So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90.12

Monday, 28 November 2011

How Do You Measure Success?

For awhile now, I've been thinking about our society's preoccupation with success, education and information.  Success is generally calculated by how much money you make, which is determined by your level of education, which is determined by how much information you were able to cram into your head.  Sadly, even many Christians have this skewed sense of success, which is often detrimental to their spiritual life.

So what is success - REALLY?  The Webster Universal Dictionary has quite an extensive description of success. "The act of having succeeded; the state of having succeeded; favourable termination of anything attempted; accomplishment; attainment; issue, result, outcome; a happy ending; good fortune; prosperity; a person who has achieved success."  My two favourite definitions are "favourable termination of anything attempted" and "a happy ending".

There is such an emphasis on high achievement today.  Everybody wants to be the best.  College/university education is a must, because a degree is essential to getting a good job.  Even when that college or university education is going to put you thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, which will take many years to pay off even if you do get a "good" job in your chosen field, it is always pushed as the way to succeed.

The thing is, we can't all be doctors or lawyers or the presidents of companies or sports stars.  We aren't all meant to be those things.  Some people are but others aren't.  Since we live in an imperfect world, there are jobs that must be done that are not "nice", "good", or don't make you look successful.  Like the garbage collector.  Not a nice, tidy job; not a fun job but a necessary job.  How would our homes, towns, and cities look if we didn't have garbage collectors?  How would they smell?  Our garbage collectors provide a valuable service to us that increases our quality of life but instead of being applauded for their efforts, they are looked down upon.  It's sad.

Being "successful" does not make you "good".  It does not make you a good person, a good husband/wife, a good mother or father.  There are probably people living on the streets that are "better" people - more moral, kind and caring - than someone who has every material want or need satisfied.  Conversely, not being "successful" does not mean you are a bad or lazy person.  Success does not determine the value of your life.  All people are valuable because we have all been made in the image of God.  God plans different lives for each one of us according to His great wisdom.  He puts us in our families for a reason.  He doesn't make mistakes and nothing happens by accident.  We don't always understand why things happen (or why things DON'T happen, as the case may be).

It would be nice, in a way, for my children to grow up and get jobs that would mean financial security for them.  However, I would not want that to happen at the expense of their spiritual and moral lives.  I would far rather see my child working cheerfully for the Lord as a garbage collector than to see them as a highly successful professional who did not honour God.

I first began writing this piece quite some time ago, and recently came across this quote:
"Too many of us treat education as a competition, with some idea of success as the objective.  This approach is bad for the "winners" and bad for the "losers", who only see themselves more or less as failures.  Such a narrow focus ignores children's strong points, their gifts.  For instance, taking a rather extreme example, a child has Down's syndrome, and yet her personality shines with love and loyalty.  What family, group or community can do without these valuable qualities as an example for others?  We have turned into fools when it comes to appreciating what is really worthwhile in life - proud fools with no understanding of what God treasures.  We live in a worldly generation that encourages a blind pride.

What would happen if everybody planned for their children to be business executives, lawyers, scientists, or academics?  Where would we be without the honoured homemakers, craftsmen, artists and musicians?  Where are those who are good at pastoral care?  Who will care for community needs - tend the sick, plow the fields, and, yes, collect the garbage? (Garbage collection, water purification, home construction, and similar activities are arguably more valuable to our human communities than the work of many of our CEOs and star entertainers.  Salary and educational attainments mean nothing in themselves.)      -Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, When Children Love to Learn p.35 (general editor Elaine Cooper)

What are your thoughts on this subject?

Friday, 25 November 2011

The First Big Storm

The snow we had last week was pretty much gone within a day.  Then on Wednesday, we got this:

8 inches/20 centimetres of snow in 12 hours or so

I'm afraid this snow is here to stay.  It took us about 2 hours to shovel out our lane (oh, my kingdom for a snowblower!)  Our mailbox has had its first injury of the season too.

I promise I won't write a post EVERY time it snows this winter.  That could get depressing.

Thanks for visiting today!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Welcome, Winter

This is what we awoke to this morning:

My kids are so excited!  Me, not so much.  I do like the look of snow and winter activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and sleigh rides.  However, snow = shovelling.  Snow = the snowplough knocking over our mailbox (there is a joke here on the Island about snowplough operators thinking there is a bounty on rural mailboxes).  Snow = me getting the car stuck in the lane every time I leave the house.  Oh, well, that's life!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Remembrance Day

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

- Major John McCrae, May 1915

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
We Will Remember Them

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Thank You!

Just want to say welcome to my new readers and also thanks to all my readers.  I appreciate your comments so much!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Few Fall Photos

Just of the photos I've taken recently:

Spider web on the clothesline

A little closer

Maple tree starting to change colours

Another kind of maple

This morning's frost!

 Tonight's moonrise and sunset (not a great photo, sorry!)

Sun setting behind spruce trees

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Busy Times

It's been fairly crazy around here lately.  Homeschooling, housework, speech therapy, Bible studies, teaching French, Sunday School, homeschool support group, and potluck ("Providence Dinner") at our chapel last night.  Also, my husband's grandfather fell last Friday and is in hospital.  Grampie is 88 and a veteran of World War II.

On the homeschooling front, we are struggling through math, zipping along in reading, and behind in literature (we're using Ambleside Online Year 2).  Science is kind of hit and miss right now.  Bible and history is going quite well.  I'm grateful for a "core" curriculum that that integrates Bible into the daily lessons.  I am also thankful for the flexibility that we have while homeschooling.  We couldn't be doing half the things I listed above if we weren't homeschooling.

When I get really frustrated, public school flashes into my mind.  Then I remember how horrible last year was in so many ways.  So, my best course of action for being frustrated is to take a break, remember why we're doing this, and relax.  And have some chocolate ;)

It's pretty chilly here this morning (0 Celsius) and we had a hard frost last night.  I've got to hurry up and get my tulips planted before the ground freezes.  I already pulled out our winter jackets and such last week.

Thanks for visiting today!