On Teaching Them To Soar

It’s Friday morning, my day off, and I’m sitting outside at Rembrandt’s, one of my favorite spots in Chattanooga.  The temperature has finally dropped below 90, the birds are singing and a breeze is gently blowing.  The coffee is hot and it’s a great time to reflect on things flowing through my mind.

You can see the dad just above my screen.
You can see the dad just above my screen.

As I sit here, there is conversation going on all around me.  Most of it I don’t hear, or at least don’t comprehend, but there is one family sitting at one of the tables closest to me that I can’t help but notice.  It’s a middle-aged couple sitting with a young man having coffee together.

After a couple of minutes, it becomes clear the young man is preparing to begin college and the parents are preparing to say goodbye.  I don’t know where they are from, but it’s clear they don’t live here.  There is a sense of excitement in the conversation, especially as the young man is talking about this new chapter in life, but overshadowing that are clearly mixed emotions lingering softly over the table.  It’s something that I’m beginning to instinctively pick up on.  Perhaps that’s why I can’t pull my attention away from them.

As the mother gets up to go inside, it’s time for Dad to encourage his son to “call your mother at least every Sunday. She needs to know that you’re thinking about her.”  I find it interesting that he only said call your mother because a few minutes later when the boy also went inside for one reason or another, I could have sworn I saw the glimmer of a tear in his eyes.  Unmistakably, there was pain on his face.

It’s hard to deal with…children growing up and moving through stage after stage of life.  It seems as though we don’t have time to adjust to one that they’re already moving into the next, one series of painful joys after another.

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Look snazzy for picture day.

Maybe I’m thinking so much about this because I’m moving through yet another with Jacob.  For the last two days, I’ve ridden to his new school with him…in his own car…driving.  Wow, how could this little boy already be at this stage of life!  Somewhere along the line I blinked and found he is not so little anymore.  As he, himself, pointed out yesterday morning with a smile as he tied his shoes on the steps getting ready to leave for the first time in his own car: “Wow, Dad.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that you were teaching me how to tie my shoes.”  Now, I’m teaching him how to drive on his own.

I can’t even write this without feeling the lump in my throat.  With every passing day, I’m experiencing the series of heart-aches I know my own parents went through, usually without my ever being in tune with enough to make it easier for them.  Heart-ache that never really goes away.  How could it?  Your kids are always your kids.

So, it’s the mist of mixed emotions gently floating above that table that I identify with.  It’s painful to think of your kids growing up so fast, but it’s so amazingly gratifying to observe…and maybe even play a small part in…the development of their wings.  I’m so grateful to God for giving me two wonderful, talented and loving boys and the privilege to pour my life into and do all I can, through His power, to instruct them and nurture them, to correct them and train them in learning how to fly.

Check out, “Watching Our Words” by Jacob C. Price

jacobblogMy son, Jacob, has written a new blog post entitled, “Watching Our Words,” where he explores the affect of words on our relationships and, as a part of a larger series he’s working on, “Becoming a Young Gentleman in the 21st Century”.

I had the privilege of being interviewed by him for this segment (his first interview), so I hope you will take a few minutes and listen to that at the bottom of his post.

I appreciate you supporting him in this as he hones both his writing and his life skills.  Let us know if you have any feedback or encouragement along the way.

Update on Karen’s post-surgery recovery – Week 2

It’s been a week-and-a-half since Karen’s surgery on her right hip to repair a torn labrum, clean out her bursa and some other nasty-sounding stuff that should make her feel better. After we go to the doctor for her follow-up this week, I may have some cool pics to post, as well.

Week…ery good. The pain was minimal and she was able to get around pretty well. Most of the time, she’s on a walker (practicing for when she gets old…she’s going to be good!), but when we really need to burn up the sidewalks, we scoot around in a wheelchair. Well, she scoots, I’m the man-power.

Week two…a different story. It would seem her right leg finally decided to “wake up” from hibernation and it ain’t happy! The pain has definitely increased to the point that it is making sleep a challenge. Since this is about a 12-week recovery process, we know that some difficult days lie ahead, but we were hoping for the pain to largely stay at bay as in week one.

I would appreciate very much if you will continue to pray for her. We are thankful for the way God has sustained us thus far and are confident He will continue to walk with us as Karen works to walk again. Thank you all so much for your support, your concern and your acts of grace. We cannot thank you enough!

