Love Reasons and the Loveliness of “No”

There is a child in my church who looks like a fairy wood sprite.  Her hair is white, her skin almond pink, and her large and luminous aqua eyes slant up with intelligence.

Her voice is intriguing, and for me it defies describing.  Perhaps because I am more interested in the mobility and expressiveness of her face when she’s talking.  Were it not for the new daddy in her life who understands the value and loveliness of the word, “No,” this child might be easy prey for the enemy of her soul someday.

But the fairy wood sprite is winning, and if this new daddy has his way, her entire life will be a fairy tale.  She is learning that she is royalty, deserving of all the best things, which include discipline.

I usually sneak peaks at this child from afar, but Sunday I went so far as to kiss her white head when she wore a bit of a frown on that dear face.  “Here’s a feel- better kiss,” I told her as she passed, and was gratified to see her smile as she walked away.

This child doesn’t need yet another adult fawning over her beauty, trying to make points with her mom and grandma by giving her whatever she wants, feeling sorry for her because (until lately) she was daddy-less.

If this child does what most kids do, she will act up a bit now and again.  And again.  If her parents do what most parents do, they will ground her, speak sternly to her, get angry and tell everyone who will listen all about it.

But if these parents are bold and brave because they know they’ve done the training, the nurturing, the hard part in saying “No” when it needed saying, they will also have the strength and wisdom to speak straight to this child.

I imagine such a scenario as this:  “The answer is ‘No'”, Dad says, (parents agreeing ahead of time after prayers together for wisdom) “And I’m going to tell you some of the reasons why.”

Child looking mutinous, still standing, so very wronged is she.

“Sit down.  I want to look you in the eye because I want you to see the love in my eyes.”

Child sits.

“So many reasons.  The phone is keeping you awake, keeping you from other activities, making us feel left out of your life, exposing you to things that may or may not be healthy for you.”  Mom thinking the main reason is that the more her child is hooked up to electronic devices, the less respect she shows her parents, and she chases a niggling thought that sounds something like, “And whose fault is that?”

Child rolling eyes.

“Please don’t do that.  Do I ever do that to you?  Because if I do, if you learned that from me, I sincerely apologize and give you leave right now to call me on it if I ever do.”

No comment.

“But there is another reason.  I call it The Love Reason.  The reason that someone who loves to make you happy, who loves to see your smile and hear your laughter, who wishes every moment of your day was pure joy – the reason such a one as your ma or I can say the dreaded “N” word is The Love Reason.

Child looking interested, alert.

“See, if I notice a kid in the store hooked up to her phone, it exasperates me.  But when it’s the child God gave me to love, in kicks The Love Reason.  The Love Reason is also God’s reason.  He says “No” about certain things because He loves us and doesn’t want our enemy to get at us.”

“He has high hopes for us, a destiny planned, a hope and future beyond what we can ask or think or even imagine.  So, you could just say my Love Reason is Love.  I love you and don’t want you harmed, hindered, or set back.  I don’t want you following the crowd and not going on your particular and beautiful adventure path in life.

Child listening.

“It’s my job.  God gave you to me as a responsibility and a gift to steward.  Even God Himself doesn’t own you – He wants you to give your life to Him willingly.  But He does have Love Rights.  Love Rights include the right to say “No”.

“So, Love Reasons and Love Rights. I could bore you with all the science behind what that phone’s doing to your fine brain, but suffice it to say watching instead of creating and doing shrinks the imagination part of the brain.  I think we can agree imagination is a marvelous and precious thing.”

Child nods just a little.

“So, here’s the deal:  Along with the No Thing I’m going to do the Hard Thing.  I’m going to put myself at your disposal to facilitate electronic alternatives – creative, action things that you can think of to do.”

Parent wonders what possessed him to make this offer – Mom raises eyebrows very high.

Child is quick on the draw.  “I want you to help me build a canoe, and take me fishing.  And my bike tire is flat.  Plus Mom said we could have a tea party and I want to do that.  Tomorrow afternoon.  So, maybe we need to go to the store right now to get the stuff.”

Mom is laughing right out loud.  Dad takes deep breath.

“Well, it just so happens I’ve been looking at canoe plans on the Net.  Let’s go to the garage and see what we have and what we need, then we’ll go to Home Depot and the grocery store.”

“Isn’t that technology, looking on the net at canoe stuff?”

“Why yes, it is.  But I wasn’t just watching people build, and fish in, canoes.  I’ve been finding out how they did it.  And we’ll make one even better.  I’m thinking your canoe should have pontoon floaters on the sides so it won’t tip if you want to stand up and fly fish.”

“Can we make a campfire and cook the fish at the lake?”

“Absolutely.”

Phone forgotten.

