Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

A Conversation with My Grandmother

My grandmother is adorable. It’s been a while since my trip to Iowa, but I wanted to share my grandmother’s practical wisdom with you. My grandmother is a faithful servant, but she also has a clear understanding of her humanity and God’s divinity. She is 90-year-old former pastor’s wife with 7 kids, 17 grand kids, and now 21 great grand kids. Her friends told me that even though my grandpa is gone, she is still a faithful pastor’s wife. She regularly goes and visits people in the medical facility at her retirement home even though she herself is on oxygen 24/7 and has to use a motorized scooter to get around.

A couple of times while I was out there, I heard people say, “Now you take care, Hilda.” Her response was always, “That’s about all I can do.” She understands that she can’t do everything she once did even though there is more she would like to do, but she trusts God with the difference. She’s a faithful 90-year-old woman.

While I was there, I decided to ask my grandmother a few questions about life and ministry. This is some of what I learned:

Grandma out of all the places you and Grandpa ministered, which did you enjoy the most?

We like them all.

From talking to her kids who were in town as well, I found out there were extremely difficult situations at some of the churches, but my grandmother genuinely meant that she liked them all. I also found out that at almost everyone they had little to no money. They had seven kids on the salary of the pastor of a small church. At one point, I learned, they lived in the basement of a church member’s house for several months with 7 kids. My grandmother cooked on a camping stove the whole time.

Grandma, with 7 kids in 10 years. were you tired? How did you do that?

I’m sure I was but I didn’t think about it. It was life. There were things I wish I could have done better and times I wished I could have given the kids more but we just did the best with what we had.

She is precious. I love her and am so thankful for her example. May I measure success by my faithfulness and leave the rest to the Lord who has unlimited resources, perfect timing, perfect strength, perfect wisdom, and abundant grace.

Easter with Kids

One thing I love about Jewish Holidays is that they are fun and they are used to teach kids. Enjoying a Passover Seder with the songs, symbolic foods, games and laughter makes me think of Deuteronomy 6. I think as believers, we need to be more purposeful about building meaningful traditions and using holidays to teach truths in a purposeful, fun way.

Here are two great ideas for Easter:

Telling THE Story in a Meaningful Way through an Easter Egg Hunt

Empty Tomb Cookies

Prepare for Easter even if it isn’t with kids. It celebrates THE most meaningful week of all of history.

Noel Piper’s book on traditions is EXCELLENT!

Happy Birthday to my Wonderful Mama!
October 3, 2010, 7:00 am
Filed under: Biblical Femininity, Family, Parenting, role models

You are an amazing woman! You’ve taught me so much over the years and you always managed to make it fun. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have my fair share of discipline, I remember quite a few spankings at your hand, but you helped me approach life and learning with an adventurous spirit and you were always faithful to help me draw connections in what I was learning. You taught me how to read, how to study, how to memorize, how to spell (That one didn’t stick. Sorry.), how to think, how to bake, how to serve and how to teach. You even taught me how to drive when no one else would. You gave us an example of an amazing work ethic and you taught us right from wrong. God has greatly used the following in my life: your care and involvement in my education, making me redo homework even when my teacher didn’t care, and faithfully disciplining me when I was wrong and by so doing teaching me that there are consequences for my actions and that I can’t pick what they are. You did all this and you are still fun to be around!

Happy birthday, Mama. I’m going to plagiarise Paul (Colossians 1) in my prayer for you in the year ahead.

May God fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

I love you!

Sorry to See them Go, Glad to See them Come

I lost a coworker and his family, who are dear friends. They moved some 2,086 miles away. Gunner is a dedicated, hard worker. He is detailed and thinks through things carefully and with wisdom. Who knew one so young could be so wise? He was faithful to the end. While some would want to pack up  and leave the mess behind, he wanted to implement new systems that he had not had time to implement for his benefit in order to help his successor. He literally worked night and day to do so in the weeks leading up to his departure. Gunner finished well.

His wife Cindi always brought joy into the office with her on her visits. She always had a hug and a smile to give and would sit down on my stool and chat (it was usually at the perfect time – the end of a long day. I always ended up leaving time with her encouraged instead of weary.) You might think that with Gunner being so young and so wise that this couple would be austere or aloof, but you would be wrong. They are friendly and refreshingly real. Their sense of reality and truth, their wisdom along with their graciousness, makes them counselors to many. And to top it all off, they are amazing parents. I  have never heard them yell at Judah, but when they speak he knows he is expected to listen and obeys. While I’m sure he is not perfect in this, I have noticed that unlike some children who don’t hear you unless you yell, he hears even a quiet command.

