Goodnight Moon

My Children’s Literature class began tonight. It should have started last week, but due to local issues with snow, it was postponed. I love the class and all, but I was happy not to get out in the snow last week, so the one-week delay suited me just fine.

After completing these three credit hours, I will have officially clocked 26 toward my 30 hour Graduate Certificate. What that means for me? Not much in terms of officially anything, though I think I will walk in graduation next May and get a piece of paper that says I did it. (I hope it really says that: “YOU DID IT! Doesn’t matter, but you did it!”).

Sadly, I have to confess that this is the first class to which I’ve not taken a laptop and checked my email. I don’t have a laptop anymore, so what that meant for me tonight was taking notes by *gasp* hand.

I’m a doodler when I take notes. It usually isn’t even intentional; I just start scribbling in the margins while I listen. I think it might even help me listen. I’ve pretty much made it through seminary doodle-free up until now, but not completely: whenever I’ve received handouts, I’ve done my part to improve the sidelines while they were in my possession. One time I did it to a handout that actually wasn’t mine to keep, but was part of the professor’s resource file. That was embarrassing. My defense was that the class was called Teaching and Learning, and I totally played the visual-learner-who-must-doodle card.

Tonight was mostly an intro to the class, and we talked a lot about Christianity and the arts in general, and how a lot of Christians dismiss art (in any form: books, music, movies, paintings) produced by unbelievers as demeaning to their spirituality. I always appreciate the C.S. Lewis paragraph (which I’m about to botch) about how when we need to have surgery we don’t make sure the surgeon is a Christian, we just make sure we have the best skilled surgeon around. Same for taking a plane trip, or choosing the clothes we wear. So much of life is just in finding the skill or the beauty regardless of whether the one performing the skill or creating the beauty is a born again Christian. But when it comes to art we feel we must have something approved by the Christian stamp (available in Lifeway Christian stores) and sealed with the motto of “Keeping the Lord Cheesy.” (This was a very loose paraphrase of both Lewis and Jerram…)

Jerram mentioned the importance of stories as a means for transferring much of life to children. He said teaching virtue to children happens in two predominant ways:

1. Parent example
2. Good stories

I was tracking with him perfectly until he said that. What, you mean I can’t just count on reading good stories to my kids for them to learn all they need to know about love, life, and the Lord? I actually have to live it out for them, too? They’re doomed.

My kids have good streaks and bad streaks. I’m ususally very quick to point the latter out to them and just sigh in relief when the former takes place. I also have good and bad streaks. I’m very quick to point out the former and try to just ignore the latter in this case.

Go ahead: ask me how that’s working for me. I’ll tell you: not so well. I’ve been in a pretty impatient mood since Sunday – short tempered, lack of love in my responses, yuck. I’ve apologized to my kids more times than I can even remember, and then I turn around and do it again.

I think we’re in some serious need of some bibliotherapy this week. I may even pull out all the old books and ask my big girls to sit in my lap again. I think it’s time to rediscover who we are. We may need Margaret Wise Brown to help.