What Homeschoolers Need Most is What We All Need Most

There are so many excellent resources for homeschooling parents, but how to choose?  So many opportunities, but which ones to forgo?  This is a big deal, and it must be done right!  Right?

Know your child via time with your child’s Maker.  You MUST pray for and receive the wisdom of God for each child.  Individually.  You have birthed an individual, unique in all the world, indeed, in all the history of the world.  One of your many excellent reasons for homeschooling is to train this child up into the fullness and wonder of that uniqueness.

So, get to know your child.  This, dear parent, is a lifelong process, and you are called to it.  As a parent, we partner with God to create and give and nurture life.  It is a lovely process of discovery, and today is the day to begin!

Seek God’s face and His grace.  Ask Him and He will answer.  My experience homeschooling taught me that He really likes to get involved in this marvelous escapade!  He wants you to know Him, and He wants to reveal the heart of your child unto you.  Blessed, so blessed are you.

What do we all need?  To know and to be known.  Give yourself and your child a gift so far beyond curriculum, field trips, and co-op activities.  Give yourself up to the wonderful journey of getting to know God, who will reveal to you yourself, and the heart of your child as well.

OK!  Yay!

Hands-on Parenting is NOT Evil!

It comes from every direction.  My daughter is encouraged to drink by our “friends.”  She is on her way home and tells them that her parents wouldn’t be pleased by her driving and arriving under the influence.  They assure her that it’s time to be her own person.

She just proved that she is.  And that she’s not dumb as a post.

She leaves home and supposedly Christian women make fun of her for calling “your mommy” every day.  “You need to grow up,” they say when she won’t take their negative and decidedly unChristian advice.  No, they need to grow up to the point they can actually keep their mouths shut about that which is none of their business.

She is grown up, and yet still a child.  Aren’t we all?  I call my parents when I need to hear the voice of one who will always love me, one who will not belittle me for being a bit sad or needy or unsure.  Does that make me defective, immature?  No, it makes me human.

My daughters communicate with me – when they’re feeling on top of the world, when they’re under a cloud, when things are rolling right along fairly smoothly.  Why should they not?

Rather than apologizing for having a good relationship with a parent or a child, we should thank God for it, and continue to do those things that brought us to this happy outcome – be there for that person, pray with and for that person, and let them know we will be as the Lord Himself is, the one who will never leave them nor forsake them.

It’s called giving them a strong foundation on which to stand, as well as wings for flight.  It’s called love.  And because of that love, my child feels free to let me know when she wants to handle things on her own.  I have such faith in her and respect for her, that I always ask her how she wants me to proceed, what she wants me to do or not do.  

We prayed this morning about a difficult situation, and I read scripture aloud to her, and encouraged her.  But when it comes down to the tough part, she must walk this walk alone.  And yet, when a child knows that she knows that her parents and Jesus will never leave her nor forsake her, how can she be alone?

Something about such a person really gets to people who don’t have this kind of surety.  Is it jealousy, or is it simply the all-pervasive societal view that parents are inherently stupid and faulty and should be sidelined and ignored in pursuit of . . . what?  The lovely mess that these anti-parent folks have made of their own lives?

What is this unholy desire to separate children from their parents?  What is this need to control and convince and influence?  And why is this invariably from people who have little or no control or success in their own lives, and with their own children?  But I must say in our case, most of our most vitriolic critics are themselves childless.

And yet, no need to fret.  My daughter, the one accused from every direction of being “too dependent” on her parents, is so much stronger than her accusers.  She goes on about her merry way, and forgives.  And she prays for those who show her nothing but disrespect and contempt (that after a bit of exasperated venting).

Just as I communicate with my parents and with my Savior, I have raised a child who does the same.  So to all these busybodies, I say, “Just mind your own business,” or as my mom says, “Tend to your own pea-pickin’.”

 

Embracing Boredom, Especially for Kids

No doubt thanks to someone’s inane but much-touted childrearing advice, many parents think kids should be entertained 24/7.  Add this to the “new information!!!!!” that kids should also make decisions for which they have neither the training, maturity, nor understanding to make, and you have frustrated and unattractive children on the loose.  Everywhere.

When my kids were acting up and acting out I had the wisdom (because of going to and believing and trusting God’s Word) to know I  was the key.  They needed me to be a warrior not a whiner, a problem solver, not a problem lamenter.  They needed me to look in the mirror and say, “Bev, are you a mother or milquetoast?”

They needed me to be wise to their manipulative and selfish ways, not a pudding or a jello, quivering at the very thought of my precious and perfect little ones not having everything they want every minute of the day.  They needed me to be a no-nonsense responder to their childish nonsense. (Sorry to all child-worshippers, but the last thing anyone on earth needs is for their needs to be the most important thing on earth.)

