I had an epiphany a couple of weeks ago. Being a philosopher of sorts I enjoy those. This summer I read a book which described an ‘addiction to epiphanies’ and I recognized that I might be accused of this. Of course, if you come from a place of great ignorance there are more places for the light to shine meaningfully. I think I am not addicted, only very hungry.
My newest epiphany occurred after a night of mourning for the culture and praying for my children. I love when God is so kind as to quickly answer prayers. As a mother it just seems to me that things have changed so quickly. We are surrounded by pleasure. It cannot be good for us.
What to do? What to do? I have found hang-wringing annoys others.
But then I walked into a room where my recently graduated college student was talking on the phone to his grandfather. He had called his grandfather. I saw that phone call as a giant tether holding my son to his heritage and even God and I realized the future of the western civilization is now out of the hands of the big guys and into the hands of the little guys. It rests on all those small decisions we make each day. It always did.
When we put down our phone game and pick up a book that is a little act of courage these days. When we let someone else go first because we SEE them that is not just courtly behavior, it is deep philosophy. Isn’t it true that the chivalric code was a way of seeing? Manners say, “I see you. You matter.” Every time we see another human being and interact with them in some small way we are participating in the purpose of the humanities. We are working on our bona fides and no matter how educated you are if you sit when you should stand you need to go back to school. It may be enriching to listen to that Teaching Company course while on the plane but it will be noble when you take out the earbuds and say to the person next to you, “Hail fellow well met.”
I cannot change that massive zombie called pop culture. He is truly fierce and truly ugly and he scares me senseless but I can open my eyes and become aware of all the tiny decisions I make each day that are either tearing down the house or building it up to stand against the monster.
You could say that I am going to be teaching Western Civ to my children this year. I am not going to use books. I am going to try to see my children more and I am going to try to teach them to see others. This isn’t as hard as it seems, it begins with a welcoming ‘good morning’ and a hug.