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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Gift of Time

One of my favorite things about reading Robinson Crusoe was his thoughtful reflections on what was happening in his life. The author gave us a window into the thought process in Crusoe's mind as his character is forged through circumstances hand placed in his life by God Himself.

I was reminded of this today as I read Carroll Smith's blog "Some Thoughts on The Sabbath of Learning". Smith writes:
The time to ponder, reflect and consider is a rare commodity for children and is considered ... “unimportant and superficial.”  

...Time to process learning and to integrate it deeply within one’s self isn’t allowed.  There is no time for the sacred process of internalizing what one is learning.  This is quite tragic in its effect on children because children need time to internalize information and when they do not have that time they often tune out or disengage.


...the purpose of education is not to teach and encourage students to gain more data so they can get a great paying job, but to live all of life and to live “excellently and deeply.”  The problem then is that children are hurried and scurried day after day to memorize (quadratic equations, for example, with no conceptual understanding) but not to live richly and deeply or to love wisdom. 

Children need time to reflect.

In vol 1 pg 154, CM says:  
...thinking, like writing or skating, comes by practice. The child who has never thought, never does think, and probably never will think; for are there not people enough who go through the world without any deliberate exercise of their own wits? The child must think, get at the reason why of things for himself, every day of his life...
This is one of the reasons why books are read slowly; it allows the child time to chew on their books rather than devour them without ever really tasting them. It also affords plenty of time for the child's life to happen and be contrasted with their books. Because what is a character building, life giving education if it isn't personal?

Thought and imagination grow in time and space. As we cart our kids from one activity to the next, sign them up to fill every spare moment for this learning and that, turn on the TV, the video game, the music to fill the void... are we affording them time to think?


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