Archives For kids

My son, who is seven, came down with some kind of “bug” this week and had to stay home from school the last two days.  On this occasion it made sense for me to be the one to take time off work to be with him and it turned into an unexpected adventure.

Earlier this year he and I started to read the Chronicles in Narnia together.  He leans heavily against my shoulder and hangs on every word.  Occasionally he will stop me and ask me to point out a word, which he then studies with rapt attention.  Or he will ask me what some creature is: say a Naiad, or a Dryad, or a Centaur.  At this point we will usually turn to the laptop to find a few exemplars and then move along.

Yesterday, when he was the sickest, we only read two chapters.  Today, he was on the mend and he was on a mission to devour the story together.  And so we read the final eight chapters of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

Of course I love the opportunity to sit ever so close on the couch and share a good adventure together.  But even more, I enjoy the opportunity  it brings for me to build into his life.  To paint a picture of good and evil, right and wrong — and our place, our mission in the midst of it.  I seized the opportunity to show him the parallels between Narnia and our world, between Aslan and Jesus, between Edmund and each of us.  I even warned him that I might cry, as I often do, when Aslan gives his life for Edmund.  And I explained how I was like Edmund and Jesus was my Aslan.  I don’t think he really gets it yet, but he did keep looking to see if any tears wear running down my cheek.

After we finished the last chapter and I put him to bed I had a few moments to reflect.  At times I struggle because I have chosen to put my family ahead of my career.  At times I find myself wondering what might have been if I had made career advancement my goal.  Tonight I had no struggles, but instead gratitude.  Gratitude that I could share the adventure, share my heart, and share the love of God’s Son with my son.

The journey adventure continues.

I was talking to my cousin last week and in our conversation he quoted an individual who stated “Core values are something you are willing to be punished for.”  (Checking the internet, this quote may belong to Patrick Lencioni)  This got me to thinking about our stated values.  If I asked you to list your core values, what would you write down?  If I were to ask those closest to you to list your core values, what would they write down?  What about those in your neighborhood?  At your church or workplace?  Would there be a disparity between their list and yours?

The unexpected opportunity to spend the summer at home with our kids has underscored this issue for me.  You see, I have discovered that my daughter is deaf.  Maybe you have a child like this too.  You squat down to her level and start talking — and initially she makes eye contact somewhere in the neighborhood of  your face.  But pretty soon here eyes are wandering all over the room and she starts to fidget. Well, ok, she’s not really deaf,  she’s just not listening to me.  In the midst of my attempt to express a core family value, she has decided to take a little trip to her happy place.  Why?  Honestly, I don’t think kids care much about what we say.  They care about what we do.  And they believe in what we are willing to stand up for.  What we are willing to be punished for.

I often fall into the lecture mode with my kids, believing I can dazzle them with my knowledge and wit only to see their bright little eyes begin to glaze over with boredom.  Ouch.  And while they aren’t really listening to me, they are listening – to what I say to others and about about others.  And they are watching me – to see how I will act when the pressure is on, when the chips are down, when things go wrong.  And how I will act when they let me down.  They are watching me to see if I am willing to be punished for my values, or whether I jettison them when things get tough.  And I think what they really, really, want to know is will dad stick with his core values, even when I am the one doing the punishing?

If I’m brutally honest with myself, there is too big a gap between my stated values and what I live out when the pressure is on.  I think/hope/believe that each year I am closing that gap, but it is still  unacceptable.  There are things that need to change, adjustments that must be made.

What about you?  Do you have a gap?  Does something need to change?  Tell me what you think  Use the comments.  Or send me a message via the contact page.

 

A few thoughts from Ecclesiastes.
If a ruler’s anger rises against you, do not leave your post;  calmness can lay great errors to rest.
Ecclesiastes 10:4

Haven’t you found this to be true?  When you meet anger with anger, bad things are bound to happen!  But when your response to anger is a calm spirit and calm behavior, the situation will usually diffuse quite quickly!  Often times anger is a response to a perceived injustice, but when calmness prevails, the one angered often learns that the perception is unjustified.

How do you respond when another person’s anger rises against you?  A few years ago my son and I became embroiled in a battle of the wills.  He was around 3 at the time.  I don’t remember the specifics of what started the battle, but I remember we were both really angry and both determined to “win.”  I sent him to his room, so he started trashing his room.  So I started removing things from his room.  By the time the dust cleared, he was the only thing left in his room — everything else was in the hall!  I did “win” the batlle, but I really lost, didn’t I?  I also learned that when I met his anger with anger, things only became worse.  I have since learned that if I meet his anger with calm, firm direction, things go much, much better.

So let me finish with this: 

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.  Ecclesiastes 7:8