"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Christian Unschooling, Part 2: Freedom

*(This is the second part of a series. You can read the intro here if you missed it.)*


"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."

I don't like being told what to do. I'm the person who, when told to do something, will likely want to immediately do the exact opposite, just on general principle. Lots of unnecessary rules make me uneasy. Unsolicited advice makes my skin crawl.

I was never one to march to anyone's drum but my own.

You would think then, that I wouldn't be a person that would subscribe to any one religion. Religions are full of rules right? To an extent you'd be correct. And I have been to churches that have been very rules-focused. There have been times in my life that I've inwardly rebelled against anything even remotely overtly "religious," and to this day I'm very sensitive about feeling like I'm being preached at.

Thankfully, what I've come to realize is that Christianity isn't about the rules. It's about a relationship. It's not about living a life of rigidity. It's about living a life of FREEDOM. Verses like the one above tell us again and again that we've been set free, that we are not under a yoke of slavery.

And freedom is something I can celebrate!

Freedom to raise our children the way we see fit
Freedom to choose - or not - from any number of educational alternatives
Freedom to recognize and foster and appreciate our children's freedoms
Freedom to walk our own paths
Freedom to treat others with kindness, respect, and humility
Freedom to learn from, and with, all the people, places, and experiences in our lives

Does that freedom mean we should just be running all willy-nilly all over the place, with no regard for other's feelings or well-being? Does it mean that there are no consequences, no guidelines, no right and wrong?

Well that's where the relationship comes in. You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you've had a fight with someone you love? That gnawing sense of general "ick" that persists until you've made up? That's how I liken the feeling I have when I've strayed from my faith. Not because I'm "breaking rules", not because I'm disappointing someone... but because I love God, and when you love someone you WANT to do right by them. You WANT to listen to what they have to say. You WANT to hear their message. So what's the message, you ask?

The message (at least before all us people and churches and prideful opinions gunked it all up with complexity) is simply to love one another. To focus on the relationships, to focus on the freedom we have in Christ.

People find freedom in all kinds of places, but in my own life, that freedom comes from God. I don't worry about tomorrow because of my faith. I don't worry about the small stuff because of my faith. I welcome and cherish and embrace our God-given freedom, and I know that within the framework of that freedom, I won't go wrong if I focus on the relationships... relationships with God, with my family, with everyone I come into contact with. Do I mess up every other second of every day  occasionally?  Of course!  I'm not perfect, and the person I want to emulate was.  But because of grace, and because of freedom, I can just try harder the next time.

It doesn't make sense to me to let go and fully trust in that freedom unless it's in all areas of my life, including that in which I raise my children.  I believe with all my heart that when we truly let go and have faith (no matter where that faith comes from) that our paths will be laid out for us.  This is where mine has led, and continues to lead, so I trust it.  I believe in it.  And I am so thankful that I have the freedom to live it.

I ultimately chose to unschool for a lot of reasons.   But allowing my kids to also live and learn in complete freedom will always be at the top of the list.

Part 3





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