We are the champions

Last weekend, our youngest son’s soccer team played in a tournament in Gatlinburg. Back in August, when they first listed it among the other scheduled games, I thought, “Outdoor soccer in the Smokies in December?! Brrrrr!” But in true Tennessee fashion, it was weirdly warmish, with the main precipitation coming in the form of pea-soup thick fog on Sunday morning.

 

I’m an introvert by nature, preferring to avoid the spotlight in favor of watching others somewhere along the fringe. And whether you’re there for a sporting event or not, Gatlinburg is a prime people-watching location. Actually, it’s stimulus overload. But with all that we saw over the two days we were there (this includes the hordes of visitors traversing the main strip of shops and restaurants and a big black bear which wandered right up to the window of the cabin), it was the faces of the players and their parents which I was most interested in.

 

As I’ve been writing fiction for several years, I’ve become fascinated by learning what makes people tick and using this unscientific data to influence the arc of my storyline and the backstory of my characters. Anytime a person stands in front of you, presenting himself in some particular way, there are actually thousands of experiences at work in his words and actions and choices. The smile which doesn’t quite meet his eyes or that tiny twitch in the corner of his mouth or his fingers tap-tapping on his leg. People are just so complicated.

 

At a big tournament like this one, you see what Jim McKay, the late ABC sports announcer, would call “…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…” The thing I realized about myself as I watched a nearby game conclude on an adjacent field to the one where my son was warming up with his team, was that I was actually more interested in the faces of the losing team than those of the winning team. The winners jumped and cheered and hugged each other as they celebrated a hard fought victory. Not much variation there. But the losers…that’s where you see the range and depth of emotions. Some boys dropped to the ground and pounded the dirt with their fists, some offered a hand to help those teammates up on their feet, some cried unrestrained tears, and some stood motionless in despair. Then there was one 11 or 12 year-old kid who approached a player from the opposing team to congratulate him. He extended his hand in a friendly handshake, then he went along and continued shaking the hands of the rest of the team. His teammates noticed and joined in. No doubt this is his coach’s customary instruction after a game, but he did it with maturity and grace.

 

It stinks to lose. Even someone like me who never played sports and usually shies away from competition can own up to the fact that it’s no fun being on the losing side. But when we teach our kids about integrity and good sportsmanship and perspective, and they can be consistently honorable in the face of winning and losing, they are true champions no matter the final score.

Still a shock

Twenty years ago I had the shock of my life. After a year of unsuccessful attempts to have a baby, I had finally seen the coveted two lines on a pregnancy test. A few weeks after the positive test, I started having issues which made me think I was losing the baby. I made an appointment, and my husband and I went to see the doctor.

 

As I lay on the examining table and the tech rubbed the gooey gel on my stomach to prepare me for the ultrasound, I felt so sure we were having a miscarriage. I held up my shirt and stared at the dark ceiling. Not daring to peek at what was on the monitor—not that I could’ve even deciphered all those streaks of light and gray-white blobs anyway—I just let the tears slide into my ears and concentrated on breathing.

 

Brent held my hand while the woman moved the wand around my abdomen. Suddenly I heard Brent gasp. He had spotted something on the monitor. “Am I seeing…” he began to ask before his voice trailed off in bewilderment.

 

“I’m not supposed to tell you anything,” the tech revealed in an almost whisper, “but there are two of them.”

 

My mind was whirring with what complications they had seen in the ultrasound. Did my baby have two heads? The tears were coming in torrents now. Then Brent breathed the word: twins.

 

It had never occurred to me in all my fantasies about becoming a mother—and let me say, I am a world-class daydreamer—that I would have twins. They didn’t “run in my family” (most everyone’s first question) and I hadn’t used fertility drugs. Twins just weren’t on my radar. It was such a gob-smack of a surprise.

 

After our appointment was finished, Brent and I went to eat lunch. We decided on the drive to a Mexican restaurant that we would wait until I was farther along to tell anyone our news. Yes…absolutely. We should wait. Then I went in the restroom to wash my hands before we ate, and I noticed a woman also washing her hands at the sink next to me. She was a complete stranger, but I turned to her and said, “I’m pregnant with twins.” I’m sure I had the kookiest grin on my face at that moment. She nodded and backed out of the room as if I had just escaped from the looney bin.

