These words that I am commanding you today must always be on your minds. Recite them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting around your house and when you are out and about, when you are lying down and when you are getting up. Tie them on your hand as a sign. They should be on your forehead as a symbol. Write them on your house’s doorframes and on your city’s gates. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Quite often – and today is no exception – I will turn on my computer, open WordPress or some other blank document, and stare blankly at the screen with absolutely no idea of what direction to take with my writing.
After a while, I’ll look around the room and notice random stuff. “I can’t believe how dirty the windows look when the morning sun hits them at that angle.” “There are books on that bookshelf that haven’t been cracked open since we moved here!” “How did that many pairs of shoes accumulate under the coffee table?”
When I’m thinking clearly I’ll remember to read Bible Gateway’s “verse of the day” before my morning walk (or the Upper Room Daily Devotional) so I’ll have something rich and inspirational already working its way deep into my consciousness. But not today. Today I am empty.
A message from the children!
Then, “ding”, a text message comes in from Naomi in Richmond…. It’s a photograph of the children, taken after breakfast and before David got on the school bus.
Thursday evening was David’s first parent conference, and – according to his teacher – David is like a sponge, insatiably curious and eager to learn, soaking in everything kindergarten has to offer. So when a new age-appropriate workbook came in the mail from his Connecticut family, David grabbed a pencil and was off to the races, practicing his new skills. Then this morning – right after breakfast and before heading to school – he had to get in a few extra minutes of learning.
“I’m doing my homework,” he announced. Of course, David has been doing his homework since the day he was born – that’s what happens in a home where learning is valued. But I was struck by the combination of natural curiosity and a desire to apply the structure of a learning framework.
Beks, of course, had to get in on the action too. So there you have it, and the scene – two small children on the floor, applying themselves to learning as hard as they know how – is especially gratifying in the context of the “Screenager” documentary film from last Sunday evening. The most effective learning is typically multi-sensory, and we have at least five that need to be enlisted in the cause – sight, sound, touch, smell, taste.
What a beautiful day this is, and what an amazing opportunity is ours to be like the children and embrace learning, and growth, and experiences that stretch us in creative ways.
So contrast this image with that of the know-nothing and anti-intellectual tone of so much public discourse today. Watch this space for more provocative thoughts along that line. There is danger afoot, and the threat is getting more serious – we need to have this conversation….
Peace – and more peace – Derek
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.