It started off as a simple request and action, and ended up being the foundation for all the things I would learn as a homeschooling mother through my children. It was the first months of our family’s journey into homeschooling, and I was over at a playdate with my four children (at the time, ages 1 month, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years old) at the home of my homeschooling mentor with her four children. About an hour into the time, my friend asked my children if they would like an apple for a snack. They did, so I followed my friend into her kitchen and watched the babies as she started preparing the apples.
As she poised the knife over the apple to begin slicing, I cried, “What are you doing!?”
“What?” she asked in surprised confusion.
“Why are you cutting the apple that way? That’s not how you cut an apple!” I admonished. How could a grown woman not know how to cut an apple correctly? I wondered.
“Well, how do you cut an apple? she queried.
“Well, you cut it down its core, of course, thus, cutting it in half, and then you cut it in half again down the core, and you will have quarters, and then you core it out,” I replied gently, as I helped her understand what she had obviously missed in the home economics department.
She smiled patiently at me. “Well, the reason I cut the apple this way . . .” as she proceeded to slice the apple about a quarter of the way into the apple, against the core, “. . . is because you get an apple star. And my children like the stars . . .”
And sure enough, right before my eyes, was a star! Inside the apple! How did that happen? Why didn’t I know there was a star inside of an apple? Do you mean to say there really are different ways to cut an apple of which I was unaware? And there might even be hidden surprises that spark excitement of which one can only know by exploration? and creativity?
I know. I know. How naïve could I have really been? Or is it conditioned to be? And how many of us do simply follow what has always been done, without thinking there are other ways just as viable, and maybe more interesting? How many of us blindly follow the path most traveled, thinking it must be the best or right path if so many are traveling along with you?
I am forever grateful for the “lesson of the apple star”. It prepared me to fully open my heart and my mind to the unexpected, the undiscovered, the different way, the path that would truly allow my children to each shine . . . like a star!