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I have not been to the MidWest Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati, but my wife has mentioned going for the last few years. We/[she] have been recently disappointed with the local (Indianapolis – IAHE). I have heard that they have great speakers and a HUGE Exhibit Hall. Even though it is further away, it appears to be very AFFORDABLE REGISTRATION. Plus, it could be a mini-vacation, away from home (bonus for the Mrs.).
Today is a momentous day. My two youngest, Pooh (6) and Tigger (5), both culminated their transition to two-wheeler-hood: they are riding bicycles without training wheels.
We capped this day after dinner with our very first all-family bike ride in the neighborhood. They are getting so big and time is ticking away (…enter bump music from dcTalk…)
Riding bikes, wiggly teeth and the fading of the remnants of “baby talk”, they are growing up fast. Our baby will be six this year, Rabbit is ten. There is only limited time to invest in their lives now, before they begin their own families, have their own children and teach them to ride two-wheelers.
If that is all that life is, then we should “…eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.” If the good life is nothing more than a Hallmark card with the soft, hazy picture and some sentimental hogwash on the inside it is not worth it. Don’t get me wrong; I love spending time with my children doing fun things like teaching them to ride bikes, play chess or dribble left-handed. But if that is all of the legacy there is to life – teaching them manners, sharing some “warm, fuzzy” experiences and perfecting their jump shot – then that is not enough.
Life is hard. The Dread Pirate Roberts was correct, “Life is pain…and if anyone tells you differently then they are selling you something.” Without an ultimate purpose, why go on? Ah, despair, right?
Without purpose: despair; with purpose, and living out of it: joy.
So, what is the purpose of life?
“The chief end [purpose] of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q/A One.
In this short time I have with my children, I am to invest my time not only in training them to glorify and enjoy God, but doing it myself. Using all of life to disciple them, so that the purpose is both “caught” and “taught.”
The training wheels of the bikes are all off now, but the training wheels of their lives are still firmly in place. They are there for both guidance and protection.
I don’t want to extend the metaphor too far, but call one side “Law” and the other “Gospel.” Along the way, we train them by teaching them the Law of God (also the fact that no one can perfectly keep it and the consequences of not keeping it) as well as the Gospel of Christ (literally “good news”): Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient, keeping the entire Law to the point of death on a roman cross, the innocent willingly paying the penalty of the law-breaker and then being raised to life on the third day removing the sting of death for all who repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a process, though. First they ride safely in the driveway on the bike with the training wheels, then the wheels come off and they are stretched to apply their training (knowledge and experience) with dad firmly holding on to them and finally they ride on their own – eventually into the cruel world, busy streets and all – taking them places where they have never gone before now having unconsciously mastered what was once consciously difficult.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:13,14 (ESV)
Oh, I pray that obedience and discipline will one day be unconsciously mastered by them. But, since I am still struggling on my own wobbly ride, I am beginning to understand a little more about the guarantee given to me and longing a little more for Glory.
My prayer is not that they never have difficulty or even that they never suffer, but that the do all things well (including suffering). My prayer is that they, with their whole lives, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
In the immortal words of Inego:
…let me ‘xplain…no, no…there’s no time for that…let me sum up…
Much has happened with my family since last you left the hero, here is a summary:
- Eeyore is a Cub Scout (technically Bear Scout) and loves it.
- Rabbit, Eeyore and Pooh (Tigger was too young) all played Upwards basketball and improved greatly over the season. This was Rabbit’s second season and she improved so much over the previous season!
- All four children took swimming lessons and competed for an inter-country club swim team. I swam competitively in high school about 1,000 years ago…so this was cool to watch.
- Woodpeckers have invaded our home! A family of these delightful creatures have pecked three, er, four holes in the side of our home and built a nest in the stud cavity which happens to be just above the headboard of the master bed. Momma must bring fat juicy worms home for breakfast because the crew is very active in the early mornings! Note to self: I need to remedy this…
- All of the kids are progressing nicely in their mastery of piano.
- I got my wife Pride & Prejudice (2005) and Sense & Sensibility (1995) as gifts in the last year. At one point, she watch both movies three times each PLUS the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice (re: 6 hours long) all within one month! Talk about chick flick central!
- I also got my wife a Dell Inspiron 1520 Laptop for Christmas and installed a wireless network in our home. Now when she hangs out at Panera and Starbucks, she can be cool and surf the ‘net while sipping her Grande Decaf White Chocolate Mocha. Quite the technophile, she is!
- Last summer…we mulched!
- We also picked up a TV show we enjoy: Chuck.
