“A woman I used to work with would give her baby an ink pen to play with. Really? An ink pen?” My friend was trying to excuse the fact that I had just given my 8 month old a Q-tip to ‘study.’ It didn’t help–earlier in the day, in a desperate effort to tame the wild beast who crawls around on all fours rocking my world, I had given her not one ink pen, but two. Two ink pens. And I had silently prayed these two ink pens would fascinate her just long enough for me to educate the kids on world geography and the shape of continents. Which by the way, my 9 year-old son, do NOT resemble hockey equipment. Nor, my six year old daughter, is our entire globe comprised only of major cities contending in the Stanley cup.
I don’t even like hockey. How has their mind been so corrupted?
I like coffee and quiet mornings and a clean house. I like good conversation and poetry and literature. I love long runs in low-altitude places, but have learned to embrace short spurts in high altitude home. I love books over movies, coffee over water, solitude over chaos, sunshine over rain, and sweaters over shorts. Well, not really over shorts because no one’s shirts should resemble a dress unless it is a tunic and there are leggings poking out underneath.
Please someone tell me how it is that NONE of my FIVE children value the same.
As we sat around our ever-growing table yesterday and tried to hammer out the rhythm of a new school year all I could think is, “Why do I do this again? Why can’t I seem to be able to send them to school away from home? How are we going to make it? Did the baby just shove that ink pen up her nose?”
In all His sweet mercy time did not stand still yesterday and two o’clock rolled around sooner that usual and we accomplished 75% of our work load and I didn’t even get to work with one of the four children. I was convinced I had set myself up for epic failure this year and that I might even be ruining future of these ever-lovin’-hockey-children. I had almost geared myself up for the second go-round the next morning when one of my sons came to announce my oldest son was standing on the hood of our neighbor’s car with his friend because the owner had said it was alright. And I realized….
Everything the studies say are true. Teenagers suffer from brain damage due to the incomplete connection between their frontal lobe and the rest of their brain.
Weirdly enough, the pressure to perform lifted from my shoulders and I remembered–this is about more than IQ and GPA. Those things point toward my performance and how well I am doing. Instead, this crazy chaotic life we choose each day is about raising up young men and women who can think logically, choose wisely, respond compassionately, and love graciously.
And when they can’t do any of the above, that they receive correction respectfully. As my car-hopping son walked through the door, I jumped off the couch and chased him through the hall down toward his bedroom, swatting at his backside while reciting the study and findings of scientists concerning TBD (teenager-brain-damage). “What were you thinking?”
“I wasn’t,” he replied.
Thank you God, I’ve taught him honesty.
Then I remembered. How many things have I done in life without thinking? How many selfish decisions have I made without concern for others? How many consequences have I endured because I failed to think ahead?
Does that stop as adults? What is my excuse considering the fact my frontal cortex is totally attached the rest of my brain, so what is my excuse?
So as the days that ensue try to wear me down and out, may I remember not to lose patience. Not to value performance over investment. Not to neglect spiritual formation and discipleship for impressive electives like Art History or Latin (the only way I will ever be able to introduce Latin in this house is if the NHL renames their teams according to scientific classification and the Maple Leafs become the Acer Griseums.)
Although if my children continue to have inappropriate relationships with our neighbors’ vehicles, I may be introducing Auto Body & Mechanics.
Here’s to another year of educating unconnected brains.