Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Curriculum Needed

Teaching Wisdom isn’t about a curriculum so much as it is a goal in the back of your mind that influences what you say and do.  It requires exposure to several different disciplines: formal and informal Logic, an intentional look at what creates your Worldview, the facts and figures that make up Knowledge, and critical thinking skills for analysis and interpretation often referred to as Discernment.  I do think there is another aspect to Wisdom that isn’t one you can teach but perhaps you can cultivate it: Common Sense.  Sure, you could write a whole curriculum on each of these subjects but I don’t think you need to make it that complicated for yourself. 

School is Knowledge, Logic (hopefully), and some Worldview (for better or worse).  Discernment might be teachable in school while showing students how to do a critical analysis of a poem or interpreting the use of themes in literature.  Honestly, Discernment could just as well be learned through life experiences; asking questions to get your daughters thinking about why or how people behave the way they do.  We just need to challenge our daughters to see beyond the obvious.  Television has done us a disservice in this area.  We have become passive observers who don’t respond or think through what we see.  We can talk about the shows or movies with our daughters, especially when they start quoting an entire scene from a movie they have seen only once. 

Common Sense is one of those rare traits you get or you don’t.  If you know how to cultivate this trait, please let us know!  The best I could come up with was pointing out dangerous situations, friends, places, etc.  I would also say that teaching household chores/skills and basic financial skills, the things necessary for living a life without mom and dad, would also cultivate Common Sense. 

Mothering involves lots of conversations, discussions, and listening.  Perhaps this is why God made women such compassionate listeners and willing talkers?  This stereotype might be there for good reason.  It might also explain why all women are just a little bit ADD.  Our brains can cook dinner, soothe a toddler’s boo-boo, answer our daughters’ questions, and sort the mail.  Perhaps we aren’t doing all those things particularly well all at once, but it is necessary for us to have our attention splintered throughout our day.  This makes the task of communicating, teaching, and hearing our daughters daunting but realistic. 

Perhaps your daughters already display some natural talent in one of these areas.  Has anyone ever said that your daughter has a good head on her shoulders?  That sounds like Common Sense to me.  Have you noticed that your daughter is good at reading people, even if they are pretending?  I would call that Discernment.  A daughter that understands the importance of definitions (not to argue or negotiate with you, but how they effect understanding) or that seems to have the gift of Faith would seem to grasp the concepts of Worldview.  Do you have a daughter who loves algebra or could talk her siblings into just about anything?  I see Logic there.  Knowledge is probably the easiest to see; an accumulation of facts and figures.  However, I have often heard people describe someone strong in knowledge as having a tendency to be na├»ve when it comes to the other facets of Wisdom.  We need to recognize our daughters’ strengths while also encouraging them in areas they might still be weak in.

…and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and knowledge in all kinds of crafts…     Exodus 31:3

Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees.  I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.     Psalm 119:124,125

Logic:  Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?”  Genesis 3:1

Worldview:  For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.     Hebrews 4:12,13

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twilight Tuesday 6 "Beauty"

Beauty is rampant throughout the Twilight series.  The vampires are beautiful.  Bella is beautiful.  The scenery is beautiful.  The average classmates are even pretty good-looking.  It isn’t the beauty that holds your attention though.  Bella is amazingly unaware of how distinctly feminine she is; this makes her even more attractive.  She is somewhat plain in looks with nice hair and eyes, hides in her clothing rather than showing off her figure, abhors a fuss being made over her, thoughtful of others, quick to forgive, and endearingly clumsy.  She gets a bit whiney, I’ll grant you that, but no one is perfect. 
Bella’s beauty almost seems to come from within more than from without.  She is a blank canvas for girls to paint themselves into the story.  Edward is drawn to her initially for her scent and the intrigue of not being able to read her mind.  Jacob is at first attracted to her looks but falls in love with healing her broken heart.  Bella is quiet, shy, and humble; qualities women know are attractive and wish we emulated more.  And it certainly is nice to have a heroine with no eating disorders, or obsessions with looks and fashion. 
But have you noticed how often young girls are angry at Bella?  Have you seen the forums where women of all ages talk about killing Bella in order to free Edward up?  Our daughters might connect with Bella’s plain-Jane beauty, but they are passionately unforgiving of her for it as well.  They ridicule her for an unrealistic denial of her own power.  Our daughters know that if the world was as aware of their beauty as Bella’s world obviously is of hers; they would see that and take joy in it, not hide from it.  They don’t just want to super-impose themselves onto Bella’s character.  It isn’t enough to simply replace her in the story.  Bella needs to be taken down a peg or two in the process.
Bella does not work at being beautiful.  She doesn’t pay for an expensive perfume that drives Edward crazy (quite literally), she just happens to smell that way naturally.  Bella’s physical beauty is effortless.  Her beauty also does not have much to do with sex appeal.  Gotta say…I love that aspect.  Bella’s attempts to be “sexy” are described in an almost comical fashion despite the fact they do appear to work as intended.
Bella could use her beauty as a source of power over others, like that popular human boy old-what’s-his-name.  She does not capitalize on her beauty and in fact seems to be embarrassed by it.  Bella’s beauty does put limits on her having female companions, but as a loner, Bella doesn’t seem to overly mind this. 
In all, Bella is a whiney, feminine, unaware, natural beauty.  Sounds like a stereo-typical teenage girl.

Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house.  The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.     Psalm 45: 10,11

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.  So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.    Ezekiel 28:17 (emphasis mine)