Learning To Love What Must Be Done

School's out.

But educating one's kids never stops.

One distinctive of the classical school the Preacher and I helped to start, is the love of learning.

Love of learning means hand-on, yes, it means field trips, and it means creativity. But, love of learning is also the cultivation of the appetite so that the mind finds satisfying what is truly worthy of admiration. Few things requiring discipline and work are inherently love-able at its onset. Learning, itself, is fascinating for a child, until he finds himself up against that which is difficult and unpleasant. So, with the rigors of education and the relaxation of vacation, how do we continue to foster love of learning?

I recently read this encouragement from the German poet Goethe: Cease endlessly striving for what you would like to do and learn to love what must be done.

Christopher Perrin writes of the subject:

Once our daily tasks become beloved tasks, the routine becomes less routine. This, I believe, is something we can pass on to our children, like and attitude, for Goethe is encouraging a mindset not an activity. If they see some measure of joy as we cook, clean, mow, and repair, they are apt to find it easier to love (in a manner of speaking) clearing their plates, bathing, and doing homework. Strange as it is, they usually grow up to be like us.

School may be on summer break, but as I am a part-time home-schooler during the school year, and a full-time educator at home during the summer months, the work of modeling what it is to love learning happens all year round. Learning isn't accomplished simply in doing worksheets and chanting vocabulary just as cooking is not merely tossing ingredients in a bowl. Cooking done well makes eating a pleasure. We must eat, but we can learn to enjoy the process of pleasing our palette.

I don't want my kids to be rewarded with not learning in the summertime as relief from the hard work of school. Maybe as the parent, I'm the one who unintentionally communicates the relief of not having to keep up with schoolwork...and in turn, relief from actively learning. Learning is an attitude, not an activity.

So, I write all this today, to remind you, friends, and to remind myself, that education is not that thing we suffer through because we have to; rather, it's that thing we discover that we get to do. Perhaps your desire is for your kids to love reading. Perhaps you have a child that needs to continue working on math this summer. Whatever it is, we can model for our children that those things we must do, can become things we love to do. And surprisingly, in the process, we might actually discover a love for what we are learning and love of learning itself.