I copied this passage this morning from Farrar's Life of Christ. It is Jesus' last journey to Bethany.
"Jesus did not love cities, and scarcely ever slept within their precincts...and though the necessities of His work compelled Him to visit Jerusalem...He seems to have retired on every possible occasion beyond its gates--partly because He loved that sweet home of Bethany--and partly, too, because He felt the peaceful joy of treading the grass that groweth on the mountains rather than the city stones, and could hold gladder communion with His Father in heaven under the shadow of the olive trees, where, far from disturbing sights and sounds, He could watch the splendor of the sunset and the falling of the dew...
"The exquisite beauty of the Syrian evening, the tender colors of the spring grass and flowers...the distant hills bathed in the primrose light of sunset, the coolness and balm of the breeze after the burning glare--
"[W]hat must these have been to Him to whose eye the world of Nature was an open book, on every page of which He read His Father's name!"
My daughter texted me--at midnight--that I should go read Delphian Volume 4 pp. 40-43. It talks about Early Christianity in the days of Rome. This idea struck me:
Jesus left no writings. Nothing was written down until some time after his death. Yet, "we know much of his wonderful personality, which the greatest students of Christianity admit to be the essence of the faith. It was the striking personality which gave such a pulse of life to his teachings... Their religion was something to be felt rather than expressed in words."
We spend so much time worrying about teaching skills to our children, but what we are trying to accomplish here at WEH is to develop their personalities.
There is a section in the Restoring the Art of Storytelling book where the storytellers talk about warming your own heart first:
"The parent...should first enrich his own personality through an understanding of the essential values of literature and of life. The person whose life is colorless, whose emotions are pallid, whose experience is narrow, whose appreciation of beauty is undeveloped, whose knowledge of literature is limited, should face squarely the fact that he is not the one to guide the development of a child. He should kindle the flame in his own life before he attempts to pass on the torch." (Esenwein)
(P.S. Don't let that statement discourage you! You only have to be one step ahead of your kids. :) )
How to obtain a rich personality: "By loving the beautiful, by reading the worth-while, by filling the mind with those things that are worth passing on, by cultivation of a cheery disposition, by striving towards high ideals." (Eggleston)
"Love paints the pictures, writes the poems, sings the songs, bears the burdens and does all the great and abiding deeds." (Wyches)
"A deep and abiding soul life is more important than the mouthing of many words. The measure of our influence is not what we say but what we are..." (Wyches)
"The story which lacks an inner spiritual quality is...devoid of power to stir a soul." (Edward St. John)
Why do I not focus on academics? Because there is something deeper within all of us!
John Wanamaker was once asked to invest in an expedition to recover from the Spanish Main doubloons which for half a century had lain at the bottom of the sea in sunken frigates.
"Young men," he replied, "I know of a better expedition than this, right here. Near your own feet lie treasures untold; you can have them all by faithful study.
"Let us not be content to mine the most coal, to make the largest locomotives, to weave the largest quantities of carpets; but, amid the sounds of the pick, the blows of the hammer, the rattle of the looms, and the roar of the machinery, take care that the immortal mechanism of God's own hand--the mind--is still full-trained for the highest and noblest service."
I've been talking about Imagination resources in the Take 5s the last couple of weeks. Someone pulled up an old post and I think this is worth posting again. It was in response to a mom who said she is a literal thinker. She likes her days mapped out.
You are describing the mind-culture we are as a people--very much in control. It's the system almost all of us have been raised in. Yes--you are a literal thinker. And so is just about everyone else. It's the lack of 'imaginative' power-the thinking of the heart-that is causing problems in the world in my opinion. Imagination is the seat of empathy, motivation, hope, vision, dreams. And we shut down its development by focusing on that which we can test and measure in childhood. The act of decoding words does not make a child a reader. The act of constructing a sentence does not make a child a writer. ONLY the imagination can do that. And the imagination can ONLY be developed in the atmosphere of freedom and a generous supply of the arts--story, music, poetry and picture. Mechanized learning interferes.
So what does leaving the shore look like? The risk is you lose control. You let your child bloom according to the seeds planted within individual hearts. You allow for failure.
The plus side--an awakening to beauty, love, joy--all expressions of the heart. The heart cannot be accessed through the mind. But the mind, that is accessed through the heart, will be whole. Scientists who studied Einsteins brain said the connections between the two sides were massive. He used his whole brain--that is the secret of his genius and the secret to ours.