It is my intention to read the daily Mass readings in the morning, but developing the discipline is still a work in progress. Today, however, I read them and was enriched as I always am. Here is a link to the readings:
6/27/17 Mass readings After reading, I was led to think about how this applies to my life right now.
In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells us to not cast our pearls before swine as they will only trample them underfoot. Pigs do not know what is truly valuable. Or, rather, they value something different than we do because they are pigs and not people. He also tells us that we should seek to enter through the narrow gate that only few find because the broad road that many find leads to destruction. If we do not know what is truly valuable and seek it out, we will not find it. It seems to me, that my most important job, both as a parent and as a homeschooling teacher is to help my children to know what is truly of value so that they will desire it. If they come to desire it, then they will take measures to attain it. If they don’t see a thing’s value, why would they work to attain it?–especially sacrificial work, often giving up the world’s goods and pleasures. The only way a person is going to resist the pull of the crowd down the broad road toward destruction is to strongly desire what is at the end of the hard narrow road so much that he will fight for it.
So, what is truly valuable? Our relationship with God. This is the Pearl of great price. This is what we must show to our children as being most valuable and to be desired. We also need to show them the way to attain this Pearl. It doesn’t do any good to know what is valuable and to desire it if you have no idea about how to attain it. How can we show them that a relationship with God is desirable and teach them how to attain it? You guessed it–we must live it ourselves day in, day out, good times, bad times. We must model with our lives the choice to put God first. We do this in many ways–being attentive to how we need to grow in virtue and taking measures to improve, receiving the Sacraments regularly, daily prayer in private and with the family, studying, serving. If we are doing this sincerely and consistently, that is the best lesson we could teach them.
With this in mind, from an educational standpoint, what should we do to give our kids the best possible chance at life? For my family’s situation, I believe homeschooling is the best option. I want to be able to nurture the desire for God that is already there in their innocent hearts. I want to be able to teach them the faith as we encounter daily events. I want to choose a curriculum that is thoroughly Catholic to strengthen and equip them when they encounter opposing viewpoints. We can’t afford Catholic school for all of our children and (thanks be to God) we are blessed to be able to live off of one income so that I can homeschool them and avoid the extra problems that would arise from the public school situation. I am not saying that parents can’t raise their children to be good Catholics using public schools. I am just saying that it is less than optimal for teaching what is most desirable and valuable, so if it can be avoided, I choose to avoid it.
One concern I continue to have is that we are in the modern era of technology everywhere. If you are a dinosaur like me, you will go extinct. You must be comfortable with the tools of work in the modern world. It is not what I like, but it is how things are and will continue to be. I worry that, with homeschooling, perhaps my kids will be missing out on very important lessons involving computers, higher math, and science. I don’t have the skills, equipment, and other resources necessary to teach those things as well as they would be taught in the public school. There are some classes homeschoolers can take advantage of, but it is hard sometimes to come up with the money or time to haul them here and there with little ones underfoot, so it doesn’t happen as often as I would be comfortable with. Am I not doing my kids a disservice by not putting them in the public school environment that will give them the best exposure to the things that will allow them to be successful in the new world we are entering–math, science, technology?
The first reading from Genesis spoke to me of the answer to this concern I continue to have. Abram and Lot had too much livestock and had to part ways to keep the peace. Abram let Lot choose which land he wanted. He chose the land that looked the best. So Abram took what remained. Right after this, God told Abram that his descendants would inherit the land he now stood on. That they would be numerous and blessed. In other words, he was blessed supernaturally because of his faith in God, not because of the good-looking land. In fact the “good” land turned out to be a disastrous cesspool of sin that was destroyed. So, I feel comforted that if we choose to put God first in our homeschools and do the best with what we have as far as classes and curricula, God will bless us with what we need when we need it. If we seek first the Kingdom of God, all the rest will be added unto us. This is a faith issue. I struggle with faith, so it is good to keep feeding it and remembering the blessing of God in my life. He is faithful. Reading the scriptures can help us to make the right choices for our families by keeping our eyes on the Prize.