Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

Multitasking Burns Your Dinner

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

multitaskingAs I was cooking dinner one night, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss the buzz of the dryer, because the load contained shirts that I didn’t want to wrinkle. Meanwhile my husband called and said he was going to be home late because of traffic. I hung up the phone, and my 11-year-old son started talking to me while I said, “Just a second. Rachel! Set the table please!” and I heard a “Yes, Mommy.” Meanwhile my son was talking, but I have no idea what he was saying because I heard the dryer buzz. I set down my spatula from the stir fry to go to the dryer. I quickly and efficiently folded all the shirts as fast as was humanly possible. My head felt thick as my son continued to jabber on and on. I still wasn’t listening to him because… oh, no! Dinner was burnt! I lifted the pan and turned off the burner, looking toward the dining room to make sure that my daughter had obeyed me about setting the table. She had. I set the pan down. I decided to serve the dinner burnt.

We have come to think of multitasking as being efficient with our time. Especially as mothers, we tend to be doing between three to five things all day long. We try to juggle to get everything done, but the truth is that we have forgotten to focus. And we have forgotten how to live in the moment. The saddest part of all this was that the only thing of eternal value in this scenario was my son’s open heart to me, wanting to share something with me. He is soon going to be a teenager, and if I don’t listen to him now, he won’t bother to tell me things in the future, the things that matter. Because what’s important enough for him to say to me, I ought to be able to listen to. But it seems like I don’t have time or brain space. My brain is juggling six things and can’t input more information without dropping something; in this case, burning dinner.

Actually, whenever I focus on only one thing, I get a lot more done. This includes being with people. When I am in my room, sitting on a chair, and my son wants to talk, I can focus great, and we have the most wonderful, deep spiritual conversations. Like the other day he was telling me how frustrated he was with his brother, who would over-react. This would infuriate him, but he had enough self-control not to show his anger. I told him he didn’t need to give in to the temptation to become angry; that God always provides a way out so that we don’t have to sin. “Look for the way out,” I said. We brainstormed ways to do this. Then we prayed that God would transform all of our hearts to help us to overcome sin. You see, I was paying attention to him because I wasn’t multitasking.

Being scatterbrained is no way to live. I was never scatterbrained until I became a mother, and I felt like there was no choice. But we do have a choice. We can choose to do laundry at the beginning of each day so that it doesn’t interfere with dinner. We can ask God how to eliminate action clutter, things that don’t matter that we happen to be doing. And we can learn to be present, to live and breathe, and to do one thing at a time.

A Rebuttal to the Courtship Movement

Friday, April 20th, 2012

courtship-movementI’ve listened to many, many hours of workshops about the courtship movement in homeschool Christian circles. The premise is that young people should not date. When they are ready to get married, they “court” a pre-approved person (that the parents have checked out thoroughly), and the young people are never alone together. They never kiss until their wedding day. The parents of the young people seem to be orchestrating the entire thing from beginning to end, to avoid any emotional pain on the part of the daughter or son.

At first I just soaked it all in, having no opinion. I highly value purity before marriage, so the topic appealed to me. But the more I listened, the more uneasy I became. I couldn’t put my finger on why I was disturbed. I talked to my husband about it, and he basically said that he trusted our kids, and that he didn’t want to micromanage who they were going to marry. My husband and I did not court. We dated. We kissed. We were alone together. I wouldn’t trade those days for the world. I was walking on air in anticipation of becoming his bride. Those pre-marriage kisses were absolutely fantastic. We both remained pure before marriage.

Scripture only gives two commands concerning future marriage: no fornication and not being unequally yoked. To add lots of rules to what God has written is sin, especially when you are putting those rules on other people. It causes people to feel like they have an anvil too hard to carry. That’s because God never intended compounding rules to weigh down His commands. Young people who can’t stand the suffocation of the situation end up breaking a real command of God, which has been lumped in with the artificial rules. This is a recipe for disaster.

A better thing to do as a parent is to have a deep, rich relationship with your kids, where you trust them. Realize that the Bible says to leave father and mother in this process. The person should pray about his or her spouse and feel peace from God that this is their soul mate. The man should lead the woman in the relationship; the parents should not be leading the man like a puppet. Otherwise the woman is submitting to the man’s parents, and this horrible, unbiblical interference in marriage is established as a habit.

People who court still break up and have emotional pain. That is not avoided unless you’ve not involved your heart.

No, people need to be accountable under God. Presumably if they’re Christians they care about purity. Other than that, they’re free. If they want to sit down and have a 3-hour conversation about God without having anyone else in the room, they should be able to do that.

How to Overcome Temptation

Monday, March 5th, 2012

how-to-overcome-temptation

I was sitting one morning with my coffee, looking out the window, praying, when my daughter came and sat beside me in the dark.

She blurted out, “I’m glad you put the nutcracker away. When I saw it in the living room, I wanted to play with it. When you weren’t looking, I played with it until it broke.”

“You should learn how to overcome temptation. Just because you see something doesn’t mean you have to do it. Just think of something else, and you will take your mind off it,” I replied.

“What if I can’t think of anything else?”

“There are millions of things to think about. I’m sure you can think of something, like oceans or monkeys.” My daughter giggled at the thought of monkeys.

Whenever I recognize a temptation, I just throw out the thought and replace it with another thought. Better yet, put your mind on Christ. This is how you take every thought captive.

Later I talked to my husband about my conversation with my daughter, and he said, “Another good way to resist temptation is to go away from the temptation.” He then proceeded to tell me about a study that was done, where children were put into a room with a large present, and they were told that what was inside was wonderful. Then the adult left the room, and the child was alone with the present. In almost every case, the child couldn’t resist temptation and ripped open the present to see what was inside. But there were the few, the one or two percent, who were able to resist temptation. What did they do? One of the children started singing to distract herself. Another little girl got her chair and turned it around so that the present was behind her, so she wouldn’t have to look at the temptation. I found this study very interesting.

There is always a way out of temptation, so that we don’t have to sin: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Corinthians 10:13) This has nothing to do with horrible things that happen to us that are beyond our ability to endure: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.” (II Corinthians 1:8) If the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that God gives us trials that are beyond our ability to endure, then he’s not talking about temptation.

Don’t ever feel that you have to give in to temptation. You don’t. Or if you start to sin, you can stop abruptly. You don’t have to continue sinning once you realize you’re sinning.

“Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” II Corinthians 10:5

Saturday: A Day in the Life

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

a-day-in-the-lifeThis morning my husband took the boys to the Men’s prayer breakfast. After breakfast, they all went on a factory tour of Goodrich, which apparently doesn’t sell tires any more; they make the brakes of large aircraft. The tour lasted an hour, and apparently it was fascinating.

As soon as I got up, I had my cup of coffee while posting a new YouTube video. I answered some e-mails and tried to find an archived e-mail that was important. I finally found it and answered it, since my husband had expressed interest in something I wasn’t willing to do again unless something changed. I prayed about it and sat there.

a-day-in-the-life-2Meanwhile Rachel and I were alone in the house. She asked if we could have a tea party, and I said yes. We made some fruit tea, and she poured it into thimble-small cups and stirred in a tiny spoon of sugar. She did this maybe a dozen times for each of us. “Can we have a truffle with it?” she asked. I set a truffle on each of our tiny plates, and we cut them with our tiny knives.

After tea, we did an art project with one of her Christmas presents. We mixed two different colors of paint and swooshed it onto a large piece of paper, with brushes that looked like mops. One of the three brushes broke, and I wasn’t impressed. She looked like she was about to cry, but I told her they were lame anyway, and let’s dance instead. So I put on some sappy Carpenters music, and we danced around and giggled.

After eating scrambled eggs, she went downstairs to play “Oregon Trail” on the computer. I spent some time in prayer and Bible reading. Apparently the entire Bible is full of commands to help the poor. It’s extremely clear, so I’m not exactly sure why I’ve never heard a sermon on it.

As soon as the boys got home, two of my sons started changing into their basketball uniforms. Then we all left to their basketball game. My youngest son scored his first basket today. He looked so short and little compared to the other players, and I burst out whooping when I saw him score, because I couldn’t believe my eyes.

My in-laws picked up donuts on the way to our house after the game, and we visited for a short time. As soon as they left, I yelled, “Everyone lie down for 45 minutes!” The house was suddenly quiet as we rested. I literally collapsed into bed and felt like a rock. I’ve been sick with a cold and was only pretending to be normal.

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