Archive for September, 2014

Behind the Window

Buying a new car is one of those things that always evokes mixed emotions is all of us.  There are those of us who get excited and can’t wait to enter into the dance of negotiations and those of us who utterly despise the very thought of walking onto the new car tarmac and dealing with all the gamesmanship of purchasing a car.

I for one find myself somewhere in the middle.  I enjoy the hunt, I enjoy the new car smells, and the discovery of the new inventions released for our “driving pleasure”.

I recently went through this experience when the lease on my wife’s car came to a close and we decided we were no longer going to lease but purchase a brand new Subaru.

We decided to do our due diligence and visit the dealer without the added input of a sales person.  Thus we went to the nearest, and I might add only, Subaru dealership in our town on a Sunday afternoon when they were closed.

This gave us the opportunity to see what inventory they had and to review each new model, at least from the outside, to see if it “tickled our fancy”.

I was doing well with the base offering in each model, but I began to experience something I did not expect when I started to look into the windows of the more appointed vehicles.

I could not read the window sticker through the tinted glass!

This was very frustrating.  I could not tell what was standard equipment and what beyond the basic offering was built into this car.  I couldn’t tell if it had premium sound, or navigation, or even what the price was.

I was going to have to come back when a sales person was available to see what I wanted or needed to see.  I was going to have to take the risk and put some personal interaction into the search.

It seems to me raising children is a lot like buying a car.  When we aren’t willing to take a risk and invest some personal interaction into the process, we are doing little more than looking through that tinted window at the sticker.

We understand our children only from the perspective anyone else in the world might understand them.  All children generally follow the same physical growth patterns and trod the same emotional path to adulthood.  They are precious as babies, cute as toddlers, obnoxious as pre teens, unpredictable as teens, and then they leave home.

Many parents today are satisfied to take this “looking through a glass darkly” approach to parenthood and as a result forfeit much of the influence they are given to the ways of society in general.  They really don’t see the hidden talents their children were knit together with in the womb.

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, commonly referred to as “the love chapter”, the bible states:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. KJV

In the Greek, the word for see is Blepo (Strong 991), to see, discern, of the bodily eye.  the word for darkly is Ainigma (Strong 135), an obscure thing.

Literally to perceive or look closely in an abstract or obscure sense.  As if from a distance.

Then we address face to face:  In the Greek face is Prosopon (Strong 4383) the front (as being towards view), i.e. the countenance, aspect, appearance, surface; by implication, presence. And the word known is Ginosko (Strong 1097), to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel

So by looking through a glass darkly we perceive our children and know them from a distance.

But when we go to the last part of the verse, the word used is Epiginosko (Strong 1921) which is translated: to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly.

Thus in relation to parenting our children we are encouraged to go beyond the tinted glass and interact with our children so as to become thoroughly acquainted with and know them thoroughly.

Ask any parent of a special needs child, myself included, you have to go behind the glass, but when you do, the treasures abound.  Some are found easily, others take work.

Sometimes only thorough the spiritual hand of God is that revelation made possible.

En servicio como Padre

Dave

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Lessons from Cracker Jacks

I was recently contemplating the past, something I find myself doing more and more as I get older, when the thought of something exciting returned from my childhood.

Cracker Jacks!

Yes, we still see Cracker Jacks today on the shelves of our grocery stores.  Now mostly in bags, not boxes.  Shiny mylar bags with high definition pictures of the molasses candy covered popcorn and peanuts contained within.  Even the familiar Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo graces the bag.  Not much has changed from what I remember from my youth.

One thing, however, is missing.  Well, more than one thing, but one thing stands out more than any of the others.  It is called Discovery.

Growing up in a poor family with seven other siblings, it was not a common occurrence when we had the luxury of receiving a box of Cracker Jacks.

As I recall, the boxes Cracker Jacks were packaged in, were particularly difficult to break into.

First there was the outer covering of the box.  It was composed of a very fine layer that was printed with pictures of the familiar candy, the picture of Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo, and the red and white banner clearly displaying the Cracker Jacks logo.

Then there was the box that was composed of thin cardboard infused with some kind of wax substance that was near impenetrable.

But the coups de gras was the blue circle with the words printed in bold white “Surprise Inside”.

We would tear into the box with utter abandon.  Sometimes with the help of a pocket knife or one side of a pair of scissors.

We would explore for a weakness in the defenses created by that packaging.  Once discovered, we would tear open the top of the box, careful not to spill any of the precious candy, probing for the small envelope that contained that toy treasure.

What would it be?  A decoder ring, by which we might intercept a secret message from a Russian spy and save the whole of the United States, if not the world, from certain destruction.  Would it be a whistle that would mysteriously disappear at night after a day of chasing my sisters around the house blowing it in their ears.  Maybe, a plastic figure of a soldier or a baseball player, which we would imagine was in honor of our prowess on the field of battle or the ball field.

Each box was seemingly different and always new, to us.

The discovery of a prize inside was just the beginning.  It continued as our minds were opened to the myriad of possibilities contained in our imaginations.

Today the “Surprise Inside” has been replaced with paper prizes displaying riddles and jokes.  Many times pointing the finder to a web page or iPhone app where creativity is kept tightly wrapped in a box with impenetrable wax like coating.

Fathers, we need to become a modern day Sailor Jack with his dog Bingo for our children.  Not by sitting down our six year old with an iPad, but by interacting with them in play aimed at opening that box and the door to discovery.

Where is that “Surprise Inside”?

 

En Servicio Como Padre

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