Near our neighborhood are two houses that provide a study in contrast. Each has a pond on its property, and each of the owners has built a little dock at the edge of his pool. When you drive by in the spring or summer, you can see comfortable chairs set out on both docks that invite people to relax beside the water. In those respects the houses are similar.
But in one aspect, they differ. One of those owners took the trouble to install a circulatory fountain in his pond; the other did not. Therefore, one pond sparkles in the sunshine; the other turns green and stagnant.
Which would you like to live beside?
Whenever I see those ponds I think of this powerful saying by Charlotte Mason: “Teach from a flowing stream, not from a stagnant pool” (The Story of Charlotte Mason, p. 288).
A flowing stream has the benefit of fresh lines of water running into it, as well as an outlet. It enjoys a continual circulation. A stagnant pool just sits.
You see the comparison, don’t you?
We who are teaching need to be careful that we have a continual supply of fresh ideas, as well as an outlet for them. Those who allow their minds and hearts to just sit are in danger of stagnating.
It’s easy to spend time, energy, and effort planning for our children’s education, pondering what a delightful feast of ideas we can spread for them, and yet neglect to do the same for ourselves. If we’re not careful to keep a steady supply of fresh ideas coming into our own lives, we may be spreading their feast beside our own green, stagnant pool. And who wants to sit down and eat there?
What are you planning to do this year to keep fresh ideas flowing into your own life?