It’s so easy to feel worn down by our work in the home. The work is always needing to be done again, over and over, day after day.
Won’t it ever stop?
Do you want it to?
Of course not. Not really. To wish it all to stop is a death wish – and nowhere is that more clearly seen than in our most basic of tasks – feeding people.
What happens when people don’t eat? They die.
Feeding people is not a small, insignificant job.
It is the most ancient of jobs – one that has been done daily since the dawn of time. It is the most noble of jobs – one that all humanity relies upon.
The repetition of eating is the repetition of life. If we want to live another day, if we want our children to live another day, we have another day of food prep ahead. What a blessing.
Meals can be meager and homey, or lavish and distracted, or plentiful and merry. Meals are made of both the food and the fellowship combined.
And, as homeschool moms, we feed our people in more than physical ways.
It takes practice to keep up with the planning, purchasing, and prep of 3 (or more) meals a day. And, the other kinds of feeding take no less energy and attention.
But the reward is ample, just as it is with meals.
Just as we work through phases of bad manners, food fussing, and table tantrums so that we can enjoy a family meal – sowing in tears to reap in joy – we do the same in the other ways we feed our children (and ourselves).
Just as we prepare for each meal with recipe collection, menu planning, grocery shopping, and vegetable chopping, so preparations are needed in feeding more than bodies.
Just as we relish the spontaneous, surprised compliment after a first bite or the unexpectedly interesting table conversation after a dry spell, so we need to notice and delight in the fruit of our other feeding rather than see every lack as a failure.
Yes, the analogy holds as you pursue it.
Educating people is the same as feeding them. And it’s our job, our blessed, appointed job.
Feed your people’s bodies.
Before we can educate our people, we really do need to actually feed them.
It’s so tempting to try offloading some food responsibilities when we feel the burden of feeding minds, but minds are fueled by bodies, with food.
Our children – and ourselves – are whole people. What goes into the mouth and what goes into the mind are both important – and one can affect the other.
We can’t expect strong attention after a light, sugary breakfast.
We can’t expect them to hold out and finish a math page when their bodies are screaming for lunch.
We can’t expect the food our children – or ourselves – eat will make no difference to our homeschool day or to the education we’re providing.
Sometimes, all a distracted or distraught student needs is a cold glass of milk or ice water.
Sometimes, all that’s needed to turn a dull, stubborn student into an engaged and eager one is to add a treat tray or a pitcher of lemonade to the table.
As homeschooling mothers, we have the privilege of being able to think and act holistically, taking into account all of our children’s needs. We will do best when we notice the interactions and needs – bodily, mentally, and spiritually – of each of our children individually.
Never underestimate the power of a mother’s food in the lives of her children.
Feed your people’s minds.
Dinner will not materialize out of nowhere, and neither will an education.
When we read aloud, teach a lesson, correct a math page, we are doing this not so that they grow up to be Successful, but so that they grow up healthy in mind as well as in body.
He requires much knowledge, for the mind needs sufficient food as much as does the body. – Charlotte Mason
Minds need to be fed to grow. Unfed minds stay in the survival mode or the fun-is-all-I-want mode. A fed mind, however, is a pleasure to its possessor and all who interact with it.
A well-fed mind’s appetite grows by what it feeds on:
The knowledge should be various, for sameness in mental diet does not create appetite (i.e., curiosity). – Charlotte Mason
A strong mind doesn’t only come from exercise – writing, figuring, getting stuff done. Before exercise must come food, or there will be no energy. Creative energy, interest, and connections come not on command by an assignment or checklist, but from a fullness of mind.
Demanding exercise or discipline from a starving child will never end in quality work. That is as true for mental work as it is for physical.
If you’re concerned about your child’s output, first ensure the input is adequate and nourishing.
Feed your people’s souls.
People are more than bodies and more than brains.
People are souls.
Our children are persons. They have souls that cannot be neglected.
Souls, also, must be fed. What feeds a soul? A soul is fed when it acts in accordance with what it is created for: worship.
Of course that begins with worship on the Lord’s Day with a gathered church body. Our children need the worship service as much as we do, even if we doubt their participation or understanding. It is the worship of God that should not be withheld from any soul.
From corporate worship, we go out into life as full souls.
When we remember that we are always souls, it is not a part of us we turn off when we work in the world, we will act like it through all our business – meals, school, chores, errands, playdays.
To help feed our own souls as well as the souls of our children, we will start our school day as well as our meal times with prayer. We will remember that glorifying God is our primary duty, not getting checklists marked off or getting good grades. That shapes how we respond to each other as well as how we respond to our own responsibilities and our own failures.
We feed our own soul as well as others when we repent of our bad attitudes just as we correct math errors.
We feed our own soul as well as others when we rejoice in the midst of trial, even if the trial is simply a fussy child or a messy floor.
We feed our own soul as well as others when we repeat, day in and day out. We repeat meals. We repeat lessons. We repeat hugs. We repeat laundry. We repeat prayers and Scripture. We repeat repentance and rejoicing.
After all, people need to be fed.
In fact, feeding people is the most important job we have.
Let’s do it, every day, over and over.