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Guess Which Talk I Plan On Attending?

alec vanderboom

I'm hoping to attend my first ever home-school conference tomorrow. The contrast BETWEEN these two talks where just too funny.

Option A

Controlling the Chaos: Managing
Housework and Schoolwork

Having trouble balancing schoolwork, caring for babies, and housework? The key to getting it all done, while remaining serene and confident, is to simplify. Clutterfree rooms, regular household routines, an orderly curriculum, and straightforward discipline really work.

or Option B

Discovering God in the Pots and Pans

This talk is a reminder from a Carmelite
that changing diapers and ecstatic prayer
are not mutually exclusive. There are not
“two ways” of holiness and “two heavens” to
attain–one for the contemplative and one for
the active. All are called to deep prayer, even
when being faithful to the daily duties of our
state in life seems to belie that reality.

Please excuse me while I jump up on my internet soap box for a moment. PEOPLE! There are snake oil salesman the pedal "quick" spiritual fixes. Avoid them! You can't eat one simple pill to lose weight. You can't adapt one simple domestic routine that will effortlessly combine home-schooling, home-making and deep spiritual development.

I have no doubt that Home-schooling Mom of Option A has great intentions. I'm sure she has a much smoother house hold routine, with many more children, than me a lowly, frazzled Carmelite.

I'd like to tell her, "Sister your helpful advice doesn't really help me. Do you know what really made my home-schooling a challenge this year. ..

One, I had a baby that almost croaked in the NICU.

And two, I got a surprise eviction for having "too many kids" that left me with only 60 days to find new living quarters for my family in a far away town."

Both of the curve balls came directly from Jesus himself. The preventative cure of a "clutter free" room was not going to really help me survive either crisis. And while having a steady household routine helped my family, getting the energy to do the laundry when my whole world was falling apart wasn't a matter of following an established routine. It was a supernatural effect of living a life of Grace.

I feel so strongly that generalize "advice" giving is generally so useless.

Our families are as beautiful and unique as snowflakes. Making them "work" is not a one size fits all solution.

Yes, we can share techniques about how best to take bubble gum out of satin church dresses, which Karate teacher is the most fun, and which piano books contain Roman Catholic hymns.

We can't not, however, take the Cross out of Homeschooling- or Catholic home life in general.

There will be days that the laundry doesn't get done. (Hopefully one reason is that you are saying a rosary beside a sick neighbor's kid in Children's Hospital) And there will be days when we must force ourselves do laundry on laundry day, even when we're sick with the stomach flu ourselves.

But the only way to know with certainty HOW to manage the overwhelming task of home-maker, wife, teacher, daughter, sibling, and friend is to regularly talk with God, the One who made us in his image.