The credit union we use has a really neat statue in the entrance. I wish I had a picture of it. It's a mother and her two children all holding hands and wearing caps and gowns like they are all graduating. I love it. It seems to sum up so much of how I feel right now as I embark on this homeschooling journey.
As I teach my children, I learn so much myself. Not just facts that I pass on to the kids, but about child development, learning styles, educational philosophies, etc. It's wonderful to be a budding scholar alongside my children. It has reminded me of the important habit of modeling.
We all want to pass certain things on to our children. We talk about instilling a passion for reading, a lifelong love of learning, healthy habits, creativity, imagination, etc. We discuss endlessly how best to do it, but frankly, the best way to raise happy, healthy, creative, thriving adults is to be one yourself.
Children will desire and do what they see their parents doing. That's why there is study after study about how children need to see their parents (both parents!) reading for enjoyment in order for them to more readily do the same. A recent study basically said that boys don't read because they don't see their dads reading.
I want children who are knowledgable in their head, heart, and hands. But am I modeling that for them? Do I create throughout my day? Do I read and learn more every day? Do I actively try to listen and empathize with those around me? These are all things we can do more of each day. A fulfilling life does not stagnate. A whole-hearted person continues to learn and grow and try new things. You've never "done it all."
Maybe it's time to start learning again. College may be over, but you can still be a scholar! Here's some ideas to get you started.
Read, read, read (obviously)
Decide to learn something, anything and then do it. Really dive in. Maybe it's photography, politics, soccer, etc. If you let passion drive you, you won't get bored.
Learn a new language! I've been using duolingo. It's a website and an app. I love it! I do a little bit every day and I'm definitely learning spanish! If we're facebook friends, you should join and add me for some healthy competition!
Maybe you need to improve in the heart category. For this one I can't recommend Brene Brown's "Daring Greatly" enough. But here are some other ideas.
Get outside and enjoy the perfection and beauty of it.
Get into a spiritual groove. Even if you don't have a specified religion. Find faith in something and nurture it.
Set out on a journey to discover your purpose and follow it.
Unplug and talk with the people in your life.
Serve your fellow men.
What about your hands? Are you learning to create with them? This encompasses so much. Cooking, gardening, music, art, crafts, dance, building, repairing, the list could go on and on. Working with your hands nourishes the soul. Don't stop at what you already know how to do, try something else. The internet is abounding with tutorials, you can literally learn how to do anything you want (although mastering it is never a guarantee.) Let your kids see you develop talents old and new. Try and fail and try again. And you will fail. Make no doubt about it. But don't let that scare you!
My tips for this are start small. So you want to get better at photography? Don't go out and buy a huge expensive camera just yet. Learn all you can with what you have or the cheaper options and then move up when you've reached your limitations. The same goes for most endeavors. Learning to sew? Start on a basic machine. Garden? A small plot or a few pots will keep you plenty busy.
Be artistic even if you aren't "good." There is something healing in art, whether it's music, writing, painting, dancing. Whatever it is that fills your soul, do it, and then try something new. You may surprise yourself!
To me, living a "wholehearted" or soul-filling life requires a constant desire and effort to progress in all three of these areas. What have you done today? Did it fill your soul? Did you learn something new? What are your actions communicating to your children about what it means to be an adult?
I know I wrote this blog post like I was telling you to get to work, but really this is for me. These are the thoughts in my head. The things I keep reminding myself. Head, heart, hands. Head, heart, hands.