Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sabbath Reading - and an epiphany

In our effort to make the Sabbath a delight, a delight that might glorify God and help us enjoy Him forever (see catechism Q.1), we try to read certain books on Sunday afternoons instead of our usual weekday fare of school-related books or fiction, twaddle, etc. We're not legalistic about it, since the words that feed one person's soul might leave anothers hungry.

For instance, today Molly chose "A Child's Garden of Verses". Not exactly a theological treatise, but she said the poetry makes her feel close to God (and it is her mother's favorite poet.) I'm not one to argue (cough:cough:gag),and she also had an Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Story book in her hands, so I sent her off to her Sabbath Rest Reading with my approval.

Mary-Faith is reading The Holiness of God for her summer school reading, so I could hardly object to her using a Sunday afternoon for "academics".

Daniel always naps with me (he thinks this is a privilege, but I know he will fall asleep next to my warm, flabby body vs. being kept awake by his noise-making brothers in the Boys Dorm.) He's reading Prince Caspian (again...) This would not be soul-feeding to me, but he struggles to read anything at all, so again ...I'm not complaining (yet.)

Justin sleeps every Sunday afternoon. The whole two hours. He says his soul needs rest more than literature. He is the most phlegmatic child In.The.World.

Alex, who is a great reader, listens to tapes on Sundays because he says reading makes him sleepy (which I need to remind him, is a perfectly acceptable and even highly recommended Sabbath activity.) Today he listened to some Adventures in Odyssey bible tapes.

Andrew, who should be watched like a hawk at all times, chose Hank the Cowdog for his Sabbath reading. At best, an amoral book. And that's being gracious. Hank can at times be disrespectful and rude (and is absolutely hilarious!)

When confronted about the inappropriateness of his choice, Andrew responded, "I also read Click, Cow, Moo: Cows that Type - which we got from ChickFilA, which is closed on I thought it would be OK." He may be deceptive, but he should get some credit for thinking on his feet.

Winston did origami in his bed today instead of reading. He didn't even try to make up an excuse. He's at that 16yo age where he'd rather just take some reprimanding than use the energy to defend himself.

All that prelude just to prove that my choice for today wasn't so bad. I've been reading "Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning", by Douglas Wilson, in preparation for the kids to take classes at a local classical school.

It's overdue so I couldn't renew it online, and I'm feverishly trying to finish it up before Monday. While reading into the wee hours last night, I came to a chapter called "The Student in Adam", which I purposely saved for my reading time today.

I was feeling a bit hypocritical, perhaps stretching my logic a bit to justify my choice - but I feel redeemed because the chapter contains many soul-instructing pieces like this (if you put 'parent' in place of 'teacher', and your children's names in place of 'student' it will make more sense):

"...each child still bears the imago Dei, the image of God. That image has been marred and defaced through sin and must be restored in Christ, but it still remains. Although students are sinners, desperately in need of the grace of God, they have true dignity. J.C.Ryle addressed both aspects of man well when he said, 'We can acknowledge that man has all the marks of a majestic temple about him - a temple in which God once dwelt, but a temple which is now in utter ruins - a temple in which a shattered window here, and a doorway there, and a column there, still give some faint idea of the magnificence of the original design, but a temple which from end to end has lost its glory and fallen from its high estate.'

"This Christian perspective of man as a transgressor against the law of God does not destroy the concept of human dignity. Because man is fully responsible in his rebellion, he is treated as a person. His personhood and dignity are gifts to him from God and are to be respected. In education, the teacher must maintain, at all times, this respect for the student. For example, humiliating discipline should not be applied in front of the other students. Name calling should not be done at all. The discipline is to be administered privately. The student belongs to a sinful, fallen race, but the teacher came from that same race, and they both bear the image of God."

While I'm glad the teachers at the classical school have been required to read this book, the passage spoke to me as a parent. I confess - I don't think about my kids bearing the image of God and my need to respect them for that particular reason.

Brite, Shepherd, Jacqueline, Hunter, Winston, Mary-Faith, Justin, Alex, Andrew, Molly Grace, and Daniel .....and their parents, Temples of God - made in His image,
to be respected and treated with dignity in all our dealings - even during this slow walk towards sanctification. And only accomplished through the grace of God.

Hoping this new insight makes a difference in the way I view my family, warts and all....



jax said...

Good post, Mom -- around our house we have been trying to limit our music choices on Sunday to classical or Christian, + it's bleeding over onto Monday + through the week, too! It's reminding me how much great music ISN'T played on the radio.
I wonder if "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" would pass your (non-legalistic) Sunday reading test? Baby Jesus was breastfed!

The Princess MOM said...

Well, I guess since you're carrying my much anticipated and longed for can read pretty much anything you want.
Andrew would suggest any Click, Clack, Moo books to be read to Nathan, Jr (it's growing on me...Although I think William Bradley has a nice ring to it. He could be a JR and be called BJ. Letter names are macho.

