Tag Archives: Family

Childhood Wisdom?

Listen to the Children

I will never forget a commercial I saw on television. It was a long time ago, and I still get irritated. The main line that was repeated over and over was, “Listen to the children.”

Oh, it was one of those environmental, tree-hugging commercials that had little kids instructing adults how to live their lives. One little girl would say something like, “Don’t make me starve,” while another little boy would go on about how eating at McDonald’s would ruin the earth’s water supply – or something like that.

Anyway, every time a toddler would voice her scripted opinion a deep, male voice would echo in response, “Listen…to the children.” Yes, adults should listen to a 5-year-old because of her years of accumulated wisdom untainted by experience.

What Do they Say?

If we to listen to the little crumbcrunchers long enough, we will hear things like:

  • screaming kid“I don’t want to eat that, Mommy! I want cake!”  Listen…to the children.
  • “I don’t want to take bath!” Listen…to the children.
  • “If I was president, I would make everybody happy and would never have school and make parents buy every kid a unicorn and never have to go to bed and make the world like warm all the time with snow all year.”  Listen…to the children.
  • “All I want to do is go home, get some food, and play my video games all weekend!” Listen…to the…wait, an adult said that. 

AND did you know that children have figured out the whole gender (man/woman) thing? Believe it or not, according to the kids on my school bus, girls are smart, but boys are stupid. Here’s how they describe the difference:

“Girls go to college to get more knowledge.

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.”

Girls go to college, but boys go to Jupiter. Hmmm…may we ponder that for a moment?

  • What type of intelligence was required to put man on the moon?
  • Methane and ethane make up a tiny proportion o...What type of brain power was needed to land an un-manned rover on Mars?
  • What kind of genius will it require to send man four times the distance to the sun in order to view up-close the deadly storms of Jupiter?
  • Stupid boys can go to Jupiter while girls are still fighting over who should be sorority president – and who’s stupider?

Train ‘Em

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I gather from this verse that it is therefore the responsibility of the older, wiser, more responsible parent to teach the child.

They should listen to us. But what are we teaching?

5 Comments

Filed under Christian Maturity, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Hair Today, Grace Tomorrow

Battles

You have probably heard it said before, but sometimes you have to pick your battles. At least that’s a common saying when it comes to parenting. Of course, there are sometimes when the battle chooses you, but for the most part, we can decide which battle should take priority. When it comes to my daughter getting her hair cut, well, I’ve decided that is a battle I am willing to invest few resources.

The other day my youngest, Haley, came to me and told me that she wanted to have her hair cut – and I mean CUT! I must admit, the idea of my beautiful little girl having her pretty hair scissored from her head made me sad. On the other hand, I was not as mournfully brokenhearted as Katie, Haley’s older sister. But, when she explained to me why she wanted it cut, and what she wanted it to look like, I just said, “OK, whatever makes you happy.”

However, since we are talking “battles,” don’t think “whatever makes you happy” will always be my response – no sir! Like I said, there are some battles worth fighting, it’s just that this one was not it. I mean, should she have come to me and asked if she could get her hair nearly shaved off and spiked and colored purple? Uhh, no. That wouldn’t have happened. And should she have come to me and asked for a tongue stud, or a tramp stamp… you get the picture… NO! And I would fight those battles.

Believe me, there are FAR more battles worth waging on behalf of our children, far more than ones over how short their hair should be!

But all Haley wanted was to have her pretty hair cut and styled shorter…and I wanted her to be happy…and there was really nothing wrong with what she was wanting to do. It was just hair – it can grow back.

Grace

But here’s the thing, folks. Should my little Haley gone out and done something that made me angry, something of which I would have strongly disapproved, would that have changed the fact that she is my daughter?

NO! Absolutely not!

If Haley had gone and got that tattoo on her back, or the nose ring, or the spiked hair…or far worse…yes, I still would have loved her, even though, as her dad, I would have been ticked. I would have been disappointed for my own reasons, but I wouldn’t have kicked her out of the house; she’s my daughter.

