Virtue building is a very important mission for me as of late and I do feel compelled to step that job up a bit. We have fallen a bit lax on such things since the children smell weakness and life can feel at its weakest when mamma is hugely pregnant or with a newborn nursing babe in her lap. That perceived weakness can lead to building bad habits and I really need to take on building back good ones to take the place of the bad. I feel like I am using a magician’s slight of hand trick so not to draw too much attention to the bad habit. Rather, I am trying to focus on the good and shed more light on that so it outshines the bad in their perceptions of things.
I really felt overwhelmed for quite some time but I knew that the only one that could help me with this was the Holy Spirit Himself. I was looking over the planners that we are using this year and came across an idea of using the fruits of the Holy Spirit to use as a spiritual flashlight project. I then thought this idea of using a word to direct our mission would be just the idea to punctuate our days. I am headed to Michaels for the letters I need to sand and paint in RED for this project. These letters will stand on the window ledge of the accent window that is just above our dining room table…a perfect place to eyeball a purpose!
A fruit a month is what I will concentrate on as a visual reminder but I will cover all of the fruits as they come up in our reading selections which mostly follow the feasts of the liturgical year. I will place reminders in our Liturgical year notebooks beind the appropriately labeled dividers.
So, that being said…we covered Persistence today. Persistence in not only our reading but in our daily conversation…it does come in handy when you try to explain to an older child why it is still important to clean your room when the goops come out of the hidden recesses of the room and wreck it for example. I highlighted that discussion with the word of persistence and the idea of meaningful work. Meaningful work ideas show up regularly. The monks had meaningful work copying the book of Kells…yours just happens to be your room at the moment…all for the Glory of God my dear!
I have tried to use my prolific nursing times to gather my little ones around me as often as I can and read all kinds of things with them. I have been trying to have them draw a picture while I read to have them be calm and focused and let the information sink in. Sometimes they are just constructing with legos or kinex or molding things with clay, but the idea is to keep them calm and as thoughtful as possible. Most especially I am trying to concentrate on stories that build character and virtue. If they do create any pictures, I place these pictures, including any copywork, quotes or religious clip art into their liturgical year notebooks which has been dedicated to St Paul this year (using this cover) . (I use the quotes for quick reminders and the stories to give them a framework of reference.)
We were discussing today’s saint St. John Neumann and read a bit of his biography while the little ones found the places he visited on a large map. I then took the 3rd and 4th graders and read Thomas Finds a Treasure from Ecce Homo Press which is a story of his life. They discussed his unique life and mission with each other and told me that they agreed he had to be persistent to accomplish his very meaningful work. He had to use the tools that God gave him to get that work done!
I gave the following quote to the older ones for copywork with just the highlighted section for the younger ones:
~ From the Diary of St. John Henry Newman
Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work.
We are not sent into this world for nothing;
we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, . . . for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.
~ Sermon: “God’s Will the End of Life,” from Discourses Addressed to Mixed Congregations, 1849, in Daniel M. O’Connell, Favorite Newman Sermons, NY: The America Press, 2nd ed., 1940, pp. 177-178
_ok, so it’s not a meaningful work quote…
but! you always need good humor doing the job God has given….using the equipment God entrustedyou with!
Reading the story The Wise King in Catholic Children’s Treasure Box book 7 works well with this point…it isn’t so much the tools you use, but what thought and persistence you use them with! Persistence is necessary! I told them that it would be good to think of themselves as God’s tool and use their time and gifts wisely. They can measure their own successes against God’s will for them.
As seen on a billboard of a Lutheran Church:
“Failure is the path of least persistence.”
“Consider the postage stamp:Its usefulness consists in the abilityto stick to one thing till it gets there.”
~ Josh Billings, humorist
So there it is in an unedited nutshell…I am trying to throw my thoughts out there in a clear way as I nurse at the keyboard and have limited use of my typing fingers…so e’scuse the errors-k? ;o)