Judah is Judah. He has a great smile. He almost always comes through a window in King Hall into his dad’s office. He very rarely uses a door on the way in. He loves his parents. He is SO excited to see his dad at work. Gunner’s office was always the first stop; my candy jar the second :). I don’t know who will eat the dumdums on my desk any more. He is his parents’ child, not because of the candy, but because of his word choice and thought processes. At four years old he is differentiating between the term lollypop and sucker. He also used reason to discern my age. When his mom asked him how old he thought I was, I thought he would say 88 or 13, instead he replied, “Well, Mama, you are 29, so you (referring to me) must be 27.” He was only a month off :).

I am so sad to see them go, but I am eager to see how the Lord uses them in Kentucky and am excited to see Gunner’s brain back at work in the academic arena. I sometimes wonder if I can remain in jobs with turnover with people. As an RA, I graduated and had to leave everyone; in IBEX all the students left every semester; as a teacher students moved on; and now students and staff leave the college… and then the next group of people comes and the group of believers who you love expands and the group of people you should go visit expands too.

While they will be dearly missed, I am excited to see Dave and Tricia come.

Dave will be filling Gunner’s spot. I’ve worked with Dave and Tricia before, and look forward to getting to know them better in this role. Dave was always an RD who knew how things should function administratively. He was faithful to communicate when things weren’t working, so I could fix them, instead of me finding out months later. I’ve missed Dave’s insightful comments in our staff meetings. The way he views things and clearly communicates them in discussions is very profitable for me. All of the rejoicing when students who lived in his dorm heard they would return was a testimony of his shepherd’s heart. Theater students responded in kind to Tricia’s return. They both love the college and bring a lot to the ministry.

I can’t wait to see how God will work in Kentucky and in California in the next few years.

Adopted Grandparents

Monday I got the news: Hazel H., a dear adopted Grandma, had died. No one had known she was critically ill until Mother’s Day of this year when my brother J went over to drop off flowers.

She was a dear saint, a faithful church member, a loving mother, grandmother, friend, and an amazing house wife. She had a laugh that brought joy and a hug that always welcomed. She could turn fruits and vegetables that grew in her back yard into culinary art. Her canned peaches were a personal favorite. She will be dearly missed.

Hearing about her death made me reflect on how thankful I am to God for relationships within Christian community and to my parents for creating life-long purposeful relationships in our lives. Some people are privileged to have four grandparents. My siblings and I started our lives with three biological grandparents since my dad’s mom passed away before my oldest brother was born. Despite this, my brothers and I grew up rich in grandparents. I had four grandpas and five grandmas growing up. I’m now down to four grandmas.

Here are some aspects of the beauty of adopted grandparents:

  • They are a source of discipleship for both parents and kids. We reaped from the wisdom of those wh0 had lived longer than us. My parents learned about marriage, parenting, and life. Our grandparents were practical examples and helps as they were far away from their parents. Our grandparents also poured into, shaped, and taught us kids as well. They had a natural entry point to do so, even when we were obnoxious teenagers who were defiant toward our parents.
  • Because of our adopted grandparents, we were able to experience the love of a grandparent on an every day life basis, despite having grandparents that lived thousands of miles away. We got to see our biological grandparents every other year or perhaps every year (Especially if we were lucky and were the only girl and the baby – I’ll admit it, I’m spoiled :) ). This also gave my parents the support of grandparents to help in a pinch, even though their parents lived far away.
  • Not only were they a delight and joy for us, but we were also that for them. Adopted grandchildren bring joy to grandparents. In this case, our Grandma’s grandchildren lived overseas, so we had an opportunity to fill in the gap for her like she did for us living thousands of miles away from my grandparents.
  • Community and love between different ages is healthy and good. We often experience age-segregated relationships in America even in our churches. God creates all things well. He could have made us all a bunch of 29-year-olds, but where would be the fun in that. Think of how the different ages bring joy, variety, and can serve one another. It was neat to see how these elderly couples or singles, all of whom attended a church my dad pastored at some point, jumped into community and family life with us. So much so, in fact, that when my mom was in her last days of pregnancy with me I had three grandmothers come for the birth, only one of whom was biological. My Grandma H, loved our family so much, that she flew up to Washington from the Bay Area (which was even more of a big deal 26 years ago) to be there to support my mom and our family. I grew up hearing the story of how while waiting for me to be born Grandma W., Grandma H., and Grandma Hittle were making strawberry jam together when the electricity went out.
    A great example of how the different ages can serve one another is  my brother J’s relationship to and my Grandma H. When he was little Grandma was able to serve my parents and give them a break by watching him. He in turn was served by getting to be with his grandparents and a fun learning environment. He also enjoyed three breakfasts a day: one with my Grandpa before he left for work, one with another resident in their house, and then my Grandma would cook a hot breakfast just for him. After a few weeks of staying with them, my parents got got back their son and then some :). She in turn was served by the joy of having an inquisitive, delightful little boy who loved her. She was also served in later years as J realized she was sick and ensured she was getting the treatment she needed.
  • Traditions are another huge blessings of Adopted Grandparents. We always went to Grandma and Grandpa H’s for Halloween. We would bring donuts and my grandma would make mulled apple cider. This was an important tradition to my parents, since they didn’t want us to participate in Halloween. We would have been at home huddled in the back room with all the lights off to keep trick-or-treaters at bay thinking about what we were missing out on, but instead we looked forward to Halloween as an opportunity to spend time with grandparents.
  • Adopted Grandparents provide opportunities to learn practical and life skills: cooking, cleaning, entertaining, hospitality, maintenance, orchid care, letter writing, carpentry, flooring, paint, hard work, biblical masculinity and femininity, pastoral care, plannings, etc. My brother is a highly skilled contractor and has an incredible green thumb as evidenced by a vibrant vegetable garden and multiplying amaryllus plants in his back yard. I have no doubt that much of this is rooted in his early start at painting, home repairs, remodeling, and gardening with his Grandpa H.
  • Lots and lots of love. They provide the same things as biological grandparents, but instead of having that love and input from four people you can have it from many more :).

