December 9 – I’ll Try It, Coach!

“Like a thorn that goes [without being felt] into a hand of a drunken man, so is a proverb in the mouth of [self-confident] fool.” Proverbs 26:9

When I was 8 years old, I played on a softball team that was organized by the church for whom my dad was working. This team was made up of all kinds of girls from all kinds of places; from Nichols Hills (a wealthy suburb) to the North Highlands (a lower income area) to everything in between.

But out of all of those different lifestyles, I was the homeschooler with an African-American dad and a Caucasian mother with more than two siblings. So I seemed to stick out the most! And guess how many girls were like me on our team? Only one. Me. It also didn’t help that I was one of the smallest ones!

Then came the day when we had to decide on a catcher. Of course, most of the bigger girls were going on and on about how they were the “bravest” and telling us “little ones” to step aside. Oh, and I forgot to add that this was machine-pitched softball. Same speed. Same direction. Every time. So, one of the main girls that had quite a “mouth” declared for all to hear that she was going to be our new catcher.

On the first pitch, she missed it, and the ball hit her on a spot on her leg that didn’t have any padding (this was because she didn’t squat low enough). She looked like she had seen a ghost! In the middle of the next play, she ran over to the dugout, crying, “I want out, coach, I want out. I’m gonna die! ” The coach was stuck between a girl too scared to carry on, and everyone else giving him nothing but “no” for an answer…. until my little voice broke out, “I’ll try it.” I think he was too desperate to question my size, but my dad, being the assistant coach, assured me that I would be fine, and showed me how to stand.

I will admit, those first few pitches were a little startling, but I was glad I was able to help the team go on and finish that game and the rest of the season. The “smack” talk started to cease, and I eventually gained a little more respect from the bigger girls.

It’s funny how we can get carried away by trying to make such a good impression for ourselves that some times we find we have bitten off more then we can chew….literally! I know I’ve found myself wondering many times why I hadn’t kept my mouth shut so I wouldn’t need to try to get out of the mess I created! But I have come to realize that if we’re repentant, God will send that something or someone to help show us the “thorn.”  Then we can do the surgery needed to get it out!

Hannah 🙂

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December 1 – A Little Goes a Long Way

Discipline your son while there is hope, but do not [indulge your angry resentments by undue chastisements and] set yourself to his ruin. Proverbs 19:18

Our first son is crafty and has been that way from his day one. If he sees it, he wants to touch it and examine its “components.” Early on, this meant stuff got broken and misplaced, often. Man, I would get sooo frustrated!

“How many times have I told this kid not to mess with other people’s stuff…my stuff?” This seemed to be a constant thought from age 4 to 14.

But when I saw these incidents as the teaching moments they were, he received guidance, for the time being, very well. Training was my job and learning and exploration and discovery was his.

Thank God for proverbial wisdom like today’s to keep me from harming his budding passion in an effort to establish boundaries of respect.

Now sixteen and very skilled in the attributes of hands-on craftsmanship, this young man has indeed made some marvelous discoveries that I couldn’t have found in a million years. And my whole household benefits from them daily.

Many of us read these words and agree with the biblical insights of Solomon, but our day of “discipline” is past. Our kiddos are grown and the effects of our chastisement or the lack thereof is forever etched.

Not so. That’s the beauty of Godly counsel. The moment you “get it” you can begin to apply it in the form of prayers delivered on behalf of the matter you face. And it can and will transform even the most hopeless of cases. Totally miraculous!

Your children are the letter you write to a time you will never see. So as long as you are breathing, don’t put down that pen. And even though it has no eraser, unforeseen adaptations are allowed and encouraged…they make the best kind of story!

November 19 – The Yeller’s the Feller

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding has a cool spirit. Proverbs 17:27 AMP

Man, did I miss it! Just the other day, my middle son nailed me to the wall even without a hammer in hand.

My main “business” at this stage of my life is getting my Ph.D. in parenting…classes all taught by my kids. Most of the time, I come out pretty good when the tests come around, but on this one, not so good.

Here’s the scenario, best I can recall: He had a book in hand that I thought was just for show. Thinking he was pulling a fast one, I went to work interrogating in order to uncover a subtle “brownie points” scheme.

Amazingly, some of my kids remind me an awful lot of myself at their age. So as I grilled him, he just stood there, unfettered, focused and resolved until the moment of reckoning.

“Ok, young man, if you are reading this book instead of playing around with everybody else, give me some evidence.” Without a hitch, he sets me straight, reading flawlessly and giving commentary along the way!

Touché. I was impressed, and grateful. My son demonstrated what I so desperately desire of myself. When I have the knowledge in a matter, there is little need for me to get upset when someone who may not be sufficiently informed misunderstands!

A calm, cool, collected approach does a few key things: First, it de-escalates. Then it demonstrates. And finally, it designates honor, respect and forgiveness in one fell swoop.

Encouraged by today’s Proverb and the “practical example” of my twelve year-old, I am working on cool when it comes to what I know and how I show it.