Let them choose to be OURS

My response to this article that came to me via Facebook, on an issue that continues to burden my heart.
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Are children suffering from identity issues in our country? Yes. Are they confused, troubled and in fear of rejection? Many are, yes. Is it all about being homosexual? A most profound NO. The struggle for identity has been our burden for thousands of years, and it only seems that each generation has a new take on it.
 
My son identified himself as “Rabbit” this morning, from Winnie the Pooh. He might go on pretending to be rabbit for several months even! Is there a problem? Was he “misassigned” as a baby and is really a rabbit? I know I’m oversimplifying, but not from ignorance, rather, I know what it’s like to have faced childhood experiences that severely damaged my sexuality and caused me to struggle with what society now calls “gender identity”. But what my mom did for me was to affirm my femininity and womanhood and my identity as her daughter, and a daughter of God. This wasn’t in conflict or agreement with “gender”, it when beyond the changeable, malleable externals and spoke to my heart.
 
Children need us to speak to their HEARTS, to put aside the external “choices” and issues they will undoubtedly face long enough to assure them that they are OUR children. They are a part of a COMMUNITY that LOVES them no matter what. THAT resolves all identity issues, from struggling as an immigrant in a new country with a new religion, to gender, to abuse. We need to give our children the choice to be OURS.
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Making Culture

In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch writes that ” In cultural creativity, innocence is not a virtue.” 

This is a constant challenge for modern Christians who want to make new culture, but refuse to immerse themselves enough in the existing cultures to understand them. Crouch’s point is the more nitty gritty details we know about our world the more powerful our creations will be. 

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One of my own biggest criticisms of Christian culture in America, and Crouch agrees, is the pitiful efforts at responding to Hollywood with culturally barren films. They are getting a little better through the years but they are still failing to enter the mainstream audience of our country.  Rarely do such efforts by Christian groups seek to cultivate the existing parts of a culture, like movie making, with an eye to preserve what is already good. The art of good acting, for example, which takes thousands of hours to perfect.  The beauty of a well shot scene developed through even more countless hours of understanding light, motion and sound.  Or perhaps a kind of storytelling, often used to convey all sorts of messages with great success but passed off by a Christian director because it’s “secular”.

We often think that innocence is a virtue to be prized and protected, but we have mistaken righteousness for innocence, those are two different things.  “Be holy” says the man who ate dinner with prostitutes, thieves, atheists and homosexuals.  True righteousness is not what we make but what God makes of us. Innocence is ignorance.  Some kinds of ignorance are good and healthy, such as that in the development of a young child.  But if we are truly going to change culture, we must get our hands dirty.  In trying to preserve what was never ours to determine, what is holiness and righteousness, we have neglected our role as keepers and makers of culture.

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In this statue commemorating the child who was never born, I grieve the loss of generations of children who are lost because of our failure to engage culture in a way that captured their hearts with the beauty of goodness, the adventure of creating with the Creator, and the inspiration of true freedom.

Perhaps we should take a note from Mr. Wilde and decided to “draw”.

Homeschooling at three

This has got to be one of the funniest and most fun parts of my day. My son is only three but gosh what a perfect time to fill his little world. It’s slow and gradual, he has a schedule but HE doesn’t know it. To him it’s just a bit of work that’s sometimes frustrating but most of the time GREAT! Here’s what we do for writing every other day which are reading/writing/art/music days!

First, I turned art into writing practice. We started with circles, lots of circles 🙂

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A few days of circles and he started noticing other things which are made of circles! He let me guide his hand while drawing a toy train, starting with the wheels of course.

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The scribble is his little sister’s addition. She sits and reads her books or draws her own scribbles next to us, and when it’s Sammy’s turn to do it all by himself she let’s me teach her to draw.

While we drew the train I told him about lines and squares and other shapes he knows, combining auditory with visual and physical learning. The plan is to lead him to straight and angled lines next. The circles are just becoming second nature. But, to keep it interesting, I added numbers and control. Sounds complicated but take a look!

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I did the first circles in pen (mine need work too haha) he had to draw IN the first circle, ON the second circle, and outside the third circle. This kind of came to me as we worked but it turned out great. He had to led me guide his hand to help the muscle memory but can then go to town with just verbal help! I feel like I’m getting all academic on ya but this was a lot of fun for both of us. You don’t freak out if he does it wrong, he’s three!

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Here’s a veggie tales character he wanted me to draw and then he added the embellishment. See the circles?

The trick is taking advantage of when he is really wanting to learn and have help and then knowing when to back off and let him try. I don’t get it right all the time and we both have our moments. But, this is our second week and he is learning so much.  The alphabet is just circles and lines, so is art! 

The last thing we do, that I don’t have pictures of, is actual letters.  They are big, messy and we do them together and separately. Eventually he’ll have enough interest that I can take him up to the volleyball sand pit to draw and write. Now it’s time to turn on some Beethoven for listening time. Even an hour a day of classical music in the background helps all those little brain juices 🙂

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Schubert is Samuels favorite. (Schubert is technically Romantic for all you music buffs).