I Heart Science

Very tall for her age, even taller than her twin sister. She was long and lean, blonde and breautiful, and just as clumsy with her grace as any other fourth grader should be.  My fourth grade students were still babies, but I could see in their achievements (they were impressive) that they would be teenagers tomorrow. 

But for now, I soaked up their current love for their teacher (me), I fed off of their enthusiasm for learning, and I was blown away with their profound statements and questions. 

She raised her long arm. It was, with the rest of her body, jumping up and down in her desk from excitement. Her fingers twisted and turned through the air. She had something to say. 

I paused at the right time during my lecture (yes, I said during my lecture. Please note this was lecture and note taking time)….I paused during my lecture and smiled at Laura and nodded my head for her to go ahead with her question or comment. She proceeded with the attention of the whole class:

I (she pointed to herself)

Heart (her fingers formed a heart in front of her own)

Science (and she spread her arms out pointing and displaying the lecture notes that still covered the board)

She loved to learn. What a gift!  What a blessing!  It was learning that she was in love with, hard lecture notes at such a young age, but something had clicked and she could not contain the excitement and the joy she found in new knowledge. 

I believe that when we learn truth, we learn about Jesus. I believe that Science is the study of God’s creation. I believe that school should be hard work and not always fun, but at the end of the day the kids should beam with excitement from their new found treasure. Knowledge. 

And now I am not a teacher anymore in a classroom. I AM A MOMMY!  And it is summer break and Madison Academy is in full force. We have a list of classic books to read. We are going to conquer labeling all 50 states (she can label 30), by Fall, we will be able to list all the American presidents in order, our nature notebook will be full of sketches and information about plants in our neighborhood, and Daddy is going to teach the fundamentals of basketball. 

And this is where I want to thank Laura’s parents. Because I believe that love of learning begins at home. Yes!  A teacher can spark this or squash it. But almost always, I believe children, like Laura, come from homes where learning prospers and runs wild and covers the smiles of the whole family learning together. 

So, I take my daughter’s hand and I have the PRIVILIDGE of learning alongside her (trust me, I am learning also!) I have the joy of picking, “What do I want my girl to know?” And then teaching her!  

There will be late cookouts. She will have cousins spend the night and sleep in late. We will spend entire days playing at the pool. But perhaps learning just as much as in the classroom (or dare I say possibly more?) I now say with confidence, SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!

I Am Growing Up

One of the best things about being a parent is learning alongside children. Starting back at the very basics and building from there. The continued education of James and Caroline began the day the test had two lines. 

With Madison in my tummy, her Daddy and I began to research and read like never before.  We were about to be responsible for a miracle called: life. One of my favorite pictures shows James sitting Indian style on our bed reading a children’s book. On first glance, it looks like he is reading to himself. You really have to search to find the brand new baby (maybe three days old) sleeping among the covers to know the book is not for his own enjoyment. 

One of my favorite traditions is, every year for Christmas, buying Madison a new Bible. We started with Children’s Bibles like The Big Picture Storybook, The Jesus Storybook Bible, I Can Read Bible, The Child’s Story Bible by Catherine Vos, and other jewels. With her Daddy reading every night, she has read through the Bible several times moving up to an NIRV Bible. Guess what that means?  It means James and I have been more consistent in our devotions than ever before. 

And when Madison wants to know why Evergreen Trees don’t turn brown, and every single thing about every single animal, and how to make origami, and where all the fifty states are located and who all the presidents were, and why doggies don’t get married. Guess what that means?  It means that Momma learns them also!

Recently, my little Renaissance girl wanted to learn to sew. So, (haha. Homophone)…so, her Daddy and I purchased a sewing machine for her birthday. You should have seen James and I trying to figure it out. But we did!  And Madison and I spent one of our Spring Break days purchasing fabric and making a travel laundry bag, couch pillows, and her new very favorite stuffed bunny. I can sew!  And that is one of the very small ways that having a daughter has made me a better person. 

Being a mother, gazing into the eyes of a precious little girl with a curious mind, has taught me something I should have known before I was a mother. Knowledge may be power, but LEARNING IS JOY. 

The Opinion Revolution

“Sweetheart, what would you like for breakfast?”
“Class, what is your opinion about this?”
“Baby, what do you want to do today?”

The opinion revolution. Society teaches parents to let kids think for themselves. “Raise a thinker.” No. “Raise a spoiled brat that can not think.”

Ask my seven year old daughter every single morning what she wants for breakfast and, if it were an option, she would pick donuts.

What is the classes opinion about why the sun waxes and wanes? Quite frankly, It doesn’t really matter.

What does a child want to do today? It almost never includes doing homework or making their bed.