 

I confessed my transgression to Brent as soon as I returned to our table. I told him I just had to get it out of my system, and now I would be good. I kept my promise, and we told family and friends the big news over Thanksgiving. The following May, I gave birth to twin daughters.

 

A lot of that day seems like a dream now. Our twin daughters, who I consider to be sisters who just happened to have the same birthday, continue to surprise and delight me with every passing year. It’s been two decades since I knew they were sharing the same little room inside me, but their existence still strikes me as just as wonderfully miraculous as it did so many Octobers ago.

 

Deadly weapon

I’m in the process of teaching our 15-year old son how to drive. Since this is the third kid for me to teach this particular lesson, I know there’s a lot of important information to cover. There are the basics—which pedal is the gas and which is the brake, how to switch on the wipers and the turning signal and the headlights, and the meaning behind the various traffic signs. There are also nuanced skills, such as how to know that you’re in the center of your lane (new drivers are usually really scared of the series of mailboxes flying past them on their right and incoming cars whizzing by in the opposite lane) and when to start braking (they rarely start as soon as I’d like them to).

 

But before he ever sat behind the wheel, I told my son one of the most important truths about driving: This car is a weapon. I told him that a driver must take this task very seriously, paying close attention to the other cars and pedestrians around him. In the hands of a careless and distracted driver, this car is like a loaded gun just waiting to kill someone. This may sound severe, but I know it to be true, and I would be a fool to ignore my chance to warn him about life-altering mistakes before they happen.

 

We often concentrate on the physical dangers of recklessness, but it’s important to warn our children (and remind ourselves) of the perils of something much smaller than a car or even a gun, but deadly in a different way—our words. With a few choices words, we can tear down another person, and the better we know them, the easier it is to dismantle their self-esteem.

 

In his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum plays with the old adage which claims words can’t hurt us. Instead, he says, “Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts.” In most cases, bones can heal, but it’s much harder to forget the pain inflicted on us by a parent who says we’re too stupid or a spouse who says we’re too fat or a friend who says we’re not wanted. Words can create an inner scar. They can pop back into our thoughts decades later to remind us of our shortfalls. Especially nasty remarks can affect future jobs and relationships. They can be joy-stealers and future-destroyers.

 

In James 3, we read about the power of the tongue. We see that it’s capable of great things: “We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.” From the inspiring sermons of Dr. King to the sweet “Have a great day!” note your mom put in your lunchbox, words can make the world a better place.

 

But there’s a dark side to what the tongue can do. “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.”

 

The next time you’re in a car, safely passing other giant boxes made of metal and flame, consider the dangers involved. Then take a moment to reflect on the destructive power of your words. Steer both your car and your mouth as if lives were on the line.

Donut cloud

A few days before we took our twin daughters to different cities to move into their respective college dorm rooms, I found myself in a parking lot sitting in my van at our older son’s soccer practice attempting to concentrate enough to read a book. Though it was mid-August, it was especially breezy and almost pleasant.

I looked up and noticed a strange cloud in the evening sky. It looked like a ginormous, fluffy donut with the sun shining through the hole. I snapped a picture of it with my phone and tried to get back to my detective novel and the page I had already read ten times without comprehension or any idea of who the murderer was.

 

Seconds later, I glanced back up at the sky again and saw that the donut cloud had disappeared, blown away by the gusty wind.

The moment was gone, and I suddenly found myself crying. It didn’t help that I was also watching a dad heft two pink bikes which belonged to his young daughters into the back of his pickup truck. One of the girls was pouting because she didn’t want to leave, but the dad barely registered her disappointment. As he continued to load up, the girl grouchily made her way to the back seat of the truck, moving in that way that kids do when they want to show their resistance to a command while simultaneously obeying you. Her arms hung limply at her sides and her feet moved forward an inch at a time without bending her knees.

 

I knew that my tears weren’t really about clouds or even hot pink bicycles. I knew I was feeling the weight of my daughters’ approaching departure from home, just as I knew they were ready to go and on their way to great things. Over the weekend before they moved out, I’ll admit I was pretty teary-eyed. It got so bad that our 9-year old noticed. One day he warily approached me and said, “Hey, mom. That’s a nice shirt. Where did you get it?” I looked down and saw I was wearing the $5 gray Old Navy flag shirt which we each owned an identical version of. I could tell it was time to get myself together.

