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 Sundays...so 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....