And that’s the thing about real grace. God loves us enough to let us live, even if our life choices prove to be out of step with the norm, or not what others would like. We are not talking about sin, but individual choices and decisions of life, where there is no real right or wrong, just the opportunity to offend or hurt. God’s grace allows us to be ourselves, within his boundaries, because He actually DOES want us to be happy.

Thankfully, though, when the choices of a believer DO cross the line and become sin, our Heavenly Father may be quick to discipline us, but He never stops loving us…we are family…we are His children.

So, the hair may be gone today, but grace isn’t.

How It Happened – In Pictures

 

Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.

Here is Haley, hair intact, with the Follicle Vampire about to strike.

img_5393

I had to keep reminding myself it could grow back. On the other hand, I could make a wig out of that!

img_5405

The finished product: A selfie-worthy cut on a beautiful daughter.

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under grace, legalism, Parenting, Relationships and Family

My Daughter’s List

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to get my daughter hitched. However, if you are a young man who can live up to Katie’s high standards, then let’s talk.

And believe me, we will talk first.

A few days ago my daughter Katie (age 20, not far from 21) sent me an email containing a list of what she wanted in a man. Unbelievably, even though she is now a senior at Bryan College, has a beautiful voice, is a fantastic photographer, and bubbles with a personality as lovely as her looks, she still has no marital prospects. Crazy, right?

What’s wrong with you guys??

Do you have, and can you do all the following?

  1. katie-before-the-banquet-at-bryanHas a heart that wants to serve God in every way and serves to refine my heart for Christ
  2. Patient
  3. Respectful to all people and animals
  4. Wants to honor my family
  5. Respects and honors my body
  6. Has a love for children
  7. Lives a healthy lifestyle and encourages me to do the same
  8. Will be respectful of my dietary requirements
  9. Has a strong work ethic with a reasonable plan for life
  10. Will willingly give quality massages (primarily on feet and neck) upon request and out of self will

If you are interested in becoming my son-in-law, you’ll figure out how to get in touch with me. Then, if I think you might possibly make her happy, I’ll forward the info. She has the final word, though.

Any takers?

Oh! I do have a badge (so I have connections), and I firmly believe in the 2nd Amendment. Just FYI.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

Visiting Bryan to hear Katie sing her first solo with the choir and full orchestra. She sang Vivaldi.

10 Comments

Filed under Life/Death, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Blues and Better

The following post was originally posted in 2013. The truth of it is even more relevant today.


Post-Christmas Blues

At some point in your life you have probably experienced the “blues” after Christmas. You know, those sad, melancholy feelings that come after all the expectations of Christmas day are over? They’re the “now what?” feelings.

Well, it took a while, but sometime this afternoon I began to feel depressed and kinda sad. In one way I was glad everything was over, but then I was also sad that there was nothing more to look forward to.

Next on the list? Clean house, clean carpet, paint a cabinet, plan sermons, clean a garage, wash windows and blinds, and wonder how to repay what we just borrowed to make people happy for one day.

Post-Christmas Perspective

But if you have experienced the blues after Christmas, be thankful. Being sad that the expectations of this world only bring temporary happiness is a good thing – actually, it’s a great thing! It means that there is something else…something more…something better…something that won’t get old the next day…something that will leave you never having to wish for anything ever again.

C. S. Lewis wrote, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

The post-Christmas blues are just reminders that I haven’t made it home.

“I’ll Rise”

Several years ago I wrote a song talking about a place better than this one, a place called Heaven. This year, standing beside a Christmas tree and surrounded by crumpled wrapping paper, my daughter wanted to sing it.

You can believe that this world is all that there is, and that’s OK. If you are right, then an infinity of nothingness won’t bother either of us. However, since no experience in this world, even the best Christmas present, can satisfy for long, I am going to assume there is better place, somewhere beyond the “blues.”

7 Comments

Filed under Christmas, Faith, Future, Relationships and Family, the future, Uncategorized, World View

The Other Things I’m Thankful For

Now that the holiday is about over, I’m sure you’ve heard all the normal lists of things for which we all should be thankful.

Like many others, I led prayer before today’s over-the-top gastronomical celebration, directing all present to give thanks for grace, mercy, family, freedom, and a host of blessings we don’t deserve. I even led us to remember those less fortunate during this joyful time. 

