We find ourselves often boiling things down–trying to shake off the ‘cultural stigma’ that envelopes each of these questions, to strip off the layers of indoctrination that are impossible not to have. There are so many levels of baggage with somethings. For our family there is a constant evolution of removal and addition; taking away the things that aren’t essential but are inherited. Often, I pick certain times in history and think, ‘would Laura Ingalls have had that toy?’, ‘would the Israelites have spent 6 hours a day doing school work?’. Sometimes I look toward the future and consider, ‘will it matter when she’s 23 if she could read chapter books at age 7?’
I recently got an email offering potentially free products should I blog about ‘What’s Essential‘. Well, I love the products already (Nordic Naturals), and I really liked that theme. So, I’ll take inspiration wherever I find it!
As a homeschooler, person of faith, and parent there are so many times throughout any given day when I question whether what we’re doing is an essential part of our lives–if it’s something that truly matters; something that has real value to our family. Is the curriculum we’re offering challenging enough? Is the food we’re eating nutritious enough? Are the programs we’re involving the kids in important enough?
Ultimately, these questions are just a gauge. We are not the Ingalls–no matter how much we dream. We are not living in ancient Israel, and the future is really out of our control. But, it puts things in perspective; it helps me remember that the focus, the essence of our days should be: love, joy, fun, and gratitude. Shedding everything else, if we can’t laugh together at the dinner table, bake cookies for friends, dance for no reason, swing for hours, have tea parties to our hearts content, and constantly offer thanks to the Creator for the bounty of goodness in our lives…well, nothing else really matters. 2 plus 2 will equal 4 whether my three year old agrees or not, the order of the presidents will go unaltered should we save memorizing them for another day. These four words are our essential things, these are the fundamentals that we want to build our family foundation on. So, all things, from how we eat, to what we wear, to gardening and our work, how we spend our money and how we spend our weekends, they are all measured by these essentials.
If everyone spent their days focused on these 4 things, if education encompassed these ideals primarily–books second, if our nation were filled with people who craved these things over riches and power–well, that’s the world I want to live in, be a part of. The most powerful way I can make it happen, that anyone can make it happen is to keep them from being secondary as they often seem to be. Imagine if they were everyone’s essentials…