Tag: children

Duck Duck Goose

Couple lessons from this childhood game:

If you sit back with your hands propping you up, you are likely to have your hands stepped on.

There is really nothing that you can do to be picked as goose.  On the other hand, there isn’t anything that you can do to avoid being the goose.  The only thing that can influence the decision is the teacher forcing the current goose to tag you.  It is kind of like the government running our lives.  Live with it.  There’s not much you can do.

We want to be selected as the goose.  Why?  Wouldn’t you rather just sit and relax instead of running around a bunch of children trying to catch the previous goose?

Why do “goose” children walk around the circle more than once?  Can’t they make up their mind on the first trip?

If you are the goose and you run around the circle with only socks on with a slippery floor you are bound to be a hurt goose.

Is it fair for someone to be the goose twice when there are those who haven’t been the goose yet?

A goose has a great opportunity to hit the ducks a little too hard causing pain to the ducks that they don’t like.

Is there any point to this game other than filling up time for the teacher?

Ecclesiastes 1:“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless.”  What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun?

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Love like a Child

Sometimes we share with wisdom.  Sometimes we share with ignorance.  We should always share with grace and love.  We should always care and reach out to those in need.  Love brothers and sisters.  Love, love, love.  Love as a little child loves.

Luke 18:15-17

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

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Top Ten Lessons on God with Toddlers

I recently taught a class of 14 toddlers.  None of them could verbally communicate but I managed to learn a few things about God through them:

1) Snack time: I walk around the table with a bag of animal crackers, if a child needs more they only have to raise their hand.  I know what they want.  I think God is smart enough to know what we want when we raise our hands.  He doesn’t need a lengthy explanation.

2) Most of their needs/solutions are obvious.  Runny nose – tissue.  Smelly bottom – change the diaper.  Crying – they either got hurt or they miss their parents – hold them.  I doubt that our needs are any harder for God to figure out.

3) They cry when they first come but they soon get over it and most have a great time.  If we would all learn to be satisfied and enjoy ourselves, God’s job would be a lot easier.  Who wants to oversee a bunch of whiners?

4) Toddlers may think they want to be with their parents but who wants to sit in adult church when there is play-dough and snacks?  How often do we argue with God about what we THINK we want when HE really knows better?

5) Conflict?  If they can’t share the toys I make them find something else to play with.   What do we fight over?  Maybe we need a diversion.

6) Choking hazards!  Really.  Do we need to have God watch us every second?

7) In a room of 14 toddlers, someone is bound to have a stinky diaper.  In a church, someone is bound to have a stinky life – shit happens.  Help them clean it up.  They probably can’t do it alone.

8) Spilled drinks.  Same as the stinky diapers.  It happens.  Don’t make a big deal about it.  Just clean it up.

9) Have some quiet time.  Toddlers love to sit in a cozy corner, sit on a lap and read books.  Hey, take the hint.  God would love to have a quiet time with you.

10) Have fun.  Toddlers learn from play time.  Have some fun with God.  Don’t be all serious all the time.  Most of what we learn will be through spills, falls, play, sharing and don’t forget the snack time.  Get over yourself.  You’re no different from any of your classmates.  Parents always come back to pick you up!

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Preacher’s Kids

Thank you to everyone who read my blogs in October about Isaiah.  We are doing well and appreciate the comments, notes and prayers.

This month I am switching gears and will be blogging about Preacher’s Kids (missionary kids included).  I hope you enjoy them.  Please comment your experiences.

I was the youngest of 3 siblings – 2 older sisters that were perfect (except my oldest sister who wanted to be a hippy for a short time).  They were (are) pretty.  They got straight A’s in school.  Musical.  You get the picture.  And then there’s me.  The only boy in the family and the youngest who had to follow 2 perfect sisters.  OK – get your Kleenex out.  I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  I just wanted to paint my picture.  My dad was a Mennonite pastor (please see my blogs on Mennonites).  This only made me more glaring as a boy following perfect sisters.  I couldn’t sit still in church.  I could be a brat in Sunday School.  I ran around the church property like it was mine.  Unlike my sister’s attraction to sacred music, I played “Jesus Christ Superstar” on the church organ and played an electric guitar. I smarted off to a policeman one time because he stopped me from riding my mini-bike on the parking lot.  He asked if I had permission to ride here.  I said “go inside and ask my Dad, he’s the pastor.”

My mom’s idea of crowd control during church was to pinch my arm with her long finger nails.  She would threaten to make me sit up at the pulpit with my dad if I didn’t behave.  When I went to my dad for help I heard the famous line “Everyone is watching you because I am the pastor.  If I can’t manage my family then I can’t manage the church.”  I heard that quote 1,235,416 times in my life.  “You can’t go to dances “quote”.  “You can’t go to movies “quote”.  “You can’t have long hair “quote”.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved my dad and mom.  I love God.  I love church (sometimes).  Overall I had a great childhood and I appreciate what I learned being a preacher’s kid.  It had a lot of benefits.  I received gifts from people.  I had a huge play yard and when it rained I could play in the whole church building.  I had special privileges (I’ll get to those in another blog).  I was a happy kid.

I just grew up knowing that I was in the spot light and I had to be careful not to shame my dad.  I had to be at every service.  I had to meet old people that came to visit at our house.  I had to hear about conferences, congregations, bishops, elders, budgets, doctrine.  You name it, the preacher’s kids heard about it.  We were always told “You can’t repeat this to anyone.”  Yeah, like I cared about Mrs. Ripper going into early menopause!  Who was I going to tell that to?

