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home/school/life is the secular homeschool magazine for families who learn together.

Monday Pep Talk: Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn

Monday Pep Talk: Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn

 Making the most of today and being present in the moment doesn’t mean making today perfect.

I have been trying to start each week this year with a little meditation—sort of like the secular equivalent of a devotional. I know I’ve mentioned that sometimes these days poetry is the only thing that makes sense to me, and I really appreciate its power to help me plug back into the rhythms of my everyday life, even when I’m pulled in a million directions. I’ve also found the cumulative effect to be a positive one—since I started in January, I’ve noticed a difference in how present I’m able to be in our homeschool. So I thought I’d share some of my little meditations here in case you find them centering, too.

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn.
Look to this Day.
For it is Life, the very Life of Life. 
In its brief course lie all the 
Verities and Realities of your Existence. 
The Bliss of Growth, 
The Glory of Action, 
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream, 
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes 
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness, 
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope. 
Look well therefore to this Day.
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn.

With the best of intentions, we often miss this moment by thinking about the next one or this day by worrying about the one after it. I know that when I start to do this, when I start to get sidetracked by possible futures, that’s when homeschooling starts to feel less like a project-in-progress and more like a scoreboard where I’m not getting enough points.

Today, I want to focus on the moments as they come. It’s OK if the kids sleep late and don’t come down in time to make pancakes for breakfast. I want them to do that because I feel guilty that I haven’t had space for pancake-making for so many mornings in a row now, but that’s not a problem that this morning is supposed to solve. It’s OK if we have to work through that math SAT practice today, even though my daughter and I both stress ourselves out about it. This is what we need to do, and today is the day we have picked to do it. It is a part of our day, but it doesn’t have to define our day. It’s OK if I grade these papers after dinner instead of creating some kind of family fun time. I have work to do that matters. I have all the other hours of the day to enjoy being part of my family and for my family to enjoy being with me. I want to let today be just what it is, one moment at a time, accepting the bright parts and the hard parts as they come.

Making the most of today and being present in the moment doesn’t mean making today perfect. I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. It just means accepting what the days brings, noticing it, and celebrating it on its own terms, not as a stepping stone to some future that may not happen. I will try not to ask “what next?” or “what if?” There are times to ask those questions, but today is not that time. Today is for appreciating the now. Today is for watching the sun come up and for filling the moments until it goes down again with acceptance of whatever happens.


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