Family, Friendship

Let’s Let Others Repent

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 ESV

There are things I hesitate to share because friends and family immediately disagree. They are wrong, and I have become unwilling for them to negate truths.

When I say, “I was too busy with outside activities when my children were younger,” the response is “You did the best you could.”

Did I? Not regularly.

When I say, “I’m inattentive to relatives,” or “I’m not generous,” the response is “That’s not true.”

Am I attentive and generous? Not enough.

Years ago, I witnessed a woman confess her failings. I had been affected by her sin. She needed to repent. This moment could have been healing and helped her move forward, but three close friends immediately negated her honest statements.

These friends had not witnessed her behavior. They wanted to affirm her by denying her imperfections. The woman who confessed did not feel affirmed. She felt frustrated and misunderstood. Being accepted with full knowledge of her imperfections would have affirmed her.

Why do we find it hard—even impossible—to let our family and friends repent?

Homeschooling, Parenting

Parent-Child Conferences

Let’s admit it. Too many times, we homeschoolers shake our heads at the operations of traditional schools. (Other parents and traditional teachers do so as well.)

Some things, which are beneficial in a traditional setting, would never work for homeschoolers. Parent-Teacher Conferences are an example. We would be talking to ourselves, which we already do too frequently.

However, I wish I had realized the benefit of Parent-Child conferences, commonly known as Teacher-Student conferences. I could have:

Affirmed my sons’ progress.

Asked their frustrations.

Voiced my frustrations.

Worked with them on a strategy to overcome our weaknesses.

Asked about their goals.

Explained my goals.

These discussions would have avoided a lot of angst in our home.

Are there any other “school” ideas we homeschoolers should consider and perhaps incorporate?

God's Faithfulness, Stories I Share

A Mother To Many

Great-Aunt Frances 1914-2010

My Great-Aunt Frances never married or had children. She broke one engagement after her fiancé caused a division in their church. At her mother’s request, she stopped dating a wonderful man who wanted to marry her. Her sickly mother wanted her last single daughter to remain at home.

I repeatedly told Aunt Frances that she didn’t marry because we all needed her. She not only mothered her nieces and younger brother but also the generation above and two generations below.

However, her greatest devotion was quitting her job to spend a decade caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s. Aunt Frances slept across the foot of my great-grandmother’s bed so she would wake if her mother needed her during the night.

I remember those difficult years during my childhood. Aunt Frances stayed cheerful and funny and always served a treat when we visited. She made my sons, her great-great nephews, sticky buns like the ones that she had made for me.

During that time, Aunt Frances completed multiple paint-by-numbers and doll kits. I own five of her paintings and two dolls.  Her skill was great, but those items are precious to me because they represent my aunt’s faithfulness.

Family, Friendship

Praying for Questions, Not Answers

Over a decade ago, I was in a difficult situation with friends working together in a ministry. One was hurt over a decision made by the overseers, but her response was to slander the group, especially me.

A friend on the outside was conflicted. Even after talking though the situation with me, she was still confused. I could only bring clarity by damaging the reputation of the offender—something I couldn’t do.

I began praying that the outsider would ask the right questions—questions that would lead her to the correct conclusion. And one Sunday she did. Even better, the answer only required a yes or no from me, not details. Problem solved.

That situation taught me the value of questioning—not only receiving questions but also praying for them.

Has a question ever helped your difficult situations?


Favorite Child Day

One helpful piece of advice came too late. A good acquaintance with five children instituted Favorite Child Day. With five weekdays, there was a natural fit. When I told another friend, she said her three children could have two turns a week.

Favorite children are favorite children. They pick the read-aloud book or game. They have the bigger brownie. They sit in the front seat. They answer the phone. For our family, Favorite Child Day would have meant not answering the phone.

I think the biggest benefit would be to the parents. When accused “He’s the favorite,” they could answer, “Of, course. It’s Tuesday.”

You may have noticed that outsiders like to opine about favorite children in a family. Twice, outsiders have identified one son as our favorite. I understood their choice.

One day, my youngest and oldest agreed that my middle son was the favorite. I didn’t understand that choice. Middle children get squeezed. I went to my middle son’s room, announced the consensus of his brothers, and waited for his denial. After a thoughtful moment he said, “I guess I am the favorite.”

Have you been given an opportunity to discuss favorite child perceptions?