Monday, May 31, 2010

Life Lessons

"Let's go show Daddy how brave you are," I say, to my crying Weston-child.
"Yeah," he says between sobs. We walk down the stairs to where Daddy is working and he shows him his finger that is now covered with a baking soda and water paste.
"What happened, Weston-day?" (That's Daddy's pet name for him.)
"I was tryin' to catch a bee that was on a flower and I caught him but then he stinged me."
"Oh buddy! that's too bad! What did you learn?"
"Well," he says, with tears still in his eyes, "I learned how to catch a bee."

And we probably shouldn't play with bees, too. Right little guy? Right? (It only took his biggest brother eight times before he decided he better be fearful of bees. Let's hope this child is a quicker study.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

WorldView 102

My most favorite thing about having to take Davis downtown every week to get allergy shots (desensitizing his bee allergy) is that I have 2 solid hours of just him and me time. It will not always be just the two of us, but while it is still new and unknown I wanted to be able to focus on him. On the care ride there we asked dozens of questions about how allergies work, what desensitization is, and why it works. It was a fairly intelligent conversation. When it seemed like the questions about allergies were coming to a close I broached another intellectual topic that I have wanted to cover for some time now.

Thus far, he is completely unaware that the public school system can be hostile to the Christian worldview. I have been hesitant to bring it up with my black-and-white thinker because the truth is that there are very good teachers that I trust and am thankful for that disagree with our views. It does not seem appropriate to drive an unnecessary wedge between my child and their school. On the other hand, he made a comment the other day that startled me. He said, "Jackson, school is the safest place you can be." On the one hand I am thankful he feels so safe. He should feel safe. On the other hand, I think that it reflects a belief that what is taught in school is equivalent in authority as what we teach at home or in church.

Thus far, we have not come up against many things that directly oppose our faith. Thank goodness, since we are only in the second grade here. But I know it is coming and that it will come faster than I realize. I desire my kids to be strong, independent thinkers and so I began telling him about how he has a "detective role" to play while he is in school.

Your teacher is a believer but the people who tell her what she is supposed to teach might not be believers. Did you know that? So whenever you are in school, you should always be asking yourself, "Does this thing that I am learning right now AGREE or GO AGAINST what the Bible says?" And then, if you figure out that it is against what the bible says, you have to decide which one you are going to believe.

We talked about some examples of things he is learning that fall on both sides, asking him what the bible says about each issue I brought up. He asked some good questions. My favorite question came when we were talking about taking care of the earth. We have always taught the kids that it is very important that we take good care of the earth because starting way back in Genesis, God gave the earth over for mankind to care for, so we need to take that responsibility seriously. I made a comment in this present discussion to the effect that some people who feel very strongly about taking care of the earth have rejected God. He said, "But that doesn't make sense! Why would they care about the God's creation if they don't care about God?"
     "I know. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense when you put it that way. But it is sort of like they have chosen to worship the earth instead of God, the creator of the earth. The earth can be an idol and..."
     "I know why. They have been deceived," he responded.

I am hoping that this conversation builds a foundation for him that allows him to think critically about what he is learning in school. The bigger challenge will be balancing the critical thinking with lessons on how to respectfully, kindly, appropriately respond to things that go against what he knows about God and His Word. I am invigorated by the challenge and excited to see how the Lord develops this aspect of my kid's intellect!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

mom's day

Our associate Pastor, Joel, made this video on Friday and showed it at church today, in honor of mothers. Davis got to star in his very own "Movie." I was in stitches during church, watching it. SO FUN. Hope you enjoy it too!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blessing or Bravery?

I get a lot of wide-eyes and knowing looks from people when I am out and about with three or four of my boys. You know, the kind of wide eyes that say, "That's a lot of kids!" and the knowing looks that say, "my-oh-my you've got your work cut out for you!" And with those expressions usually follow a comment of some sort that goes something like, "You are so brave! I stopped at two. I can't imagine FOUR!" or "Four BOYS. Your hands are FULL." And you can imagine the tone: these are not meant to be encouraging statements.

These comments are not new to me and I have had lots of time to process the best response. For a while I just gave them equally wide eyes and agreed with them. Not because I agreed with them, but because its always nice to get sympathy from strangers. It occurred to me a couple of years ago that I am not the only one within earshot of these comments. I did not want perfect strangers to define any part of my children's psyche. They have no right to impress upon my children that they are a burden. Not only is it is lie, it is the opposite of the truth. My children are not burdensome; they are a blessing.

So my answers morphed into something that would make sure my kids knew I disagreed with the sentiment. "I love every one of them!" or "I feel blessed," I would respond.

Our culture teaches that children are a heavy weight to shoulder. Even common parenting experience points to how difficult it is to "deal with" children. That is such a sad state of affairs. Raising children IS a challenge, especially when there is not a Guidebook on the nightstand. Parenting is a puzzle without a great group of fellow moms walking alongside you, to commiserate AND celebrate with. Motherhood is trying and exhausting, especially when she is expected to live with one foot in full-time work, and another foot in full time mothering. The sentiment these onlookers express is their reality (or their imagined reality). And that really is sad - so sad!

In light of these considerations, my answers are ever-so-slightly changing again. Each time a "sympathetic phrase" is uttered my direction, I see it as an opportunity to share another perspective. "My, you are brave," they say. I can respond with a genuine smile and light in my eyes and say, "I'm not brave, but I am blessed." "I see you have your hands full," they say. To which I get to say, "Yes - delightfully full!" I like to try and pause for a half-second longer to look in their eyes with a smile so they can see my joy.