Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Measure of Success

"The measure with which you measure will be measured back to you."
-Luke 6:38

We measure; we quantify; we can't help it. We're human. And we want our children to succeed. To be successful, according to however we measure success, which may be different (ok, I hope it's different) than how society measures.


Many homeschooling mothers want, in the end, to grow adults who love to learn, who aren't afraid to try new things, who love God, who are self-motivated. But sometimes the way we motivate and measure sends a different message to our kids.

Recently, my husband and I had dinner with a high-power business executive. He found homeschooling to be fascinating but incomprehensible. He regaled me with his own thoughts on education for quite some time.

He went on to say that if my husband's job ever takes us to his city, the schools there are "very good." He told me about his own children, how gifted they were in music. The schools in his area all have very good music programs. His children played all through school, competed nationally, and won multiple awards. Now, his job is slowing down and he finally has the time to learn an instrument. He has begged his kids to help him and to make music with him. "But they aren't interested in making music anymore. Least of all," he added drily, "with me."

Mmm. Yes, very good music program.

Charlotte Mason wrote, "At the end of a child's education the question is not how much does the child know, but how much does the child care."

But on a daily basis, I'll admit, I am tempted to emphasize the importance aquiring knowledge at a given rate over giving my kids time to process and really relate to what they are learning. Caring takes more time than aquiring.

How do I measure success? How am I measuring success now- does it jive with the ultimate success I envision for my children? Or is there a disconnect? Will measuring my child by comparing him or her to other kids, or to a scope and sequence chart, result in the type of success I want to see in him or her in 20 years?

If the measure (comparing my child to other children his age, expecting him to be interested in- today- what someone else thinks he should be interested in, muscling through and gettin'er done) with which I measure, will be measured back to me, can I expect to be measured back something else (self-motivation, passion, and courage)? Do I have the courage to look at my child and allow him the freedom to be self-motivated NOW, even though he may not be always motivated to do exactly what is on the schedule today?

It's food for thought.

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
~Albert Einstein
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