Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Could the Food Network Improve Children’s Programming?

For over one year, the Food Network has stirred our grandchild’s imagination in astounding ways. She is a devoted fan of several cooks, quoting them frequently as she goes about her toy kitchen, raiding her mom’s kitchen for pots and spatulas, and rattling pots and pans. She knows a competition from a demonstration, and speaks confidently, using such words a cinnamon, vanilla extract and cumin. And she arises in the morning wondering what to cook for dinner, and her nap anxious to see what Sunny and “Contessa Barefoot ” have planned. The Food Network is a powerful education tool – perhaps stronger than PBS’ early learning line-up.

This morning we watched Super Why and a charming but complicated regimen of finding a word to solve a problem – it took thirty minutes; retelling  the fairy tale, “Jack in the Beanstalk. The PBS writers ignored the lessons in the fairytale, and inserted characters and situations to solve a mystery the writers invented to find one missing word. Our granddaughter never referred to the method or the message for the rest of the day.

We then watched cooking shows; throughout the day, she used words and imitated instructions the TV cooks modeled. She knew the drama on Iron Chef and wondered how much time was left in the competition. During bath time, the bubbles became her kitchen, the toys, her  tools and the memory of so many cooking lessons her recipes. For twenty minutes she explained what she was adding, how she mixing or stirring, and for whom she was preparing her meal.

In this little child’s life, the example of real people doing work they love has been a powerful motivator and great teacher. Giada, Bobby Flay, Paula Dean and Rachel Ray among others are engaging the heart and mind of a little child and if PBS educators are wise they might reconsider how they present what they present.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Me and My Big Mouth

Conversations we always thought would have a part two, may end abruptly because of stuff beyond our control. Don’t let any loving thought go unsaid – don’t lose any opportunity to express respect, even when disagreeing. Labeling another with your perceptions of how they think or express themselves may not be useful, kind or true. 

Will Rogers once advised, “When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.” So, if . . . “If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.”  Words are usually the tool with which I dig – verbal and written. How do I stop digging? And how do I get out of the hole? So, one sure-fire way  way to stop “diggin” that hole is “Stop talking!” And do not fire off an e-mail!

Not answering back is so hard to do! Especially when I know with just a few more words I can show you why you are wrong! Could it be, I would rather win the argument and look like a fool than work through a conflict?

Some men once wanted to win an argument with the hurting friend. Remember Job’s friends?  (Job 13:1-12) They couldn’t shut up, so convinced they were of their rightness Job cried out to his friends: “Oh, that you would altogether hold your peace! Then you would evidence your wisdom and you might pass for wise men.”  (Job 13:5 AMP)

My friend Flo keeps an index card with this verse  written out on the inside of her kitchen cupboard; she frequently opens that door and reads Job’s plea before answering in anger. It’s better to have folks think you are a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God's righteousness doesn't grow from human anger.” (James 1:19-20  from THE MESSAGE )
If I were as quick to listen as I am to speak, I might not have so many regrets about   conversations unexpectedly ended. I might better say what I mean, and more truly mean what I say.  I might not find myself in so many holes – and I might look a lot smarter.
“Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent.”
 ( Proverbs 17:28)

Thought for the day:
“Just because I am invited, doesn’t mean I have to attend every argument.” (An anonymous quote)

Image source

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Helping Each Other Out of Our Grave Clothes

Shortly before His own humiliating, excruciating death, Christ  assigned His followers  a task that illustrated what loving another person looks like: unwrap the man I just raised from the dead. (John 11:43-44-6) Those first disciples saw Lazarus stumbling out of grave, unable to freely walk – and Christ told them to get close to him, close enough to be useful to him. Doing so would also have helped the onlookers believe their eyes. Removing those clothes helped Lazarus walk free, and as they freed Lazarus’ head and limbs from the linen strips and winding sheet, as they have inhaled the lingering scent of anointing spices, they knew this was Lazarus, really and truly raised from the dead! 

When God saved me I did not know how tightly wrapped I was in my grave clothes – my habits, hurts and hang-ups; they felt natural. Not until some friends came alongside me did I begin to sense I wasn’t walking as well as I might.  Thank God for the spirit with which they addressed me. (Galatians 6:1-2)

God forgive me for the many times I failed to lovingly help unwrap others – and rejected their help!

Not wishing to over-spiritualize this familiar passage, I understand that as God still woos and wins souls to life, each born-again believer needs help walking out of his or her grave clothes – their habits, hurts and hang-ups – even little children who come to Christ early. So, He asks His witnesses to help those stumbling out of their tombs shed their grave clothes.

If I imagine how those reacted who saw Lazarus come out, I can compare how I have helped others walk free. How did they unbind Lazarus – tentatively, fearfully – brusquely? Would Lazarus have protested, “No-no, I can do it myself?” 
Did any hang back, waiting for the more spiritually mature to make the first move? I have. Did any think, “I’ll just wait for Lazarus to outgrow those clothes?” I have. Did any rip and tear at Lazarus’ grave clothes, stripping him of his dignity?

With my words, I have.

Or, did they simply loosen the grave clothes enough so Lazarus could walk back into his home?    

Sometimes I thought the people God put in my path  would simply outgrow what was binding them. Or, worse, I tugged and hauled too hard at their strips and sheets.  And if they protested they could take care of their own grave clothes, I left them alone.

Helping remove grave clothes is intimate, time-consuming, personal work; we don’t work alone, we have a Helper, One who wants us to enjoy the sureness of His work.  (Matthew 28:18-20) While I can’t help another take off what they won’t surrender – I have been equipped to be useful. (2 Peter 1:3-10).  And, this is the core of what we all are sent to do; helping each other out of our grave clothes and into comfortable, clean robes! Even our children and grandchildren.

Clip art from:Florida's Educational Clearinghouse

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Address Book

My address book is one given to me so many years ago that it is held together by packing tape, and has as many white-outs as addresses. My daughter was young enough when I received it to think that copying the addresses from the old book to the new was fun – so I treasure it for the vestiges of her handwriting.  Even the lines that have been written over remind me of significant changes in the lives of those I love. As someone once observed, “It takes a long time to grow an old friend.” 

When I misplace it – I go into a dither: it’s the only “list” of friends I have – and it is a reminder of Christmas cards sent – birthdays – weddings – anniversaries – divorces  and sympathy notes.

    “. . . But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
    All losses are restored and sorrows end.”
~William Shakespeare (Sonnet 30)

My address book reminds me, in ways a blackberry can’t, how fortunate I am because of so many others – and all they brought into my life.  In its own way it’s a diary, a journal of how much has changed in my life, and the people to whom God has connected me. 

    “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art . . .  It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.” (C.S. Lewis)