The Dutch Rush

they're Dutch...and life's a rush

Category: Children (page 2 of 4)

collecting people, not things

As we’ve read and heard so much about abortion lately, something that continues to be emphasized is the selfishness of the pro-choice advocates. The arguments are compelling; to end another life for our own convenience is selfish, I agree.

But what if our pro-choice friends aren’t the only selfish ones?

I know it’s difficult to recognize selfishness in ourselves. We’d rather recognize it in someone else!

But just think…if we really, truly cared that much about all of those babies, wouldn’t more of us be adopting?

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things we owe our Christian children

For Christian parents, just thinking of what we should teach our children about God can seem overwhelming. Our duty might feel so daunting, that we may want to look the other way. We might not realize the opportunity we have, and how quickly it slips away.

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seeing children as people

“Take a small child on your knee. Respect him. Do not see him as something to prune, form or mold. This is an individual who thinks, acts, and feels. He is a separate human being, whose strength lies in who he is, not in who he will become…look well at the child on your knee. In whatever condition you find him, look with reverence. We can only love and serve him and be his friend. We cannot own him. He is not ours.”

– Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, For the Children’s Sake

This is one of my all time favorite quotes. I haunts me. I think of it often as life goes by. “We cannot own him. He is not ours…”

Since I’ve read the whole book (quoted above), I know that she doesn’t expect us to check our duty as parents at the door, and let the child do as he pleases.

Contrary to popular parenting strategies, letting children do whatever they please is not the way to treat children as people.

There is a tension here!

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Humor and a Mother’s Environment

I would be irresponsible to discuss these ideas as if I had it made.  Just so you know.

I found this quote last week:

 We are an environment for the other people with whom we live.

-Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking

To create an environment that others would enjoy being part of,  I thought of two critical necessities.

Humility, and a sense of humor.

Without these things, we can drown in seriousness.

One of my favorite marriage books has an entire chapter on the wife (and mother’s) sense of humor.

A sense of humor might be likened to a sort of casual sense of balance. It is a mental relaxation…A person without a sense of humor has a sort of mental “charley-horse”.  She “tightens up” mentally to the extent that her brain becomes sort of lame, unable to see things in their proper perspective.

-Leo Kinsella, The Wife Desired

I feel I can speak with some authority on this issue, as one who has had one or two “mental charley-horses” already today.  Unfortunately, today is only half over.

If people are fortunate to be able to recover their mental equilibrium through a sense of humor, twice blessed are those who can see the humor of situations as they are developing. These people are a joy to themselves, as well as to all who are privileged to know them.

-Leo Kinsella

Oh dear. The days when it is not a privilege to know me…

Now back to what Edith is trying to remind the mother about the environment she creates.

Our conversations, attitudes, behavior, response or lack of response, hardness or compassion, our love or selfishness, joy or dullness, our demonstrated trust and faith or our continual despondency, our concern for others or our self-pity – all these things make a difference to the people who have to live in our environment.

-Edith Schaeffer

I’ll be honest.  Sometimes this feels like too heavy of a responsibility. Sometimes I wonder if it matters. I think we only need to look around us on the good days (or the bad, even), and we will find that yes, it is worth every ounce of effort to create a happy home.

It matters terribly to the people who have to spend their days with us. It matters enough to figure out where we left our sense of humor and get back on the apple cart.

The atmosphere in which a child gathers his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every word of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that vague appetency…toward things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine.

-Charlotte Mason, Parents and Children

A School Day

School is back.  I was going to write about it on the first day, but that feels like a long time ago.

There is currently a can of cheddar cheese Pringles in our pantry.  It explains a lot about last week.  I could have been talked into just about anything at the point that I was talked into buying CHEDDAR CHEESE PRINGLES.  Yuck.

It is hard for me to express what goes on around here…it’s hilarious. Sometimes I realize that we are a sort of crude.  But come on, a pastor’s family has to TRY to be so proper when we leave the house, we have to get our insanity out somewhere…

Anyhow.  That really wasn’t where I was going with this.

I keep thinking about this idea:

Teachers must teach from a flowing stream, and not from a stagnant pool.

I love that line and what it suggests about the responsibility of the teacher.

You can read the whole thought here.

So today.  It had the feel of a flowing stream.  So many ideas to ponder.  It refreshes my tired brain to think deeper thoughts than my own.  It lifts my spirits to laugh with my kids while we work with our felted wool.  Hey, don’t mock, it’s an art project.  We made several things that reminded us of  Dr. Seuss characters, but we are pretty good at putting out some fine balls…much laughing.  We were all so soapy, I couldn’t take pictures, but I took a picture in my head.  And I thought about the fact that I only get to hang out with these precious people for part of their lives.

photo (7)

That thing in the back is a raindrop. Trust me.

We worked in our Science notebooks.  Each child may choose what to draw from things we are currently studying in Science.  We are studying Gregor Mendel, who made a famous genetics discovery.  His patience with his work was striking, and he died before they discovered the significance of his work.  One child drew Mendel’s genetics chart from the book.  Another child is meticulously drawing the Periodic Table.  For fun.  There was a ruler involved.  I was impressed.  I would never have thought of using a ruler.  Another child drew Ursa Major, since we are also studying the constellations.

