Saturday, January 25, 2014

Overdressed for Work

A person who is opposed to, struggles against, or competes with another; opponent; adversary.
Heavy thinking going on theses days. Mostly about educational issues. It's that time of year when I assess our home education goals and progress. It can get pretty stressful. Coffee in my new red mug and many outdoor walks help keep my poor little mind from having a total meltdown. The task, the progress and the actual implementation just seem insurmountable sometimes. After 14 years of doing this and one kid graduated and in college, I still can feel incapable and unsure. I see the goals. I have a grand new plan. My muscles are warmed up and ready to dive into my creative learning adventure...then the road blocks appear. The flu, the computer won't work, can't find that book anywhere, resistance from the student, interruptions of any and every kind. This is no fun anymore. The towel is in hand and ready to be thrown in. Who is this antagonist?? What is this nasty force that is bound and determined to frustrate and stop our good intentions?? Where does he come from and what is the motive behind his silent war??

I often am more motivated to hunt him down and neutralize the enemy than I am in ignoring him and pressing on with my eyes on the prize. His efforts work on me. Anger, hopelessness and surrender take over and, for a moment...or two or three...I give in. On goes the movie, off goes the alarm clock and I am down for service. Knowing full well that my giving up is futile. As much as I act like "I'm done", it's really just an act I put on for myself. I'm just trying out what it would feel like if I gave up. Giving up stinks. 

It takes awhile before I drag myself off the battle field and into the shelter of recovery. Bloody and aching, I regroup. That feeling of failure is the enemy. One glimpse of his smirking face looming over my wounded schoolhouse is enough to get my dander up. Without any idea of which direction to limp, I just get up. Trying not to think too much about the obstacles, I focus my attention on survival. Food, water and shelter. Math, reading and writing. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing fancy. Sometimes raw. 
I know better and yet I continue to repeat my error. In spiritual battles I need to be aware of the enemy's schemes and my own weaknesses. He knows my addiction to things being pleasurable and home educating isn't always that (sorry if that bit of news already hit the headlines). Home educating can be a spiritual battle. If I try to get too fancy, tempted to go forward doing pirouettes rather than just walking straight and grounded, he'll trip me up. I'll fall full onto a land mine, wishing I had worn my dungarees rather than my tutu. I don't actually own a tutu. It just worked well for the metaphor.

As much as I'd like to home educate with more creativity, flare and fun, sometimes those things get in the way. Sometimes our kids can't handle the frills and just need bare bones teaching. The last think my struggling learner needs right now is for me to impose my twirly educational methods on his struggling brain. It's time to get messy and do hard things. Do the unglamorous work of figuring out his unseen obstacle and help him around it. The Antagonist hates that. He wants me dancing around the battle field thinking it's a stage or playground. What I really desire is victory not pleasure...although there is great pleasure in just has to be paid for first. 

" All pleasure must be bought at a price. For true pleasure, the price is paid before you enjoy it. For false pleasure, the price is paid after."-Ravi Zacharias

I've changed my clothes and remembered my directive. It's time to jump back into the invisible battle, this time, leaving the Antagonist to fight alone...without help from me.

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