Wednesday, November 30, 2005

History Reading

Here is Marvin Olasky's (of World Magazine) high school history reading list. We had many of these titles already and ordered the rest through amazon's used book service.

Now I'm just hoping for a long, cold winter!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Good or Bad?

We often depend on literature for moral lessons and examples of different kinds of character traits. Young children always want to know "Is he the good guy or the bad guy?" and it is sometimes hard for them to comprehend that people can do good things and bad things and it's not often possible to sort them into neat "good or bad" categories.

Last summer while we were reading English history in H.E. Marshall's An Island Story, the boys were constantly wanting to know who were the good guys. When issues arose between the English and the French they would ask, "Who are we going for?" I had to tell them that both their father and I had strong ties to England (my paternal grandmother came over on the boat on her 8th birthday) but that parts of my family were French (my maternal grandmother's maiden name was LaFleur). Discovering that there is an obvious family connection between their father's side of the family and a certain character in the King Arthur story, combined with the fact that An Island Story is written from the English perspective, they were happy to settle the question. They were going for the English.

One day riding in the truck, TheLittlestPrincess, who is now the proud age of five, asked, "Mom, was Abraham Lincoln a bad president?". She then informed me that Tigger said he was. I tried to explain to her that Abraham Lincoln did some things we don't agree with and sometimes gets credit that he doesn't deserve. She patiently listened to my examples and when I was finished said, "Yeah, but is he bad or good?"

I know partly this way of thinking is due to immaturity and as they grow they will see that this is not always a simple question to answer. I hope they will come to see that a benefit to studying people in history is realizing, as Charlotte Mason so eloquently says,

"...we know there is a great deal to be said on both sides of every question and are saved from crudities in opinion and rashness in action."

Seek and Ye Shall Find

We have been very thankful to Vision Forum for much encouragement over the years. This picture was taken at their Father/Daughter Retreat last spring.

AdventureQueen graduated, turned 18 this year and was struggling with pressure to go the accepted route for young women which included either college or career but most importantly - independence. It was amazing to her that even complete strangers would make it their business to question her about her plans for the future. With all of the many voices, even those of trusted Christian friends, it was difficult for her to find peace. Much of that lack of peace was her parents' fault. We had been sending her mixed signals about life as an "adult". Sometimes our parenting goes on automatic pilot and we say the things we either grew up hearing or repeat what we have heard from the world. Often we are guilty of reactionary parenting. We get on our knees in times of perceived crisis instead of seeking God for His ways and thoughts ahead of time. Of this, we repent and hope and pray to do better in the future.

After getting our answers through prayer and lots of time talking together, we looked to see if Vision Forum had any materials to strengthen us in our resolve and we found this book - So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on the Kingdom of God. Here's the first paragraph from the book:

"The world is a mess and it's our fault. This is one of the most important things our father has taught us over the years. It sounds hard, but sometimes we need to hear hard truths. God has given principles for all people to live by. Christians are suposed to know exactly what these principles are and live by them, setting the example and upholding the standard. Yet Christians can be some of the most careless and ungrateful and forgetful people. We Christians can be responsible for leading the culture either away from God's design or toward it. Our father has taught us to confess our errors and admit our mistakes. We truly have been a part of the problem, because we have been careless with the standard."

This book is written by two young girls, aged 17 and 19, with additions by fourteen other young women. We have just begun to read it together and so far, it has been a godsend. Here's the last paragraph of the first chapter, which I have a hard time reading without tears:

"Feminists will say we're weak, but after struggling with feminism ourselves, we realize that being a woman of God will take more of our strength than trying to be anything else. It will require the courage and conviction of a martyr. This is not a book for the weak-hearted or peer-dependant."

This brings me to tears because I'm sad that it is so hard for young people these days. They face so many obstacles. But on the other hand, I'm excited because the ones that overcome will be strong in God and ready to be put to good use by Him.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

View From My Computer Desk

The woods are so beautiful this time of year! I feel so blessed to have this gorgeous view while I sit at my computer. The leaves are not even at their peak yet but I'm trying to enjoy every minute because I know before too long they will all be gone and the trees will be settling in for their winter rest. Although I hate to see the woods so bare, I know that without the seemingly dead time of winter the other seasons wouldn't be appreciated as much. I'm so glad to live in a region where the seasons are so different!