So sit back.  You will read some blogs that are sad and some that are funny.  If you are a preacher’s kid, you will get it!

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Another count down

A friend (really an acquaintance) runs into me on the sidewalk.  It may be several years since I’ve seen or talked with him.

He asks, “How are you doing?”  I give him a curious look and hesitate.  Does he know or is he just asking how I am doing?  Because of my hesitation he now steps closer and asks with concern, “Are you doing ok?  Really, how are things going?”

Ok, he must know.  He is acting sorrowful and is looking into my eyes.  What does he mean?  Does he really want to know how we are doing or is he just being polite?  Am I giving off an aura of sadness or grief?

I don’t really want to get into a huge discussion if he is just being polite but I don’t know how to answer.  I say “we’re doing ok, really we’re doing fine.”  He is still looking at me and hesitating.  He must know.  “Well, you know about our son Isaiah, right?”  

“No.  What happened?” 

Oh, man – ok I really meant “Damn”.  Why did I bring it up.  I could have just shared pleasantries and moved on.  Now I have to share this awful story to someone who might not even care and was hoping for a quick exchange himself.  It is beyond awkward.  It is painful.  It’s not painful to share the story.  It’s painful to start over and try to fill in the gaps and brush over this story like I was telling about getting a tooth pulled.  Some days I look at the stares that I get and wonder – should I just put a big sign on me that reads “Yes, my son committed suicide, but we are ok.”  I’m not blaming anyone else.  No one is treating us wrong.  My issue is not knowing what to say to people.  I still don’t know what to say to a stranger when they ask how many children I have.  “Well, I have 4 children but one is dead.”  That’s a great ice breaker.  Do you cover it up and say “I have 3 children, or 4 children,” and leave out that one small detail?

There isn’t one correct answer.  Every situation is different.  Most days I follow my previous pastor’s example (Dave Neupauer) “I have four children, one is living in heaven.”

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Abandoned, part 2

part 2, the orphanage

My first night in the orphanage was long.  The room was made up of concrete bunkbeds with thin mattresses.  I shared my room with 9 other boys who all seemed to know each other well.  There were other rooms with boys of other ages and one large bathroom.  A room mother named Josephine got me settled with my clothes and where I would sleep.  The other boys tried to talk to me but I just wanted to be alone.  I still didn’t know why I was here or what happened to my family.

In the morning we woke at 6 a.m. and everyone had chores to do.  Josephine showed me around and told me that I would help her with cleaning.  At 8:00 a.m. a bell rang and everyone ran for breakfast which was eggs, frijoles and tortillas.  Everyone ate so fast and some boys stayed to help cleanup when we were done.

School started at 9 in the dining room.  From this point on I realized we were living a set schedule every day.  Get up at 6, clean and do chores until 8, eat from 8 until 8:30, school at 9, lunch at 1, school again at 2, free time at 3, dinner at 5, homework until 7, showers and bed by 8.  The next day it started all over.  Everyone else understood the schedule and tried to help me to get with it.

No one talked about their families.  Everyone understood that they were either abandoned, too poor to stay with their family, abused, rescued or just lost in the system.  I was lonely, sad, angry and confused.  I didn’t know why I was here or when I would leave.  Where was my mom and why didn’t she come to get me?

This is part 2 of Abandoned, a fictional story of international adoption.

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The Problem with Children

The problem with children is that they get in the way.  We adults want to have our adult meetings and our adult conversations and adult movies and adult books.  In church, we want to have adult worship and adult sermons.  Children get in the way.  They make noise. They distract.  They keep us from the highest adult activities.

This isn’t new.  It’s been like this from the beginning of time.  Even blogging gets low reads when children are mentioned (unless there is a tragic accident or killing).  No one wants to read about children unless the topic concerns them like behavior problems, education or vaccinations. 

Don’t worry; they will survive.  We did.  But next time there is a great adult sermon don’t forget the chance to share a Bible lesson with a child.  That lesson may become an important part of their foundation.  

Luke 18:15-1

The Little Children and Jesus.  People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 

Random thought for a Saturday night

1 Samuel 17:33-35

New International Version (NIV)

33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.

Random thought: We all struggle with being good parents, right? When do let your son or daughter home alone? When do you let them drive? Can they date? Have a job?

Have any of you ever wondered why Jesse let his youngest son, David, go out in the wilderness alone to watch over the sheep? Lions and bears? Oh my.

There is no deep message in this. Just a random reminder that parenting has certainly changed over the years. Go hug your child and them know that you love them.

One more thought? If a lion had your sheep in it’s mouth, would you go after it and try to rescue it?

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Sadness and Joy

I was told that I couldn’t comment on abortion because I don’t have a uterus.

According to this logic, I cannot comment on the  Trayvon Martin killing because I’m not black.

I can’t comment on the killings in Chicago because I don’t live there.

I can’t protect children from sexual abuse because I was not sexually abused and I’m not a pedophile.

I can’t love, hate, judge or comment on homosexuality because I am heterosexual.

Hmmm

Jesus wasn’t any of those either and yet he did weep.  He prayed.  He loved.  He touched all those issues and more even though he wasn’t always personally involved.   Now change the tense: He weeps, loves, prays, and touches.

John 11:35  –  Jesus wept.

We can all have JOY in that. . . .