The parental response of “Find something to do or I’ll find something for you to do,” (and this didn’t mean something electronic) has been replaced with a horror of boredom.

Hold it.  Whoa.  Stop right there.  Boredom can be a very good thing.  Boredom fosters creativity and thinking.  As I told my kids on the rare occasions (kids learn quick what works and what backfires bigtime) they complained of boredom, “I’ve never been bored in my life.  I’m both simple enough and wise enough to be fascinated with God’s world.”

Translation:  Go play in the creek or chase lizards, or build a new fort, or make a train out of the fold-up chairs in the garage.  Go dig in the dirt or have a tea party with your dolls.  Just go and do and don’t tell me you’re bored.

I didn’t care if they simply sat on the back porch and dreamed of fighting pirates in a storm at sea, sighing at the “boredom” of their lives.  I didn’t care if they climbed a tree and listened to the birds all day long, or did nothing at all.  What I cared about was the attitude that their lack of ability to amuse themselves was not only my problem, it was my fault.

Sometimes we as moms have to sit on our urge to make everything perfect and beautiful for our little darlings.  We have to disabuse ourselves of the FALSE notion that the world will end and they will graduate at the bottom of the class if they even for one minute do nothing.

Doing nothing at all, but without a “poor little bored me” attitude, is a good thing.  Because in such times some very important things are happening in a child’s brain:  they are becoming thinkers, even philosphers.  They are being programmed as God intended, becoming the programmers of their own lives, the masters of their own thinking, discerners of the lies that masquerade under the guise of “new information!!!”

So here’s some new information:  Put the lens of common sense and the Word of God and the tried and true on your new information and see if it passes the test of workable parenting (that is parenting resulting in kids who are joys and joyous, rather than frustrated terrors).

If you and the world at large do not enjoy your children, your “new information!!!!” is faulty, to put it mildly.  In John Parker-speak, it is “the sheet of the boool”.

Parents, we’re IT!  We must be the adults (do the hard thing without whining) so that our children can be children (we make the decisions so they can grow in peace to the place where they can make decisions which are age and maturity appropriate).

Again, we are to be the adults, folks.  It’s wrong to rob a child of their childhood because we don’t want to grow up.  Your kids never asked for you as a parent.  They are the victims or the victors, depending on your choices.

So here’s something to try:  do nothing for awhile, every single day.  Think it through, pray it through.  Develop your parenting philosophy based on the knowledge of who your child is and what God intends parenting to be (see how He parents us – there’s a bit of sacrifice involved).  Exchange knee-jerk, angst and anger filled parenting with a spiritual, mental, and physical grace dance.

Enjoy!

Elaboration of this and so much more in just a couple of hours on The Homefront Show.  Tune in and tell a friend:

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Today, Friday, May 18 at 2:00 Mountain Time

 

 

 

OPEN THE DOOR TO PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE AND MOVIE STAR HOMESCHOOLERS COMING RIGHT UP ON THE HOME FRONT SHOW – 2:00 MTN

It’s so great when a plan comes together.  When I awoke this morning/last night? at 1:45 a.m. I didn’t know what today’s show was about.  But just a bit of prayer (and because I went to bed after John prayed with me about it) I knew!  Perseverance and patience.

And everything I listened to, read, and experienced told me I was right on track – Dave Ramsey in Entreleaders, Sheila Walsh’s joy infusions (Rebekah will be sharing from that on the show today), The Home School Mom’s Devotional Bible, Harriet Beecher Stowe, two sermons I caught in the middle of the night, and just the beautiful, wonderful Word of God – patience, perseverance, power.  They go together, so let’s get together on the show today and celebrate!

Also, I have a special giveaway today – a book by a famous movie star/homeschooling couple, who are also the stars of “Let There Be Light”!

Go to:  http://www.1360am.co at 2:00 Mountain Time, and Thanks!

 

When I Write a Book . . .

I picked up Alice Hoffman’s The Third Angel because it was recommended in Fearless Writing.

I have a like/dislike relationship with this book, but I’m keeping on with it because it keeps redeeming itself, keeps pulling me along with unexpected delights.

I am not delighted with a woman who is marrying a man she knows to be selfish and flawed, but I am carried away with the answer to her own question:  How do you love such a person?  You just do it.

I am delighted when a book reminds me of the truths in my own life, how love is an act, a sacrifice, a looking like God.  Love is God and I am becoming more transformed into His image when I “just do it.”

Like the character in The Third Angel, I find myself unmoved by the flaws in those I love, even blind to them, when I get on that love train and we both start going places.  Life becomes an adventure of raw discovery, flaws become idiosyncrasies, differences become intriguing – even delightful, and life is good.

There is language in The Third Angel.  If not, the editors would probably say to the author, “This is London, you must have language, no one will believe it otherwise.”  But if I write a book, the strongest language will begin with “sh” and end with “it” even if the plane is crashing.

Wait.  No planes crashing in my book.  I will, as they say, write what I know.  Spaghetti sauce in a favorite antique bowl slipping out of my hand as I swipe it out of the fridge, breaking and splattering spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen.  Living and moving and breathing spaghetti sauce.  Everywhere.  Little faces astounded at the crash and even more at Mommy saying that word.

But then I would forget about a broken bowl and a messy kitchen because there is a much larger issue:  tender and bare feet.  I would shoo them away and clean every last speck – not perhaps every last speck of spaghetti sauce, which I will be finding this time next year, but every single last speck of glass.

Because I know these feet are going to be with me forever.  I know what is real and good, and that is the life of my children.  Life.

I don’t know if Alice Hoffman knows life is good, if her book will end as a good book must, with a satisfactory and victorious ending (a love ending).  I do know if I write a book, it will be filled top to bottom, end to end, and side to side with “Just do it” love.

Amen.

P.S.  Don’t miss The Homefront Show Fridays at 2:00 MTN.  Go to 1360am.co and join the fun!

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to Me, Maybe Not So Much to Others

I wrote a poem for my own therapy this morning after thinking over a women’s meeting I attended earlier this week.  The group leader suggested that Mother’s Day is not a happy day for most women.  She said something to this effect:  they either have a terrible mother, a mother who recently passed away, aren’t a mother and want to be, are estranged from their children, have children far away they miss terribly, were a mother and blew it, etc.

I felt, sitting there among women who appeared to agree with this, that I wouldn’t answer the question of the night entirely truthfully.  The question was this:  What annual holiday, event or occasion is your favorite?

There was some bah-humbugging, and answers such as, “Memorial Day because I don’t have to do a thing” (because someone else’s sacrifice made such a society and therefore such a day possible?); and “I don’t like Christmas, it’s too much work” (rejoicing and celebrating and giving and showing love and looking at lights and listening to beautiful music and thanking God for Jesus is work????); and of course there were positive answers as well, but no one mentioned Mother’s Day as their favorite..

And so, to the question of the evening I answered, “Christmas.”  I wanted to say “Mother’s Day and Christmas and my birthday and my anniversary and violent thunderstorms rolling down the canyons and deep fog settling over the peaks.  I wanted to say my favorite time is early morning when the sun shines on the rocks on the cliff behind my house, and Fall, and really October through December when we have birthdays and our anniversary, and Thanksgiving (Yay!!!) and then gift shopping and gift making, decorating, caroling, wearing red sweaters, getting the tree out of the woods and making a popcorn garland (last year was the first time we did this – so cool!), Christmas music and movies, driving through town to look at the lights, reading Christmas stories like The Night Before Christmas and looking at the art in The Legend of Holly Claus and anything by Jan Brett, packages in the mail, and on and on.  Then comes the after-Christmas party, and my birthday and New Year’s and then the glorious quiet of January.

And the winter rest.

Then Spring hints and pushes at winter’s slackening hold with the first crocuses peeping through the snow.  And robins venture out.  Thank you, God, for Robin Redbreast.

And there’s this morning, when I said to John, “It’s truly springtime!  The ground is absolutely saturated, and the redworms are crawling all over the drive, and the aspen leaves are growing by the minute and the dandelions are here!”

And my thoughts go to my children, hoping for springtime in their hearts, and I pray for one’s salvation, for one’s answering God’s call to preach, for one’s owning his own business and excelling therein.  And for the one at Fort Benning, Georgia –  as I write he’s nearing the end of a 12-hour ruck march – I pray for strength and protection for his spine, for a second (or third) wind, and most of all, that he will give God all the glory for His unmerited grace and favor.

This is the glory of motherhood – being used by God to fight for our children, God’s children, all children, and to never give up until the victory is won.  And God is so marvelous as to bless the childless with spiritual children.  Many are the children needing a surrogate mother, a spiritual mother.  Whether we have natural children or not, whatever our mothering situation and status may be, we are women, and therefore uniquely qualified to nurture and to fight.  And to win.  In Him.

And so, even with great sorrow and a history of prayers for women regarding children – aborted, lost, wayward, rebellious, sick, sorrowing, never conceived – I nevertheless reserve the right to glory in this day, and in the hope of His calling.

And here’s my poem, Happy Mother’s Day to Me.

Happy Mother’s Day to me,

I say because I’m free

Free to win and free to dance

Free to seize another chance.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me,

Blessed by God to really see

Life to give, life to share

Anointed of Christ who truly cares.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me

From the God of Love to Be

All He ever hoped and planned

Life so good, life so grand.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to me.