Monday, May 26, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It amazes me how perceptive children can be at times.

So often I have to try to intentionally seek out those "teachable moments" for my children. It is difficult because, most of the time, those moments seem to occur at times when they are misbehaving, and they are getting in trouble. And then, it becomes increasingly difficult to treat it calmly as a "teachable moment", rather than getting angry and making it all about the "punishment".

However, there are those times, in the midst of all of the regular chaos of life, when the children end up pointing out a "teachable moment" to me, instead of the other way around.

The other day as we were driving down the road, no doubt in a hurry to get somewhere, I hear my 7 year old daughter gasp,

"Oh! Mommy look!"

My immediate instinct is to slam on the brakes and attempt to avoid hitting whatever might be in my way, although I am frantically searching for it and can't see anything.

Now, although I am not proud of it, I began yelling at her about how dangerous it is to yell things out like that when I am trying to drive and how she could have caused a crash, etc.

I have very obviously and visibly hurt her feelings and immediately I feel remorse for it and apologize to her and then attempt to explain it to her a little more calmly. Once I am sure she understands the concept, I ask her to tell me again what had gotten her so excited.

She is nervous about telling me, now that I have jumped all down her case. No doubt she is questioning herself and wondering whether or not it was all that important to make such a fuss that upset Mommy so much. I press her again, and tell her I really want to know what it was.

She timidly points to the rock wall on the side of the road and says, "I just saw that big mountain."

Well, now I am even more unimpressed. With an exasperated sigh, I say, "Oh. Okay. Yes, it is big, but it is not a mountain. It is just some rock that the construction workers had to blast through to make the road." And with that, I thought the conversation was over.

"No. I mean, I know it isn't a mountain, I just didn't know what to call it. But I meant to look at all of the layers."

"Yes, it's really neat looking, isn't it?" I say, distractedly, as I continue to drive.

But she is now determined to make her point. "Mommy, this was made from The Flood!"

Now it is my turn to gasp (to myself). I felt like I had just gotten a slap. Of course!

My beautifully perceptive daughter saw God's creation for what it was, an awe-inspiring reminder of a catastrophic event in human history that changed everything. In her sweet innocence, she could see something during an every-day commute that the majority of people, especially Christians, fail to see even when they are face to face with it.

It reminds me of an article I read in Answers Magazine, put out by Answers in Genesis:
Walking through a quiet forest, wading in the pounding ocean, standing on a mountain peak, or sitting silently before a crackling fire can turn our minds to thoughts of eternity, the meaning of life, and the greatness of God. Let's take time to meditate on these things and join the psalmist in declaring, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork." Psalm 19:1

All those layers in that rock on the side of the road were formed, not after millions and millions of years of evolution, but after weeks of raining and months of flooding over the entire face of the Earth. How easily this simple observation made by a child changed the way I looked at the world from then on.
It is amazing how hard I try on a daily basis to search for "teachable moments" to share with my children. Then in the blink of an eye, the tables have turned and with the pure, blind faith of a child, my daughter found a "teachable moment" to share with her mom.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Preacher Man B

I love my children. I truly do.
Some days, though, like when it has been raining for days and they have cabin fever and are running around the house like little rabid beasts, I need a little reminding.

This is one of those reminders...


My 4 year old little boy comes into the living room and, with arms raised to the ceiling, confidently announces to the rest of us, "Hey, everybody. Listen up! I am gonna preach right now."

Aww... my sweet boy wants to follow in his daddy's footsteps and be a preacher. And right now, he has something important to say.

The rest of us stop what we are doing and listen patiently...

"But first, I need to go over there and get ready," he says as he rushes over to the hallway. Moments later, we can hear the faint sound of his sweet little voice, uttering a quick prayer. (Quick indeed, because he ran back to the living room about 10 seconds later).

"Okay," he says, holding up a toy that he pretends is his microphone, "if anybody wants to tell me what to preach about today, raise your hands."

Several hands go up. Since I, of course, am his favorite, he chooses me. He points the microphone towards me, expectantly waiting for my response. Now, a mischievous thought crossed my mind. I thought about asking him to preach on the transfiguration, or some other thing that he would have no idea about, just to see what he would say. But when I looked at his gorgeous baby blue eyes, my heart melted along with all of my mischief. Instead, I decided on a topic that he should be familiar with, and that way I could see what kind of grasp he had on the subject.

"How about you preach on getting baptized?"

