"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."
Many years ago, when I first began to homeschool, I went to a Greg Harris homeschooling convention. It was a couple of days long, and I was hugely pregnant with baby number 6 (Spencer) which made it hard to sit in a metal chair for two days, but even so, it was wonderful for a new homeschooling mom. I learned so much. He said one thing in particular stood out in my mind and I have used it in more areas than just homeschooling. And that is:
Get rid of the fluff.
In the case of homeschooling, he went on to explain that everything in your house should be a learning thing. Let their toys be things like Legos or building blocks that they actually manipulate, rather than a toy that they just sit back and are entertained by. If you give them a book (and we actually have an entire room dedicated to books after 23 years of homeschooling), let it be biographies or books that teach good morals and good work ethics. If you watch a movie, let it be the same kind.
Don't just "do school" for a few hours a day, let their whole lives be a learning experience.
That advice has transformed the lives not only of my children, but my own as well. Because so much of life can just be fluff. Entertainment is everywhere. It's not hard to fill our lives and days with things that do nothing for us but make our minds "fat".
It took me a while, but I finally got the TV out of our house. It's a rare movie that we watch, and when we do, I do my best to make sure it's a quality movie rather than just one that entertains. I got rid of fluff books and bought good quality ones. They aren't hard to find with a little searching. Another bit of advice I heard from Mary Pride, who was quite a famous homeschooling mom back when I started, and still publishes the magazine, "Practical Homeschooling" was that anything written before the 60's is usually safe for children to read.
Living this way was a challenge for me in the beginning. Clean wholesome books were hard to find, especially for adults. But the effort was worth it, and has cleansed my mind and filled it with light. Because so many people have asked me about it, I started a book review blog that I have sadly neglected, but it still has a lot of good books on it. If you are interested, look here.
James 4:8 "Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."
One thing I have learned over the years is that we are what we put in our minds. If we put trash in our minds, trash will eventually spill out of our mouths. If we put good things in our minds, then good things will spill out. If your mind needs to be cleaned up, it will take some time to get rid of the trash so that good things will always spill out.
" For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. Matthew 12:35
Fluff includes a lot of things and can sneak up on us easily. As hard as I guarded against it, my children are drawn to the computer, especially since we do not have a TV. They bargained for time on it, and over the months, they had acquired 30 minutes a day each of playing learning games on the computer. The trouble was that these games are entertaining, and so when one child was having his computer time, the other three would sit closely beside him to "watch him play." In doing this, they were actually getting two hours a day of computer time. Since we school in the morning, they would speed through lunch and dishes to try and be the first one to get the computer. Then for the next two hours, they played, or watched someone else play. I didn't think it was good for them, especially when they found PBS kids and began to beg for "Arthur" time. I don't have anything against Arthur, it's a nice program. But if I wanted them to watch TV, I would get a TV...
I will quickly admit the two hours of computer time was a nice break for me. Having them engrossed with the computer for two hours gave me some quiet time to do other things. So, I let it go on.
But still, in my heart when I would admit it, I knew this was NOT what I wanted for them.
Then, as will happen when you let four young children use a laptop, the power cord part began to get loose and not want to power the battery. Soon, they had to hold it a certain way, or the computer would lose power. Then, it got to where if the computer lost power at all, the cord wouldn't charge it back up easily. Finally, it went off one day and no matter what they did, it would not come back on.
At first, I thought I would get it fixed. But as the days went by, the kids went back outside. Soon, they had built a fantastic "club house" out of an old pen in the back. It was elaborate and actually looked almost decent. As I looked at it, I thought, "This is what happens when the computer breaks!!" So I decided maybe I wouldn't fix the laptop. Now, on Friday nights, I let them watch Arthur or Word Girls or Wild Krats or whatever else they used to watch for two hours a day. But that's the only computer time they get. Two hours on Friday nights, before bed.
More fluff gone...
So I encourage all you ladies: get rid of the fluff in your life and in your children's lives. Those women's magazines are full of trash. Even if the show you watch on TV is decent, the commercials probably aren't. Use this motto before you watch or read something:
"Why would I watch or read for entertainment, the sins that caused Jesus to die on the cross."
Renew your mind so that good things can spill out!
You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy. Ephesians 4:22-24