The Fruit of our Labors

July 18th, 2016

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise” Proverbs 11:30

Yesterday I had the joy of attending the graduation party of my son’s childhood buddy. We gathered together at his church, ate food, watched as his parents prayed over him and celebrated his successful completion of a rigorous home education. He will attend a fine university in the fall, after a month long mission trip to India.

We were, and are, so very proud of him and his parents.

Jon is a gentle, humble and very kind young man. He is inquisitive and polite. He desires to follow Christ and serve Him with all of his heart, mind and soul. His parents have every right to be proud, and at the same time humbled, because they know that the course they set some 18 years ago to raise Jon in the ways of God was God’s idea in the first place. Because they were obedient, and steadfast, and persistent, God has brought fruit to the labor. There is great reason to rejoice.

And they are not alone.

Surrounding Jon were literally dozens of young adults and children. All were homeschooled and are on the path that Jon has walked. I watched as they celebrated together. I watched them coordinate an Ultimate Frisbee game of some 45 kids. I was amazed to see them all stop, run into the church and in ten minutes clean the gym, put away tables and chairs for some 150 people in attendance, all without a complaint. Then they were fast at the game again! How often do you see that at a public school event?

In a day when the news is full of the fruit of failed social programs, hostility to the family and marriage, loudly braying commentators shilling the newest politically correct trend, it was refreshing to see God at work in real lives, in the future and in our world…all in the lives of kids who have parents who care enough to love and obey God’s call.

I praise God my kids were right there in the middle of them!

Today, if the challenge of rearing your children in the Lord is feeling overwhelming, or if you are thinking that your call to homeschool is so far outside of your abilities that it is hopeless, do not fear. Instead lift up your eyes and see that the fruit of your labors will be fruit that brings joy to the Lord and to your family. Just stick with it, and give the Lord time. The end result is SO worth it!

He is good, all the time!

Looking back over the years,

The Homeschooling Dad

Walk the Woods Together

October 19th, 2015



Generational faithfulness is the product of godly good intentions, and the surrender of a man’s heart fully to the Lord Jesus brings with it God’s promise of blessing. A disciplined life and a keen awareness of one’s own sin can lead to a sanctified life that bears fruit for many generations. How we live today, Dad, will have consequences to our children’s children. God is sovereign and His ways are above our ways, full of mercies and grace that are beyond all comprehension.

My father, 83 and a double leg amputee since he was nine, passed away in 2009. My mom, now 79, is suffering the onset of memory loss. Both have grown more child-like as the ravages of age set in. I am caught between being a child who once depended upon my parents and becoming the caretaker and means of mercy for my parent. I confess I do not feel up to the task.

For many dads this is our experience. For some of us our memories of our parents are full of visions of faith lived out as they loved and guided us. For others, we recall that mom or dad had no faith in God, and we are concerned now about eternity for them. All of us long for the love of our parents.

A subscriber to my blog recently shared with me this verse that he wrote for his dad. His words ring with hope for our unbelieving parents in a way that I had never considered. They also speak to living life in relationship with our children, because fifty years from now the child will long for the days of being with Dad. What we do today as a dad will last in the life of our children. Be wise Dad!

This is what this kind and tender man shared, and it is worthy of your consideration.

“As we see my Dad steadily fade with Alzheimer's, there has been lots of time to think of his life and legacy. Never a follower of Christ (although now we think possessing a child-like faith, as per below), he nevertheless invested in us as he knew best, and we see some of those choices echoing in subsequent generations”.





Walk the Woods Together


A hundred year-old farmhouse, five miles out of town,
you bought when the owners moved away
A place to raise your growing family – three boys, then a girl –
in the shade of stately maple trees

Nearly fifty acres, a green and peaceful place,
hills and vale and hayfields gone to seed
Meadowlarks and redwing blackbirds, toads and snakes to hold
Days of adventure yet to see

Kids, let's go and walk the woods together,
The beech and maple, apple orchard, the hemlock climbing tree.
We'll pack a lunch and have a picnic in the special place
Come outside and walk the woods with me

Your children grew to love this land; in time the grandkids too,
for visits meant a walk outside again.
Learn to use a chainsaw, help to fell and limb some trees,
and ride the wagon hauling firewood in

Let's go out and walk the woods together,
The beech and maple, apple orchard, the hemlock climbing tree
Learn to see and hear the simple beauty all around
Come and walk in Grandpa's woods with me

The years exact their costly toll, strong steps grow small and weak;
Your woods you only glimpse from a window.
But as you slumber, come outside beneath the spreading trees,
and in your dreams come walk again with me.

Dad, let's go and walk the woods together,
The beech and maple, apple orchard, the hemlock climbing tree,
The trails you cleared, the glades you planted, now all towering trees,
Come again and walk the woods with me.

There is a path to freedom many grownups will not take,
But some receive the gift of second childhood.
So take our hands, and hear Him calling, "Children, follow me"
and find the trail you've always longed to see.

Dad, let's go and walk the woods together,
The beech and maple, apple orchard, the hemlock climbing tree,
The trails you cleared, the glades you planted, now all towering trees,
Come again and walk the woods with me.

Dad, come again and walk the woods with me.

(C)2015 Brian Karl Richards

Encouraging you to live your days well,

The Homeschooling Dad

The Princess Follies

October 11th, 2015


It is the intent of every post I make to encourage dads to walk in a manner that will bring about generational faithfulness to God and create adult children who are a blessing to parents and society.

I also endeavor to be direct.

