Some Distraction or Other

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A month earlier, World War II had begun with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany. Oxford students were shaken by news of the war and confused about how, or even if, they should pursue their studies. On October 22, 1939, C.S. Lewis delivered a message to a gathering of students, offering perspective, insight, and encouragement on the situation.

Available today in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, "Learning in War-Time" contains a number of profound remarks. One portion reads as follows: "If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavourable. Favourable conditions never come."

There is much wisdom in these remarks. Life is full of ongoing "distractions"--things that, if we let them, will draw us away from what interests us, what's important to us, and even what God is calling us to accomplish. Sometimes these distractions are mundane and may even be part of our daily routine--surfing the internet, absorbing ourselves in social media, watching television, immersing ourselves in our smartphone, or just having to deal with the daily necessities of life. In other instances, distractions may be larger and more looming--financial pressures, employment transitions, serious health concerns, or a spiritual crisis.

Lewis is not telling us to avoid life or the daunting situations we may find ourselves in, but he reminds us that these sorts of events will always be with us to one extent or another. In short, "some distraction or other" will find its way into our lives (and never at a convenient time). If we wait for the perfect moment of favorable conditions, we'll be waiting a long time.

Homeschooling can be like that--full of "distractions" and detours that life throws our way. Be encouraged in knowing that you're not alone in such circumstances. Know, too, that you can persevere and, despite the difficulties, enjoy teaching, learning, knowing, and understanding.

Robert Velarde
Author/Educator/Philosopher

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