Therefore, since you’ve already heard thanks for the usual blessings, let me close out this Thanksgiving holiday with a list of other things I’m thankful for. 

  1. Zip-lock baggies. 
  2. Cell phone service with no roaming fees. 
  3. Coffee. 
  4. Antibiotics. 
  5. DVR’s. 
  6. I’m not a vegetarian. 
  7. Modern dentistry. 
  8. Safe drinking water. 
  9. Bluetooth. 
  10. Inexpensive firing ranges. 
  11. Baby powder. 
  12. A wife that hasn’t give up on me. 
  13. New Star Wars movies. 
  14. Background noise apps on my phone. 
  15. Daughters who still believe in me. 

OK, so #12 and #15 are from the “normal” list, but I couldn’t help it. 

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. – Psalm 106:1

My daughter Katie’s first apple pie. A work of art!

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Thanksgiving

Five Years of Monkeying Around

The Notification

This morning I received a sweet little notification from Facebook. It was little reminder of a video I made introducing the “Monday Monkey” segments to my blog.

Sometimes these Facebook notifications are fun. Other times they depress me. I don’t know how to interpret this one. 5 years? Has it really been that long? Then, on the other hand, 5 years ago seems like an eternity.

It’s amazing the flood of water that can run under a bridge in 5 years, isn’t?

The First Official Video

The following week my daughters and I worked on putting together the very first “Monday Monkey” video. The purpose, as stated above, was twofold: 1) to insert a little fun into the mix; 2) to increase subscription numbers – to over 100. As best as I can tell, both goals were met…eventually.

In this first video you will see my middle daughter, Katie, playing the part of a teacher. Ironically, she is now a music education major (junior) at Bryan College in Dayton, TN.

It literally took us about 3 hours to film this little 1-minute video! Ahh, memories 😉

“Monkey Questions”

Leave a comment

Filed under animals, blogging, Humor, Monday Monkey

Another Face-to-Face

Let me think for just a moment… How many bloggers has it been that have come through Chattanooga and visited with my family and me?

Let’s see, there was the cute couple of the century, Daniel and Caitlin Klem, who came through before Christmas a couple of years ago. There’s been James and Lydia Neff who’s been by a few times, which was always an encouragement. The Fry’s (Wally & Heather) and their daughter came through while on vacation last year, and that was fun. And how can I forget Heather, Everette, and Emerson?

image

Myself and Jessie Jeanine. Photo by: My wife, Valerie.

Well, this last week another long-time blogging friend paid a visit. Last Tuesday Jessie Jeanine decided to swerve through Chattanooga on her cross-country (and half-way back again) search for a place to re-settle (that’s a long story in its own right). She loved it so much here that she stayed over a week! How cool is that?

I will never get over how bloggers can be a part of a community without ever meeting in person. But it is awesome when people who are friends online can meet face-to-face, confirming the reality that there has always been a genuine person on the other side of the computer screen.

Jessie was one of the first bloggers who really encouraged me to keep writing – because she actually replied to my comments and then followed my blog! For a new blogger that was a big deal, especially considering her story (one of horrendous abuse, working with the FBI, and even being a friend to Hollywood stars). To me Jessie Jeanine was a blogging celebrity, and a celebrity I highly respected. That was like 5 or 6 years ago.

However, this past week Jessie ate with us, worshiped with us, and even asked me to work on her car. What’s more, she got to spend enough time with us to see a few of our bad sides. Yet, real friends stay friends even when they are transparent and vulnerable. Real friends being real, that’s all.

We had a great time just hanging out, watching TV, doing dishes, playing board games, talking church, faith and religion, and dealing with a little bit of family drama.

But every good thing must come to an end, so they say, and Jessie is now somewhere in Houston, Texas, I think. My wife and daughters and I will always be grateful for the time we got to spend with her. Needless to say, there were a few tears shed when it came time for her to leave.

May God bless her, protect her, and provide for her needs during this huge cross-country transition in life.

Oh, and eventually we’re all going to pay David Welford a visit in England! Woo Hoo!

So, any more of you guys coming through Chattanooga any time soon? I know a great coffee shop 🙂

12 Comments

Filed under blogging, Christian Unity