 

I needed some strategies to survive this new phase. I was already planning to avoid going in my girls’ shared bedroom. I wasn’t going to sit on their beds and stroke their bedspreads and smell the clothes they left behind. Uh-uh. No way. That’s a suicide mission. Instead, I started praying. I began a dialogue with God about what I was feeling and fearing. I told him I was blessed and beholden. I asked him to protect them and point them in the right direction. And I consistently received the same 4-word sentences: “Your world is expanding” and “God is big enough”.

Additionally, a couple of Scriptures have begun a rotation in my thoughts:

“Stop and consider the wonderful miracles of God! Do you know how God controls the storm and causes the lightning to flash from his clouds? Do you understand how he moves the clouds with wonderful perfection and skill?” (Job 37)

“I am the Lord, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32)

Nearly a week after the donut cloud, my girls were all moved into their new rooms—curtains and pictures were hung, throw pillows were fluffed and area rugs were unfurled. (I’m guessing this will be a really different process with my next kids…two boys) Now I can see why my heart is feeling this heaviness. What I’m realizing is that it’s not just that I’ll miss them—their help with their younger brothers, their stories after school and before bedtime, their general presence in the kitchen while I’m cooking or on the sofa while I’m watching TV—it’s an acknowledgement that things will never quite be the same. It’s like that fleeting moment with the donut cloud. The new cloud arrangement wasn’t bad, in fact it was doing just what clouds are supposed to do—move and change and re-form. I’m just happy I looked up from my book in time to see it.

Roller Coaster Ride

You inhale deeply as you approach the wooden archway. A voice from the speaker above you and to your right is midway through its recording: “…so ride at your own risk. Only you know your limitations.”

 

You pull the corners of your mouth into a forced smile at the child who stands beside you. She has asked you to join her on this journey. It would be pure cowardice to retreat.

 

Together, you weave through the maze of metal fencing to find your place in line. The bars are painted a dark red. Shallow scratches and deep gashes in the paint show the original steely gray underneath. You rest your palms against the horizontal bars at your waist, but pull them back as you consider all of the sticky, sweaty hands that have blazed this trail before you, pioneers in tank tops and athletic shorts.

 

You glance at your child who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with you. You notice that you are eye level now. When did she get so tall or when did you shrink? She leans her back against the bar behind her, looking carefree and relaxed. A clattering sound rumbles over your heads, followed seconds later by deafening screams, and then both sounds are gone in a rush of air.

 

You shuffle forward a few feet. Conversations circle around you. Small children whine about the wait. Mothers remind them to be patient. A girl braids her friend’s hair into a long, tight rope. You turn away when you see a young couple embrace—too much affection in such a confined space.

 

Finally, you see the loading area. You watch people—brave souls just like you—as they board the cars. You fight the urge to salute them and their bravery. The affectionate couple from before is seated and both of them look nervous.

 

“I’m a little scared,” your child says quietly. You fake enthusiasm and confidence. You tell her, “Ah, come on. It’ll be fun. I promise.”

 

The cars return with their windswept occupants, smiling broadly. You wonder if their smiles are from joy or relief or both. Either way, you are encouraged that they returned without injury.

 

Your child slides into the car and you follow her. You attempt to steady trembling hands as you buckle the thick seat belt and pull down the padded bar. The bored, teen-aged park employee walks past each pair and tugs at their restraints. Internally, you question the extent of the training that allows him to operate this giant death trap.

 

It’s too late to turn back now. The cars rumble away slowly, teasing you with their nonchalant speed. You know this is a trick. You know this ride is designed to rattle your fillings and challenge your bladder.

 

The car climbs the steep hill with a repetition of clicks. At the top of the hill, you have only the briefest moment to assess the situation. In that moment, you calculate the risks and search your memory bank for any relevant news stories of crashes and negligent park staff. Then, you fall. The rapid descent lifts you ever so slightly from your seat. Your heart races and your stomach drops.

 

You chance a look at your child next to you—her eyes shut tight and her hands thrown into the air. She smiles. You scream. You find that you are grabbing her arm, involuntarily. The fear you felt before for your safety has been transferred to fear for hers.

