April 08, 2010

watchin for fire?

yesterday, i was cooking dinner and reading a talk about VIRTUE. (watch it here)
it was so good.

this is my favorite part...
"We live in a world that is concerned about cleanliness and purity-- the cleanliness of our air and the cleanliness of our environment, our water, and even our food.  In some places we legislate against pollution and even have government-funded environmental protection agencies to ensure that we are not made ill by contaminants that get into our air, our water, or our food supply.  Yet society tolerates moral pollution in the form of pornography on billboards, television, and the Internet and in entertainment and other media.  We tolerate filth that invades our minds through suggestive lyrics, music, and language.   
In some respects we are an organic generation ensuring purity and quality in our lives, and yet we are polluting our moral fiber.
I believe the lack of virtue in our society is directly responsible for many of our social. financial, and governmental ills.  I believe that the disintegration of faith and families and the financial unrest are directly related to a lack of virtue in our society.  And I believe that a return to virtue could save an entire nation."
While I was reading, my smoke alarms started going off.  All of them.  They were loud and my little girls came out to find me.  I could see in their face a question.  Is this scary or funny?  I laughed and shook my head back and forth saying "Beep beep!!"  They laughed too.

I could not smell smoke.
I thought the smoke alarms were being a little too hasty, alarming me that I was cooking dinner, not burning it.
By the time I made my way to the kitchen, I could see dark smoke pouring from my stove.
It wasn't a false alarm.

I stuck my burned bread in the garage and aired out my house.  (The alarms were going so long, and so loud, that I was waiting for my sweet neighbors to show up at my front door with water buckets.)
I cut another loaf of bread, spread my pesto on top and stuck it back into the oven.
This time I stayed near... watching.

Leah asked, "Mom, you watching for fire?"

And it hit me...
No matter how much effort I put into make a good meal for my children, it will be for naught if I let it burn.
No matter how much time and effort I put into my children, it will be for naught if I don't protect them from things in the world that can burn them.  If I don't teach them how to protect themselves.

From the time they are young I clean, sterilize and safegaurd their physical surroundings.  Isn't it just as important that we protect them from moral decay?  Things in the world that will "lead them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his stong cords forever."

I tend to be a mother who "lets them eat dirt."
Kids grow up.  There will be a day when I won't be near to lick off their dirty binky before they put it into their mouth.
So, today I will watch and TEACH.

FOR SURE, the best way to parent, protect and nourish our children from all danger they are exposed to... the BEST way to know what we should teach, how we should guide, when we should let them endure the heat and when we should help remove them from it, is to WATCH... watch and listen.

I want to really see my kids.  to know them.  to know their strengths and to know their struggles

I was cleaning room with my girls the other day.
Girls are chatty cleaners.
Ellie said, "Mom, I have to tell you something.  This one boy in my class keeps telling me that he loves me and that he wants me to be his girlfriend.  He kept asking me and asking me so I finally said Yes just so he wouldn't feel bad."
Anna said, "Ellie!!!  You have to put an end to this.  What if he wants you to KISS him?  Are you going to kiss him just so he doesn't feel bad?  What if he wants you to do DRUGS?  Will you do drugs so he doesn't feel bad.  You have to break it off with him.  We don't get married until we are 16!!"  (side note-- i have encouraged my girls not to DATE till 16... but we do encourage them to wait till at least 17 for marriage... :)  just kidding!!)

Ellie said, "Well, I  could just PRETEND to do drugs."

I smiled.  Grateful for a straight edge older sister, and grateful for a talky younger sister.
I kept everything light.  To me, this was not a fire, just sweet 1st grade smoke.
Sometime later I casually mentioned to Ellie some things she might say to a boy if she didn't want to be his girlfriend, but was concerned about hurting his feelings.  I told her about a cute boy who asked me to homecoming before I was old enough to go with him.  How he hung up on me 3 times before he actually asked me because he was so nervous.  I explained that you CAN tell someone how much you LIKE them as a friend without agreeing to be their girlfriend.

A few weeks later Ellie came home from school.  In the car she announced, "A boy wanted me to be his girlfriend today at recess.  I told him I won't be anyone's girlfriend until I'm older, but I CAN be his friend."
She was beaming.

The world will teach our children many things.  School will teach our children many things.  Church will teach our children many things.  But, in my opinion, NOTHING WILL SUBSTITUTE for what we teach in the home.
I hope that I am always here... WATCHING for the fire.
and that I'm always listening... for that small voice inside me that will tell when something is wrong.
so my kids can be all that they were meant to be.


Tiffany said...

Wow... I am so glad I read this today! Totally MADE my morning! (I'm on day 2 of Screamy the Baby. Not s'fun.) I can't wait to tell the story re: your girls to MY girls--perfect! But your insights are best of all. Per your usual!

And what is that deliciousness going on on your dinner table?!? Recipes, please!!!!:-)

beckyjune said...

Thank you so much for your post today, Jen. It touched my heart and reminded me of when you mentioned being the "bedtime Nazi" before and I have to remind myself that the time to be a mom to these little kids is so short and we really need to teach and love them and not get caught up in the little frustrations.

Have a great day, Jen.

Rachel Ure said...

i like

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