Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our Story

I still have my oldest son's first poem, written carefully on a card he designed.

Black Jack
was slack.
All he did
was wish
and fish.

The card is decorated with colored paper cutouts of his own drawings of a fish, some water, the sun, and on the inside, an elaborate drawing of a smiling Black Jack fishing on a dock and wearing overalls and a dunce's cap. The back of the card is the kicker. It's dressed up with more colored paper cutouts: a cloud with "Jesus" inscribed, a glue bottle, and an Easter egg. This end page tells us about the author, that he believes in Jesus and Easter, and that he glued the card together himself.

I can't throw the card away. It gets tucked into drawers or obscured by other paper clutter and then re-discovered about once a year. It makes me laugh, the kind of laugh that is full of tenderness, an ache in my throat. I see the little boy who made it. What I remember most are his eyes: the sparkle in their dark brown depths, the droll humor at the corners, the inquisitiveness leaping out of them. He was full of joy and that joy was the adventure of learning new things.

I think now that I got lost in those eyes. I was pulled into following where the joy led us, and I never found my way back to a school house. As soon as he mastered phonics, which took a few short weeks, we plunged into Narnia with Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and Susan. As we followed their footsteps, the map of a completely new life unfolded before us. C.S. Lewis taught us to read. Great Americans inspired us to dig into history. Scientists urged upon us the wonder of discovery. The world became our playground.

Those first weeks turned to months, then years, and finally ended with college. Along the way, we found gladness, challenge, heartache, and triumph. I wouldn't trade any of it. What I know now is that this strange and humble undertaking, this task of teaching ourselves, was a gift. This is the story of how it happened and what we learned from it.

1 comment:

  1. The 'look' is great! It shows the warmth of class and charm. I had to click around to decipher how to sign-on as a friend/follower. Just a simple point of familiarity, but it did take me a few moments.

    Great job!



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