What I Did This Summer Part 4
Flexibility Under the Umbrella of Vision
Probably one of the most inspiring documents, next to the Bible, is the United States Constitution. Have you considered the changes it has endured? Numerous wars, including a Civil War; technology which took us from Kitty Hawk to the moon in just 60 years; a major Depression. Amazing. The framers not only had to build a document (and therefore a government) that would maintain their original intent but one that would also have to be flexible enough to meet the unforeseen changes that were sure to come. If the Founding Fathers were brought back to life to see what fruit their seed produced, they would probably be in astonishment of the nation on which God has shed so much grace. So how did they do it?
They laid out a solid vision yet allowed for new laws through the amendment process. For you history buffs, you know it takes a 2/3 majority in the House and the Senate as well as ratification by ¾ of the states to pass a new amendment. It’s obvious that they anticipated the need of change but equally realized that a nation is built on constancy of purpose and not the emotional and political whims of mankind. To date, only 17 amendments have been added to the initial 10 Bill of Rights in the Constitution. I think the homeschooling community should take note of this incredible perspective of constancy versus change.
People often hesitate to get serious about vision because they feel life is in a perpetual state of flux, yet statistics prove time and again that success comes to those who stay the course through the good times and the bad. It’s not that they don’t make adjustments in how they do certain things, but seldom do they make enormous change in an opposite direction.
Matthew 5:17 says
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.—Matt. 5:17 (NKJV)
A few individuals erroneously believe that God was unable to accomplish His original purpose in the Old Testament so He completely gutted the old system and started all over again with the New Testament. God’s original plan never changed; it was simply fulfilled through His Son per His premeditated purpose.
While we do stay true to our vision, there are times we need to make allowance for flexibility, whether by design, necessity or surprised opportunity. Let me illustrate with a rather extreme example. I remember years ago reading the story of a homeschooling mother who was very purposeful about her children making it through their workbooks by the end of each year; this was her vision. She had her schedule dutifully broken down into weeks and days in order to fulfill her vision. Sadly, they fell behind a few days right before leaving on vacation, but she was determined to make up for lost time in the car. Reality did not meet her expectations, so she got upset, telling her children they weren’t going to stop anywhere until they were caught up. Ironically, as they were working on their history textbook, they came upon the Mount Rushmore area. The mother, true to her word and vision, drove right on past this American icon because they had to get their history worksheets finished. I trust the point is made.
Vision gives much needed discipline, which helps us stay the course through the myriad of distractions that pop up throughout the school year; however, discipline is not to be confused with rigidity. The former acts as guardrails; the latter as prison bars.
Some personalities naturally go with the flow. No doubt, they will have a good time on their homeschooling trip; they just tend to not follow through plus they can become easily stressed when the pressure is on because they have gotten used to taking the path of least resistance. They need the discipline that vision provides! On the other hand, some personalities are so intent on their destination they forget to enjoy the journey by taking the occasional side trips even when these opportunities actually help fulfill their vision (as with the lady with history.) If learning is to be a life long process, it must be enjoyable; therefore, we must have some flexibility.
How do we wrestle with this tension between consistency and change? We must ask ourselves, “Does the opportunity before us help fulfill our vision in a way we hadn’t planned or thought of before?” For example, your high school boys haven’t worked out for the day. Their physical health is important to you. A call comes in from a neighbor lady who had a tree blow down in her yard. Do you stay with your vision of your sons getting a work out or do you teach them to serve? In this case—simplistic though it may be--not only do your sons get to serve the widow according to scripture, they also get their work out too.
Most individuals need more emphasis on vision than flexibility. For those of you who are intent on planning your work and working your plan, don’t be surprised if God keeps you balanced by occasional diversions from your game plan. He is not destroying your vision but is helping you to fulfill it through flexibility.
Exectutive Director, ICHE