I have two types of homeschoolers: I have type A– who is able to focus and get her work done once she sets her mind to it, and type M — who will still be able to manage distracting herself even if you leave her in a room that is completely devoid of any form of stimulation. Type A, once decided, can speed up her work so she can move on to other matters. Type M, on the other hand, seems to forget about her goal less than five minutes into her work, and always moves on to other matters without finishing the previous one. It is a common scenario for her to start humming while working (which she claims helps her concentrate), and then slowly adding in a few words….and then stand up and finally have her musical concert.
When asked to get dressed, type A will pick an outfit and dress herself. Done. Her only times of delay are when she doesn’t know the day’s agenda and therefore could not decide what outfit would be appropriate. Type M will open the closet doors in dramatic fashion, pick her outfit, then dance around and walk around with only her towel covering her body…..and finally put her clothes on once she hears one of us reminding her to “Get dressed!”.
Earlier this evening, type A took her seat and quickly piled rice on her plate, poured her favorite soup, and started eating (she really did it quickly because she was hungry and it was her favorite dish). Type M, while also excited to eat and also claiming that she was hungry, slowly added rice on her plate, gently patted the rice with the serving spoon, and exclaimed “Oh…ooh…wow…how soft and gentle this rice is….!” (of course, she said it in typical type M flair).
To tell you honestly, type M’s pace used to be a major test of patience for me. It sometimes still is (Okay, I think I’m just saying “sometimes” to make myself sound nicer and more patient!). I would hear myself urging her to hurry, or to catch up with the pace of the “rest of the class” (only because it was so hard for ME to adjust to her instead). I would sometimes just scratch my head and take deep breaths, before reminding her yet again to go back to what she was doing.
Then I started praying that God will help me understand her design better. I started asking God to change my perspective, and to see HER instead of what she is or isn’t doing.
I believe God has been answering my prayer.
As I write this, I am once again confined to the bed, unable to do what I had planned on doing for the week. I have had to cancel all meetings, and I unfortunately had to miss some parties and get-togethers.
Still, I’ve been trying to continue homeschooling the kids. Of course, I had to make changes in the lesson plan, and so most of the work I give them are those that can be done independently or at least with minimal assistance. For the past days, school has been on our bed– with me lying down and the girls happily “lounging” beside me. For obvious reasons, our pace has been slower than usual, but because this is expected of my current state, I don’t feel any guilt or pressure at all (for the sake of transparency, this no-guilt feeling just kicked in after one week of bed rest and one week of reminders from Dennis that all is well).
Because of our doctor-ordered pace, I realized that Mika (oops! I have revealed her secret identity!!) isn’t really slow. She just has a different pace. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not that she doesn’t prioritize work, she just prioritizes LIFE– and at this stage, life for her is about enjoying her family, playing, and doing whatever gives her joy. It’s not that she always manages to distract herself. She just manages to find joy in all the tasks given to her. It’s not that she always procrastinates. She just understands that work will always present itself, and that there is such a thing called “tomorrow” for that. Work will always be there, but LIFE could easily be as good as gone if we are not mindful.
Many of us have gotten so used to having fast-paced city lives, erroneously being led to think that doing more is always better. If we are not careful, we might be settling for mediocre versions of the life that God has intended for us to live. If we allow it, we can skim through life and reach the end, only to realize that we did not really LIVE.
As I’m writing this, I am praying for myself– and I am praying for you, too. I pray that we will not allow busyness to take away our ability to slow down and enjoy. I pray that we will always move in the grace that God has given us– to be able to accomplish the tasks He has assigned to us each day, and still have more than enough time and energy to laugh and love and play. I pray that we will live each day and consider it fruitful– not really because of the work we were able to accomplish, but because of the memories we’re able to build, and the people we’re able to love. 🙂
To my Type M– thank you for showing me and reminding me to slow down and find JOY amidst life’s daily grind. 🙂