That took about an hour.  We call it “The meeting of the Idiots”, it happens once a week in the afternoon, and is accompanied by drinking soda (a rare event), and sometimes we listen to The Piano Guys.  Josh lost it when Darth Vader started playing the accordion. Lost it.  There was snot and soapy water everywhere.  If you have not watched The Piano Guys on youtube, I recommend watching their Star Wars song, preferably with an 8 year old.

Alyssa and I are reading David Copperfield.  So many bad decisions, so much sadness.  Lots to think about. In another book we have been reading about Gypsies, and how they have been treated.  I had no idea.  It led us on a internet search of gypsy homes.  Which of course led my mind to the gypsy wagon that Toad fitted out in Wind in the Willows.  Josh and I are reading about the founding of the Feudal System and the injustice that the Serfs suffered.  He gets a little fired up over that, as he does about most injustice.  Joel and I began Secrets of the Woods.  He would like to live in the country.

The kids and I are reading our second full Shakespeare play together.  Naturally, it would be The Taming of the Shrew.  We laugh a lot while we read Shakespeare.  Josh can now read a line or two with us, and that adds to the general hilarity of the time.  My favorite lines of what we read today:

And if the boy have not a woman’s gift

to rain a shower of commanded tears,

an onion will do well for such a shift

Oh really?  Commanded tears?  How dare you, Shakespeare?!!

Joel’s dictation today was about John Smith:

Many of the unruly sort were glad to see him go, but his old companions with whom he had shared so many dangers and privations were filled with grief.  “He ever hated baseness, sloth, pride and indignity,” said one of them.  “He never allowed more for himself than for his soldiers with him.  Upon no danger would he send them where he would not lead them himself.  He would never see us want what he either had or could by any means get us.  He loved action more than words, and hated falsehood and covetousness worse than death.”                                                          – This Country of Ours by Marshall

So we now know what privations are…(after I looked it up).

I love this quote for several reasons.  Mostly because it reminds me that this is the kind of man I married and is part of what makes him such a good leader.  It gives my son good things to think about as he goes off to play for the afternoon.  It also gives me ideas to think about as I go off to work for the afternoon.  Flowing streams, not stagnant pools.  It was a good day.

Embracing Average

Hey there, Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful Moms!

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to encourage us to give our children a beautiful gift: Embrace their little average selves.  Let’s quit comparing them to everyone else’s kids!

Let’s appreciate our kids for who they are.  Let’s just enjoy THEM, not our visions of who they might be someday.  This can mean the world to them now and later.  Appreciating and enjoying our kids helps us relax and can have wonderful benefits to our family.  And as a side note, relaxing benefits our head and heart.  And makes us look pretty.

Let’s embrace average!  I love average.  I take a big sigh of relief over average.  Maybe that’s just me and my personality, but maybe it’s not.  Don’t we all want to be loved without being pushed and prodded to be someone else?  Granted, our children can’t and won’t always be who they are right now, but let’s not pass up on the beautiful people they ARE, even while we hope and pray for growth and change.

I want to help combat the disease of unhealthy comparison.  It feels so great to be loved and accepted right where we are. Comparison of each other is so common, I’m not sure we even recognize it for what it is anymore.  I’ve heard  many times that comparison is the thief of joy.  Comparison = UNHAPPY WOMEN.  Yep.  I can say that, cause I’m a woman. Whoa. I just found the = sign on the computer.  I am slightly impressed with myself. Okay, more than slightly.

Of course I do realize that we can encourage excellence in our children.  My concern is shoving perfectionism down their throats just so they can make us look good.

I think we compare our children’s abilities, and our mothering abilities no matter our age or circumstances.  The young mom might just be delighted with something her toddler has done and is beaming with pride, she may feel like her hard work and efforts are finally bearing some fruit.  Later she gets on Facebook, only to see that another mom has posted a picture of Superchild doing or saying the very same thing, several months earlier than this young mom’s little one.  If she isn’t very careful, her day can be ruined.  That very same child she was so proud of can seem incredibly behind in just a few seconds.  We have to guard ourselves, and the temptation is constant.  I know because I struggle.

I’ve been reading Tozer again and he says it so well…

“There is hardly a man or woman who dares to be just what he or she is without doctoring up the impression.”

And this:

“Only an evil desire to shine makes us want to appear other than we are.”

There are older moms who have been through a little more, but no doubt still love to hear praise for their children. For them it may be grades, sports, or some way they have made themselves stand out in the crowd.  It doesn’t seem to matter if they are in public school or homeschool, comparison is always nearby.  Waiting to trap us into that internal turmoil. We want our kids to be the best. We love the attention!  We want them (and us) to be the stars of the show!  We want that satisfaction of a job well done, which is not in itself horrible.  But we want the admiration of our fellow moms.  And so we give in to bragging, envy and pride.

It’s a human condition.  But it can crush us.

We all struggle with comparison on some level, isn’t that why there are verses like these?

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should take pride in his own actions, without comparing himself to somebody else. -Galatians 6:3-4

God knew.  He knew there would be Facebook, pictures, and blogs.  He knows our hearts. He knows we are sinners who need saving.  He gave us His Word to guide us through relationships, comparison and parenting.

Last week I got to hear Bob Goff speak at the Thrive Conference.  He said it perfectly…

“If we keep making it about us, it’ll never be about Jesus”

I love that.

So let’s go hug those wonderful average kids of ours, and quit trying to make it all about us.

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