Giants In The Land

He is brave.

He is smart.

He is loved.

When he was small, the invisible and seen were jumbled together and everything screamed danger.

There have been many things to be afraid of.

When the world is loud and crowds you and it’s hard to tell up from down, in from out; terror doesn’t only stalk, it sidles up next to you and tries to claw its way into your back pocket.

Courage is doing what you are afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you are scared. ~Eddie Rickenbacker~

He has always been the bravest one.

I’ve watched him square his shoulders more times than I can count.

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Anne Radmacher~

There have been many, many tomorrows. There are giants in the land.

Everyday courage takes everyday perseverance. To see the persistence, the faith walked out in small, careful steps has grown in me a deep and steady strength I never knew was possible.

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. ~C.S. Lewis~

To see him get up, try again, time after time is enough to produce a vision of what heroic truly means.

When he was four, he began to carry around a geography book. He loved that book, and studied it with unusual intensity. I thought, “Aha, geography is his thing.”

But then a couple of years later he found another passion and began to scribble mysterious equations in spiral bound notebooks, projecting orbits and other related things. Intense cat and mouse questions of the algebraic sort pursued him until he pulled at his hair. I told him he should chill, otherwise he’d end up with bad hair like Einstein and someone would put his bad hair day pictures on T-shirts and he probably wouldn’t get a dime out of it.

He laughed. That day he closed the book for a while and went outside.

In between forays into subjects that I remain a happy stranger to, he built things of legos and K’nex.

Physics became a big interest and he tried to explain physics jokes to me while we worked on harder things, like handwriting and tying his shoes. He asked for a molecular model kit and an astronomy text for his birthday.

And he ran the wrong way around the bases in gym class.

The journey was like riding a strange animal with tame strength that obligingly carried him at times, but was then inexplicitly contrary and fickle enough to turn, using its strong jaws to bite and crush. Knowing what a real education is has saved him from many a mauling by the sharpness of that particular beast. No falsely perceived lack has overshadowed his gifts. Uneven development is just that, and nothing else when you are free to live outside someone else’s harshly drawn back lines.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

I have a short story he gave me, a hard won battle we fought together. It was about a captain and saving a world from annihilation. When he brought me the words, I told him It was beautiful and I was moved, because the story was written in our language, his and mine, the language of Hope.

There came a long, long day when the sun moved across the blue much too fast.

Baby Girl wrote a song and stood, her bare toes hanging over the threshold of the back door. She sang into the tangled pine woods and into the whole cloudy world.

Come home, little lost boy,

Little lost boy, come home.

But he didn’t come, because he was too far away to hear her song.

There is a large, unfillable space, a hole of time that will never be redeemed, the hours my son was lost.

The shadows were creeping in when he emerged and was brought home to me. He sat in the kitchen while I fussed and washed his feet. I held out love and he reached for it with both arms, but he had no hands with which to grasp it strongly, to feel it in his own warm grip. I spoke to him of seeing the unseen, of the deep abiding knowing that comes with faith.

And he was brave enough to keep reaching, with hands that could not touch, to know that he was loved.

People try to put him in a box, but he doesn’t belong there. The times he cannot emerge on his own God sends a hand to help, to hold and lift. Hands of angels clothed in human form.

It is my prayer that he always remembers how to kick, kick, kick against that box until it is upended and its true function is revealed, the only one of any use. I tell him to stand up on that box and shout. Shout out with his loudest voice, even if the noise of the suffocating world seems to muffle the words.

The wise, the blessed, will hear and see.

He is brave,

He is smart,

He is loved.

 

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Undaunted

 

adjective

1.

undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort:

undaunted by failure.

2.

undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear; intrepid:

Although outnumbered, he was undaunted.

Adj. brave, bold

Syn. fearless, indomitable, steadfast, undeterred, courageous

Ant. cowardly, shrinking

 

Homeschooling is my one thing. It’s the one thing I have always been sure of. Not that I was ‘doing it right’ but that it was the right thing to do for my children.

When we started out, if you looked at the situation, you wouldn’t think so.

I didn’t have many resources, suffer chronic illness, and there is autism in the house. Finances and support have been sparse.

People always assume I went to college. I didn’t. I graduated from high school with honors and a profound lack of abilities. I could barely do basic math, had no clue how to organize and write a research paper, and  could not have analyzed literature to save my life.

While I loved reading popular fiction, a great deal of literature was beyond me. I distinctly remember trying to read The Scarlet Letter while pregnant with my third child and giving up in tears. It was hopeless. A lifetime of being told I was stupid should have deterred me, but I happen to be blessed with perseverance, or plain old hardheaded stubbornness, if you prefer.

In case you are wondering, all my children can do math and have gone on to higher education. They most certainly can analyze literature and can write. Even the ones with learning challenges.

Through this journey, it has become obvious that I most likely have learning disabilities myself.

It didn’t stop me from teaching my own. I knew I wasn’t prepared, and that gave me an advantage. It made me study and ask for help. I also knew enough to trust my instincts and I understood my options, which were few. No one was as invested in my children’s success as I was.

My methods are eclectic, with a strong bent towards unschooling, and my kids tell me I am the toughest teacher they ever had. No one gets out of my ‘school’ without a strong dose of logic, critical thinking, and philosophy. If that sounds impressive, I should remind you there are books for teaching that. This blog is not about products or methods. It’s about finding the courage to build strong relationships and empower through education. It’s about what that looked like for us.

Side Note: By the time we got to The Scarlet Letter, to my total shock, it was easy peasy. Math? It’s still hard.

Please note I said homeschooling was right for my children. I am a strong advocate for school choice, whatever that is for your family.