Boys Will Can’t Be Boys

As the father of two active boys, I need to remind myself regularly of the truth that is found in the following video.

Boys are not like girls and it’s past time we stop treating them in the same way with the same expectations. Boys tend to be more active, sillier and LOUDER.  That’s not abnormal and attempts to medicate away or stifle normal boyish behavior is incredibly detrimental to our kids.  Yes, I understand and agree there are circumstances in which medication is appropriate, but I’m certain not nearly as often as it is used.  Age and maturity will usually take care of most of those problems in due time.

Maybe, like me, you’ve fallen into the trap of placing unrealistic expectations on your boys from time-to-time.  I believe we need to re-think how we’re treating our boys and how we can let them be boys while still maintaining reasonable expectations for their general behavior (and we must be honest that we sometimes fail miserably at the latter, as well).

Our goal for our boys is that they grow up to be strong, godly gentlemen.  It is impossible for that to happen if I do not allow them to run a lot, climb trees, explore, wrestle, fall (repeatedly), make noise and make mistakes, all the while teaching them what they did wrong and how to avoid the same results again without crushing their spirit because they made them in the first place!  I have failed at that more than once, which has given me the opportunity to show them what repentance looks like.  By now they should have a thorough understanding of that concept!

Boys aren’t girls.

They mature slower and learn differently.  My neighbor, who is an elementary school teacher, told me just last week that modern-day schools aren’t designed for the learning styles of boys.  They tend to be most conducive to girls.  When I asked why, she stated almost the exact same things that I heard in this video. She said they don’t allow enough time for kids to play and exert pent-up energy, they expect quiet all the time (which is nearly impossible when the former is not provided for) and punish them when they can’t.  I’m starting to understand this as my youngest bundle of talkative energy does much better after he’s unloaded a couple thousand kilowatts.  Most of the time, he doesn’t get that opportunity at school.

Will the situation change?

I don’t know, but let’s start the conversation with each other and with our teaching professionals and see.  I agree with Ms. Sommers that something needs to change in our expectations and practices in teaching children and unless we are prepared to address it, we’ll continue to see mal-adjusted young men failing to reach their God-given potential because we failed to help them do so in a way in which they understand.  We (and their teachers!) need to learn to “speak their language.”  When we do, I think we’ll start seeing little, immature boys becoming young, mature men, ready to meet the challenges of life with confidence and intelligence.  If that happens, we will all benefit…but perhaps, especially, our little girls!

Feel free to share your reaction to the video or your own story and thoughts on raising healthy boys.

On My Parent’s 60th Wedding Anniversary

MomAndDad

60 years ago today, Martha Gartee and Charles Price stood side-by-side and exchanged wedding vows.  They promised to love and to cherish each other for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health until death parts them.  Sadly, those words are still popular in weddings today, but not so much in marriage.  For my parents, though, it meant something on that day.  It meant that whatever lay ahead, no matter how tough it may get, they would work through it together.  That was their goal and that’s exactly what they have done.

On this day, sixty years ago, no one could have known how much those vows would be tested just a short 16 months later as they were forced to say goodbye to a baby they never got a chance to really know.  At just 6 weeks old, these still newlyweds, living alone hundreds of miles from home serving in the military, had to deal with a tragedy no parent of any age should ever have to deal with.  Yet, barely into their twenties, they did…and they did it together.

Where many marriages fall apart during such deep tragedy, this one got stronger.  By God’s grace, they came to understand the need to press in closer to each other where too many couples drift apart.  No, life would never be the same.  In many ways, the loss of 1955 defined them, determining how they would deal with each other and the three other children they would later come to have.  Through it all, though, they never lost the love they have had for each other and the commitment to stick it out…for better or for worse.

In all of this, my parent’s marriage has taught me many things and has demonstrated what marriage can look like.  It’s not perfect, as no marriage is.  They have their moments of disagreement and, thankfully, they allowed us to witness that which also gave us the opportunity to see what it means to confess wrongs and ask for and receive forgiveness…bedrock for a successful marriage.   Though imperfect, my parent’s marriage is solid and that is saying a lot in a world where marriage is not only optional among young adults who choose more often to live together with no real commitment, and where divorce is as common as indigestion, but where the very definition of marriage is being fundamentally transformed into anything conceivable under the sun.

