A Teaching Challenge

Would you like a challenge? Try explaining the story of God instructing Abraham to sacrifice Issac to your six- and eight-year olds. Do this in a way that honors both God and the complexity of the story. Do this in a way that doesn’t resort to simplistic answers.

I think it can be done, but it’s a challenge.

Parenting with Perspective

worn teddy bear
I came across Hour Challenge a little while ago, and have been enjoying it. This post caught my attention the other day, probably because I think about this with regard to my own kids a fair bit.

I see two challenges: The first is to raise my kids in such a way that they have a proper perspective on wealth. I want them to understand that we are indeed wealthy by any real standard, that our wealth carries certain responsibilities toward others, and that much of our culture will not support this perspective. I also want them to hold this perspective without feeling guilty for being wealthy, for just as most did not choose to be poor, they did not choose to be wealthy.

The second challenge in not suffocating their childhood innocence with heavy concepts too soon. So far, we have let their own curiosity and honest answers guide us. As Kerri and I work to maintain a proper perspective in our own lives and to live out of that perspective, we include our kids in our activities. They ask their own questions, and we give them honest answers. In fact, finding ways to answer them honestly, but in terms that they can understand, often proves to be incredibly useful in fine-tuning my own thinking about a topic.

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Thanksgiving 2006: For Luke

The weirdest thing about being a father of three is being a father of three very different children. Samantha: lanky, pale skin, fine dark hair, hazel eyes. Jake: round cheeked, olive skin, wavy brown hair, endless brown eyes. And then there’s Luke…

For Luke

If you went poking through my baby pictures, there’d be no doubt that this is my son. Straight, blonde hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Slightly translucent skin. Without a date stamp, you’d be hard pressed to tell who is whom now that 70′s fashion is becoming vogue again.

Luke, I am your father.

Luke is our third, our youngest, and the last we will ever have naturally. (Kerri and I are keeping open the possibility of adoption down the line.) Because he’s our last, every moment has additional significance. No longer will we cycle through the newborn routines of midnight feedings, spit up, and belly button stumps. We’ve had our last first birthday, our last first steps, our last first words. From here on out we are moving forward, leaving things that have been part of our everyday life for half a decade behind.

And I am thrilled! It’s no secret: I think babies are alright, but I love ‘em when they start doing tricks. Just this afternoon Luke was imitating Jake, crawling around on the floor pretending to be a dog. Scruffy from Bob the Builder to be precise. Sunday he was doing his best to sing along in the car to “Away in a Manger.”

Luke is sly and subtle. He’s the only one who’ll sit and watch football with me. He’s my baby, and I’m thankful for him.

Thanksgiving 2006: For Samantha

Note to self: Do this more often. It pulls oneself out of the daily grime and adjusts one’s perspective. It also gives one an opportunity to talk about one’s self.

For Samantha

What can I say about my princess?

She’ll never remember my favorite moments with her; she was only minutes old. I suspect there was a minor oversight on the part of hospital, but whatever the reason I held you for nearly 90 minutes while Dr. Patel attended to Kerri. For 90 minutes I held you and stared at this new life. And you stared back. We watched each other for what felt like an eternity.

In that first hour the magnitude of your arrival began to sink in. Kerri and I would ask each other, “What do you think life will be like with a child?” I always answered, “I don’t know.” I had nothing to compare it to, no frame of reference within which to even begin imagining. I could picture life as a father no better than a blind man could picture the Mona Lisa. So, I am forever grateful for that oversight that allowed me 90 minutes with you.

It seems I’ve shifted perspective and am now writing to Samantha as much as about her. Hmmm…

Well, in that first hour you wrapped my around your finger, and I’ve been there ever sense. Aside from your dark hair, you and I are cut from the same cloth… right down to the freckles that dot our nose and cheeks. We clicked instantly. We cuddled on the couch watching This Old House many Saturdays. You slept for hours on my chest. We are best friends already.

I’m thankful for Samantha, and I thank her for easing me into fatherhood.

Thanksgiving 2006: For Jake

No list of things for which I am thankful would be complete without my kids. There are days when I joke, asking Kerri how I let her talk me into having more than one. As an only child the noise and activity are things for which I wasn’t prepared. I’ll be honest; I told her I wanted lots of kids. I clearly had no idea what I was getting myself into, but that’s OK.

For Jake

So, I’m starting with Jake. Why him?

He is a solar dervish, emitting endless life and constant energy.

Because he’s our middle child, and middle children too often get the short end of the stick.

Because he was born near the end of Rob’s life, and too many of those early days were spent in hospitals, away from home, tending to others.

Because of all our children, he is the least like me. Though he carries my name, he’s olive, dark, and wavy-haired like his mother. His eyes are endless pools that soak up my soul. He is a solar dervish, emitting endless life and constant energy.

Because he and I clash like titans, and I am just now, three years into his life, discovering how to be his dad.

Because it is hardest for me to communicate love to him in ways that he understands, though I love him deeply and long for him to grasp as much of that as possible.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for Jake.

Jesus in Diapers

a thread of thought floating from ALPHA last sunday…

Jesus was real. i mean more than “He existed,” but that he was real. he ate, slept, bleed, passed gas, etc. we’re potty training our toddler (Samantha), and it occurred to me: Jesus had to be potty trained. Mary had to change the diapers (or whatever) of the Creator.

my sister-in-law (Kelli) has been to europe a coupla times to study, and she did some research on the history of Madonna and Child in art. she was saying how pre-Renaissance Jesus the Baby was depicted as an old man. Not until Michaelangelo and the like did art recover the image of Jesus the Baby AS a baby.

In John 6 the jews comment on how familiar, ordinary Jesus was. “Don’t we know his parents? didn’t we watch him grow up?”

yes, we have a high priest who can identify with us in every way. this really is comforting. given what is happening in the fam (Rob has pneumonia. oh joy!) i need every reminder i can get.