Thursday, February 23, 2012

Traditions, Rituals and Habits - a Necessity?

I'm going to apologize ahead-of-time for the disjointed thoughts that will just kind of spew out.
 Okay, I'm a firm believer in unschooling. We spend the day watching educational videos, writing stories and plays, working with art and discovering science. However, in addition to trying to blend Charlotte Mason, Montessori and unschooling, we also do worksheets. We are combining lapbooking with a unit study on the solar system.
It does seem that a little structure and routine in our daily lives is a beneficial thing. It is necessary to a child's growth and development that they learn responsibility through chores. It is necessary that they learn self-discipline through chores and through completing their daily assignments.
How do children learn? Through imitation and play. LB learns spelling, math and reactions through imitating her sister. She learns by watching her granddad instruct her sister in the art of cooking (Italian, yum!) and recognizes scientific reactions weeks beyond the art lessons (oil & water, food coloring, air lighter than water). CoM learns through watching the videos and reading on her own. She'll then practice narration and reteach sister and me.

I have been sadly lacking in my own self-discipline when it comes to Bible study and prayer - not that I don't pray for my friends and family. I just lack in the "morning and evening" time spent with God. How are my children going to learn the importance of relationship if I don't make time for that most important relationship in my own life?
How do I teach my children the importance of sleep to the body and rest to the mind if I don't practice a bedtime routine where we shut off the television, turn off all the lights but the dimmed lamp, and spend time together in prayer and reading bedtime stories? How am I to teach them about sweet dreams if I don't pray a good night's rest over them?
The psalmist says that we are to seek Him and praise Him all our lives. God says we are to call Him and seek Him with everything we are. Jesus went often throughout the day to spend a little quiet time with His Father for renewal and refreshment. Jesus said we are to "seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added" unto us, our lives, our ministries, our families. The psalmist says that if we "delight yourself in the Lord and He will grant the desires of your heart" - delighting ourselves in the Lord comes through obedience to His laws and His words; the most important of which Jesus says is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul...." and then He goes on to say that we are to "Love your neighbor as yourself". He also says that we are to be kind to one another, be gentle in spirit and in dealing with one another - all these behaviors and ways of treating each other will delight ourselves in the Lord. Spending time building a relationship with God will delight Him and will refresh our spirits.
Now, how do I teach my children to enjoy not just the beauty in the created but to delight and renew themselves in the Creator?

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