So, in the section we read together today, a few things jumped out at me in profound ways. Like this, talking about our need to seek solutions to problems (bolding mine):
The task of each individual person ... is to look for solutions in the concreteness of their own history, within the given circumstances of their own social and political history. This task is entrusted to our freedom, within the freedom of God's plan, which is enacted in history.
When I read this, I wrote in the margin "unschooling". I think unschoolers see education precisely this way, as a task entrusted to the freedom of each person. We on the UC list (unschooling Catholics) have discussed frequently the desire for our children to embrace their own freedom in order to follow the will of God from their hearts, rather than as the result of coercion of a variety of sorts.
And then I read further, quoting de Lubac:
"Time is vanity only for one who, using it unnaturally, desires to establish himself in it -- and to think of nothing but a "future" is to establish oneself in time. Of necessity we must find a foothold in time if we are to rise into eternity; we must use time...."
Traditional education strikes me as being always concerned about the future. Study to pass tests. Take this and that to be accepted in a good college. While I understand the validity of those things objectively, when the emphasis is purely on the future goal and not on the good of the work in the moment, then that becomes a vanity.
However that last phrase really struck me: we must use time. Freedom allows us to use time rather than being held captive by it. This is what I want my children to learn -- to use time, of their own creativity and for ends that glorify God and bring forth what God has placed in them. As their mom, I am called to first of all model how this is done, and secondly to mentor and guide the process for them. But not to take it over, not to be a coercive force. That can be a very fine line, and the difference I think is found much more in the heart and relationship than in what can be seen externally.
At the same time, I realized when reading this how much I need an adjustment when it comes to exercising freedom in use of my time, my life. My gravitational fault is to figure that what I do doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things and to wait for what feels like divine revelation -- the proverbial voice from the heavens -- to move forward with decisions. So I need to be consciously making choices, aware of how, as Giussani says later, "God does not oblige man to be himself if man does not so wish. But he does ask him, he does urge him, he does remind him constantly to be himself." I need to be me in order to serve my children and their educational task to the fullest. I need to be me, in freedom, to please God. It's part of what it means to be human. Hmm, I remember Father John telling me that once.