Back in the USA!

Finding Life After Rwanda

Heather, Francisco, and I are back in Chicago! We arrived a few days ago on Monday, and are still jetlagging quite a bit. It’s been a tough adjustment leaving Rwanda and reentering our former home. We’ve changed and the US has changed since we last lived here. You have changed too. 🙂

Getting our heads around who we are and who we want to be in an old-but-new place while fighting physical fatigue is no easy feat. It’s not even as if we can define the task. Really, what does it mean to reinvent our lives? Here’s just a few of our present challenges: (more…)

In other words, to be truly and fully human, we need to “find” ourselves in relationship to the One who made us and for whom we are made. The gospel is the way we learn to be human.

James K. A. Smith
You Are What You Love

Made to Learn Is NOT About…Original Ideas

From Theory to Practice

There’s just one me. Uniquely made and irreplaceable. Like everyone else, my perspective on the world is shaped by a special sauce of experiences. The life I’ve lived has determined who I am, where I am going, and what I must do. My work is set before me, but my work in the realm of ideas is not entirely my own. 

In the posts to come, I’ll share a lot of thoughts that have been expressed by others. I’ll give credit where I can, but there’s so many who have gone before and paved the way for us to have divergent discussions on learning, that I can’t acknowledge them all. Please accept my gratitude and apologies. (more…)

Made to Learn Is NOT About…America!

Christian Education and Nationalism

“God, Family, and Country.” If you’re an American Christian, you’ve probably heard this formulation of priorities before. The obvious meaning is that God comes before everything, family before all others, and your country before other countries.

But does this slogan reflect biblical priorities, and how does it relate to education? Since Christian education flows out of biblical priorities, let’s start there and use the two great commandments as a litmus test: Love God and love your neighbor* (Lk. 10:27). (more…)

Made to Learn Is NOT About…Bashing Public Schools

Unschooling As an Alternative, Not a Universal Solution

Here begins a series of posts on what this blog/book is NOT about. In Christian theology, God is more often defined by what He is not than positive statements about who or what He is. For example, God does not change, is outside of time, is infinite, and is not made. While this blog is far easier to explain than the doctrine of God, I’ll start with some disclaimers before I make any claims.

The first disclaimer: I’m not here to rant about public schools. (Or private schools.) (more…)

How to Not Lose Friends on Social Media and Maybe Even Influence Them

Are you a Bernie supporter? Perhaps a vegan? How about an adamant pro-lifer? Anti-bad-cop activist? BLM? Pro-breastfeeding? Libertarian? Then anecdotal evidence (my newsfeed/timeline) tells me that you are more likely than others to post about how rational or moral your views are. Good for you. Or is it?

I strongly suspect that I get unfollowed quite a bit because my idea-to-kitten ratio is way too high. Should I change the ratio? Well I can’t bring myself to post about kittens (n.b. more baby pics coming in June), so I’ve had to be more intentional about not pissing people off with how I post about politics, economics, education, etc. (more…)

Control Procrastination with Mindfulness

Give Distraction a Name and a Face

I’ve seen lots of posts over the years about procrastination. Many have offered their takes on why we put off important to-dos until a later, inopportune time. It’s an impulsivity problem. It’s actually good for you (e.g. helps identify unnecessary tasks). Within limits, it even makes you more creative.

While all the above is helpful, the following TED talk by Tim Urban, a blogger at Wait But Why, gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of how his mind procrastinates. Not sure if he’s the first, but he personifies the competing impulses in his head and brings them to life through hilarious illustrations. (more…)

How I Begin Each Writing Session

A Special Prayer to Get Things Going

Know thyself. Know thine enemy. Know thine help.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The third and final book of Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art* counters Resistance with Assistance, a transcendent reality/being that is the source of all creative endeavors. All things already exist as the Platonic ideal on another plane, and need to be called into this realm. (more…)

What Makes Work Worth It?

Find Your Telos and Do the Work

I posted a sign in my classroom that read: “Work is always a means, never an end.”

In economic terms, work is synonymous with labor, which is productive effort for some other end, like wages. On the other hand, leisure (or play) is consumptive, a pleasurable end in itself.

The second act of The War of Artby Stephen Pressfield deals with taking on the persona of a professional and getting to work. Now. Every day. No excuses. (more…)