I recently discovered a free app that allows you to scan the bar codes of all the books you own to create a digital catalog of your library. For a bibliophile like me, this is a dream come true. Over a period of several weeks, I eked out five minutes here and five minutes there to go through each bookshelf in my house, scanning my collection. As I went along, a funny thing happened. Instead of marveling at the incredible books I have been privileged to read and assemble, guess what stood out to me?
I became increasingly frustrated with the stickers that used-book sellers often place directly over the bar code. These are the extra sticky ones that leave a thick gummy residue on mirrors, picture frames, plastic pencil boxes, and the backs of books, making it impossible for a scanner to recognize the bar code. In the moment, I was convinced that they were the absolute worst thing ever.
Isn’t that an apt metaphor for the distractions that mask the privilege and honor of educating ourselves and others?
We get to peruse the bookshelves of history, literature, mathematics, science, and ancient languages, but what grabs our attention are the stickers in our way.
Maybe for you it is the logistics of setting up your school room. The white board you bought on sale doesn’t quite fit on the designated wall. Maybe it is the broken URL on your favorite blogger’s website that used to point to your go-to coloring sheets. For me, it can be the Internet going down at an inopportune moment, or the nasal quality of the narrator’s voice on an audiobook.
Those things pale in comparison to the grandeur of the world of knowledge we get to discover with every book read, every skill learned, every plant tended, and every artwork observed. But in the moment, I get stuck.
This week, I encourage you to join me in stepping back, putting down the app or the headphones (yes, even those enticing inventions), and choosing to overlook the sticky residue of unmet expectations and unexpected obstacles. Homeschooling is a glorious journey because of—not in spite of—the “worst things” you will encounter along the way.