Sunday, December 16, 2012

Desperate Danger

"There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow." 
-- J. R. R. TOLKIEN (The Fellowship of the Ring)

I originally posted this picture and quote on the Accidental Crossfitter as a response to the release of the movie The Hobbit, but with no commentary attached. I think the quote speaks for itself with regard to a host of situations. With regard to fitness and health, we wait for a crisis in our state of health to make radical changes, and with regard to our families, we wait for a crisis of behavior or some tragedy to spur us into heroic action. 

In the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary shootings there are a host of knee-jerk reactions taking place. People are suddenly calling for tighter gun control, others are calling for funding and research for the mentally ill, others are suggesting teachers be trained to carry guns, like teachers in Israel. I happen to think that the root problem lies far deeper than any of these "solutions" can even hope to help solve, but that is another blog post for another day.

What I want to say is that I grieve for the parents, teachers and families who have lost their precious children and loved-ones in this horrific event. When I see the list of the dead, most of them are the same age as my sweet daughter. I cannot imagine their pain.

The Columbine shootings had already occurred when I began considering  homeschooling. I am not going to deny that events like this factored into our thinking process when we made the decision to pursue this course. I wouldn't call it the reason to choose to home school, but it is a very good reason to be thankful that we do. There are no guarantees in life, I know this, but I have a charge to keep, and that is to protect my children and educate them the best I know how. I still believe that the choice to educate at home is the best for our children. I believe that it is a heroic action taken in world full of desperate danger, full of chaos, confusion, and lies.

III John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

When We Cover Reproduction...

This is how I am going to explain it, because it simply the nicest, most logical, most sensible way to explain it. I wish someone had explained it to me like this...

You're welcome. I know you were looking for an explanation, too.

Monday, December 03, 2012

On Discipline

Proverbs 12:1 says "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." (ESV)

But really--how many of us love discipline? How many of us in our standard American lifestyle truly love discipline? We surround ourselves with luxuries and pastimes, square screens and processed food. Work is not by the sweat of our brow, but mostly with our brains and fingers. We do not labor for our sustenance. The widening girth of our society is proof of all of this and it is called an epidemic, a disease.

Last week as we were away for the Thanksgiving holiday I spent a lot of time thinking, and discipline and leadership was one of the things that came to mind most frequently. I have struggled so often in our homeschooling journey, and even more in my physical fitness, to establish routines that will keep us accountable for the work that we need to accomplish. Getting up at an early hour, insisting that the whole family be in bed by a certain time, keeping a schedule of cleaning and housework (and maintaining the expectation that the kids will participate). I had a conversation with the family to this effect one evening. I pointed out to the kids that I could not have expectations of them that I myself am unwilling or unable to meet, and that from that point on I would not. From that point on, then, I was obligated to do what I said I would do, or not say it at all.

My father, who was not an exemplary man in the area of character modeling, used to tell us, "Do as I say, not as I do." Right! If we never spoke words of any kind to our children, they would still learn by following our actions, from brushing our teeth to helping the poor.

I have been watching my son in the last year change quickly from a child into an increasingly responsible young man. Admittedly, he is still a child, but he is taking on character qualities that so resemble his dad and me that it is both frightening and delightful. I find the following to be true of him: he is faithful to a task, he is responsible and caring for his little sister, he is a gentleman, he is thoughtful, he serves without complaining, he is affectionate, he has integrity and wisdom beyond his years. I won't list the negatives here, but he possesses qualities as well that shake me to my core, but these all reflect my flaws, so what can I say? Disciplining him for such flaws does no good at all if my actions are the same!

If I cannot spend serious, regular time in studying the Word of God, if I cannot find time to take care of my health and exercise regularly, I can hold no expectation that my children will see the need to do so in their lives as they grow. If I cannot control my tone of voice when I talk to them, I cannot rebuke them for their tone when they speak, without first repenting for setting that example. If I cannot take time to gently and lovingly hold affectionate conversation with them now when they are little, how can I expect them to want to do so with me when I am old? If I want my children to reach the highest goal I have for them, that of knowing God and pursuing a holy life, then I have to set the pace with them. I, as much as my son, need to heed the following:
Proverbs 3:11, 12
"My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves as a father the son in whom he delights." 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Week 13: Thanksgiving and More

Week 13 was spotty, both literally and figuratively. Since our family traveled to Florida to visit family for Thanksgiving (which was wonderful!), I have not had the time to prepare the house for the holiday season as I normally would. The house is in a serious state of "spotty." Then, for two days this week Dad was home for a dental appointment and a normal day off, so the schedule was definitely "spotty."

Nevertheless, we did get some good work on fundamentals done. We also had a wonderful opportunity to prepare our thoughts for our study on WWII which we will begin after Christmas. While we were in Florida, Matty spent a wonderful time with his granddad, interviewing him and asking him all about his life. We learned some wonderful history about our family, and captured it in a recording. Being Japanese and having experienced some very difficult circumstances during the war, they lived a life that is extremely difficult for the kids to imagine.

They also enjoyed doing some gardening with their grandparents. They have a wonderful variety of vegetables and things that came originally from Okinawa, so we got a bit of an education, there as well. They dug up purple potatoes and got very dirty.

Got one!
Purple sweet potatoes!
There were some lovely giant worms

Wow. Dirty fingernails.
We also got a bit of beach time in which is always good for the soul. I didn't take as many photos there as I normally do--I just thought a lot and looked for shells. The drive down and back were highlights for me. The kids had the iPad and their movies in the back of the car, and hubby and I had a total of 32 hours of conversation time (16 down, 16 back). We did not listen to books, music, sermons or podcasts very much at all. We mostly enjoyed each others company and talked. We had time to process through a whole lot of things we've been thinking, make some important family decisions, and dream a little. Out of those conversations a new blog was born, and I am enjoying that new pursuit. I mentioned it in a previous post, but The Accidental Crossfitter is up and going very well so far.

So that is my wrap-up of the past two weeks. I am not sure what we are going to do this week--I may need to take another week off in order to clean, decorate, bake and take the kids shopping. I would rather do it now than at Christmas "crunch time." We'll see what happens.