- We have all been sick to varying degrees over the past week, but it hit me hard Saturday night. Haven’t felt that badly in years. Once again, it makes me deeply grateful for my good health and a little paranoid about how long it will last. As well as that sense of urgency about what am I doing with my time…
- Well, for now, what am I doing with my time is mostly the vocation of mothering some kids, and I am good with that and grateful for it, too.
- Still a little leftover hacking, but in general we are all on the mend.
- I liked this from Tom Hoopes:
- I hated school. I hated sitting still. I hated being forced to negotiate the politics of 8-year-olds’ social relationships. I hated having to figure out what version of an answer a teacher wanted. I hated feeling ripped in an untimely way from the world I knew and placed in an artificial world I knew not. And most of all, I hated math.
Meanwhile, miles away in California, the beautiful young April Beingessner was undergoing a very different psychological process.
To her, the “Back to School” sign was the welcome sign on the gateway to the community of learning. She had a rightly ordered attitude toward school.
School for her was a place to build her future in brief forays into another world. Her school day began at home with her mother waving good-bye and ended at home with her mother’s welcoming hug. Home gave her a foundation. School was a chance to discover herself in relationship to others; home base, and mom, were always there, waiting.
It was what school did to her relationship with her sister that gave her pause. The way April describes it, she and her older sister had a warm, playful relationship with its healthy give and take just as the Irving Berlin song describes. But then came school.
Her sister was almost three years older. The elementary school put a three-year chasm between them as absolute as the one between Lazarus and the Rich Man in the afterlife. The lower and upper grades rarely mixed, and when they did, her sister treated April exactly the way she treated every other person in her grade: she ignored her.
What had happened? School had happened.
The artificial environment of the modern school in each case created pressures that worked against the little versions of Tom and April. The model offered no in for socially challenged little Tommy, and it offered no out for the socially adept April and her sister — no way to meld the social identity with the family identity.
The two phenomena have the same root cause. By the time we showed up, schools had ceased being places that complement home life. They had become places that contravene home life. John Dewey and his followers did that purposely.
The fathers and mothers of the modern education system wanted schools to remold young people into good citizens — as they conceived good citizens to be. Families deeply inculcate values in children. That includes good values to reinforce, like altruism, but also bad values to mitigate, like racism. But the reformers threw the baby (family-rooted culture) out with the bathwater (occasionally backward values). Actually, it was even less benign than that: One of the “bad family values” to be discouraged was religion — the basis of meaningful social order.
- My other objection to the toll schools – of all kinds, nowadays – take on family life is time and energy. Some people are into school and that kind of “school family” and community. Go for it. Others (*raises hand*) just want you to teach my kid well and then let us be. I’ll even pay you for it, just don’t try to take over our family life with your projects and meaningless homework and fundraisers and freaking weekly packets.
- Here’s what happened when I went to Mass yesterday: All the Mass propers chanted, some in English, some in Latin. All Mass parts chanted in Latin. A couple of traditional Lent hymns. Incense. Priest, two deacons, maybe 6 or 7 altar servers. Total respect for people receiving the Eucharist on the tongue, even kneeling if they like. No judgy-ness or side-eye or insisting people get up off their knees. Several women and girls in veils, no judgy-ness either way. Full church, very diverse congregation in terms of age and ethnicity. African-American female lector. Babies squawking here there. No problem. Schola singing beautifully. Minimal organ because it’s Lent. Strong homily taking off from the meeting of Jesus with the Woman at the Well, in which the following was pulled out: a personal encounter which Jesus himself initiates, an encounter in which understood we are known and loved, in which we come to know this savior because he tells us the truth about ourselves, as uncomfortable as it may be, and encounter which does not end there, but moves outward, as we share who this Jesus is and why he is the Christ.
- No lameness. Space for you to bring whatever you have going on in your life, right there, to the Lord, without being emotionally manipulated into feeling one way or another by insistent worship leaders or sentimental pop music with lyrics in the first person. A concrete manifestation of universality across space and time. All are welcome. Anyone can walk in from the street and just be there in the midst of it.
- I want to say, “it’s not that hard.” But the fact is, it actually hard. It takes practice and patience and open-mindedness and strength, sometimes, to resist prevailing winds.
- But it can be done. Obviously.