I listened to a truly fantastic homily this past Sunday that was based upon the plumb line described in the Holy Book of Amos.
Do you know what a plumb line truly is? Sure, we have all heard of a plumb line but here is the dictionary definition:
line with weight attached: a line to which a weight is attached to find the depth of water or to verify a true vertical alignment
The homily went on to discuss the life of Maria Montessori, which in and of itself was fascinating. You can read more about her life here: http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/montessori2.html and here: http://montessori.org.au/montessori/biography.htm . Her private life, not generally spoken of, must certainly have been painful to her and yet in the deepening of her Roman Catholic faith (http://www.pathsoflearning.net/articles_Montessori.php), via monastic retreats, she found her plumb line.
So, this got me thinking: what is our plumb line as parents? As a homeschooling family?
Is it that everyone in the family is happy? I have known families such as these. As long as everyone had fun at the end of the day, that was the standard.
Is it financial security?
Is it that our children are “X” grade levels ahead in homeschooling?
Is it that everyone has worked hard and the cycle of work and rest goes on?
Is our plumb line our religious faith?
A plumb line suggests that whatever this is for our family, it leads to and helps keep us in “a true vertical alignment”. True vertical alignment is the upright, moral and ethical human being. To me, this also means a human being with a light for all of humanity and our earth – a compassion for Creation, who has an ability to function as an individual and within a community. A true connection to each other, and a connection to our place in the cosmos.
My suggestions for creating a plumb line are simple: start with an attached family that fosters forgiveness and kindness to each other, and add in the securities of boundaries and helping your child gain responsibility and self-control over the years of childhood. Learn a bit about childhood development and come to a place where you feel it is okay to balance your child’s tendencies toward one thing or another with boundaries and that it is okay to uplift your child to help them become a good, moral human being. Place all of this against the backdrop of a religious life and an education that believes that the child is a spiritual and religious being. This is the winding river that connects all of these ideas.
What is your plumb line? What do you believe leads to the upright, moral human being? How do you show this in your family and with your life?