He thinks for a moment. Then he begins. And he takes his role as "preacher" seriously. He puts a serious look on his face, takes deep, deliberate breaths, walks around the room with confidence, and holds his open hand up as if to "testify". I have to admit, he is just so cute! I have to actually hold my hand over my mouth just to keep from giggling at his absolute cute-ness.

"Well, if you love Jesus," he begins.

Okay... so far so good.

"then you can go down to the river."

Wow, he's going the authentic route. Cool.

"But you have to watch out for the alligators."


"And then you get in the water - and if it's cold you still have to go in and just be brave."

Okay. Maybe we're still on the right track...

"And then you hold your breath and go under the water and you swim down, down, down all the way to the bottom."

Okay. We will have to talk about just how far under the water a person goes when they get baptized. No big deal...

"And when you get down there, you watch out for the alligators and swim away from them when they get near you."

Again with the alligators! What gives?

"Then you open your eyes under the water and look all around and pick them all up and put them in a bag."

I hope he doesn't mean alligators. How is putting alligators in a bag related to how people get baptized? Oh well, since he is so confident in what he is saying, I will let him continue, and make a mental note to discuss it with him later.

"Then you bring them home and put them in your bathtub and you glue them in there."

Okay... this is getting a little too weird for me. I decide to interrupt the "sermon" and ask him a question. I raise my hand.

"Excuse me, Mr. Preacher, sir? What are you preaching about again?"

After an impatient sigh, rolling of the eyes, and a grumbling lecture about how people need to always pay attention to the preacher when he is giving his sermon, he replies, exasperated.

"I am preaching about how people get bath tiles!"

Baptized... Bath Tiles (tomato/tomoto)... simple mistake... Right?

Okay fine. So he wont be the next Paul Washer, or have people hanging on his every word. And he isn't quite ready to get behind the pulpit just yet. But if, in a few years, he decides he does want to follow in his daddy's footsteps and become a pastor, we will send that boy to Seminary....

..... although we should probably get his hearing checked first....


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Bump in the Night

So there we were...

Bellies full... dinner dishes done... kids tucked away in bed... comfy clothes on...

And we FINALLY sit down in our easy chairs and exhale a huge breath of relief.

Peace at last!


I look in the vicinity, but hear nothing more.


I ignore it, thinking it was the dishwasher hard at work.

Bump... Bump!

Well, that didn't sound like dishes being sprayed with water. Hmm...


Uh oh... That sounds like a critter in my house.
I tell J, who is oblivious to any and all noises.
He reluctantly stops what he is doing and we listen in silence.


Okay. That was definitely not imagined. J hears it, too. We take a moment to look at each other, telepathically trying to decide who will be the first one to go into the kitchen to check it out.

A stare-down is in progress. I think I am winning...


They are getting louder. It has to be a mouse...


or a giant nasty rat! EEK!

We finally decide to go investigate it together. (Strength in numbers, you know...)


Whatever it is, it knows we are coming for it... and it is scared.
So are we, but we try not to let the "bump" know it...


It is coming from the ceiling... Hmm... that's weird...


The kitchen light. It's in the light fixture! How in the world did it get in there?
We make plans to capture it. I get a plastic bag. J gets protective gloves (you never know what kind of diseases these critters can carry).

J, being the taller of the two of us, reaches the light fixture and slowly begins to pull it down so we can see what terrifying creature awaits to devour us...

The next few moments are a bit of a blur...

The terrifying creature leaps at my head (obviously intending to devour me).
Which of us had the louder, girly-er screams is anybody's guess. Regardless, there were several high-pitched screams (from both of us), which would have given anyone the assumption that a mass murder was taking place in our house at that very moment.

Due to my expert kicking-and-flailing maneuver, the creature just barely missed my head (and its opportunity to devour my face), and landed on the kitchen floor.

Everything became perfectly still. Including the creature. Maybe it was dead after such a high fall. J and I looked down to discover what the terrifying creature who had wanted to devour us was...

A frog.

Not a mouse. Not a giant nasty rat. Not even a terrifying creature that wanted to devour us.

A frog.

Thankfully the poor thing was not dead, just in shock.
Somehow it still took both of us to corral the thing out the back door (What? Those things are jumpy little boogers!)
We then go back to our easy chairs, slump down, exhausted, and take one more sigh of relief at the peace that has come to our house once again.
We spend the remainder of our peaceful evening looking at each other, smirking about our "near-death experience", and trying to figure out how in the world a FROG ended up in the light fixture of our kitchen ceiling!