My husband and I have spent more time walking in our neighborhood together since March of 2020, when much of our city shut down. Rooting ourselves more deeply to home and place has been an unexpected blessing.
As I sat at my desk one evening grading papers, I got stuck on a poem. It was the final paper in a stack I’d been working on for nine hours. I stared and stared at it. I read it aloud once, twice, three times. I counted the syllables in each line. I wrote out the rhyme scheme. I walked away and came back. I read it aloud again. And I just could not tell what it was saying.
“Knowledge is power” is a quote often attributed to Francis Bacon, and its sentiment is responsible for much of the dissolution of our modern souls.
Through repentance one begins to learn the beauty of mathematics, and that process brings order and freedom. J.R.R. Tolkein said, “The essence of education is repentance.” It seems that, among other educational disciplines, the process of learning mathematics is uniquely humbling. One begins, teacher or student, with the humiliation of ignorance - I do not know what to do, nor how to do it. We naturally fight against anything that reveals either what we do not know or what we cannot understand.
Homeschooling is hard. Mothering is hard. Sometimes, life is hard. For some time, I have felt called to reach out to mothers of teens to speak encouragement, breathe life and bolster courage in their hearts, and mine. I searched many quotations looking for the right words and couldn’t find what I was looking for until these words popped into my head one Saturday morning as I watched The Crown with my sick husband. “Once more unto the breach, my friends.” I thought it was a Winston Churchill quote but…it’s Shakespeare!
Wonder is one of the great delights in literature. It is invoked when a reader must struggle to distinguish between the imaginative and reality. One of literature’s wonders is its ability to draw attention to ordinary things with new alluring light. Long walks, small conversations, little annoyances and desires, and hospitality’s eating and drinking are all wonderfully common things in literature. The stuff of everyday life draws our imaginations into the larger tale.
When all the world began truly shutting down and people began turning to baking bread and skyping with their families, I picked up Moby Dick. I’d tried it last summer, as part of a half formed book club which fell apart less than halfway through the novel. I still have a stamped portrait of the whale in the blood-red sea tucked into my copy of the book- given to me by the only other member of the group with any enthusiasm for this novel. It now serves as my bookmark.
It is so nice to sit in the quiet. I started a reflection time in my office, and as soon as I got still and tried to focus my thoughts on the Lord, I began to be distracted by the voices all around me. The walls of my office are apparently thin, as I could detect even subtle nuances to the conversations happening in other offices…and I had to escape. So here I sit in a room that many on our campus don’t even know about, and though I can hear the routine movement of cars outside, the quietness brings peace.
Science education is at a crisis in our world.
When I was manning the Learning Assistance Centre in a public high school, I often helped students who were taking online courses. One day a young man came to see me in the throes of immense frustration with his “distance learning” course. He wasn’t understanding the material and didn’t know what to do about it. He looked at me with pleading eyes and said, “I need a teacher!”