Archive for September, 2007
I got a little behind this week, so I’m going to catch up from Wednesday.Â So now, we move on to the language of
words of affirmation.Â Oops, better make that quality time, as I got confused on the order!
I have a child whose love language is DEFINITELY quality time! Â I won’t mention names, but she’s the one who is my “shadow” around the house.Â She wants to be in the studio when I’m on the computer.Â She wants to help me when I’m cleaning.Â She wants to go with me when I run errands to the store.Â Above all, she wants to spend time with me.
And frankly, sometimes, that’s hard.Â I’m realizing my year of employment hurt my family dynamic in more ways than I’d like to admit.Â Quality time?Â What was that?Â Did shuffling my kids from one “friendsitter” to another count?Â Did the few minutes I’d spend in the car preoccupied with my own thoughts and stresses while I rushed to yet another obligation, duty, or requirement fulfill the need?Â Of course, the answer was no.Â I praise God that I now have the opportunity to “fix” my mistakes and – hopefully – learn from them.Â I dearly want to avoid repeating that horrendous performance.
With our busy lifestyles, trying to find time to be together is difficult.Â But it’s not impossible.Â There are small ways to build quality “snippets” when a huge chunk of time just isn’t possible.Â Do we take the time to sit together at meals?Â The few times my family did, we always had the tv on in the background.Â Cartoons for the kids in the morning, midday news at lunch, and news or syndicated game shows for dinner.Â I would have my head buried in a magazine or be in the studio checking emails during breakfast.Â God helped me realize what a precious opportunity I was missing, so now the norm is to have the tv off during meals, with an exception being on Saturdays when the Aggies are playing, or on Sunday night when “The Silly Show” (a.k.a. “AFV”) is on.Â We talk, we laugh together, we learn Bible verses, we have family devotions, we pray, we get to know each other…it’s priceless.
There is a healthy balance to be found for sure.Â I’ve got to have time to nurture my spirit, to develop myself as a person, and to do the things I must do as a wife, mother, volunteer, and teacher.Â But know what I’ve noticed?Â As I’ve incorporated more times for quality time together with my little shadow, I actually have more time to myself!Â Why?Â Because I’ve spoken her language.Â I’ve filled her emotional tank.Â I’ve validated her in the way that means the most to her.Â And because of that she’s secure, she’s satisfied, and she’s willing to let me have my 5 minutes of peace and quiet.
Savor the moments.Â Sieze the day.Â Set the priorities and set ‘em straight.Â Because my children are only this age once.Â And these are the years when they want me around.Â You bet I’m gonna cherish every moment.Â I just might not get to scrapbook it right away.
No, not those silly little emoticons you put in emails. Those are smileys.
I’m talking about similes. Those darned vocabularological comparisons you had to study in high school for no other reason than to pass the SAT, get into a good school, and prepare you for a profession in which the only simile you’ll ever need to know is “This job _____________ like _____________.” Unless you become a high school college prep teacher, in which case your fun with similes will never end and you’ll be caught in an endless loop of “likes” and “as.”
But a love of similes is cultivated early in life, during those formative years when we begin our mastery of the intricacies of the Mother Tongue. I was reminded of this just yesterday, when my daughter Crisana gave me a lesson in similes that I’ll never forget. The inspiration is the highly regarded text, “Touch and Feel Kitten” published by Dorling Kindersley.
Page 1: The kitty’s fur is as soft as a blanket. Fur is for a kitty. Not for a soft owner. A owner has skin. And the soft fur belongs to the kitty.
Page 2: The kitty’s tongue is as rough as the bottom of a bathtub. Ours is really rough.
Page 3: The kitty’s tags are as smooth as a mirror. You can see yourself in them.
Page 4: The kitty’s bowl is as hard as your eyes.
Page 5: The kitty’s basket is as scratchy as your bug bites.
Sheer genius, I tell you. Let these words sink in and you’ll see what I mean.
because you just might get it!
Last night was Join Scouting Night in McKinney. If you read this blog, then you know the technical difficulties I ran into trying to finalize the details yesterday afternoon. To be honest, that frustration was the LAST thing I needed yesterday. And seeing a sign telling people it would be at McNeil was the last straw. I just KNEW that we’d have poor turnout. I just KNEW last night would be a complete waste of time: we would have to rush to get there and set everything up, and NO ONE would turn out. I just knew it.
So, I prayed.
I prayed that God would bring families (note: plural, meaning MORE THAN ONE) to JSN. I prayed that we would get enough boys signed up between McNeil and McGowen to create a new Wolf den that I could lead. I prayed that at least one boy from Trey’s school would come sign up for scouts so he could be in it this year with a friend from school. I prayed, most of all, that this night would not be a waste of our time.
And what an answer we received! We had so many families show up that we had to keep spreading out onto more and more tables. We had enough boys sign up (I think the final tally was eight!) to create a new Wolf den JUST from McGowen! And the first child to show up was one of Trey’s friends from his class! We even created a new Tiger Den, and added a few new Bears and Webelos. I don’t know the final numbers, but our Cubmaster was amazed at the turnout. The parent volunteers who were there were amazed at how many people came out for JSN. Trey was thrilled at seeing all the new scouts, and worked the crowd passionately, telling the new Bears and Webelos how much he’s looking forward to moving up to their ranks, and assuring the new Tigers how much fun they’re going to have in Scouts. He is beside himself with excitement over our new Den, and is absolutely giddy that I will be his new Den Leader.
Compare this to last year, where we signed up 1 Tiger (us), and 2 Bears from McNeil.
Needless to say, I think we are off to a great start helping the Pack GO this year…and now that JSN is over, get ready for POPCORN!!!
September 20 is always a hard day for me. You’d think after 10 years, I’d just get over it and move on. However, I find almost the opposite is true. I find the loss of my dad in some ways more painful now than I did 10 years ago. His legacy lives on, but I miss the man who created it. And now, with children of my own, I wish they’d had the opportunity to know at least one of their grandfathers. Though we talk about him and do our best to make him real to his youngest grandchildren, it’s painful to realize that the memories I share will remain just that: memories.
Mom and I commemorated the day in our usual fashion: we met at Restland and placed flowers on the marker. This year, Crisana had a hand in helping to pick the color scheme. She chose a bunch with lots of red, because according to her, “Grampa always looked good in red.” If she only knew. This year, it was just Mom and I at the marker because Crisana and Trey were both in school. We realized we haven’t had a memorial day without children in 7 years! We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Picasso’s on Inwood before heading back to our lives. It was just the right way to spend this day.
But then…back to reality. Tonight is Join Scouting Night at McGowen, so I took the signs up to place in strategic locations. Due to city ordinances, we could not put the signs out any earlier than last night. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get by the school this morning to put them up, so I had to do it this afternoon. As I put them up, I noticed one across the street saying that JSN would be held at McNeil. I went inside to see about the possibility of hanging a sign up inside the building only to find out that nothing was communicated to the school office about this, and they weren’t prepared to have us meeting there tonight! So we’ll be meeting in a non-air-conditioned cafeteria, inconveniencing at least one staff member, and who knows what kind of turnout we’ll have.
September 20…the end of a beautiful life here on this earth and the beginning of eternity. I miss you, Dad.
This week, we get into the “meat” of the course, the discussion of the actual love languages.Â Through my own personal observation, I’m pretty convinced that physical touch is Trey’s primary love language.Â Even at age 7, he still loves to snuggle, he holds my hand, and he’s pretty demonstrative in his affection to others.
As I’ve read through the chapter on this particular love language, I was interested in their discussion of speaking to this love language as children move out of infancy and toddlerhood into older childhood and particularly adolescence.Â The authors mentioned the importance of using creative ways to demonstrate physical touch, and particularly for boys, roughhousing, wrestling, and playing contact sports all count toward filling that emotional tank for children who crave physical touch.Â I remember a conversation I had with Dan when Trey was a baby where he told me about a study he’d researched for his one of his graduate classes that studied the link between rough play for boys and how it impacts the level of testosterone development in a positive way.Â When I consider how to help my boy grow into a godly man, I am very much aware that teaching him safe and healthy boundaries in the area of physical touch will not only help him in his relationships growing up, but can prepare him to be a wonderfully loving husband someday.
I remember a specific incident when I was around Trey’s age.Â At that time, both my brothers were in their mid- to late-teens, and I was in the back yard with Dan when my dad came home.Â I told Dan we’d better hurry to get inside so we could give Dad a hug and a kiss to welcome him home, and Dan replied, “Boys don’t usually give their dads hugs and kisses.”Â I remember being quite stunned by that remark! Â And obviously, it stuck with me.Â Now as a parent, I can see how that part of the relationship would change, but the trick lies in being sensitive to the situation.Â I hope that I can establish safe and healthy boundaries for my own children, and remain open and willing to see them for who they are as they grow and mature.
Wow, this job of parenting sure is more complicated than I thought it would be!
To quote the wise sage Jay Leno (could he be another version of J-L..o?): “It’s Monday night, time for” a sports update on Debily’s blog!!Â Okay, so he doesn’t really say THAT, but it’s kind of close.
First, we have our baseball.Â The Rangers have done it once again.Â You know, made hope rise in the hearts of their faithful, only to have those same hopes dashed to little itty-bitty pieces.Â A pennant race?Â Nah.Â Just hope to end the season NOT in last place, with a record hovering around .500.Â Sad to say, but THAT would be an accomplishment for this team.Â However, after losing 5 in a row, and nearly being swept by Oakland, we are back in the cellar with a rather large gap to close and not much time left.Â But the Rangers did manage to salvage one game of the 4-game series and avoided a sweep.Â The Red Sox are still in first place, opening a nice meaty can of whoop-a$$ on the darn Yankees on Sunday as well, and keep their lead strong in the AL East.Â Too bad Detroit and Seattle are in the midst of a melt-down, as we could really use some help in keeping said Yankees OUT of the playoffs in any way, shape, or form.
Now, on to football.Â The Beloved, apparently shopping at the same store, also picked up a large can of whoop-a$$ and dumped it in heaping spoonfuls on poor Louisiana-Monroe.Â I think the final score was 54-10 or some such.Â Nice little ego-booster to keep the perfect record intact before the REAL games begin.Â This is why college football doesn’t need a preseason.
And then there’s the Cowboys.Â Off to the best start since ’99…beginning the season with 2 35-point performances for the first time since ’94…with a quarterback who is drawing comparisons to Aikman and Staubach.Â I still don’t like The Player, and I really dislike his complete disregard for how his actions affect his team – particularly his end zone shenanigans after the 4th down touchdown reception – but I do see a difference in his playing this year, and I see how he can help this team achieve more. Â He and Romo seem to work together well, and that’s something we haven’t had since the days of the triplets.Â I did see a clever sign at the game yesterday:Â TO + TR = TD.Â Â And hopefully that’ll be something we’ll be seeing lots more of…and not just on signs.
We’re heading into October, which means baseball playoff updates, the start of the hockey and basketball seasons, and REAL college football action.Â It will be fun to see how the winds of October blow – and who is left standing in their wake.
A news story on Channel 8 last week caught my attention.Â We all remember a few years back when “experts” began to claim that “methane emissions from cows” (aka cow farts) were a significant contributor to global warming.Â Well, it took a few years, but finally it’s happened….
Now experts are claiming that we should all significantly reduce or eliminate our consumption of red meat.Â The thinking goes (stay with me here, it gets a bit dicey at times):
1)Â We eat less red meat….
2)Â There is less demand for red meat, thus reducing the amount of cattle raised for slaughter…
3)Â With fewer cattle, we get fewer “methane emissions” (cow farts)
4)Â We save the ozone layer and reduce global warming!!Â Voila! Â (AAAAAAHHHH!Â sings the heavenly chorus)
And we have just enough time to hang up our cape and change out of our silky spandex red and blue bodysuit before the burgers are done cooking on the grill.Â I think Justin Farmer, Channel 8′s midday anchor that day, said it best:Â “So methane emissions from cows contribute to global warming.Â Guess what?Â SO DO WE.”
This is an actual class offering at FBC Allen, where Crisana is attending preschool. It sounds like a class I’d love to take – a catchy name with some food for thought to challenge the status quo.
But in an effort to get some discussion going among my 4 readers, I pose this question to you…what would your response be. What do you wish Jesus hadn’t said? For my part, I sure wish he hadn’t said this:
“One thing you lack…Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then, come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
Being willing to hold my “stuff” loosely…well, that’s hard. Being willing to leave it all behind if necessary…don’t really want to do that. Holding the long view (thanks, RC) in perspective…not so easy.
Lemme hear YOUR thoughts.
Tonight begins the series, “The 5 Love Languages of Children.”Â As I’ve been preparing this week for the class, I pre-viewed the video for the orientation sessions.Â Attempting to be “hip” and “current”, the producers of the video placed cameras in the homes of 4 different couples so we could watch life, unscripted, and then critique the parents.
Most of the video clips took place in the morning, with families eating breakfast together.Â The vast majority of these families homeschool; only one was dual-income.Â The pace of the morning routine was obviously much more laid-back than in families where children must get dressed and ready for school, and parents must get out the door.Â And whether it was because they knew they were on-camera, or they are always like that, most parents received high praise for being attentive to and responding to their children’s needs in appropriate ways.
But it got me to thinking…what were things like when the cameras were turned off?Â What if I had a “secret” camera on in the mornings…or afternoons…at my house?Â What if others could see me as I responded to my children when I’m tired, or needing a break?Â Do I put on a “public” mother hat when I’m out and about, so others will praise me and nominate me for “Mom-of-the-Year?”Â Or do I live a life of integrity, where what you see is what you get…ALL THE TIME?
Yeah, I know I’m not perfect.Â And I’ve sure got a long way to go as a mom.Â Thank goodness I’ve still got the next 50 or so years to practice.Â And maybe, just maybe, this morning I was a little more patient…a little more encouraging…a little more sensitive…a little more aware of my own reactions to how my children were “speaking” to me.Â I’m fully convinced that’s not such a bad thing.Â Perhaps with a little more practice, I’ll get it right yet.