Kids & Parenting
Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
March is a peculiar time of year for our family as homeschoolers. At this point in the school year, I find myself looking back at what each child has learned, how much curriculum we've covered and what he/she has accomplished. I also look ahead and make goals for the coming school year and plans for summer break. I breathe a sigh of relief that the long winter cooped up indoors with rambunctious children is finally giving way to the warm weather and the chance to burn up energy running and playing outdoors out from underneath Mama's feet. It's a time of year in which I constantly find myself looking behind and ahead, but often missing the present moment and enjoying what it has to offer or teach me.
It reminds me of the poem "To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest, with the Plough" by Robert Burns. Burns is a Scottsman from 1785. He wrote the poem, as the title suggests, when he was plowing his fields and inadvertently overturned a mouse's winter nest in the process. Toward the end of the poem is the famous line: "The best laid schemes of mice and men go often askew, and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!" In other words, no matter how well we plan, sometimes we can destroy the plans of others by our actions. The poet observed that the mouse was the lucky one, as he lived in the moment, while the poet was looking to sad events of the past and the uncertainty of the future and was unable to enjoy the present.
This poem challenges me in this peculiar season of homeschooling. As I look back on our accomplishments in this school year (and our shortcomings!) and plan new goals for the coming months, I am purposing to stay in the moment. I don't want to miss the wonder on Glorie's face when she watches the mockingbird carrying a stick to its nest. I want to enjoy the pride on Grace's face when she recognizes a word and can read it to me. I will be there to cheer Georgia on as she begins to crawl across the floor. I plan to celebrate with Gilbert when he finishes his first long novel.
There is a time and a purpose in reviewing where I've been and planning for where I am going. I intend to enjoy the journey along the way!
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Yvonne, the poem inspired the title of John Steinbeck's Mice and Men novel. You can google it and read about it on wikipedia.
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