Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Living and Learning Together

This month, like so many others before, is speeding by. September has been a great month full of many quiet moments and fun adventures.

Trevor pulled out a pin map, and we spent one afternoon attempting to label Australia and Oceania.

We gave up when we got to the tiny islands.

Abby tried to figure out how to play Bakugan.

Trevor created a new use for the Lord of the Rings Risk pieces.

Apparently television remotes make excellent fortress walls when accompanied by a plastic volcano.

Charles and Abby bonded over a game of Strawberry Shortcake.
"Can you get that key, Daddy?"

Charles and Trevor attended a cookie decorating funshop at the Live and Learn Conference.

Abby explored the creek at the Blue Ridge Assembly. It was a lot of fun to watch leaves and twigs float down the mini waterfalls.

Trevor made some new friends.

Toby helped the younger kiddos smash bananas for nitrogen ice cream.

Abby somehow managed to fall asleep in the gaming room at Live and Learn.

Imagine four different groups of people all playing Rock Band at the same time. Throw in a couple of laptops running various video games and several groups of kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh!
Oh to be three...

Abby and her friend, Carmella, preformed their version of a play. It was something about a princess and a maraca playing dragon, but the play was greatly lacking in dialogue so I was never able to actually figure out the plot.

Trevor looked out across the Blue Ridge Mountains from the top of Chimney Rock.

I experienced a few nervous moments as Charles helped Abby walk along a wall on the edge of a mountain. It's scenes like this that show what a really great dad he is. Instead of tearing the kids down with "No", he empowers them by helping them do dangerous things more safely.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Trevor experienced a real waterfall for the first time.

Not to be outdone, Toby also made a trek to the base of the waterfall.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bring Up A Child...

I recently had several conversations with various people about hobbies and activities. Specifically, what is a valid way for an individual to invest his time and money? I've met many parents who feel the need to control this aspect of their children's lives. They assign various values to various activities based on their own interests and experiences. They usually devalue their children's interests as a waste of time simply because they do not enjoy the activity and do not see its value.

While pondering this issue of activities of activities and their value, I recalled the verse: "Bring up a child in the way he should go, and he shall not depart from it." This means many things to many people, but I believe most people miss the true meaning of the phrase "the way he should go." Some people interpret it to mean "the way you want your child to develop". Some people think it means "with a good moral background". Some see it as a call for firm discipline. All of these interpretations could lead to rebellion, and therefore cannot possibly be the true interpretation of this phrase. In order for the interpretation to be correct, it must be true 100% of the time.

A wise person I once knew provided the only interpretation for the phrase "the way he should go" I have ever heard that is valid 100% of the time. He said you could replace this phrase with "according to his bent". This is a woodworking phrase. It basically means when you carve a piece of wood, you have to work with the bends, not against them, or your finished piece will not be as beautiful as it could have been. How does this relate to children? Each child is an individual with a unique path in life. You cannot choose this path for your child. You cannot define success for your child. If you force your child to do the things you think he "should" do, the person he becomes as an adult will not be as beautiful as he could have been. Instead, model the qualities you would like your child to have, such as kindness and helpfulness, rather than force them. Let him decide what is a valid use of his time based on his own interests. Bring him up on his own path - not the one you create for him. If it truly is his own path, he will not depart from it.