In the last post I wrote this week, I mentioned that my mom taught me to read a chapter in the book of Proverbs everyday when I was in Third Grade. With 31 chapters that works nicely to blow through the book each month.
Some of these words of wisdom were easy for a young girl, pre-teen, teen, and young woman to understand. But within the proper context? Oh no. I grew up in the 1970’s and ’80’s in small town Pennsylvania.
Passages like, A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– that gets repeated 8 chapters later in Proverbs chapter 24 came in handy growing up. I distinctly remember laying down for a nap after school and not being able to fall asleep because these words were playing in my head. I got up and completed my home work. But then words like a quarrelsome wife disturbed me because that pretty much describe the very woman who taught me to read this book.
To add to this confusion I read the epilogue of the excellent wife with the context of my TV experience of watching Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Bionic Woman in addition to Wonder Woman sponsored by the Enjoli commercials.
October 31, 2017 will mark the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Theses on to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church door. This even often marks the beginning of the Protestant Reformation that explains why so many different types of Christian churches exist today. What most of these descending churches emphasizes is to read the Bible, just like my mom taught me.
But if we are all reading out of context like I, are we in need of yet another reformation? If one of the genuine reasons why the Catholic Church resisted placing the Bible into the hands of the general public was that they couldn’t read, well we need to be concerned in 2016 too. If programs like The Children’s Trust Read To Learn are needed because the reading statistics are that bad, then I’m sympathetic to the Catholics who were concerned of misinterpretations and misuse.
I love the advances and conveniences of technology. In some ways it’s improving our ability to read and write. But in others its making it worse. But let me lighten up a bit and finish with a recent story that refers back to my point about how our personal experiences often define the context by which we interpret and experience learning and life overall. Perhaps you can identify with a similar decision you made based on your personal experiences prior to.
My daughter and I recently visited Disney in Orlando. We had two full days to enjoy the parks. We had purchased a Water Park Fun and More Option which gave us not one but two days to enjoy their water parks. Well we only had two days and maybe 2 hours of a third. Given the first we chose to spend at Epcot, we had to choose between Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.
I had never been to either water park. But since I had moved to South Florida for the warm humid climate because I developed such bad chronic sinusitis up North, I couldn’t quite fathom being able to enjoy Blizzard Beach. So, I opted for Typhoon Lagoon instead.
We soaked in an exciting day at Typhoon Lagoon. We marveled at all the great Disney Decor and landscaping we saw as we sauntered down the paths and hiked up the stairwells to feel the adrenal rushes as we zoomed down the various slides.
I also overheard the conversations. Some complained that Blizzard Beach was better. Really? Hmm. We have that second day privilege and a few hours we could maybe squeeze a trip in there before we hit the road…
Being brainwashed to think, “I can do it all and have it all” by the TV programming in the 1970’s, I couldn’t be left behind not knowing for myself. So, I planned a crazy day that kicked off with a morning visit at Blizzard Beach.
I’m so glad we did. I felt foolish that I thought the decor would translate into cold dry air. I was completely wrong. In fact, it was the exact environment that I needed to be able to introduce my daughter on how to use a ski lift and what to expect (kind of) when she finally gets an opportunity to go skiing up North (without me of course). And gee, that ski lift sure made my life a lot easier from pushing my family tube up the stairs as I climbed.
So don’t let your valid fears based on YOUR past childhood and life keep you from experiencing more fun in life. And don’t allow your limited context of knowledge growing up in the 20th Century and living in the fast paced craziness of the 21st Century keep you from reading great ancient texts properly within context. Slow down take the time to “Listen and Learn.”