I recently had the privilege of addressing the moms at Mom’s Night. I was encouraged by the amount of chatter and fellowship – so much chatter and fellowship, in fact, that Mrs. Anderson had a difficult time calling the group to order.
The subject of the evening was good taste, and I shared my story about how I came to like hot tea. It was in the spring of 1999. I was 20 years old and an Anglophile, which means I loved all things English and, by extension, British. I was actually in England for the first time, studying for a semester, feeling very homesick, yet otherwise soaking in the castles, the rain, and the history, but not the tea. At the time, I thought hot tea was bitter and gross. But when you’re sitting in the home of an elderly English gentleman, and he places a cup of hot tea in front of you, lovingly mixed with milk and a little bit of sugar, complete with toasted crumpets and hot cross buns, you drink the tea.
Of course I found it repulsive, but I drank the entire cup anyway. So he poured me some more, and then every time I saw him (he and his wife were my ‘adopted parents’ over there, so I saw them quite a bit), he would offer me tea.
Three months I was over there, drinking tea, eating crumpets, looking out the window at buildings that were older than my country. By the time I came home, I was hooked. I saw in a cup of hot tea not just a soothing drink that could settle a meal. I saw an experience in it; a respite from a hectic day, the chance to sit and gaze out of a window and muse about life. I won’t say I saw everything that a cup of hot tea can offer (who can, really?), but I had acquired a taste, and the process of acquiring that taste made my enjoyment of it that much richer.
At our Information Meetings for prospective parents, Mr. Anderson has spoken extensively about encouraging the true, the good, and the beautiful in our kids. I think we all want to do that. Who wants to go on record opposing something called “the true, the good, and the beautiful”? But there is a great difference between applauding the true, good, and beautiful things in life and pursuing them.
I want to encourage you, personally, to acquire a taste for that which is good, that which is true, and that which is beautiful. Not just so you can be a better parent. Not just so you can be a better spouse, or teacher, or friend. I want you to encourage you to acquire this taste so that you can better experience the majesty and magnificence of God. So you can worship.
To do this, you must be strong and courageous, for the Lord did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power and of truth. In other words, do not be afraid of big books, dead languages, or complex math problems. Most of us are afraid of at least one of these. For myself, math is my weak point. I sometimes joke about my math phobia, but it’s a legitimate issue that I must deal with. It does not glorify God that I throw up my hands in defeat whenever a math problem arises in my life. That is a fear that I am nurturing rather than conquering. If I continually say “I’m not a math person,” or “I don’t do math,” then I am telling God, “God, I don’t plan on growing in this area.” Such an attitude is hardly God-honoring!
What is your phobia? Is there an area of life or academics that you think is bitter and gross? Is there an area of study that has you intimidated? If you’re shaking your head “no,” I would encourage you to examine your attitude towards Latin. I’ve had several conversations in the hallway with parents who are exceedingly nervous about Latin.
This is not a blog post directed towards TCS parents. It’s directed towards you, as an individual child of God. Do not live a contradiction, telling your child to experience all the wonders of rich learning but never seeking out those wonders for yourself. That is like telling your children to read the Bible but never letting them see you read it. Do not encourage your child to study hard and learn Latin because it’s important, but in your own life, you have declared Latin-phobia. God has given us a rich, wonderful world to live in and when we close ourselves off from it, we become impoverished, always begging for handouts in the forms of sermons and sound-bites but never wanting to work for that knowledge ourselves.
But how can we work for it when our lives are so busy? In next month’s blog post, we’ll turn to practical applications in helping not only our students, but also ourselves to acquire a taste for the true, the good, and the beautiful as we walk on this journey together.