Parenting Genius

Honest to goodness, there’s nothing that makes me happier than some good parenting. Those times when you or someone else says something to a kid that is honest and real and makes the world a little more manageable for them to navigate. The things that they’ll repeat to themselves when they need some wisdom or encouragement or a kick in the pants later.

If the world worked the way it should, the news would include highlights of parenting genius that anonymous parents spouted off that day rather than reports about celebrities boinking and abandoning each other. But I suppose the logistics of such a thing would be a nightmare. Which is why we all know that J Lo and Casper just broke up, but have no clue that this afternoon a woman down the street said things that helped her child be less afraid of dying one day.

This is why I’m a big fan of Shit My Dad Says. I think I mentioned it once before, but for those who missed it, Shit My Dad Says is the creation of a writer with a sharp eye about his great, foul mouthed dad. It’s funny and wise and much more profound than anything with that much swearing and crude humor has a right to be. His father is a parenting genius, if you ask me.

Anyhow, GQ has a Shit My Dad Says post up for Father’s Day that I loved and wanted to pass on to y’all. The dad talks like I do if I’m not careful, so there’s lots of swearing involved. But if you mind that, you probably aren’t reading my blog. Anyhow, the context is that the son froze up during a big baseball game and lost the game for his team:

My dad walked down two rows from the metal stands and tossed a soda he was drinking in the garbage. He headed toward the parking lot a hundred feet away and I followed him in silence until we got to the car.

“You pitched well,” he said.

“I lost the game for us,” I said, then burst into one of those cries where all available tears and mucous shoot out of your eyes and nose at once.

“Now hold on,” he said.

“Don’t try and tell me I didn’t lose the game for us,” I said, as a snot bubble formed in both nostrils.

“Shit, I was there son. That ball flew out of your hand like you were setting a fuckin’ dove free. You got no argument here.”

“Then what are you gonna say? I know it’s just a game, okay?” I said, trying to calm my heaving breaths.

“What I was gonna say was, your coach is full of shit. It ain’t ‘just a game.’ This is a big goddamn deal,” he said, leaning his back up against the passenger door.

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The Better Part of Wisdom

In my opinion, the better part of wisdom is recognizing truth where ever you encounter it. Even when it seems to be a small thing embedded in a large pile of junk. Jesus said if we want to possess the Kingdom, we must be like a man who bought a whole field in order to get a pearl buried there. And wisdom, the bible says, is more valuable than pearls.
Most Christians never gain wisdom because they refuse to go looking for it in unlikely corners where it might be found. Instead, the become enthralled by denouncing the darkness. The enemy doesn’t care if you criticize him. Just so long as he keeps you staring at the darkness from off in the distance, you will never find the pearl.
Many never gain wisdom because wisdom means recognizing the truth. And the truth can be distasteful or hurtful. But God is truth, in him there are no lies. If you want to know God, you must be willing to walk through the pain of correction.
Make it a habit to look for something good in everything you see, particularly what you are prone to criticize and condemn. That’s where the pearls are hidden.

Fear of the Lord

Proverbs famously says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom.  Old time fire and brimstone preachers said this meant we were to live in fear of the coming judgment.  Others, pointing to the finished work of Christ said that we need not fear judgment and that this verse was simply saying that we needed to have an attitude of reverence towards God.  Or it was fear like a child has of their parents.  But the word used is fear, not reverence and using fear to control children is rapidly falling out of favor. 

I have come to my own understanding of this verse.  I think that fear of God comes from really knowing that God does not respect our limits.  This is a God who created a world of predators and prey.  This is a God who made a world with mosquitoes and earthquakes.  Why would God create a world like this?  A lot of people embrace some version of religion which denies that God did create a world like this. Continue reading

Things I always tell my kids

I think I’m going to write a book titled “Things I always tell my kids”.  Samples:

  • Dumb people never learn from their mistakes.  Smart people learn from their mistakes.  Wise people learn from the mistakes other people make.
  • If this is the worst thing that happens to you today, you’re having a pretty good day.
  • As you go through life, you are going to make the best choices you can.  The people around you will make their choices.  Then the world will throw in whatever it comes up with.  And you will wind up where you wind up in the end.  If you are making your choices the best you can, the only other thing you can control is how you deal with the journey from here to there.  So you might as well do your best to be happy on the way.

What are some of your favorite things to tell your kids?

The Upside Down World Is Here!!!!!

It seemed to take forever, but my book The Upside Down World, A Book of Wisdom in Progress is finally available for sale on Amazon.

It is a collection of essays, poety, art work by my lovely sister Cindy, quotes, stories and more meant to help people find a better view of what Wisdom looks like and how it can work in our lives.  This isn’t just a vanity project for me.  It is my sincere hope that people will be inspired, comforted, challenged and entertained by the book.

And for those of you who have slogged through some of my long, complicated posts, rest assured that the book is easy to read and understand.  It is meant to be read, thumbed through and picked up and put down over and over.  It would make a great gift for a college student heading off to school (or anyone else you love!).

A word of warning for those with Kindles: due to formatting issues and such, the Kindle edition is a scaled-down version of the book.  It is missing the artwork, notes and the story “What to do when you wake up in hell”.

Please join me in spreading the word about the book.  I know that there is so much noise and so many voices out there competing for your attention.  However, this book isn’t quite like anything you have seen before and the voice comes from a lifetime of learning wisdom which is all-too lacking in our world today.  I hope you will purchase the book yourself and be blessed by it.

Reading the Tea Leaves

My husband and I are on a tea kick right now because, well we have several boxes of tea in the cabinet, it only takes water to make and since we have a well, water is free! Anyhow, Celestial Seasonings’ tea boxes are covered with quotes and when making myself a cup of tea, I read one on the box I hadn’t seen before and thought I’d pass it along.

Add Joy to Your Daily Life

1 Pay as much attention to the things that are working positively in your life as you do to those that are giving you trouble.

2 Memorize your favorite love poem.

3 Learn three knock knock jokes so you will always be ready to entertain children.

4 Don’t let weeds grow around your dreams.

5 Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.

6 Regardless of the situation, react with class.

7 Let some things remain mysterious.

-H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life’s Little Instruction Book, Volume II Rutledge Hill Press.

Words of wisdom from Steve Jobs

This is almost a year old, so perhaps some of you have already seen it, but if you haven’t read Steve Jobs’ 2005 graduation address at Stanford, you should. His brief description of dropping out of college to learn seems especially pertinent for those of us who are homeschooling our kids. My favorite part though, because it speaks to where my family is right now is this:
“you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
We’ve all been taught to “begin with the end in mind” which is generally good advise. However, this presumes that we actually know what the end is. Sometimes we just need to do what we know to be right today, even if we cannot see how things can possibly cometogethere in the end.