This week, my two girls, Sarah and Joy, have been home together. We have talked of life, stories, their dreams, their ideals and goals and I am filled up and refreshed once again. (And of course eaten great food, listened to favorite music, drunk lots of tea and watched some great movies--after all, it is spring break for Joy and a week off to celebrate life together.)
Hearts afire with goodness, ideals and ways they will invest their lives are bubbling in every conversation, and in all the moments of our mutual sweet friendship. Where did these souls become shaped to that they are inspired to live a great life? Because they did not just learn facts and cover subjects of interest. But their imaginations were captivated by the idea that they had a story to tell with their own lives, that they had a destiny to live into.
Educating your children is not just about checking off lists, but about reaching hearts and engaging minds--and then sending your children into their world with confidence, grace, intelligence, a love for God and a willingness to fulfill His purposes.
Enjoy part of the intro to Sarah's new book! Out in a couple of weeks! And a theme she will be addressing in the e-conference!
Great stories teach us that we are called to live a great life story.
Stories are a powerfully formative force. They furnish children with rich vocabulary, broad imagination, and the spirit of possibility necessary to purposeful living or heroic action. The great tales of literature both inspire heroism and demonstrate what actions must be taken if the world is to be conquered or creation accomplished. Great books are richly stocked with the characters, scenes, countries, and crafts that form an expectation of what is possible in a child’s imagination. Stories are rich in the kind of description that teaches a child to see, and to wonder at the artistry of the world. They shimmer with song and firelight, castles and dragons, inventions and quests, kings and queens all stocking the heart of a child with dreams.
But the storyformed life is also a gift, one that rests in the hands of inspired parents. A childhood filled with great books is something that only a parent can provide. Parents are the storytellers who narrate the opening of their children’s lives, choosing the books, images, and ideas that will outfit their minds. They are also the story-givers who create the rhythms of home life in which great books can be read again and again. I am convinced that the storyformed childhood my parents gave me was one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, and this book has come from my deep commitment to help other parents give that mighty gift to their own children. But before they can offer that gift, I think many parents today need a fresh understanding of the formative value of stories.
Exposure to the great tales of literature or even Scripture as a story itself is rarely listed as of primary importance when childhood training, formation, or education is discussed. Rather, parents today are often presented with a list of facts and skills they must pound into their children’s heads. Childhood formation, according to many models, seems to be about the filling of a mental bucket rather than the forming of a whole, vibrant soul ready to act justly, love beauty, and bring goodness to the world. We tend to think of childhood in terms of data acquisition; what children need to know, and what they must be able to do by the time they reach adulthood. I think this is a deadening view of childhood. While knowledge and skill are, of course, vital, they are only the skeleton structure of a great life. They will remain inanimate until the child who possesses them is kindled to passion and movement by a vision bigger than a list of accomplishments.
Stories are the lifeblood of existence. They are the heartbeat that pumps vision into a child’s developing imagination and hope into his or her soul. A storyformed child views life as an epic tale in which he or she must live as hero or villain. Storyformed children grow to adulthood understanding that they have been specially formed by a loving God, destined for his kingdom, specially crafted to love, create, and conquer. They have reason to respond to their parents’ training, to work and learn, hope and know, because stories assure them that right choices and brave actions are the force behind happy endings. A story-formed child understands exactly why hard work must be done and goodness attained, why beauty is a prize to be sought and love is a treasure worth the cost of their whole lives.
Join Sarah and me Monday night to learn more about building a story-formed life, cultivating strong mental muscles, giving a foundation of ideals and inspiration and passing on a love for learning to your children. Register HERE.
I will speak about my schedule each day, about the foundations that help build the habits and anchors of academic excellence into your home life, and ways to inspire and reach the hearts of your children. I am fresh with ideas because of a week with Sarah, Joel and Joy speaking into my life!
Please help us spread the word about the conference, and enter to win a copy of Sarah's new book, Caught up in a Story!