 

When the ride is jerked to an abrupt end, you step out of the car and onto the platform with shaky legs. “That was fun!” your child says, as she bounces up and down with the release of pent-up energy. “Wanna do it again?” You manage a weak smile in response.

 

The endless recording continues as you exit the archway: “Only you know your limitations.” You chuckle at the thought of fully knowing something as fluid as your limitations. You follow your child away from the ride, watching her long legs manage a smooth, assertive stride and you wonder where this confidence comes from.

 

Suddenly, you wake up. It was all a dream. You’re not at an amusement park, but safely in your bed. As you examine the feelings of riding those ups and downs with your child, you realize that it’s May and your child is graduating from high school. Eighteen years of being her mom, and then this. Though there are giant question marks looming overhead as big as thunderclouds which seemed to be raining down their periods in the form of hail stones, you know there are sunny days ahead, just as you know that you are the proud parent of a Class of 2020 graduate.

The last tooth

Ezra, age 5, already 6 baby teeth gone!

Our youngest son lost his last tooth today. There was little fanfare, just him showing me a giant-looking molar resting at the bottom of a plastic sandwich bag. It’s been loose for a few weeks, and he’s been asking everyone to stick their fingers in his mouth and test its wiggliness—a great idea in the middle of cold and flu season.

 

When he joined our family at age 5, he had already lost six teeth, so the Tooth Fairy wasn’t really a big deal for him. We were told by a friend also from the Democratic Republic of the Congo that it is customary to throw a baby tooth out in an open field and make a wish. We tried that a few years ago for Tooth #7, but it was raining that day and he wanted to stay inside while he tossed the little baby incisor. I have no doubt that tooth is still somewhere in our garage.

 

Call it Truthful Parenting or Downright Laziness, but we’ve never done much with baby teeth magic, even for our older three kids. For our oldest twin daughters, I tried a couple of times to conjure up a tradition. We placed a Mason jar full of water by their beds and instructed them to drop their little tooth inside, watching it drift to the bottom. Then in the morning, the water was full of purple food coloring and light blue glitter and a coin sporting a baby-toting Sacajawea (aka “Golden Dollar”). But it wasn’t too long before I ran out of golden dollars or I forgot to remove the offered baby tooth, and the Tooth Fairy retired.

 

There’s something bittersweet about these “last time” moments. The first tooth is cute and tiny, and the last one looks like something an archeologist would dig up and place in an exhibit about Early Man. It’s the same with the first day of kindergarten. They will let you dress them in apple-themed dresses or shirts with a big, yellow school bus emblazoned across the front. Then the last first day of high school comes and you can’t even remember what they were wearing. You just prayed that they drove safely and remembered to slow down in the school zones.

 

As we put him to bed tonight, our youngest son smiled impishly as he told us he would put his tooth under his pillow and get some money. Now that he’s a street smart 9-year old, he’s just looking for a quick buck. He knows the score about the Tooth Fairy, but he’s not opposed to getting in line when his parents are handing out free money.

 

Of course, we’ll do it. We’ll play the game, because seeing him do the “Uh-huh…oh yeah…I got money” celebratory dance in the morning will be well worth the price. And parenting is so much about doing our best to start off great, realizing that we often miss the mark and then, hopefully, taking a second to notice when a last time is passing by in front of us.

Soccer practice

Like a lot of parents, I spend quite a bit of time driving to, sitting during and driving home from ball practice. I could try to figure out how many hours are spent in this way, but that would be depressing, like when my twin daughters were newborns and I calculated how many diapers I bought their first year. And, anyway, I’m not much into numbers. I’m more of a words person. Sentences are how I quantify and qualify my daily activities. Words are how I decide if the outcome is worth the expense of my time.

 

I believe in practicing something over and over to get better at it. I believe that mastering a skill doesn’t happen overnight. I believe that learning how to work as a team takes time. I believe that hard work builds character. I believe that a coach or teacher or leader deserves respect and that is strengthened through face-to-face interactions. So, in other words, I believe that practice is a good thing.

 

But there are those times…when it’s rainy and dark and I’m hungry and really behind on laundry, and I see the email that practice is cancelled. Ahhhh! Those three beautiful words: Practice is cancelled. I rejoice because I’d rather be home from the hours of 5:00-9:00 pm. I would love to be in my pajamas in front of the television, instead of sitting in my van and checking the clock to see how long I have until I can drive home.

 

And practice is just a part of being a sports mom. There are also games and the preparation involved in going to these games. You have to be sure all of the equipment and uniforms are accounted for, but sometimes the planning fails me. For instance, last year my son had a game 45 minutes away from home. It was 81 degrees at my house, but at the fields we found 22-mph winds and the temperature dropped 20 degrees. Wearing shorts was not the best choice after all. I made myself into a ball—pulling my knees inside my shirt and wrapping my arms around my legs. I may have also turtled my chin and nose inside the collar of my shirt. Yay soccer!

 

I don’t tell my kids the unpleasant truth concerning how I feel about driving them around, because this would make them feel like a burden. Though kids are a burden in the very literal sense—something to carry, a responsibility, an obligation—my four are loads I gladly shoulder. Precious inconveniences. Treasured encumbrances. Cherished disruptions.

 

Running them to practices and sleep-overs and school and doctor’s appointments can get hectic, but what better way to show them how much I care. Do they always appreciate it? No, of course not! Did you appreciate your parents for all they did for you? I doubt it!

 

But I’m grateful for the opportunities to serve them, and let’s face it, you don’t get into the Motherhood Business for the awards and the shout-outs. Even that one special day devoted to us, Mother’s Day, can be a letdown. Serving without any expectations for praise and gratitude seems almost superhuman, but it’s the definition of humility. I’m not always great at it, but I’m trying and being a mom gives me lots of opportunities to hone my humility skills. And you know what they say: “Practice makes perfect!”

Quality Time

When your first baby is actually a set of twins, you figure out pretty quickly that it’s going to be difficult to create one-on-one time with them. At least that was the case for us. We had our twin daughters first, followed by our older son three years later. Then our youngest son came to us nearly 11 years after big brother was born.

 

I was able to have those moments with my boys—grocery shopping trips, bike rides, ordinary weekdays—while their older siblings were in school, but it was different with my daughters. Early on, my husband carved out little outings with them so that they could have solo time with dad. Sometimes he would take them to get ice cream or to look at puppies at the pet store, just an hour basking in his undivided attention. Now that they are all older, and our schedules are color-coded and overlapping and busy, it’s a lot harder. And since our daughters are fully into their senior year of high school, time feels extra precious.

 

That’s part of what made this last weekend so great. My husband and I took one of our daughters on a college visit out of state. It was only a 48-hour trip with about 12 of those hours spent on the road, but it was just the three of us so that made it special. (For those of you who are keeping score and wanting to call us out on preferential treatment of one twin over another, we made a similar trip with our other daughter last year, only it wasn’t as far away so we didn’t have to make overnight accommodations. Sometimes it’s impossible to be fair in all things, but we try. When my kids ask me which of them is my favorite, I always say it’s the one who is emptying the dishwasher.)

 

We took a tour of the campus and filled out paperwork. Even though we didn’t attend this particular university, my husband and I were prompted by familiar sights and sounds to impart some wisdom from the other side of the college experience. We advised our daughter on things like dorm life, class loads, post-high school dating and cafeteria meals. We told her stories from our college days so many years ago and yet still mostly relevant.

 

It took a lot of coordinating with our other kids and help from a friend to get away from all of the commitments back at home, but it was what we needed to do for this daughter at this time, and it filled up this mom’s tank with some good memories to shore me up for next year when she’ll be six hours away.

 

Whether you have kids or not, there is no replacement for good quality time with those precious souls who are most important to you. If you’ve been wavering on going away on a trip with your people—be it best girlfriends or out-of-town cousins or your spouse—let this be your wake-up call. Jump in the car and go, then generously spend your most valuable currency: your time.

No more playing

On Saturday, I helped my husband dismantle the wooden play set our kids no longer use. When we first bought it, a dozen years ago, it was our daughters’ favorite spot. It had swings, monkey bars and a trapeze bar with rings where I showed them how to “skin the cat.” (That’s where you hold on to the rings and flip your feet over your head.)

 

Along with the swing set, there was a little house just a ladder-climb up. It had real glass windows that slid open and close just like the ones at home. There were shingles on the pitched roof and a plastic, green slide you could whiz down for a dramatic exit.

