My kids and I are wrapping up Unit 1 in our Leadership program although I am going to spend one more week on “giving”. This is mostly for my own benefit because I think it is such an important concept and I believe I have a lot to learn in this area.
Over the last six weeks we’ve covered a variety of topics including “what you focus on you get”, “unlimited possibilities” and the importance of “vision and purpose”. We’ve studied the role “unconditional love” plays in our lives, the concept of “unlimited possibilities” and why “the secret to living is giving”. Mother Teresa embodies the qualities we have studied, so naturally, our leadership report for this unit centered on her life, her philosophies, her challenges and accomplishments and how we be more like her in our own lives. My children each wrote a beautiful tribute to Mother Teresa as the “final exam” for this unit. Reading each essay in its final form was very rewarding!
The humbling thing about home schooling is how much I am learning because of my kids. I am now fascinated with Mother Teresa, especially with regard to her selfless giving and her relentless commitment to her guiding principles. Her mission was to help one person at a time and in helping, she sought a personal connection with the abandoned and hopeless. When she sensed the connection was missing, she considered herself “off course”. Mother Teresa’s giving well never ran dry. Her internal resources remained in an eternal state of abundance, and that abundance allowed her to remain “on purpose”.
As I mentioned in a prior blog, the concept of giving is surprisingly challenging to teach to children. I am finding the “KISS” principle (keep it simple sweetie) to be most effective. Coincidently, as I was cleaning a closet this week, I ran across a book that I hadn’t read since my kids were little—“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I imagine most parents have read this book, but if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. It is a timeless and ageless story of selfless giving.
It’s the story of a boy and his favorite tree—The Giving Tree. He has a relationship with the tree through his entire life and depends on it for comfort and solitude. As the boy matures from toddler, to young man, to middle age and then his golden years, The Giving Tree always has something to give to the boy. The moral of the story is that no matter what how exhausted, tired or “spent” we are we always have something to give to others.
This “grand leadership experiment” of mine has been fascinating so far! And it’s only just begun. My education specialist asked me if I think it’s working. I am hopeful that it is, although I am well aware of the fact that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. My kids have been mostly receptive to my cause. Their emotions have ranged from extremely bored to wildly inspired (and a lot of in between). So, is it working, you ask? Evidence is mounting that it is. I say this as my children are yelling insults to each other while making cookies. I am choosing to believe that this temporary setback is due to the amount of sugar they are ingesting at the moment.
But, overall, the seeds that have been planted through 30+ hours or so of training are starting to sprout. I see it in their interaction with each other and towards my husband and me. We are definitely closer. I catch sound bites of conversations they are having with each other that include “little tidbits” from our lessons. I get continual requests for “calming meditations” and “visualizations” before we go to sleep. While these seem to be positive indications, a simple sign from God would be beneficial to my ego!
I believe children are very close to God, and while they may not “get” everything we discuss on a purely intellectual level, they get it spiritually. My delusion is that because of this time we are spending, they will understand the power of choice and how their thoughts and decisions affect the quality of their lives. Ultimately, they will incorporate these tools to create a spectacular life!