Being new to much in life it's daunting at times. I feel lost in the myriad of possibilities. It's tempting to start looking around and copying what I see others I admire doing. I believe if I do what that mother and friend does, maybe my children will become like hers. If I do what that mother does, I'll be like her, loved and respected, valued and appreciated.
I once saw my friend Heather and her children at her home, where they have a piano, and I desired that for my children too. I wanted them to grow up playing music, which I had not, and I asked her for help. She let my oldest take lessons at her home at the time her daughter did. From then on, both my daughters have continued taking classes for piano and violin.
A few years ago, I read The Imitation of Christ, a book first composed in Latin ca.1418-1427, which proves to me this idea of imitation as a source of learning is not new under the sun. Imitating is a valid and profitable practice which merits our attention. I believe imitating can be a mere and dangerous copycatting, or a noble and aspiring practice. It's all tied, in my view of it, to who we are. That is why I'm nowadays exploring the idea of heritage. If we don't know who we are, or who is that person we are trying to imitate, it's possible we will remain on the surface of the process. We may be looking at life as a product, and without further or careful exploration of why someone says or does what she says or does, without knowledge of where we stand, we plunge into replicating superficially what we see, repeating what we hear mindlessly.
There are lots of new ideas, but we don't need all of them when we reflect on which ones are important to us and why. There are many results we want for ourselves and our children, but we must be careful to know the philosophy at the core of those observable results. In other words, we need to remember we don't imitate for unmoral, unlawful, or utilitarian reasons. (Remember, children are born persons, and so are you). It's worth to look at the core beliefs and principles of those we admire, and to examine our own.
In truth, only children are young enough to have a fresh and new look to life. Because they lack the experiences of their elders, they have an awe and wonder we frequently mourn in our adulthood. There are children who captivate us with this quality and talent, we had Mozart and his incredible energy and musical ideas. Hilda Conkling is a poet we read who is known by having composed most of her poetry when she was a child. But childhood has its limitations, the experience, the reflection and looking at the bigger picture is not there, it cannot be there because it lacks the time. A child has only been a few times around the sun, and maybe that's why things look so new under its rays, -grin.
A whole new thought for another post is coming to my mind. I remember Charlotte Mason's words when she called children born naturalists, when she tells us how new every blossom is to the children, and how she warned us not to ever crush that look at life and nature with awe. Education would be gaining the experience and perspective, without tarnishing that curiosity. Children have that fresh and full of awe view, that poetic and prior to language and thought encounter with the world and life. Education should be a transition to a fuller view, not the replacement of that view by another more specialized. It's possible that education based on facts is blocking that inborn ability to learn we all possess, that some teaching has come to hinder, instead of fostering, that inclination to observe, to love, to comprehend.
There have been art movements based primarily in this effort to paint like a child, which is nothing like it, but more "seeing like a child", and painting like a mature artist. In The Cloclwork Universe the author tells us the life of a mathematician is shorter than a football player or athlete. Math and science require an immense energy expense, paired with a bit of a naive look of life. Those older have less energy and probably the more realistic view that certain things "cannot be proved", "cannot be done", it takes some youthful inflated ego, some genius paired with unflinching determination, to believe one can prove a theory, or come up with a new one.
How are we then, to go about imitating others on those things we desire for our family and ourselves? Take your look away from the results and the how to, and observe who you are and what others you admire hold true. The balance to me, it's that constant dance of reaching outwards, and moving inwards. Don't loose yourself in copying others, know yourself and get inspired by others instead.
We are just homeschooling moms, christian women. Imitating is an art. Give your imitating a careful thought. Know who you are, what you already have of value in your heritage. Know who others are, and the principles and whys of what they do, and how they live.
Imitating is, ultimately, a living like _____. Be thoughtful and careful how you fill the blank.