"Living an examined life is a pain in the [rear]."
- Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia)
Mike and I have always asked
questions. Whether it’s about the chemicals in products we are using in our
home, the food we eat, or how to educate our children. The problem is that
invariably the more questions we ask, it only seems to lead to more questions.
As Aristotle, Socrates, and Einstein have all said in various ways,
"The more you know, the more you know you don't know."
This concept became so clear when
I started reading “The China Study” by Colin Campbell. Whether you agree with eating
a plant-based diet is not the point, this book opened my eyes to truly how
much I didn’t know. And I didn’t know a lot, I still don’t know a lot! What was
interesting is that it lit a fire in me, I wanted to learn more. It was exactly
as Einstein said, “the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. The more
I realize I don’t know, the more I want to learn.”
I became fascinated with learning for probably the first time in my life. It’s a fire that I want my kids to have. It’s something I believe kids are born with and it’s our job to fan that flame.
Of course, not everything read/learned we agree with, but learning about different points of view or research on various topics is stage one. Then comes examining what you learn, determining your beliefs, and implementing those beliefs into your life. The problem, as Yvon Chouinard said, is that doing that is “a pain in the [rear]” because on the practical side it makes life so much harder, yet, on the flip side so much richer.
Because of just that point, this is a funny year for me; it's one that I've thought about for a long time. This is the year I could finally have all four of our kids in school! And not just in school, but all in one school; all four could be together at one amazing little Elementary School here in Kennebunkport where there are less than 175 students in the entire school K-5. It is the cutest school; and this little school with amazing teachers (truly amazing) is one of the reasons we moved here. It seems so simple, so perfect; and if I didn't question anything or think too deeply, it would be (and is for so many).
So it's somewhat ironic that I'm now homeschooling all four kids in the backyard of an amazing school and next year will launch our own school to offer something totally different and wonderful to the community. This is certainly not the easy road and not a road I ever planned to be on! Again, examined life = pain in the rear 😉 but it’s that richer side that makes it all worth it, when that feeling inside tells you that it’s the right decision and then you see your kids engaged and enjoying learning; albeit not necessarily what society says they “should” be learning at that exact moment, but that’s a whole separate topic…
Cheers to those attempting to live an examined life, in any area, and in whatever way that looks like for you! 🙂