Recently, a friend of mine posed an interesting question on Facebook. It’s a question I think about a lot for my own life–and hope that my own curiosity and passion flows through to my kids. The friend who asked is an educator rather than a parent, so I can only assume that he’s asking in that capacity. I hope my kids’ teachers are asking that same question of themselves. I am fairly certain the only way to educate someone is to fully understand and embrace it yourself.
I find that I long for truth and beauty naturally. It’s a void all human hearts ache to fill. However, the ability and desire to continue to seek those things depends on a each person. We cannot attempt to dull that ache with counterfeit truth and counterfeit beauty. Not only will those things not fulfill the true longings of your heart, but they will spoil your taste for the real thing.
As parents, we should not separate the natural consequences from a chosen action–because we learn from consequence–making life easier and more palatable for the child. The very same concept holds true for a longing of truth and beauty. If we attempt to make life easier or more palatable for our kids (our ourselves!) by filling that truth-beauty hole with easy and accessible junk–we’ll eliminate the hunger for the real thing.
I have to be careful not to satiate that hunger with silly things. And it can be such a easy temptation, right?
I must not allow myself to be so filled with counterfeit good that I’ll turn away from the lack of beauty and truth in my own life and in the world. When I’ve become insensitive to beauty and truth (my heart’s belly so full of junk) I will feel comfortable shielding my eyes and spirit from the ache for truth and beauty of the rest of the world. I’ll allow myself to remain small and quiet–not feeling the great and present desperation of the world. I must allow myself to stay aware of the painful gap between what should be and what is.
I have to be careful not to stop the natural desire to bring beauty and truth forth into the world–for ease, or laziness, or frustration, or insecurity. I have to allow that hole to remain unfilled in order to feel enough to be compelled to not only pursue truth and beauty myself–but to encourage others to do the same.