Are You Eccentric?

   

by Barb Shelton

   

(Like this wild border?  I know, it's quite

different from the rest of my typical "country style" here at

my website, but I thought it was pretty appropriate

for an article with this title.)

   

Have any of your friends or family ever called you eccentric? Secretly, or even to your face?  If so, how do you feel about it?  If not, why not?   ;-)   Perhaps you'd like me to explain? 

  

First, as you may have guessed, the reason I even got to thinking about this was because one of my dear brother-in-laws (one of five) very affectionately told me one day that I was eccentric.  No, he wasn't so crass as to just come right out and say it (in fact, he isn't crass at all!); it was within the context of a conversation we were engaged in, and he said something like "Barb, even though you're a little eccentric (with a loving little twinkle in his eye), you know I love and respect you very much."  So it wasn't at all offensive.  But I knew that, for a few good reasons, he was actually serious, so that got me to thinking about it...

  

The word "eccentric" has a lot of kooky inferences, such as "lunatic,"  "crackpot,"  "bizarre,"  "freakish" and "weird."  Who wants to be any of those?!?  Not too many of us, I imagine.  But before deciding that we don't want to be eccentric, let's look at the word a little deeper...

   

A few other meanings are "unconventional,"  "abnormal," "non-conformist,"  and "individualist."  Hmmm, maybe we should consider these for a moment.  

   

Now, just to clarify before we go any further, I do not promote being any of the above merely for the sake of being different, or drawing attention to oneself.  That's nothing less than prideful and arrogant.

   

However, let's put the word into the context of the heart and soul of our lives and see how it stands.  To do that, we have to look at the state of the environment in which we live, namely our culture or society.  What characteristics do we typically see?  I don't want to be negative, but there's an awful lot about the culture we live in that isn't exactly healthy or holy.  Let's take three areas that I think are among the main areas affecting homeschooling families today...  

  

APPEARANCE The "norm" is that appearance is absolutely of prime importance.  Any advertising for women is based on the assumption that every woman wants to (and must) look young and thin.  Wrinkles are to be avoided at all costs, and the cost of doing so is high:  creams, face lifts, make-ups, cover-ups, and exercise programs and  equipment.  And of course you want not only your face and skin to look young, but also your clothing style.  And not only your clothing, but your hair color!  What a despicable "tell-tale sign" of being old grey hair is!  Horrors!  Why would an 80-year-old woman actually want to look like she's [gulp!] an old(er) woman?!?  And isn't the ultimate compliment to a woman how young she looks?!  Why?

   

THE DATING SCENE:  The morals among kids, even church-going kids have veered far from God's standards, with ways of relating to the opposite s_x* being anything but pure and holy.  I have heard that the teenage pregnancy rate is as high among Christian teens as among non-Christians.  And a quick look around reveals a rampancy of promiscuity that grieves the heart of God and robs kids of not only the experience of pure love that God created for them to enjoy but also of the ability to focus on developing who they are in Jesus during these very formative years of their lives. 

  

THE EDUCATION SCENE:  The traditional education scene, no matter how much money, training or "people power" they pour into it, still cannot produce the fruit God would have it produce, partly because the Foundation and Purpose of Education has been legislated out of the system.  It now serves the god of "knowledge" rather than the One who holds the very reason for becoming educated in His hand! Academics are a "high place" even among Christians.  I see so much deadness of soul, so little vision and purpose, with integrity becoming more and more rare. But because of the very nature of the system, it can be no other way. Read The Great Escape by Geoffrey Botkin and Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto (Quotes of John Taylor Gatto) for an in-depth look at this.  (Excerpts from both of their writings are in the "Homeschooling Basics" section of the Article Chart.)

  

So now...  let's pull that word "eccentric" into this picture...  The literal meaning is "off center."  What then is the "center" of our culture?  What is its focus?  What is it aiming at?  I think that "all the above" pretty accurately paints the picture.  Self, Youth, Beauty and Knowledge pretty much sum it up.

  

Marsha Wolfe, a dear homeschooling mom, said this, "Another definition is: 'deviating from a circular path.' Going in circles make me dizzy, I'd much rather actually get somewhere."

  

In light of that, would you rather be "centric" in our culture's eyes, or...

   

are you

 eccentric?

      

I'm eccentric, and I have no plans pending for any rehabilitation programs.

   

   

     

 

* I have deleted the "e" from the word "s_x" because certain servers, in an attempt to keep web surfing safe and pure for their customers, block any web pages ~ even entire sites ~ from being accessed if they contain "that word."  My web site is hardly one for Christian families wanting to deepen their walks with God or help their children purify their relationships to avoid!

 

   

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