Estimated reading time: 4 minute(s)
Have you noticed how compartmentalized we tend to view life? While there certainly is truth to the “time and a place for everything” there is also the truth to “in everything moderation.” But for whatever reason (honestly, I would like to investigate this further and discover the root cause or causes) there is a very strong tendency to separate, categorize, and otherwise segment our lives.
Think about it. The “separation of church and state” immediately comes to mind. It is proclaimed frequently as the bedrock of our society in political circles, the two shall never cross. (It’s really misinterpreted as well, but that’s for another day.)
As a home schooling family, we’ve seen many families who adhere to a more strict schooling schedule: a certain time of day, certain days of the week, and certain months of the year, like the public school system.
We also keep our spiritual life nicely bottled up for our more spiritual moments. Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, small groups, youth groups, mens groups, ladies groups, personal devotion times, and all sorts of “spiritual times.” (Check out this super-old post for more thoughts on this.)
What I’m noticing lately is that when we do compartmentalize and segment our lives so, we tend to imagine that we are somehow able to be different things at different times. That when we are in a spiritual place or time, then we are a spiritual being. When it is time for school, then we are learning.
To a degree, that is most certainly understandable. We do have different roles within our day. Just by our birth, we have different relationships with some people. But does that translate well to other times? When I am with my wife, I am married. When I am with my kids, I am a dad. Not really. We wouldn’t ever say those relationships cease when we are not in a physical time and space where they are evident. We may focus our energy at times on something else (for instance, a job) but we are still a spouse, and a parent, and a child of God.
Life with God is not about a time and place. I’ve said that for so many years here, so I won’t expound there. (If you want to read more, get my book … it’s a good read.) 😉 In our segmented way of thinking, there is a danger of compartmentalizing God that way; putting him in a box.
Same goes with parenting. Whether I am actively caring for and leading my children, or not, I am still a parent. And really, everything I do is part of that. When I am working, I am helping earn money to keep us under a roof and fed. When I am reading or writing, I am thinking about life and processing those thoughts and attempting to understand more of life that I can later pass along to them.
This can also be better applied to our education. As mentioned previously, we’ve been thinking about education a lot lately. One thing that I have always felt that we home schoolers miss out on is the complete integration of our education with our whole lives. Most of us get it on some level, but I’d say not many really live it out. Rather than setting aside a time for “school” there can be such freedom—and perhaps even more learning?—in seeing all of the opportunities to learn (and teach) in the course of “everyday life.” Everywhere we go, everything we do often has teachable moments, whether merely practical (preparing meals, maintaining a home, etc) or moral lessons stemming from interaction with siblings, parents, and friends.
The “lessons” also integrate with what a more structured school might categorize as math, science, english, or any of the other subjects. We use all of those things every day in so many ways, when we are thinking about it, and looking for teachable moments, they are easy to spot and pass along. And in the regular course of life, they are very readily accepted. Then, when there is a spark in the mind and eyes of your child for some particular topic, delve further into it. The library is your friend!
It’s fun to learn. All the time. From waking up, to bedding down. There is so much to learn, and I think from the moment we are born we are keen to it. It’s fun to see our 9-month-old learning about his world. He is so curious about everything! It’s just in us. We want to know more, and yet, when we’re forced to sit and learn at a specific time… it often forces the love of learning right out of us.
So we here at the GregsHead.net world headquarters are trying to live a more integrated life. We never turn anything “off” (except, I suppose I do intentionally take breaks from my work … though somewhat difficult being the owner of (at least) two businesses…) instead we are always learning, loving, and listening. We don’t limit our life in God to spiritual events and times. We don’t limit our learning and education to “school” times. We are all of who we are at all times in all ways.
Said that way, it seems a monumental task. But there is such freedom in just being. Give it a try, if you are able… Just be.