by Katie Julius
One of my favorite movies as a teen and young adult was Dead Poets’ Society. Maybe it was Robin Williams. Maybe it was the “boarding school” atmosphere and nostalgia of the time period. Maybe it was the coming-of-age and becoming your own person storyline. Regardless of why I liked it then, the message that has stuck with me is the one embodied in the Latin phrase, “carpe diem,” which means “seize the day.” I can still hear Williams’ character hoarsely whispering the phrase.
This concept is not foreign in our society. You may be familiar with the catchy tune to “Seize the Day” from Newsies, the Broadway musical, or the phrase “grabbing the bull by the horns.” Nike’s rendition of this concept, “Just Do It” might be one that resonates with your kids; if not, “YOLO” (you only live once) might instead.
If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably heard me say this a few times. I’m a planner. I like planning. Whether it’s a vacation, field trip, event, curriculum for next school year, or the lesson plan for the next day, I can spend hours finding as much information as possible about whatever I’m planning so I am as prepared as I can be so that I can (hopefully) avoid anything going wrong. (Yes, I am well aware that even the best plans are bound to encounter hiccups along the way.)
While being a planner can be helpful, it can also be a fault. You see, I’ve discovered that I’m not just a planner. I’m an “over-planner.” What this means for me is that I often spend so much time planning that I never get to the doing. Or if I do, I’m so exhausted from the planning that I can’t enjoy what I’ve planned. Or I’ve planned SO much that I couldn’t possibly get it all done in the time that I have. Anyone else relate?
If this is you, I want to challenge you, in this new year, to “seize the day.” Stop the planning. Start doing. Have you been planning the “perfect” unit study or project that the supplies are just sitting and waiting for you? Do it. Or a long day trip to a really neat field trip location? Just go. Or maybe even an epic trip that you haven’t been able to do because you haven’t found the “perfect” time? Don’t wait. It may not be exactly as you imagined it or immaculately planned out and you might miss out on some other things (“FOMO” is real!), but your kids will remember all those experiences and memories – not the hours you were planning or the carefully crafted minute details. You’ll be glad you did.
I leave you with this verse from Ephesians. In chapter 5, verses 15 & 16, Paul writes, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (NIV)
I’m taking my own advice. I’m letting go of having to be here for all of our activities all of the time. We homeschool so we can do things on our own timeline. Our family is taking a dream vacation to Alaska late this summer. An ideal time of year for a homeschool group leader? Nope! But we are going and couldn’t be more excited.