

In academics, now is a time for us to explore writing, reading, and math with excitement and interest, not drudgery.  I strive to create an environment rich with opportunity for learning in order to foster natural curiosity and interest.  So far, so good.  The difference is that we are fitting these core subjects in AROUND the things that foster character and family bonding.  Things like cooking, household responsibilities, playing games and doing puzzles, free play, writing to friends and family, doing kind deeds, and being helpful.

Trust me.  There was a time when I could not have approached life in this manner.  I was too busy washing the dishes and folding laundry to focus on the character building opportunity before me with my children.  Our unique circumstances have fostered a new desire for this batch of children currently in my charge.  I am more concerned about their heart, their soul, and their spirit.  I recognize that all those other things, the academics, will come in their own time, naturally.  They need not be forced, and it is all learning, all connected, and all important.  Sometimes we just need to adjust our focus.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...