Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Parting Words

For some time now I've wanted to include two additional categories to my posts, both born of my love for the import and conveyance of words. One vein would be book reviews, but I've decided that would be redundant. I already have my Goodreads tag on the side, and there is ample opportunity to write my personal cogitations there upon completion of a book.

The second has been a section devoted to the resonance other people's words have found within me. I am often conflicted when reading a book - do I mar the maiden beauty of its pages with garish highlighter, scraggly underlinings, and personal graffiti of thought? I dance a jig of undecisiveness over and back again, alternating between do and don't. While this won't necessarily put decisive restraint upon my fits and starts of mental additions to an author's communique, it is an attempt to better organize them and perhaps do them more fitting justice.

I recently came across this line from A.A. Milne.
“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh

I want my children to know this about themselves. I never told my kids they could be President of the United States. I avoided the word "pride", choosing to encourage them towards well-earned feelings of satisfaction and contentment instead. As I looked towards their futures, my aims were to help them develop eyes to discern the Lord's leading among all the possibilities, rather than to see the wide scope and breath of all the world offered to them. I've always striven to shine an honest light upon their weaknesses as well as their strengths.

In today's world, I see parents, educators, and society at large making a major mistake, creating a monster with two heads. Too much focus is being placed upon accomplishment for the sake of attention. So on the one hand a stellar test score is becoming the summation of their identity, and on the other such strings are being pulled so that no one leaves without a trophy. Its not working, because none of these aims leave our children with an authentic understanding of themselves. I read a recent report on the state of our nation's graduating students. The powers that be are in a continual tizzy about how to change the sad state of affairs for the up and coming leaders of our future, as though they can somehow find and turn the key.

Our family enjoys inspiring movies. Ever seen Stand and Deliver, Cinderella Man, Freedom Writers, Master and Commander, Remember the Titans, October Sky, Miss Potter, or the recent and highly recommendable Temple Grandin? Just to name a few. ;D

In each story there was adversity to overcome. We teach our children - Jesus said, *"In this world you will have trouble, but take heart - I have overcome the world."

In each there is a decision to be made as to whether they will work for a goal or stay stagnant in mediocrity or less. We impress upon our kids the importance of choice - Moses said, **"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."

And lastly, there was someone who faithfully encouraged, pushed, and stood by them. We live to make sure our children know that in this tough world, in which they are responsible for their choices, we dearly love and believe in them - in Paul's words,*** "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ."

Christ is, has, holds, and turns The Key. Our children need to know, know, know this. And secondly, I pray that people everywhere have someone who tells them that they are braver, and stronger, and smarter than they realize, and that this may this give them courage to reach, and stretch, and grow. The simple love and faithfulness found between Christopher Robbin and Pooh is all too often neglected between people today. When you part, will someone remember such words from you to them?

*John 16:33
**Deuteronomy 30:19
***Phillipians 1: 3-6

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