Let’s talk Science. A brain is not fully developed until around the age of 19. A child IS NOT CAPABLE OF THINKING WISELY! A child can only learn to imitate. “Mom serves me eggs and fruit for breakfast, I learn to make healthy choices.”

Then, when the child grows up, they have learned to do things that are good for their bodies, things that are kind, things that need to be done INSTEAD of the perspective of ME, ME, ME. What do I need to eat vs. what do I want to eat? Exercising because I need to vs. watching tv because I want to. Reading because I will learn vs. yada yada…

Ok. Ok. Getting labeled meanest mom of the year here. More explanation: children start out completely dependent on parents. They don’t make any decisions. They rely completely on caretaker. Put milk in the bottle, not coke. (And sidetracking here. I believe baby crying needs to be held and cuddled and taught security vs. scheduling nap time. There is a long discussion there, just want to say that that is not what I am saying. I may have just lost the men in that women talk). However, as children grow, they become more independent and begin to learn to make decisions. “Would you like milk, water, or juice?”

And I have to put the precursor on this touchy subject. NO JUDGING! I hope in life to form opinions. Strong opinions to apply to my life. But, I never want to go about telling everyone, or anyone, what they are doing wrong! (The danger of writing!). Madison may be eating skittles because she never eats candy and it is her birthday or we are having dinner with Mimi, or whatever and not because I let her do whatever she wants to do.

Wow! This is taking a short blog post to say what takes a book to explain. Children need to constantly be told two things every second of every day:
1. I LOVE YOU!
And 2. You CAN NOT do whatever you want BECAUSE I LOVE YOU!

To the parents who sue McDonalds for being unhealthy, to the teachers whose rooms are controlled by the students, to the legislators who want to outlaw candy, to the authors that say to let kids make their own decisions: it is the job of the parents to teach children what is right and what is wrong! So, do it. …please

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The Most Important Thing

The sun has hit the snooze button and we creep out of the garage in the darkness.  Frost glistens on the grass and roofs and wreaths that are hanging on our windows.  The car heat is turned on high and blowing on our feet.  We have the morning count down.  “Nine more days until Christmas.  Three more days of school.”

We sit in silence and sleepiness as we join the early birds on the road and continue on our journey to school.  I take a sip of my morning energy.  Coffee.  I take another sip.  I have been through the check list before we left the house, but I can not help but run it through my head again.  Is Madison prepared for school?  Plaid skirt and polo shirt?  Check.  The weather is cold.  Fleece and leggings.  Check.  The weather is colder than that.  Heavy coat.  Check.  Gloves in her backpack because she doesn’t want to wear them but incase she changes her mind.  Check.

But at this point, that is definitely not enough.  She is still not even close to ready for school.  Morning preparations:  Daddy made her scrambled eggs and she had a glass of water.  Check.  I supervised the brushing of her teeth.  Check.  Combed her hair and pulled it into her favorite do, a ponytail.  Check.  Face washed.  Check.  Oh, so far from being prepared for school.

Healthy school lunch in her lunchbox, in her backpack.  Check.  Two healthy snacks in small animal shaped containers in her front backpack pocket.  Check.  Water bottle.  Check.  Homework folder in binder.  Check.  Binder in backpack.  Check.  She is not ready for this day at all.

With my eyes open, as I am driving down the road, “Madison, let’s pray:

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for Madison.  I pray that she will enjoy learning about your creation today.  I pray she will be kind and patient and obedient.  I pray she will know when to talk and when she needs to listen.  Thank you for her school and her teacher and her friends.  Thank you for Daddy.  We pray that he will have a wonderful day at work.  Please keep us safe and healthy today.  Please help us to do your will today.

We love you Jesus.  Amen

And now she is ready.  She is prepared for this day.  We roll to a stop.  She unbuckles and gives me a kiss.  I return the favor on her cheek.  “I love you.  Goodbye.”

Jesus is going with her.  It is the only way that I can let her go.

“I Now Pronounce You Science and Creation”

‘Til death do them part, Science and Creation are a happy couple.  A while ago, on the local Christian station, I heard an announcer say how sad it was that “science” was the word of the year.  His logic was that it had replaced religion…..ummmm…NO!  And then I read articles explaining how Christians live by choosing to just believe in stuff and ignore science….ummmm….NO!  And then I hear that as we learn more and more about how things work, that we worship God less and less…..again….NO!

