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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Childhood Is Not a Race

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

In the midst of holiday celebrations and preparations, a round of the stomach virus, A studying for her upcoming finals and the day-to-day parenting mayhem this week I stumbled on this article on what a four-year-old should know and it has stopped me in my tracks. I can get very impatient with my kids, often about getting things done and behaving well, but also about what they do or don’t know or what they will or won’t try. Why hasn’t she learned yet that she always needs to… Why won’t he just sit down and do this… It is hard in my often hectic-feeling life and our competitive culture not to feel behind, and not to look at my kids sometimes and think of them as behind, when what is really important is a different set of things entirely.

1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.

2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.

3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.

This advice for parents is gold too:

That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.

I have no further comments. I am still digesting.

Chunks of Brain

October 29, 2010 1 comment

Friday, 4pm.

I am lonely at my job. That is not my job’s fault. I want more out of life, that is the problem. What I want out of life is not the big, life-dream, I-was-made-for-this-moment event. I want connection. And reality. Something meaningful to someone else, or several someone elses. This week I thought I would probably feel pretty fulfilled as a stay at home dad. Not because I got to stay at home but because I would be investing my days in something that really matters to me.

Alas, that’s not an option. But a nice thought.

Conversation is key to my spiritual experience. Like the life dream, connecting with God is not the big calling, leave thy home and go forth to a land I will show you connecting. It is every day. Like a friend of mine put it this morning, it is another relationship I make time for and maintain. It is the accumulaion of a lot of little things over time, not a big one-off Word From God that changes the world. He never does that, I think, Jesus included. He wants relationship before obedience. Am I writing theology here? I better move on.

Life is crazy when no one is home in time to make dinner. Not that dinner is the point, but it is the last stop on the road of mantaining the house during the day. And lately we have had popcorn and corn chips for dinner about once a week. Which actually has been strangely freeing. Family movie nights are becoming a regular event, mostly because there are precious few other family events in our week. So tonight we are eating Dominos in the living room and watching Snow White. And maybe Toy Story 3 after that.

Happy weekend.

Fun and Games

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

So we went to Disney World for a week, which was awesome, with my parents, who are awesome, who have been married 35 years, which is super-awesome, and stopping both ways on the way to stay with my brother-in-law and his family, who are also…what is the word I am looking for…ah yes. Awesome. Four days of driving, six days of walking in the Florida sun (melt), and one unforgettable family vacation.

So here’s my wookiee of the day. And by wookiee I mean Chewie, and by Chewie I mean what I have been chewing on. But you followed that anyway, right? Perhaps it is a bit of the post-vacation downers, the back-to-reality blues, but I’ve been thinking on a deeper level about my life, as in my lifestyle and how it pertains to my faith, and vice versa.

A and I were talking the other night about purpose, and big dreams, and how they look very different these days (when they show up at all) than they did seven years ago – i.e., before we had kids and careers. We both attended a church for several years that encouraged us to think big, and live radically, and expect big things in and through our lives through our faith. Which actually isn’t all that far-fetched, especially if you’ve read much of the Bible at all.

I bought it then in the context of my life and that community, and I think it’s fair to say that in some fashion I’m still sold on this. I remember thinking once we had moved to Ohio and begun looking for a new church community to call home that I had been “ruined” for church since there don’t seem to be many other churches out there that share this bigness of vision, at least not in a balanced and authentic sort of way.

So what is this disconnect? Is it really all fun and games when you’re young and untethered enough for a life of risky faith, and then you grow up, settle down and have kids and have to get on with real life? In a sense maybe so. There are things I was free to do in my youth that are much more difficult for me to consider now – quitting my job, starting a new career, moving halfway across the country, giving away all my money. Yup folks, that was my twenties.

But maybe it’s that the game has changed. Having a career, a house, a family are not bad things to be sure. And I don’t believe that they necessarily prevent you from living a life of dynamic faith. Although that’s not what my life has felt like lately, which of course is what got me started thinking about all this in the first place.

So how do you stay connected to a faith that is alive and life-giving when so much of life seems…not bad, but….routine? Is a life of faith really not about having a significant impact, but something else? If so, what? Being happy? And if not, then is this stage of life a waystation on the journey to significance?

Significance sounds a bit haughty when I use it like that. Like I wanna be somebody, get famous or influential. That’s not what I mean. I used to mean that, I think, or something like it. Influential, maybe, is right. Have a positive impact on as many people as I can. Which is different from being a celebrated author or successful leader. Usually.

So what does this purpose, for lack of a better word, look like? Is it measurable through external means at all?

As in how many people my faith and love affect, or how deeply a person or people is affected by it? Is it aspecific task or event that a person is born for, as with the tiny title character in John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany? (If so, what if you miss it? Or what do you do with the rest of your life if it happens when you’re 33, like with Jesus? OK, don’t answer that one.) Or is it not an event, but perhaps a number of events, or a faith-vocation of sorts? Or on the other hand is it just to live the most loving and faith-filled life as you can, seeking God as much as you can, even if no one particularly seems impressed?

Things You Can Only Get Away With When You’re Four

August 5, 2009 1 comment

So I’m at the Reds game Sunday with my family and telling my four year old we’re rooting for the guys in the red shirts. So the guy in the black shirt steps up to bat and Zeke yells at the top of his lungs, “Hey blacks, get out!” I resist the urge to remind him we’re a block from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and he really shouldn’t say things like that, and tell him instead, no, call them the Rockies please.

“I Don’t Buy It”

August 4, 2009 Leave a comment

coupleindispute

A New York Times article by a woman married 20 years to hear her husband say one day, “I don’t love you anymore.” Her completely unexpected response here. Worth the full read.

Just a Little Song I Learned in Vacation Bible School

June 13, 2009 1 comment

My five-year-old niece sang this one to me this evening, complete with fist-pumping choreography:

You’re powerful
You’re unshakable
You shake me
You break me
You make me again

And while my first reaction of course was to say something like, “Wow, good job, what a fun song” or some other affirming sort of schlock, my inner reaction was – Does she have any idea what she’s singing?? Do kids this age really get explained to them the humiliation and utter destruction that God brings into the lives of people who are serious about following him? Did her Vacation Bible School teachers really get into the personal cost of believing in someone who is powerful and unshakable, and who has an intentional hand in our lives? How if this is really what we believe, and not just something we say to certain people at certain times when it’s safe or socially acceptable, our lives are for all other purposes forfeit?

“OK children, once we’ve all affixed our flies and boils onto our felt Job figures, let’s recite our memory verse for the day. Repeat after me: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”

I don’t think I would have been any more appalled had she dropped an F-bomb and pumped her hips.

The Continuing Adventures of a Three-Year-Old

April 10, 2009 Leave a comment

Though he won’t be three much longer. Check out his previous exploits here, here and here.

The other night as I was tucking him in God came up in conversation again after reading the extraordinarily underwhelming and bland Berenstain Bears book on the subject of “Big Questions”.

“When can I see God?” he asked.

“Well, when you get to heaven,” I replied.

“When do I get to heaven?”

“After you die.” I was starting to wonder how much of this he was going to want to have explained. “But  you’re young. People usually don’t die until they’re old.”

He sat up looking just a little frightened. “Will I go to the same heaven as you?” It made me smile.

“Yes, of course,” I consoled. “There’s only one heaven.”

“And then can I come right back home?”

That one stumped me. I gave him some answer about how great it is in heaven because no one is sad or sick, but when your whole world consists of playing and eating and getting snuggled (and sometimes going to time out) what could possibly be better about heaven?