Knowing our children - part 2


Family movie night just ended and the boys are splashing in the jacuzzi with their dad.  But I'm still leaking, deep heart tears from my eyes.  



The last time I watched Rudy I was 19; so full of dreams, so much the underdog running out onto the field of life.  It inspired me then, but tonight my heart beats to the dreams of three little men; their butts lined up in a row on the orange couch.  FAMILY written on the area rug at their feet, covering the ground between us and the TV screen.

Halfway through the movie our middle boy dripped chocolate ice cream on that rug and I ran for a rag and mopped it up quick.  Then the movie went on, just like our lives, so quickly with children under the roof; mopping up messes and barely getting through the practical moments of mothering to catch the dreams beginning to stir in their hearts.




Once our boys were dry again and in their PJ bottoms, (because I've heard that until they're 12 a summertime swim is as good as a shower), my husband and I called them back to the couch.  We began our family meeting with, "We want each one of you to take a moment and think about what you want to be when you grow up.  Maybe it's something that will take years and years of hard work to achieve.  Maybe, like Rudy, everyone will tell you that you'll never make it!  But if you could do anything... what would it be?"

The younger two were wiggly and giggly, punchy from that late night scoop of frozen sugar, and maybe not quite ready for such weighty conversations.   So I sent them to bed, and thought of the sign hanging in the tree fort their daddy built them:

"Always be who you are,

unless you can be batman.

Then always be Batman!"

I am sure those two fell asleep dreaming of Batman.  But that older boy, now 10, stayed with us.  After a minute he said what I knew he would.

"I want to be a professional guitar player."



Lucky for him he has some natural ability,

so we talked about dreams,

and started to set some goals.



We're sending our other kids to a private school this year, at least that's the plan, but our big guy is home-schooled.  Which means we have the freedom to individualize his learning to include goals that will help him achieve his longterm dreams.  For example, this year his dad and I told him that he must master 4 songs, on at least two instruments each (guitar, vocals, drums, harmonica, piano...) And when he does, we'll pay for him to go into a real recording studio to lay 'em down!


" I don't homeschool my children to protect them from the world, I do it to give them the world." -Monica Leigh @ Pixel Perfect


In other words, homeschooling allows us to tailor our children's education around their unique passions and strengths. But it takes knowing our children.

His Faith

One other thing I know to be uniquely God woven and true in the heart of this child is his innate passion for God's Word. It's kind of crazy, really. Don't put me on any pedestal.  I read all the stuff Christian parents should do to help cultivate this love for the Bible in the hearts of their children, but we haven't done any of it consistently. Or well, truth be told.  I'm usually grumpy when I finally do coral our boys to read the Bible together. Yet still, when I go to tuck him into bed, there He is with his Bible spread open. Reading that story of David and Goliath for the millionth time! Looking up, he says, "Here's my favorite part, Mama, 'Then David asked, who is this uncircumcised fellow who dares defy the army of the living God?'"  And he smiles.

Holding his future with open hands

As we craft time into his studies for Music and Bible Study, I'm challenged to hold his future with open hands.  I don't know if he will go the traditional route of a four year university like we did.  He may be drawn to a Music Conservatory or a Bible College.  And I'm feeling a stir in my heart, readying me for something different than I would orchestrate for him.  But master planning is God's job, not ours.  Ours is to know them well, and help them see the bullseye their creator has staged for them.   Let's commit to know them, that we might send them flying, straight as arrows, to hit the center of God's glorious plan for each little life.


 For (they) are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for (them) to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

*One last aside - Sweet Mamas, I am by no means saying that homeschooling is the only way to faithfully carry out this knowledge. It is just our current way of doing it for our one of ours. Another of our other children clearly needs a traditional classroom setting to help him prepare for the special good works that lie ahead of him.



Knowing our Children - part 1


  Little boy boots walking through the garden, in the grey early morning light.

I turn over in my bed and see his blond head,

out the window, beyond the Morning Glory vine.


It's more than a son wanting the nearness of a father, working side by side.

It's his inner man, his hard-wiring;

All heart and soul and mind.


Watching him lift and dig and haul,

Is like watching deep magic work its way out of a soul.

And it's glorious, there beyond the Morning Glory vine.