I am raising a little Scientist.  By the age of 7, she has lost hours studying random matter under a microscope (during play time), I have sat with her and read about splitting hydra, her deepest wishes and best presents have included:  2 geckos, fish, a frog, hamster, guinea pig, dog, and 2 kittens.  (that list would continue, but I have to stop it somewhere.)  She sits and reads animal reference books for fun.  She knows that the holes on the side of a geckos head are supposed to be there.  (Silly Mommy getting worried.)  She knows that there are no female peacocks….they are called peahens.  She can tell if a live turkey is male or female by its plumage.  Her questions never end, “Why do the leaves change colors?  What makes a storm?  Why do people’s bodies grow?”  There is NO END to the questions!  And as I have researched, as I have found answers, as we have learned together, (love of Science does not come naturally to me)  but as I have learned, something has happened:  I HAVE WORSHIPED GOD!

OK, I’m loosing some people.  Some have clicked out and already labeled me a nut.  Others are contemplating in their head that they believe in Evolution or The Big Bang, or perhaps, you say you believe in a combination of Evolution and Creation?  One thing, I will limit my comments to one thing:  The third law of thermodynamics is entropy.  Entropy says that matter falls apart over time.  It says that the world continues toward destruction, decomposition, or chaos over time.  Evolution says that matter improves.  According to Science, Evolution is not possible!

Imagine a grandfather building a car.  Imagine that grandfather taking his grandson by the hand day after day.  They spend hours together.  The grandfather explains to the grandson how the car works.  He tells of how, day after day, he built the car.  He says what came first.  He tells of the first time he started up the engine and heard it roar.  What is happening?  The grandson is building a relationship with his grandfather.  He is learning more and more about his grandfather.  His love for his grandfather will grow.  He thinks his grandfather is pretty cool for building that car.  He knows the car would not be there without his grandfather.  Science is God taking us by the hand and saying, “Let me tell you how I made this.  Look at the water, do you see that it is made of H2O.  Look at the worm.  Do you see that it is male and female?  Look at your body.  Do you see how I made your heart pump blood?”

Little tantrum here, please excuse my loud voice, Do not tell me that because I am a Christian, I do not believe Science.  Christians!  Do not tell me that science is evil!  Science is the study of God’s Creation.  It is a gift to us.  …..and at Christmas time, I like to ponder over my gifts and thank the giver.

The Promise of a New Life: Post 1 in a Thanksgiving Series

A dreaded time with family that you want to avoid?  The best day where you eat and eat with no thought of calories?  Another day off work?  What is this whole “Thanksgiving thing” about anyway?  A day where we celebrate the white man taking over the red man’s home?  A Christian fiction story?  What are the facts of Thanksgiving?

Confession:  My favorite holiday is Christmas.  My second favorite holiday is the next one that is coming up.  So, right now, my second favorite holiday is:  Thanksgiving!  Seriously, I really really do love Thanksgiving!  In my teaching days, I worked at a school named Master’s Academy.  If I could insert a little commercial here, Master’s Academy held an annual Thanksgiving celebration that was out of this world!  I have absolutely no clue how they were able to pull the whole thing off.  You are going to think that I am exaggerating and I would also, if I had not experienced the day first hand.  The class would file outside to a village that was set up on school grounds.  Teachers and volunteers were dressed as Pilgrims and Indians, not like Disney Pocahontas and John Smith but the real deal.  Somehow there was always a man that had guns from this time period and he would give a demonstration, there were hard biscuits and dried meat, animal skins….it was amazing!  The closest thing to traveling back in time that I have ever experienced.  Each year, I wish that my daughter could experience that Thanksgiving celebration.  But from it, I learned a true love of Thanksgiving that I hope to pass to her and I hope will be contagious.

Years ago, I found a jewel, “Thanksgiving, A Time to Remember” by Barbara Rainey.  Most of my facts come from this book.  I can not recommend it enough!  I am going to do something here, that I do not usually do on my blog, I am going to site big portions from this book:

“The Mayflower, a small wooden ship with billowing sails, was the vessel God used to bring a group of Christian believers to an unseen land far over the Atlantic.  These Christian men and women, called Pilgrims, believed that God was leading them to establish a new community where they could worship freely…When the Mayflower finally left England, on the 6th of September, crowded on board were 102 passengers, including 33 children…The food was terrible – brine soaked beef, pork, and fish and stale, hard biscuits, which often were full of insects.  The rats living on board helped themselves to the same food supplies…The rooms for passengers were crowded and mainly below deck.  Conditions were miserable:  cramped quarters, seasick people vomiting into pails – if they were able to find one in time, no sanitary toilets; the hatches were sealed off because of constant storms, and so the passengers were unable to get fresh air.  A foul mixture of odors grew in such an environment…After 97 days at sea, the Pilgrims caught a glimpse of their destination, ‘La-a-nd, ho!'”

This series will take a quick look at some facts about Thanksgiving, with of course some followup and comments from me.  I hope you will chime in with your own views.