I like your idea of only certain music on the Sabbath. Would that include the Gospel Greats on the way home from church? (I hope not.)

sally said...

Thank you, Debbie......lovely, thought-provoking, and points me to God's perspective rather than my own (which has proven to be pitifully and woefully void of merit). My Sabbath reading consisted of the Tallahassee Democrat (which, I MUST add, we DO NOT subscribe to, but inherit from our neighbors pretty much for the comics). It's time, not only to think about school starting, but to evaluate our focus! And to remember how valuable we and our children are in God's eyes. Thank you for the very sweet reminder!

Davene said...

A few comments...

First, I like having your reading list at the top of your page, rather than along the side. Having it in such a skinny area and trying to read it like that was personally driving me nuts. Since I never told you that, I'm sure you didn't change it just for me...but anyway, I'm glad it's different now. :)

Second, it's funny to look at your archives list and see 1 or 2 or a few posts for each month...except May. Boom--there's 31! How did that get there? Hmmm...obviously you're not posting every day in about every other day in September? :)

Third, I enjoyed seeing a glimpse of Sunday afternoon for each of your children. It captures a moment and allows us a peek into your life. Plus, it's hilarious to see how different your children are from each other.

Fourth, thanks for this reminder about the image of God in each of us--parent and child alike. I need to remember that more.

Kaluha Keeping Koala said...

If sarcasm transmitted over the WWW I'd say something like...
Gee. Thanks.
Since sarcasm doesn't transmit...
Thank you for saying what's been on my heart all day.

Meg in Tally said...

Hey Princess! You should have heard my sweet DD trying to justify why it's okay to listen to country music at home or in the car--but it's not okay to listen to in the church Youth House. I finally told her to give it up 'cause it didn't wash!! LOL!!

I liked your Sabbath post. I always get the rest part...I'm working on the other stuff.

BTW, you've been tagged over at the Lonesome Pine. Check it will give you a topic to blog on...
as if you need one!

Meg in Tally said...

So what's wrong with the Gospel Greats?????

lea said...

and to think that i was prepared to read that your epiphany was about NOT STEALING MY BLOG READERS. but no.... and now i can't even chastise you in front of everyone else after reading the whole passage about you being made in the image of God.

well, we are all back from washington... and now after 2 weeks of camp and a week in d.c., i have entered into wash-a-ton time myself.

oh, that is funny. i think i have to write a blog about that from washington to wash-a-ton.....

Kelley said...

Thanks for the great ideas on how to keep Sundays set apart from the rest of the week. This has been a recent conviction of mine so your post has helped solidify what I think the Holy Spirit is bringing to my attention. Thanks...

Laura said...

I too like your Sunday afternoon tradition. I'll have to see if we can work into something like that in my home. The author is certainly reflecting the thoughts of my heart of late (not unlike Kahlua's). Who am I to be so harsh with these precious persons when they are no different than I am/was? I really enjoyed the peek into your family life. Blessings to you.

Lori said...

Hi Debbie,

I've tried sending you the following email a couple of times but it keeps getting bounced back to me. I thought I would just post it on your blog. I have been lurking awhile and even have your blog subscribed as a feed, so it's about time I post a comment anyway...

Hi Debbie,
Thank you again for coming and speaking to us ladies about training children to work earlier this summer. Everyone enjoyed your talk and the fruits of your advice are becoming apparent in more than one home.

The authors of one of the books you recommended to us are coming to First Baptist Church, and I wanted to invite you and your family to attend their seminar. Below is the information that was posted in our church bulletin...

Parenting Seminar
Overcoming Bad Attitudes: A Practical, Heart-Based Approach
Presented by Dr. Scott Turnasky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN
Thursday, August 21, 2008, 6:45pm - 8:30pm, Sanctuary
This seminar is part of the National Center for Biblical Parenting and is for parents of children ages 2-18. You will learn practical ideas to help you address the hearts of your kids. This seminar is entertaining, encouraging and life-changing. Bring the whole family! Children through age 12 will learn in fun and exciting ways how they can enhance family life. To register call 222-5470 x510.

Prior to the seminar, there will be a dinner from 5:45 pm - 6:30 pm. The cost for dinner is $2 for 2-year-olds through 5th grade and $4 for older kids and adults. (You know how Baptists can't do anything if food isn't involved.)

If you are interested, you can call the number above to reach our Children's Minister, Rhonda Smith. She will need the names of the adults, number and ages of children attending, and whether you will be there for the dinner also.

You seem to have all of this parenting stuff down cold, but I thought you might enjoy seeing these authors in the flesh.

Lori Bouck

mamajil said...

Princess Deb,
As usual I enjoyed your post!!
your epiphany left me thinking!