Morning Glory, a tribute to my 3rd born son

By Wendy Speake



We have three boys, each one so very different from the other.  The first, an extraverted-creative with a deep well that longs to be filled with truth.  He plays the guitar and infers radical things from big books, and talks about everything he thinks and feels.  Our second born is an introvert, an engineer, a builder.  He thrives on two hours each day alone in his room, imagining possibilities.  Our third born son, now six, is a worker.  A hard worker.

There's much talk in parenting circles today on the importance of knowing our children; their unique talents and personalities, love languages, and skill sets.  Today I begin a three-part series on the individual children God saw fit to give us.

These aren't how-to posts,  just conversations from my Living room about who I'm discovering each child to be.

As I share maybe you'll be inspired to think about the special talents bound in the precious little hearts there in your living spaces.  To recognize their love languages, personalities, and the possible steps you might take alongside them, to usher them down their own unique paths.


Asher - 6



Asher is the Hebrew word for I am happy.  And he is.  He came out of my womb smiling.  Nurses, coming on each new shift, would stop by our room and say, "I just have to meet this baby who already smiles."  My husband's nickname for Asher is "Happy".

Asher is most happy when sweat is literally dripping from his brow.  He'll drop his shovel and run around to find each brother, yelling, "Look how it drips from my hair when I jump!"  And he'll jump up and down til sweat falls in drops.  Each one a triumphant splash of autonomy, for this is who he is!

He's been this way from the beginning, even in the way he learned to walk - so purposeful and sure.  Walking was more than  literal steps... they were metaphorical steps to get him to where soil needed toiling.  By four he was hauling downed branches up the property to the top of the hill, past that Morning Glory vine.

His dad would see me then, watching from the kitchen window.  I'd smile and he'd nod.  Because we both saw it.  So evident.  This was Asher.  Finding joy in hard work!


Taking credit

The credit for this life is not ours to take, though the apple doesn't fall far from the paternal tree.  But no amount of modeling a father's work ethic inspires the other two to jump from their covers, pull on work pants, and run outside to find a shovel.

At six Asher understands innately the joy of a job well done - while his brothers watch Saturday morning cartoons.  No, the credit isn't ours.  We are simply entrusted with the awesome task of loving him and encouraging Him in the way he is to go.  What an amazing responsibility.


Love Language

I believe that quality time together is the primary language of each one of our children, and possibly most young children.  Lucky for this little dude, time spent beside his dad takes no effort on my husband's part... except of course when he'd like to get the job done quickly and without teaching breaks.

Then, when Asher has showered and put on fresh clothes, I am the one he comes to for more love filling.  He wants "dates" with me!  All my boys love dates with their Mama, but Asher thinks every time it's just us two... it's a date.  Even today when I took him into a gas station to use their bathroom he whispered romantically, "This is a date, just you and me, cause my brothers are in the car."

I find his romantic view of time with mom just another piece of the masculine picture that is my son.  The work, the sweat, cleaning up and then coming to mom for dates.  Recently he asked, "When will I be old enough to buy my very own can of shaving cream?"


What we don't do with our son


Thus says the LORD, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD.… (Jeremiah 9:23-24)


It's easy to think this kid is pretty spectacular.  And he is!  But we temper our praise by boasting in God; telling our son what a great job God did when making him.  We point out his uniqueness and talk about ways he might make a life and earn a living with his God-given strength and endurance.  We slap him on the back.  Hard.  And he winces.  Then his face breaks open in a smile.  And as the sun rises full in the sky, light shines from his eyes.  Just about the time the other two tumble outside and start their day!


Therefore, as it is written: "Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31)


I'm cutting this word picture of my littlest short right now, in exchange for real pictures from today.  Three hours he worked in the garden while the other two built Legos and swam.  I was inside cooking and cleaning, and his dad was off at work.  Three hours!  This time with a clear financial goal - because we've decided to pay him for all the extra ways he serves and works around our home.  And today he needed three more hours of sweat equity to pay for the surf board he's wanted all summer.  Now, on August 13th, it's his.

And he's mine.

But only for a time... and so we zero in on the uniquely beautiful ways he's fearfully and wonderfully made as a means to point Him onward in the way he should go.