Today my children once again proved that they are autonomous: they threw about 70 fire pit lava rocks into the pool at the house where we are staying, while I was getting ready to swim with them. When I came out and saw the pool, I had no words! Mortified, I marched them inside to apologize to our host and in the middle of Sparrow's confession, Golden pipes up, "My nail just came off! I need a band-aid!" Sure enough, the nail she had slammed in the car door 13 days ago finally came all the way off and her pinkie was stark nekked! Our poor hosts have been so kind and so generous, and this situation embarrassed me deeply, but I had to calm down and remember that they are only children, and while Sparrow certainly knew better, she wasn't really trying to be rebellious. She was just—not thinking. She made a childish mistake, imagine that! So I said, "No more playing outside by yourselves," (besides a volley of other admonishing and teaching words), and they had to help me get all the rocks out, but since it was not a malicious crime, there was not much more I could do. Believe ME, I need to look more at families who have been able to raise children who treat people and things with respect, and see what they did. I am already getting really re-inspired by this book by Trumbull that I picked up at the Vaughns' house.
One thing I've gleaned from this book is to always give them a choice, even if it is, "Do what I say or get a spanking." You should never BREAK their will by saying "Do what I say and if not, then you will get a spanking UNTIL you do what I say." They choose obedience, or punishment. But it is laid out in advance, and they can choose, they are not left without any choice whatever. They are being pressured to choose good, over and over, until it becomes habit, and that is the difference between that and modern parenting tactics, where they are hardly "pressured" at all, but rather are praised to the roof for breathing, and left alone even when making very bad choices that will shape their view of the world in a wrong way, at a time when the parent should actually still be there, shaping the view. The leaving alone part can come later, if you ask me.
Thomas just came home from the store, and Silas was excited to tell me, "Daddy got diapers for Pippa." I said, "Isn't he sweet? Are you going to do helpful things for your wife when you get married?" He said, "Yeah, when I grow up like a motorcycle rider." ...Of course. It's all about the motorcycle.
Besides the lava rock/ fingernail fiasco of today, I also had this emotional realization that Sparrow has surpassed me in swimming skills! OK, I was never that hard to surpass in that area anyways, but seriously, she is SEVEN, and I think that was a first in our relationship. Milestone! I have tried over and over to learn how to go underwater without manually plugging my nose, but I am starting to suspect a nasal passage problem of sorts, because I have NEVER been able to succeed, no matter what method I used. And yet Sparrow is out there swimming around like a little dolphin underwater. It was pretty crazy to watch, knowing that she had outswum me. Good for her. My ceiling is her floor. Hahaha!
Anyways, I have been reflecting much over the last couple of months, and there are some new things to break into, break out of, and activate in my life that will make a huge difference toward kingdom destiny. I've been thinking a lot about identity and destiny, actually, these subjects are nearly endless in depth, and as for destiny, I believe that God does choose a destiny for us, (a path we should take on this earth, besides our eternal resting place), but then He leaves it up to us whether we will we will find that destiny, take it seriously, and go get it; or whether we will just sleep and be comfortable in the reality that we see. So more on that later, but this vacation has been really good for reflection and remembering who I am.
Our first weekend in Texas we drove to Brenham and spent time with my college roommate and her family. It was very relaxing and so good to laugh with her in the late hours again. The children and I stayed through Wednesday to spend more time with her while Thomas went back to Feldenkrais classes on Monday morning. We even got to go to the fair with our Brenham friends and tour the Blue Bell ice cream factory!
The 2nd weekend, we drove to Austin to visit more friends from back in the day—their daughter was our flower girl 8 years ago, and now she is eleven! That was relaxing and fun as well. Besides Pippa screaming til 2 AM because her nose was clogged. When we got back to the Houston area and she did it again the next night, Thomas and I just had to put in earplugs, we were so exhausted! About an hour later, I woke up and realized she had managed to go to sleep after all. I couldn't believe I had slept through the screaming right next to me—I am now a truly a seasoned parent.
So much more to say--it's been wonderful here. We love the people we are staying with. They are clowns, yes clowns! And they have a pet pig, yes, pig! Jesus is all over them. That is the most beautiful thing, though there are MANY beautiful things about their home. It's just lovely. But now it is 10, and time to work! Two more days here, then back to taking the LAND in my real life! Bring it!