Family, Friendship, Parenting

The Relationship Test

How do you know you care about certain people? You want to be in their presence.

Drop by my house. Come any time.

How do you know they care about you? They want to be in your presence.

We’ll make space for you. Everyone scoot over.

My most memorable example came from a two-year-old when I was hiking the Tijuca Forest with a cousin and his four young children. Caves were our first destination.

Before we entered, my cousin mentioned that his youngest was afraid of the dark.

Cave Entrance

“I’ll hold Daniel while you explore with the others,” I offered.

Since his birth, I’d spent weeks being the child’s caretaker while his father worked, and his mother received medical care.

“He won’t leave me.”

He was right. The two-year-old refused relief from his fear and clung to my cousin’s neck. He would rather be with his father in the dark he hated than without his father in the light he loved.

View from inside

Throughout the day, it was obvious Daniel loved his father so much that nothing was worth leaving his presence.

To whom do you cling?

…in your presence there is fullness of joy…

Psalm 16:11
Decisions, Homeschooling, Parenting

Finding The Answers

I was a young teaching assistant standing in front of twenty college students when one raised her hand and asked the answer to an economic problem. I had recently passed my doctoral exams in economics, but I did not know the answer.

After a fleeting moment of panic, I said, “Let’s work the problem together.” Step by step, I led the class until we had a solution. More importantly, I had an epiphany.

I had not been trained to know all the answers. I had been trained to find the answers.

That was the difference between me and my students. My job was not to give them answers but to show them how to find their own answers. Along the way, I watched many students hunt and find the correct answers

Corrie ten Boom is one of my heroines. Her parents did not give her the answers for surviving the Holocaust. However, they trained her to find the answers she needed. (See In My Father’s House by ten Boom for more.)

Even today, it helps me to know my adult sons know where and how to find correct answers.

Training anyone?

Book Recomendations, Memories, Parenting

Childhood Prepares

Today I know that memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do.

Corrie ten Boom

Daily we prepare our children for their future. In my Father’s House narrates how Corrie ten Boom’s childhood prepared her for the Holocaust.  (See Here for more.)

When the family faced financial difficulties and Corrie’s mother was ill, her father taught Corrie The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33: 27 (ESV). Imprisoned at Ravensbruck thirty years later, Corrie recalled the conversation and it comforted her.

The Dutch family liked reading the same Bible verse in different languages. Corrie’s sister learned John 3:16 in German and Corrie learned it in English.  They recited the German translation many times at the German concentration camp.

After a schoolteacher slapped Corrie, she was comforted by her earthly father.  That memory drove Corrie to her Heavenly father after a Nazi slapped her.

Daily childhood events with enormous adult rewards.

Which childhood experiences have prepared you for adult struggles?

Homeschooling, Parenting

Start One Step Down (Or Two)

The tide by the pier was lower than it had been on our previous visit. We didn’t need our memory.  Abundant remnants of exposed oysters—in the most interesting formations—confirmed it. They were latched onto a discarded whelk shell, wedged between rocks, partially buried in sand, covered in algae

How did oysters choose their mooring? Become anchored? Who were their predators?  

Where did I turn for answers? Picture books.

While homeschooling, an experienced teacher told me to introduce new information by having my sons read a book at least one level below their abilities. Not only would they have a quick overview, but the most important facts would be emphasized. Understanding and retention would be increased.

My friend’s advice was confirmed by my neighbor who taught middle school biology. Magic School Bus episodes succinctly covered information on her classes’ standardized testing.

I ordered several picture books from my library before I turned to the internet. My internet hits were oyster recipes, restaurant recommendations, mineral and vitamin content, and scientific classifications.

My friend’s advice was confirmed again. Begin with picture books for a good overview.

Where do you start?

Parenting

Make A Worry Jar

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

I Peter 5:7 (ESV)

I worried as a child. Especially during third and sixth grades, I worried far more than my parents and teachers could have realized.

Children and their fears haven’t changed much in fifty years. Friends have shared how much their grandchildren worry.

One of the things I learned along the way came from a friend’s granddaughter. Her younger brother worried so much that she made him a Worry Jar. He writes down what is bothering him and puts the paper in his jar.

The act of putting worries on paper can diminish their power. Even better, worries can be addressed and prayed about if they are made known.

Would a Worry Jar benefit your family?