- We hosted our 9th Annual Superbowl Party and was pleased as punch that Shady Brady and Belli-cheat could not complete their perfect* season.
In an age where boys sit on the couch, play video games and eat crap, this book is a breath of fresh air. Literally, boys will go outside. This book is so dangerous because it lets boys be boys, not the mamby-pamby, effeminate, androgynous version of what our politically-correct culture foists on us.
I purchased A Dangerous Book for Boys last week for my son…and I. This is going to be a fun summer!
I pray that this will be a summer of bruised knees, courage, and exploration.
Titus2Talk has a very funny/true post about the change in parents/parenting with the addition of each additional child to the mix.
Nature/nurture debaters listen up: anyone who tells you that the nurture environment within a family is the same for all children, read this!
Let me assure you, Tigger makes herself known.
Sorry for the lack of posting, but with taking time off to be with family, then re-entering the workforce, painting two bedrooms, taking two children (Pooh then Eeyore) to the Emergency Room two days apart and [culminating] yesterday, by smashing Rabbit’s finger in the door of the van (and thus another trip to the doctor’s office this morning) we have been quite busy.
I think my family is trying to spend all of my Medical Flexible Spending Account (FSA) money by the end of the first month, oh no!
Hopefully, I will be back soon.
Pooh had a strep infection which presented itself as shooting abdominal pains (we thought she may have had appendicitis). Ten days and 20 doses of antibiotics later, she seems to be fine.
Eeyore seemed to have the exact same acute symptoms just two days (12/31/06) later: doubled-over, scream in pain; alas, he was just constipated. A regiment of an enema (my first to administer, a joy) and stool softeners along with daily BM reports to mom and normal eating has cleared up his problems. I don’t think he was ever contageous.
Yesterday (01/07/07), I was taking Tigger and Rabbit with me to pick up chinese food while mom painted Rabbit’s room, and on the way out, accidentally, Tigger slammed Rabbit’s right, ring finger in the sliding door of the van-ouch! She is wearing a splint now; the doctor said it may be broken, but that is all she is going to do.
Crises averted (for now), that is enough excitement for one year already…when will it be 2008?
Manly advice from the mouth of babes
His threefold application (if I understand him correctly) is:
- Protect them.
- Open the door for them.
- Do “boy jobs” (like taking out the garbage).
Daniel, thanks for your wisdom beyond your years!
You know, if every man would take care of their ladies in these manners, the ladies may become accustomed to this behavior; then what would the world come to?
I pray that my son acts in this manner (because he has seen his father model this behavior) and that my daughters would become accustomed to this behavior, respond appropriately and never settle for less.
Fool on, Daniel!
I have not (yet) read this paper, but the concept is very interesting:
In our homeschool, we are trying to make everything based on a biblical worldview. My oldest child is eight (third grade), but this will come in handy soon.
(HT: JT @ Between Two Worlds)
Men don’t use non-word words; sometimes we don’t use words at all. Women use these like weapons; they also use words in ways that men do not. Jabbok has listed some common ones.
Here are some more:
- Now: when a woman says now she means five minutes ago (refer to Jabbok’s #2).
- We: in reference to a task, it means “you” and it means “now” (refer to #1); i.e. “can we rake the leaves on Saturday.” In referenece to spending time together it means “without the kids and without a television.”
- Please: really a command not a request, if you know what is good for you.
- Maybe: literally meaning “depending on my mood later.”
- Date: not just an event, but a pre-planned, man-initiated, time-put-into it including, but not limited to calling and obtaining childcare. If we (refer to #2) happen to be somewhere, but you did not plan it, it is not a date. If your mother calls and asks to watch the kids this weekend, it is not a date. If the woman plans it, you get no credit for the date.
- Fat: in reference to herself, it could mean no more than 5 pounds; in reference to a good friend, it could mean more in the order of over 35 pounds.
- Sale: means for a woman that it cost less than she expected; for a man it means that it cost less than was budgeted.
This is how it went down last Friday:
Me: (picking up my cellphone and seeing it is my wife calling at 3:30 pm) Hello, honey!
Wife: (not bothering to say “hello, I love you my darling husband” but I can tell, with teeth clenched…) Your daughter has locked the dog in the bathroom just because she wanted to!
Me: (chuckling) ugh, which one?
Wife: THE FOUR-YEAR-OLD one!
Me: (I still can’t believe I said this…) Isn’t it naptime now? Shouldn’t she be in bed?
Wife: WHERE IS THE SCREWDRIVER? I NEED TO SPRING THE DOG!
I told you that story so that I could tell you this one: