August 28, 2008
Every weekday morning, my Granddaughter descends the steps to the sight of her Grandpa eating his morning cereal and reading the daily paper. “Good morning Grandpa” is followed by her request for breakfast and strawberry milk, or “Cow Juice with pink stuff” as we call it. Grandpa quickly leaves for work, and I get ready to serve her breakfast.
Imagine my surprise one morning when I went into the dining room, waffles and strawberry milk in hand, and found my five-year-old Granddaughter intently reading the funny pages of the paper. She was so focused that she didn’t see me grab a camera or even react when I took two or three shots, flash included. (With apologies for my photography) Talk about responding to what has been modeled for you! Oh, and yes, she could actually read the funnies.
It wasn’t a fluke. We sat down at the same time the next day, and I was reading the paper while I ate. She looked at me somewhat indignantly and said, “Where’s my paper?” Whether we knew it or not, we had taught her that reading the newspaper was an important part of a morning routine.
Now, there is nothing wrong with reading the daily news. But, I couldn’t help but wonder what the result would have been if we read our Bible every morning at breakfast. I often withdraw to my room and read the Word in privacy so I can concentrate. I’m going to have to rethink that strategy.
It also started me thinking. What else does she see us do on a regular basis? Like every other kid on the planet, she is watching the adults in her life. Carefully. Not only watching, but imitating.
What are you modeling for the little ones in your life?
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
August 4, 2008
Firsts are always nerve wracking. Whether you’re the parent, the child, or an adult experiencing one, they don’t get any easier. In the morning, my youngest child will experience her first day of high school. She’s understandably excited and nervous. The two grandchildren start kindergarten. They feel the same way.
I feel that way for all of them.
My grandson is an active little man who is fearless about doing things, yet shy around new people. A first day of school for him involves a lot of new people. My granddaughter is shy about doing things, but hardly ever meets a stranger. But, she has medical issues that can get her teased. My younger daughter is beautiful and doesn’t know it. She has all the normal teen angst going for her. She’s also Chinese in a primarily Caucasian and African-American school. We, her parents, are also Caucasian.
Each of these three kids have a lot going for them. They all have their own unique personalities. Personalities that we hope will find their way socially. Because of that, both myself and their parents will have a slightly nervous day tomorrow while we wait to get the answer to that universal question, “How was school?”
I’m on my fourth teenager so I have pretty much figured out that all control over their lives ends when they leave the womb, Band-aids don’t fix all boo-boo’s, and someone out there will hurt my child at some point. Probably at many points. And now, with the grandkids, it starts all over again.
We can’t always be there for our kids. We can love them, give them appropriate support, and pray for them. But, they are the ones that have to experience and deal with their own lives.
So, tomorrow I will get up early and drive my daughter to school for the first day. And then, I’ll pray. Pray that others are kind, pray that she finds all her classes, pray that her teachers and friends see her heart, and pray that all the older boys are myopic. At the end of the day, I’ll ask the question. And fortunately for me, she will probably answer in great detail. May it always be so! My children will ask their children the same question. And we’ll all hold our breath for the answer.
And be ye kind one to another….
August 2, 2008
My dear one and I are of an age where we are rapidly approaching the “empty nest” time of life. Or, so we would like to believe. 🙂 We are on our fourth teenager, and her entry into high school starts in two days. Our household itself is still large. Basically, there are seven of us under one roof; ten, if you count the dogs. I have three in college, one of whom isn’t ours, and now one in high school. Those three will graduate by or before the youngest hits college, and well, that puts us in countdown mode. As the mother of four children who range from 14 to 29, this has been a long time coming.
For two days, we have had an empty nest trial run. All of our children are out-of-town for various reasons. It’s so quiet.
I love it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I also love it when they all gather here to swim, eat, celebrate, or just hang out. But, I can handle the quiet. My dear one and I are happy to just be in each other’s company. A lot has been written about what couples go through when the last child leaves the nest. I’m sure that it will be an emotional experience for us too. But not of mourning or loss. You see, my goal is to raise independent children. Anything less is a disservice to them. With that goal in mind, while my marriage has involved children, it has never been child-centered. Our relationship with each other as husband and wife has always been the foundation of everything else. Oh, there are times that we’ve been caught up in the hectic schedule of children, but we have always seen our relationship as paramount.
Based on my experience I would say that there are three primary things that you need to have to “empty-nest-proof” your marriage:
1. A spouse that you spend exclusive time with on regular dates or other activities.
2. To see the goal for your children as independence. Then, when they hit those milestones, it is your victory too.
3. The ability to live your own life, not your children’s.
So, when my children are out of the nest, I will have done my job. I look forward to the times I will still spend with them and the additional grandchildren that I am expecting to be blessed with through them. But, I also look forward to spending more time with just my dear one. After all, he is my best friend and the love of my life. Read the rest of this entry »