I loved Grandma and am so thankful for her example and involvement in all of our lives.

Related Posts:

Benefits of Singles Living with Families

Hanging out with a Friend’s Grandma

Claudia Ketchum

My Blog Reading

I’ve fallen behind on my blog reading, but here are a few things I have enjoyed reading /viewing lately:

Sitting Next to The Voice of the Martyrs

Church Converted into a House

I thought this technical tutorial for “How to Embed a Youtube Video as an Audio Player” could come in handy at some point.

I’m really interested in how to teach, even if it is outside of the classroom. Click on the following links to learn how to teach young children outdoors, in the laundry room,  and in the kitchen.

Teach There Are Consequences
July 10, 2009, 5:38 am
Filed under: Discipleship, Discipline, Parenting, role models, Uncategorized
This post on Randy Alcorn’s blog speaks about the consequences of sexual immorality. He and one of his friends developed personalized lists of  consequences that would result from sexual immorality. The lists act as a deterrent. He writes of their useful, effective nature stating, “The lists were devastating, and to us they spoke more powerfully than any sermon or article on the subject.”
I thought this was an interesting article. It made me think of the most important lesson my parents ever taught me. They taught me a lot. I have amazing teachers for parents, the kind that tell you they want you to redo your homework even when you tell them your teacher doesn’t care and the kind that tell you when you call home your first semester away at college thinking you are failing your classes that it is ok as long as you are learning. They taught me that there were consequences for my actions and that I couldn’t choose the consequences. Parents now-a-days (OK… now I officially sound like a Grandma, when I am only 25) want to save their children from consequences. I understand that; as a teacher it pained me to take away the things my students loved even when they were bad. The problems with saving people from consequences are that consequences are  great deterrents, useful discipline, and a natural part of life. What is the consequence of sticking your hand in a flame? You will get burned. What is the consequence for jumping out of a plane that is hundreds of feet in the air without a shoot? You will die. Often as thick-headed humans, we learn in the school of pain and suffering. You can’t save students from that, and you don’t want to; it is useful. If the consequence of doing all your corrections means you get 5% extra-credit on your test – some students will necessarily learn to do their corrections. Most students, however, learn the hard way. If they know the test will be difficult and not studying will result in an F which will be followed by removal of all cell phone and facebook privileges, they will study. DING DING DING. The parents and the teacher successfully taught the student that there were consequences and by so doing taught the student much more. The student learned the information for the test, their work ethic grew,  they learned how to make choices with positive consequences, and they learned to consider consequences before acting.
My parents taught me consequences in many ways. They allowed me to reap what I sowed. They punished me when I did wrong. They made their expectations clear and there was always a consequence when I didn’t meet them. They were consistent in their punishment. I didn’t control them. When I would throw a temper-tantrum every night before bed. My mom would march me upstairs for a spanking. Every night I would cry and beg and tell her I would never do it again, but every night I got the spanking and I wondered why she didn’t believe me (even though I did it all the time). I learned that I couldn’t control what happened. There was an effect for my actions and I couldn’t always get out of it or undo it. When I hit   and college as an unregenerate sinner, there were many things I wanted to do that were dangerous and sinful. I had no desire to please God and my idolatrous heart was full of wrong lusts and desires. God used my faithful parents to save me from so much sin and baggage before I was a believer. I stayed away from a lot of things because I knew I couldn’t predict or control the outcome and I knew there would be severe, possibly life-long consequences as a result of that choice or action. I praise God that my parents didn’t choose what was convenient or comfortable for them, but rather chose God-glorifying, consistent, faithful, and strenuous discipline, molding, and teaching for both me and my brothers.