Saturday, February 11, 2012

NPH and the Soul

I haven't written for a while, as my father has been going through some very serious health issues. He was diagnosed with a somewhat uncommon ailment called NPH, which is a form of hydrocephalus that causes symptoms mimicking Parkinson's Disease and dementia. His health started declining very rapidly, but he's doing much better now, after shunt surgery. I think my parents' lifestyle will still be changing somewhat, due to lingering effects of NPH. Fortunately, they live very close to us, so we are trying to help as much as possible.

I have found that it is difficult having small children to care for at the same time as your parents begin to need additional help as well. One of the drawbacks of having children late in life.... It is not very fun to have to choose between spending time caring for your preschoolers and spending time caring for your parents.

My dad's illness has also made me contemplate how much reliance we place on our minds. We tend to assume that our thoughts are our own, and that we are in charge of how cleverly we can think about things. We may accept that God (or "nature") gave us our inborn level of intelligence, but claim that we have taken over from there. (This is especially true for those who really are quite clever, or who are of above-average intelligence, and tends to lead toward a sense of superiority.) We take pride in our logic. Perhaps to the point of idolizing it?

I think we sometimes equate our minds and thoughts with our soul, and perhaps that is (one reason) why it can be so terrifying to begin to lose control of your mind (and perhaps why we shy away from those with mental disabilities?). But our souls are not quite the same as our physical brains and conscious thoughts. Our souls are more than that. Our souls will outlast our brains. Also, we may trust that God is in control of large events - things we can't control - like the weather, and distant wars, but we rarely think of Him as being in control of our own minds.  Yes, He gives us plenty of chances to make our own decisions, but ultimately, He is in control of our minds just as much as the rest of our health. I have thought often lately of the temporary insanity of King Nebuchadnezzar described in Daniel 4.

So what conclusion can I draw from all this, as a homeschooler? No conclusion, really, but just a reminder that in educating our children, we must keep in mind the bigger picture of educating, or growing, the souls of our children, and not just their intellects. Our minds, the intellectual towers of this world, our philosophies, and even our hermeneutics, apologetics, and theologies, will fade away, but God will remain.

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