My parents have taught me what it means to suffer deeply but to come out on the other side strong.  No one ever knows what will come their way in life, yet it is possible to not only get through it together, but through God-given strength and persistence, we can even grow stronger and closer as a result.  Through that strength, I have seen what it means to be one with your spouse.  Mom and Dad have always shown a unified front with us kids.  If you failed to get permission from one of them, there was no use in going to the other in hopes of getting a more favorable answer.  The first question was always, “What did your mother say?”  or “What did daddy say?”.  If they ever disagreed with each other on the answer given by the other one, I didn’t know about it.  There was always a singular voice.  I’ve come to appreciate just how important that is in raising children; in providing them a solid foundation knowing that mom and dad are always going to stand together…even if, at the moment, you really didn’t want them to!

My parents have also taught me what it means to keep a promise.  They have demonstrated that marriage is hard work, but it is not impossible.  Because of the example that my parents set and because of the grace of God, my wife and I determined before we said “I do” that divorce was not an option.  Seeing my parents keep that commitment has given us a living example that, though it sometimes seems impossible to fulfill (and at times we didn’t really want to fulfill as the mountains appeared insurmountable), we have forged ahead and continued working at this gift God has given us…and experienced the blessings that come through the struggle now twenty years later!

So today, on this 60th anniversary of the day my parents said “I do” and have chosen to say it every day since, I say “thank you“.  Thank you for loving your kids through it all without condition, for setting an example worthy of following and for never quitting on the commitment you made to each other all those years ago.  Happy anniversary!

I love you.

Taking Heart

“Take heart.” Since I preached on this Sunday at The Gathering, I’v been thinking about what this means, and what this means to me. One is objective and the second is more subjective…how it changes me. Last night, I posted a quote from the message Sunday on Twitter and Facebook. It was the part where I said, “Take heart! In the middle of your suffering, take heart. In the midst of your pain, take heart. When the storm is blowing all around you and you can’t see beyond the wind-swept sea, take heart! The Great I Am has overcome!”

As soon as I hit “Send,” I went downstairs and met Karen with a troubled look on her face. She said that Andrew had broken out in a rash all over his body and his face was swollen–symptoms listed under the category “rare but dangerous side effects” on the insert that came with the medicine. My comfort level immediately dropped, as well. What were the next few hours about to bring? We called the doctor on call and waited nervously for the phone to ring, watching for any changes or developments in Andrew’s condition. I headed upstairs to get dressed, certain we would be making a trip to the E.R.

When I got upstairs, I walked into the bathroom, glanced in the mirror and it hit me…take heart. I had just written those words multiple times not ten minutes earlier. Was a storm coming? Would something happen that would rock my world? I couldn’t know at that point. What I could determine was whether or not I was going to take heart. Did I really believe what I had written? Did I believe that the Great I Am was there and had this under control? Would He comfort His children? I could not leave that room…I couldn’t walk away from that mirror…until I had determined the answer.

Before long, I walked down the stairs back to where my family was. Concern for my son was still present, but it was only what Andrew might have to deal with in the next few hours. My confidence in the Great I Am was secure. As we talked to the doctor and it was confirmed that he needed to be seen immediately, we headed down to T.C. Thompson Children’s Urgent Care at a relatively elevated rate of speed, but a confidence, nonetheless, that God was going to take care of this. Andrew was going to be fine, regardless of what the next hours looked like.

It turned out that Andrew was fine. Everything checked out fine and the rash and swelling turned out to be related to the Strep rather than the meds…but what would have happened had everything not gone so well? How would we have responded? Honestly, I don’t know. I hope to never know. What I do know is, the grace of God would have met us wherever we ended up. Power and peace would have been provided and, though the storm may have been allowed to blow wild, there would have been peace as He comforted His child.

Taking heart doesn’t mean we don’t suffer, we don’t hurt, we don’t grieve and we don’t cry. It means that in the middle of it, God’s presence is there to provide the peace and strength to ultimately take heart!

A Super Saturday

Great morning leading a discussion in one of our Institute classes. It’s such a privilege for me to participate, much more lead a group like that. I love seeing the growth that’s happening as a result.

Late this afternoon, Jacob and I went for a run together at the campground at Chester Frost Park. Actually just got back. I really enjoyed spending time with him and finishing our 2.5 mile run together. It wasn’t easy, though. It’s the first time I’ve run since shoulder surgery on August 25. Went better than I thought, but not sure you would know that from the pic.

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I think we’re going to relax on this incredible Fall evening by a campfire in the backyard. Love this time of year!

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