Monthly Archives: August 2015

A Child on a Merry-Go-Round

Understanding Parenthood

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The Best A Parent Can Do (School Begins)

school year beginsSchool begins in less than a week for my children. For many school districts, it is already in full swing, having begun on the 17th, or even the 10th, of August.

Many parents, mothers especially, are thrilled about school starting up again. I have seen numerous posts with humorous photos and quotes about the fact that kids will be heading back to school. They will be looked after for the greater part of the weekdays. They will be educated. They won’t be around to say, “I’m bored.”

But I have mixed feelings about the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Last school year was a challenge for each of my children. As I mentioned in an article for the CAA Newsletter earlier this summer, my two older children brought schoolwork home nearly every afternoon. And they didn’t always finish it.

It was my youngest son’s first year at school, which held its own set of challenges. I spent a few hours at their school on most days, so my son began to expect having me around. When I had to leave each day to attend my own classes, he grew very emotional. A couple of times, he had emotional meltdowns. Once he ran out into the parking lot to say goodbye, when I was still inside the school and had no idea he had gone outside.

Although the summer has been filled with my work-from-home editing projects, it has been wonderful to have the kids at home. Nearby. It’s been fun to read in the evenings (Lord of the Rings with my ten-year-old; the Little House series with my eight-year-old). We’ve enjoyed baking projects, party planning, and camping. We got a puppy and figured out how to house-train her. The summer has flown past.

On the same day my kids start school, I start classes as well. I’ve registered for 20 units, and will also be helping out at the kids’ school part-time, not counting my freelance editing work. Needless to say, our days will grow a lot more packed. Maybe that’s what contributes to my mixed feelings about the upcoming school year. Will I be able to juggle everything and still make time for those things every parent should be able to fit in? Like reading with the kids or taking day trips on the weekend? Will the days be consumed with homework … mine and theirs? Will I grow short-tempered and sharp because my mind is on a myriad of tasks?

Those are some of my concerns, but I know all parents have their unique set of concerns and questions. Kids starting new schools, or leaving home for the first time. Will they make friends? Will they do well in school? Will they have kind teachers?

In spite of the questions, the best we can do is pray. For this school year, yes. For their workload and friendships, for their education and growth.

And also for the future. That each thing they learn, each difficulty they confront, each challenge they face, will be part of what grows them into caring, loving, well-balanced adults. Those who, most of all, love God, love others. Those who know how much they are loved and cherished by us parents, who hardly know how to express it. And by God, who expressed it best in the love of His own Son.

Prayer of a Child at the Start of School

Prayer at the beginning of School

Frederick Buechner on Abortion

Jessica, Two Months Old, Smiling

SPEAKING AGAINST abortion, someone has said, “No one should be denied access to the great feast of life,” to which the rebuttal, obviously enough, is that life isn’t much of a feast for the child born to people who don’t want it or can’t afford it or are one way or another incapable of taking care of it and will one way or another probably end up abusing or abandoning it.

And yet, and yet. Who knows what treasure life may hold for even such a child as that, or what a treasure even such a child as that may grow up to become? To bear a child even under the best of circumstances, or to abort a child even under the worst—the risks are hair-raising either way and the results incalculable.

How would Jesus himself decide, he who is hailed as Lord of Life and yet who says that it is not the ones who, like an abortionist, can kill the body we should fear but the ones who can kill body and soul together the way only the world into which it is born can kill the unloved, unwanted child (Matthew 10:28)?

There is perhaps no better illustration of the truth that in an imperfect world there are no perfect solutions. All we can do, as Luther said, is sin bravely, which is to say (a) know that neither to have the child nor not to have the child is without the possibility of tragic consequences for everybody yet (b) be brave in knowing also that not even that can put us beyond the forgiving love of God.

Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark