Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Protecting or handicaping?

Does anyone else struggle with this or am I the only one?  In an effort to want to protect our children from "bad influences" I really have a hard time knowing when to let go and let the kids test their wings.  I want to be able to give them opportunities to be tested and grow, but sometimes I have a hard time trusting that they will make the right decisions.  And they might not, but I need to not be afraid of their failure.

I tend to want to control every situation so they won't be set up for failure.  Every time we encounter a bad situation or a bad influence I want to pack us all up and head for home, vowing to live the life of hermits from now and and not go anywhere.

I recently picked up a book at the church library entitled Why Christian Kids Rebel by the author of Grace Based Parenting.  While our kids are not rebelling I was curious as to why this scenario happens all too often and what we could do to help prevent it, because like all parents I worry about it.

Only 2 chapters into it I am already convicted.  One of the main reasons he gives for christian kids rebelling is keeping them in a christian "bubble".  The author gently admonishes us that as christian we have the least to fear from the world, yet so many of our decisions are made because of fear.  But "greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world!" (I John 4:4).  Of course we need to use wisdom (because the bible also says "a child left to himself brings shame to his mother" Prov. 29:15), but to think that I can completely control every situation in my child's life is a bit presumptuous on my part, and in the end more hurtful than helpful.

The author also gave great advice to know when to step in to help and when to let things take their natural course.  Is this situation hurting my child or harming them?  Hurting is when the child brought the consequence upon themselves or is a situation they can take care of themselves.  Harmful situations are ones where they can not help themselves (think abuse or major bullying).  We do need to step in on the harmful situations but we need to let them learn to deal with the hurtful situations.

These thoughts reminded me of a situation that occurred about a year ago when our homeschool group held their annual field day.  Early in the day a child discovered a baby bird hopping around in the grass, apparently lost, and so quickly scooped him up and started looking for his mother.

 Certainly cute, but I just had this feeling that the bird should have been left alone, although I didn't know why.  So when I came home I did some research and found out some interesting facts.  In the late spring you may often find fledgling birds, unable to fly, hopping about in the grass, seemingly fallen out of their nests.  However this is the mother bird's way of teaching her birds to get along in the world without her.  She pushes him out of the nest and he hops about for a couple of weeks while she keeps an eye on him.  Picking him up, boxing him up, or worse, taking him home to "care for him" only hinders his maturing process.

It also makes me think of plants grown in greenhouses or indoors.  Plants grown from seed straight in the garden are much hardier than ones grown in greenhouses.  And those grown in greenhouses need to be slowly acclimated to outside temperature fluctuations or they will wilt and die their first night outside in the cold ground.

I must struggle with this more than other people.  I must have control issues.  Please tell me I'm not the only one!  The thought of sending my child to over night camp gives me heart palpitations.   Hearing of my kids having to deal with mean kids can make my blood boil.  I really do want to box up my little birdies and fly away to our safe nest, but I know it is not the best for them

One thing I have to continually ask myself is, is my decision rooted in fear or faith?  If it's fear we are letting the enemy control us, if it is faith we can't lose!

So I'm taking baby steps, as Bob would say.  Baby steps to two different day camps this summer, baby steps to carpooling with new friends, baby steps to dropping Grace off at a new volunteer position at a horse therapy farm.  Over night camp?  Don't push it.  We'll get there...

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Friday, February 15, 2013

Penn Museum

A week ago our home school group travelled down to the Penn Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.  I don't remember hearing of this museum before, but just today I heard it advertised on the classical station that I listen to and realized that I had heard of it, I just had never paid attention.  I guess it just didn't sound interesting.  Maybe they should change the name.  Face it.  Archeology and Anthropology sounds boring.

Well it wasn't boring for us since as a group the kids were able to participate in an enrichment class.  The enjoyed it a lot and even Asher was showing off his knew knowledge on the way home pointing out all the "artifacts" he saw.  Since "artifacts" are anything made my humans, there were quite a lot!

It also helped that we are studying ancient history in our Classical Conversations memory work this year.  The kids had fun pointing out artifacts from ancient Egypt, the Mayans, the Greeks and Romans, the Ming Dynasty, and Israel.
Of course mummies are always interesting no matter what you are studying.
The 2nd largest crystal ball in the world.

Looking at Roman coins.

When Christian is with us he likes to take pictures of really obscure artifacts such as this bronze strigil, used to scrape oil and dust off the bodies of athletes after exercise.  Ouch!  A towel would be good for me, thanks!

While we had a good time, it wasn't a place I would consider getting a membership to.  I also don't think it would be nearly as interesting if we hadn't been studying many of the civilizations represented in the museum.  It is also not quite as fun for the little kids, but Asher is used to tagging along to these things so he did fine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Birthdays, skiing, ditches, and Plutarch

Asher turned 5 a couple of weeks ago now.  Christian took him skiing at Spring Mount for his birthday.  We had gotten some gift cards for doing tree work for the owner otherwise it probably wouldn't have happened.  He decided to take Aiden as well since we found out that all 4th graders get a free season pass and 2 free rentals.  Sorry, no pictures since he had his hands pretty full keeping Asher in the upright position the whole time.  They had a fabulous time and thankfully Christian's back survived the ordeal being that he was hunched over holding his pole horizontally so Asher had something to hold him up.

Our happy boy could hardly stop laughing long enough to blow his candles out.  I'm not sure what he thought was so funny. :)

Last week we had our front yard torn up to have a french drain put in.  After hurricane Sandy, Christian was concerned about the basement flooding if the power went out and we didn't have access to a generator for some reason.  So now we won't have to worry about it anymore.  It was a gigantic mess but the guy did a great job and cleaned it up very nicely so all we need to do is plant grass again.

Yesterday was my birthday.  The kids woke up early and made breakfast for me and made me eat it on the couch (I have this dislike of eating breakfast in bed), while they excitedly showed me the card on which they had been working so hard for a week.
Inside was a really funny poem that they and Christian came up with.
Oh how our love for thee doth fly,
A love that can not die.
You slave away from morn to night,
You read us books, our future's bright.
Our meal's so healthy and organic,
We seldom fear or fret or panic.
While you toil in the kitchen so,
We lay around and play Skip-bo.
Until you tell us to get our chores done,
Somehow you find a way to make it fun.
We laugh all day as we go through life,
You are an amazing mom and wife!

Ok so there is just some slight hyperbole in the poem, but hey, it had to rhyme right?  So no need to feel down on yourself if you don't laugh all day and cook healthy organic food all the time while making chores oh so fun.  Poor deluded man.

In other news, Claire decided to atone for her past sins by doing some light reading.  She knew that would make me happy.  I'll give her some slack for starting with the English translation rather than the original Latin.  Oh don't mind the marker on her face.  I'm not sure how that got there because there is no way she could possibly get into the markers since I am so organized and conscientious of where my baby is at all times.

That's all for now.  I gotta run and find Claire before she starts eating the dog food again.  At least it's organic, right?


I am happy to report that Lily delivered 3 healthy puppies on Sunday afternoon.  Details and pictures on our puppy blog:  ouryorkiepuppies.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Keepin' it real

Just in case you were thinking it was all poetry, Shakespeare, Latin and classical music around here.  Just in case you thought the baby quietly played with educational toys on a blanket while I read the great classics to my eager listeners.  Just in case you thought my life was somehow more organized or better handled than yours.  News flash.  It's not.
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