next to godly living, the biggest priority and most valued achievements in my family life have been centered around education. i've said to friends before that religion and education (and religious education) are the family businesses. not that we have loads of family members infiltrating the public education system, or that we have a large percentage of hebrew scholars discussing open theology and what have you's at reunions (though that would all be very cool)... but that after or right under the central theme - god-focused life - we all have been taught (ha!) to revere learning in any state.

i told mom the other day that she has a didactic personality.

this is equal parts nature and nurture in my opinion. if you take my mother as an example, she gets her habit of constant instruction (in her wonderful, gentle nature) from her genes (thank you Loy and Donna) and from her parenting and life experiences (oh, thanks again Loy and Donna ;). and she's passed it down, with the equal participation of my father, one of the best teachers i know.

and i see it in myself - a self-described know it all with too much "trivia" in my head. i may not be constantly constructing a lesson with my daily dialogue like some of my esteemed relatives (uncle stan is one of the best in finding a way to sum up every convo - i love it), but my eyes are open and my ears pricked to any useful piece of daily info - you never know when someone might need to know about the history of crisco (did you know it was originally intended to be marketed as SOAP?) or how to get in touch with the local chamber of commerce to promote your charity of the month. i know the most random things, and they are the most remarkably useful things sometimes. i can tell you all about how to relocate to henderson tn by the way.

since "imparting wisdom" seems to be a biblical kind of thing to do, i suppose i shouldn't be surprised that it's ingrained in my life patterns. perhaps every preacher's kid and teacher's kid feels this way too.

lately, i've thought a lot about what we will teach ezri. i can see eric telling her all about world history, video games, how the us government works, and challenging her to think critically about everything she encounters, how to laugh at the slapstick of animaniacs and wit of cs lewis - he will have so many gifts to share with our little girl. the images i have in mind are of a relationship that is forged over time, like the ones i value between myself and my parents and so many of those educator-relatives (like my granma Wheat and her wonderful insights)

she'll probably get used to my political rants, my musings on being a woman in our culture and belief system, and learn to roll her eyes at my inconsistencies. i hope some of it will make sense. i hope that she learns to do what her grandma Donna always said to do when listening to someone else - to find the meat and spit out the bones.

education is part of a lifelong pursuit, a romance with knowledge and a thirst for growth. it is not a period in your life that revolves around class periods, dry tests, popularity contests and competition. it's a daily curiosity and a passion for what you have faith in. the best teachers in my life will always be mentoring me and urging me to push further... they remain with me. some of them are called instructors, by vocation, others are simply repositories of love and wisdom who have inspired me (ron and judy warpole, julie osburn, becky youngblood, chara watson... it's a long list)

and their characteristics that i will arm myself with as i forge this new relationship with the little ball of energy kicking and squirming under my ribs? patience. humility. love. honesty. fearlessness. hope. discernment. an open and listening heart.

so keep on teaching me, teachers.