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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Approaching and Time for Reflection

It's really hard to believe that Christmas is approaching in just a few days. Where does all the time go? It seems like it was summer just a few weeks ago....
The blessed Christmas time for our family has always been a time to reflect back on our year. This special time of reflection is especially significant for Liz and I, probably as well for other parents. Liz and I often ponder the thoughts about our role as parents, and if we are fulfilling our God given vocation adequately in regards to our children.
As always, there is room for improvement.

Liz has recently begun Home Schooling Sean and Mackenzie. Our family room has been transformed into the class room and off they go. We are using curriculum from Saint Thomas Aquinas, a catholic classical home school program based in California.
By most standards of the current culture, most people probably see us as some kind of radicals. However, we don't really see ourselves as such. The whole progression started out very slowly.
We felt that our children were being molded and taught by television more than by us, the parents. What we were seeing on television, what was considered the norm, what our children were being taught as not only acceptable, but desirous, not only brought fear into my soul, but almost ensured that my children would become what they were so immersed in. This culture was a culture of self-centeredness, self-pleasure, greed, disrespect, and void of faith and God.
Liz and I made a decision to make TV extinct in our house and lives. I thought the children would throw a fit, but they didn't. It has been ~ 2 years now and I asked Mackenzie the other day if she missed TV, she responded a surprising "No."
The removal of the intruder (TV) left our family with so much more time, believe it or not. We had time to visit, play cards and games, read, play together. We enjoyed being together and spending time together. Just the removal of the influence of the TV made such a difference in our lives.
Well as time progressed, we began to evaluate our lives even closer. More and more people came into our lives that were either being home schooled, or were the products of a home school education. The one common factor we realized and noticed in them was a purity, a simplicity, a calmness, and a surety of knowing who they were.
Liz and I began to think once again about our role of being a parent. We thought of who were the main role models for our children? Who were the main teachers of the children? Who was spending the most time teaching our children?
And there it was, after being spoon fed by God, we were enlightened with the understanding that if we really wanted to be the main influence of our children, we needed to be the people that our children spend the most amount of time with. It is our obligation that in just the few formative years, we not only teach the children the most important values in life, but also ground them in the unwavering truths of our faith, Lord and God.
It did not take long to see how influential we could be toward the children. They love to be loved, they love to be taught, they love to be stimulated, and who knows a child better than their own parents.
As for homework, there is no such thing in our home school. Work is done in the morning, specifically geared toward them, and the afternoon is for playing with friends. Playing like we used to play when we were kids (building forts, playing fetch with the dog, playing mud football, laughing with friends).
So why do I go on and on?
I guess it is with such humility and gratitude that I can see the previous mistakes that we have made regarding turning our children over to the institutions (Schools) and allowing the filth of TV to penetrate, oh so subtlety, into the minds of the kids. It is with such thanksgiving that I am thankful for the courage and graces that God has given us to be unrelenting in our desire to take our commitment serious in regards to faithfully educating the children in the way that would be pleasing to our Lord.
This is a special time to acknowledge the birth of our Savior, and His willingness to be born of the Virgin Mary, and to walk the earth to show us the way. I pray that God will continue to show us the way, forgive us when we fall, help us to gain our footing again, and always desire us to be drawn toward him.
It isn't that we really are radical at all, but rather are attempting to hear God's quiet whisper of guidance in our life.
Again, a late night reflection on our ever transforming life, that probably isn't much different from other's lives.
To our many friends from the past and present, as well as for the new friends that are yet to be met, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Grace filled new year.

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