Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Quest

A lot of things are swirling and twirling in my mind these days. Many thoughts about how I want to lead my life, what I want my children to learn and how to live contently. Everything seems to point back to leading a more simple life. My journey started a few months ago. Let me start at the beginning.

It all started with reading a few blogs, Internet sites and books about homeschooling. I was researching the legalities and complexities of doing so in Florida; and the more I read, the more I realized homeschooling isn't just a way to teach. It's a way of life. You see, homeschooling, for so many if not most, is a 24 hour thing. It doesn't begin or end with the ringing of a bell. Learning and teaching is a daily, minute by minute thing. Every moment, every minute is an opportunity to enjoy the world of knowledge. After all, the things that are most important in life are NOT taught at school, are they? How to be a good person. How to be happy. How to be spiritual. How to be a good brother. etc etc. For us, it does not mean that we don't have any fun around here. I don't mandate reading of educational material only or the playing of only educational toys. I don't make my child read, write and 'rithmatic 24/7. It just means that learning and teaching can be done from anywhere at anytime. It means, as parents, we have to do our best to create learning environments, opportunities and materials as much as possible.

In the course of providing these things for our children, our place has become more cozy, more intimate. It has become a fun place to not only learn, but live fully. I'd like to go a step further and create even more spaces for cuddling up with a good book or setting up a cool experiment.

So, while we created this learning environment and enriching our lives at the same time, I began reading more and more about living simply. It's not about going "Amish" as they say and unplugging everything. Although, I'll admit, we had our cable tv turned off and no longer watch it at our house (but we do catch our very favorites online or at my parent's place). It's not about taking away the video games or electronics (we still have these on hand). It's not about going off the grid and living off the land (although for some it is). It's just about simplifying your life and learning how to be content. Life isn't always happy. Life isn't always grand and momentous. Sometimes, you just have to be content, knowing there will be some great, fantastic, magical moments; and sometimes, there will be stressful, hard, rough moments to get through too. The in between times occur most often..the ordinary, everyday life we all lead. What we make of them is what matters. And I think a lot of people (myself included) struggle with that. To be content within yourself and not want or need or ask for more or something better is a difficult task.

I want my children to learn by example. How can I expect my 8 year old to be mindful, patient and responsible, if I was wasteful? How can my children learn to be truly content if Mommy or Daddy isn't? Sure, they too can learn later in life..but will they? Being Christmastime, I've realized it's even more important to lead by example. Too many wasteful, never to be played with again after a few days presents under the tree would be going against everything I am learning and wanting to teach my children. There are certain values and morals we would like our children to learn, and I realized I wasn't always practicing what I preached. And the learning was so much more non spontaneous when there was tv watching, video game playing and emails to do.

Even in just a few short months, we have changed so much as a family. We are closer. We are happier. And best of all, we are more content. Our marriage is stronger. We have slowed down, spent less and savored more. We are beginning to rid ourselves of negativity and things that were loading us down. Some things were done out of necessity (darn economy!) and most things were done just because we felt the need to personally change our lives and the lives of our children. We have a long way to go, but I feel we are finally on the right track.

Everyone has a different journey in life. I'm not saying how we are living is the "correct" way or the "best" way. All I know is that it's working for us. How are we doing this? What steps have we taken? Where have we gotten our ideas? Coming soon!

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