 

The play set survived a move from our original home to a second location. Soon after we moved it to our current backyard, I spent one hot afternoon painting the inside of the little house: the walls in chalkboard paint so they could add their own decorations and the ceiling to look like blue skies with white clouds and the floor to look like different types of rooms—tile for a bathroom, checkered linoleum for a kitchen, carpet for a bedroom, an oval, braided throw rug for a living room. I painted the inside of the door to look like it had a stained glass window design of white birch trees standing in front of distant mountains.

 

You could argue that I loved the play set as much as they did. But time marches on, and now I have three kids in high school. My youngest is still in elementary school, but he hasn’t shown much interest in it in a few years. Instead, his focus is on the soccer goals standing near the play set or the bike in the garage. My kids just stopped paying attention to the play set.

 

If this were a children’s book, the ending would be different. If it were like The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, you would see the play set giving of itself until all that was left was a few rungs of the ladder and a broken tire swing. Since that would make my kids like the boy in the story—selfish and negligent of the needs and feelings of others, I’m okay with it not being that particular story.

 

If I could choose, I would rather it be like The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. In that story, the house is built out in the country. It’s lived in and loved on until the bustling city crowds out the area and the little house is hidden by the train lines and the towering skyscrapers. Just when things look bleakest, the descendants of the original owners jack up the house and place it on a trailer. They drive it out to a new place, farther out in the country where it can be lived in and loved on again.

 

Sentimental as I am, I was hoping someone would do the same for our dear play set, but it was too complicated. Taking it apart is hard enough, but reconstructing it would be even harder. A few people looked at the structure, but no one decided it was worth all the hassle. I can’t blame them—it’s been sitting out, exposed to the elements for a while and it shows, but it was sad to pry up pieces and toss them in the bed of the pickup truck before hauling them to the dump.

 

This is one of those necessary phases of parenting. The fact that they don’t play like they used to has been true for a while, but growth is gradual. When you suddenly realize it’s time to box up the Barbies or give away the train table, their evolution out of childhood becomes more tangible. It breaks my heart a little, but I can say for sure that this deep bout of heartache is absolutely worth the years which preceded it. I wouldn’t trade watching these kids play for anything.

Will it eat me?

When Ezra, our African-born son, first came to America, he was 5-years old. In his first five years, he had developed an understanding of the small square of Congo where he lived, showered, ate and played. Though his world was limited, he was old enough to know what was safe and whom to trust. Then he was flown across the world to a new place with a different language, people, food and customs. He had to relearn so much about this new world.

 

When we would read books to him—books about farms and dinosaurs and pigeons and everything in between—he would point to the animals in the pictures and ask, “Me touch-ee him? He eat-ee me?” Never mind the plot, characters and dialogue. Forget about the story’s underlying morals or comparison to modern life. He wanted to get to the crux of what was displayed on those pages—does that pose a danger to me? Once I had explained that dinosaurs were extinct or that cows were docile creatures which give us ice cream, he was ready for the next page.

 

Having always lived here, my understanding was so different than his. For instance, I took for granted that squirrels posed no threat to my safety, but he needed to be informed and then reassured about those meek, little acorn-gatherers.

 

I came to realize that his first year in America was about a lot of things: attachment to his new family, strengthening his body, consistency in his schedule. But the main thing we did was reassure him. You are safe. You are loved. You are not alone. You can trust us.

 

To watch him now, after more than a thousand days home with us, I see an 8-year old boy who jumps in the deep end and rides his bike downhill and throws his body on the ground to stop a soccer ball when he’s playing in the goal. He still asks a lot about the world around him, but he doesn’t hold as much fear for the unknown. His curiosity can be exhausting, so I have to remind myself that this is how he learns and with knowledge comes a decrease in his worrying.

 

I love the way the Books of Psalms and Proverbs regard knowledge. It’s not about whitewashing the truth or ignoring questions. Knowledge is a powerful tool. “Lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.” (Proverbs 20:15) Or take Psalm 119:65-68 – “Lord, I am overflowing with your blessings, just as you promised.  Now teach me good judgment as well as knowledge. For your laws are my guide. I used to wander off until you punished me; now I closely follow all you say. You are good and do only good; make me follow your lead.”

 

That’s such a big part of parenting: Imparting knowledge that leads to wisdom that guides us to righteous living.