As Gibbie is three years old now with Ezra almost two(!), and soaking up the world like sponges, becoming more and more themselves every day; as we encounter new ethical dilemmas to find some way to work through with them; as we chart our own course through this sometimes-weary world, we are thinking about education. About how we learn things, yea how we learned to learn. About love and how we love each other. About character, how it develops. About society and culture, how we participate in them, how we contribute and help to sustain, and when we withdraw from them. As we have watched good friends choose schools for their dear little ones and as we have spent a year trying out preschool, we have been thinking about those things that are ours to give our children, those things that are our responsibility to bequeath, and those things that are beyond us entirely. What must we let them choose themselves? Are there paths cannot or must not travel with them, even now? What can we give them to help them chart their course?
At first I thought, well, I want them to love reading, art, every book that I love, camping, lakes and poetry and rain. Going deeper, we want them to love people, to care for the land, to think hard, to feel deeply, to follow Jesus and to serve the poor.
But already, we have wished for them many things which they must choose themselves, with all their will, if they are to have them at all! Alas, we can't shape them like clay, they are not so much ours as that! More on this in another post.
At the same time, they need so much from us, if they are to have a fighting chance; more than we can give, small as we are. Each one needs so much love, such intimacy. To know by daily experience that we listen to their voice, that we look at them with love, that we are watching over them, to pick them up when they fall. We let them watch us forgiving and being forgiven, working through disappointments and anger and sorrow. They will see us pray and work and listen. Sing and make, fix and worship.
Then with, God's help, they will somehow, between Him and their own selves and us, learn and become truly themselves.