In today’s world of excruciatingly delicate phraseology and neurotic concern to avoid offense, it is sometimes very difficult to avoid sounding a bit critical. So if I do (and likely will) in this post, please understand that sometimes it takes speaking the truth for the love to be shown.

So here we go.

It was reported to me today by a very reliable source that in a classroom of sixteen first graders, seven of whom are girls, thirteen students spent the entire day blatantly refusing to follow any classroom behavior rules, attend to work, or even line up for lunch. One little girl stood on a desk and defiantly said “I won’t and I want my break, now!” when instructed to return to her seat. Boys flatly ignored as many as eight directives to return to assigned projects. One said “I have trouble hearing”. Not so. He can hear fine. He doesn’t listen.
My blood boiled.

This school is in one of the nation’s most affluent states. Some 21 thousand dollars are spent on every student in the state annually. The school is not a troubled school, by the definition we often use. The children have all attended pre-school and kindergarten, so there is no reason to expect that they have not been exposed to the conventions of school.

Much hay is made criticizing public school teachers, and some criticism is warranted. But this kind of behavior is not the fault of the teacher, or the system.

This behavior is the direct result of parental failure.





I call it the Princess Follies.

Parents have bought the line that every child should be a winner, and that their child should be the most successful winner. No one is to challenge that premise or its application in the life of the child, particularly adults. In this upside-down belief system to be a winner requires nothing of the child as far as effort, expertise or productivity. Rather, all they have to do is “be themselves” and demand that every other human being meet their every whim and desire. By participating in the Princess Follies, parents are not only cheating their child of real success, they are creating a class of adults who will certainly fail morally, economically and spiritually when reality and crisis thwart their fantasy world.

Why do parents do this?

I honestly think it is laziness and lack of personal self-control. It is far easier to give little Petunia or Arnold everything they want, allowing them to amuse themselves into adulthood instead of engaging with them, guiding them, teaching them, disciplining them, addressing weaknesses and sinful behaviors.

That requires moral fortitude and a fundamental understanding that a child must be guided, directed and corrected, regularly, if that child will ever hope to be a productive member of society.

Dad, if you haven’t noticed (put down Sports Illustrated for a second, ok) society is teetering on the precipice. It is time for you to stop playing the Princess Follies and begin to engage your children with love, respect, discipline and correction, setting godly goals for yourself and for them. The place that society will be healed is in the family, and buddy, YOU are the guy called to do it in your family!

Do it for every suffering shopper in the supermarket. Do it for those teachers who really do care and want to teach your children so that they can become productive citizens. Do it to create voters who will vote on principle, not on popularity or potential personal benefit. Do it to turn your family around and set a path toward glorifying God.

That is your purpose, you know. So get at it!

In that admonition there is hope, and in hope there is encouragement.

Unapologetically encouraging you to man up and lead,

The Homeschooling Dad

PS: Download the Free Book of Dreams on the website for help in getting started. No cost, no follow-up emails, no cookies, just a free book.

D.A.D.D.(Y): Dad’s Against Daughters Dating (YOU) and other Fatherly Sentiments

September 27, 2015




Since my son has gone to Colorado, I have noted that I am the vastly outnumbered gender here in my home. Now that is not a bad thing, just different.

In fact, in many ways it is a good thing.

In the last several weeks I have noticed that I am a bit less grumpy and a bit more willing to listen. Maybe it is the gentle femininity surrounding me, but I really do think that maybe I am softening a bit. But only on the inside!

For example, today my oldest daughter decided to wear a Brookes Brothers skirt, sweater and blouse I had bought her last year. She only wore it once then set it aside. Today she wore it to church and she looked…well…stunning. All grown up, lady-like and proper,and well, that brought a sudden flare of “uh-oh” to this DADDY mind. Of course I complimented her, showing my soft side, but I did not let her see the other “DADD bites young man” side.

But it was there!

I have a T-Shirt with the DADD logo on it, and we add the Y, because I am not against my daughter’s dating (sometime when they are about 28), it is just that there are certain YOU’s that I am concerned about. You see, my daughters are my daughters, not anyone else’s. So how they are treated, respected, cherished and protected is of great importance to me
.
I often tell them that every young man who desires a date must first talk to me. They beg me to not be cleaning a gun or sharpening a knife when he comes to talk, and I will respect that. Unless he is the wrong kind of guy. It will be a very bad day for the wrong kind of guy, I assure you.

So what is the right kind of guy?

And why am I writing about it to other dad’s?

The right kind of guy will be confident, but humble. He need not be perfect, or even totally mature. But he must be respectful, self-sacrificial, and he must recognize that until he places a ring on her finger at the altar, she is mine, not his, no matter what he may think. He will be a lover of Jesus, first and foremost, and he must be self-controlled. It will not go well if he is a kiss-up. But if he is genuine, and he proves his trustworthiness, that will do him well.

I will be looking at how he treats his parents, especially his mom. I will look at how his mom and dad treat each other, because they will have been the model of marriage he will imprint upon. I will be watching to see how he fits in a family setting, and how he respects the siblings in my home. I will watch to see that he is willing to be a part of a family, and not overly desiring to be “alone” with his interest. I will watch him to see if he works and if he saves and if he has goals. I will watch him pray, and I will ask him how his relationship with Jesus is going, and I expect an answer. I expect him to be able to carry on a conversation without using his keyboard, and I expect him to be informed, growing in discernment and aware of the days in which he is living. I expect him to love learning. Lazy, moody, rebellious and insolent need not apply. Lastly, I will be watching to see if he has a vision for family…being a man who can lead and who can protect, nurture and husband my daughter.

Right now I am thinking about a dad with a son still in the home. He has hopes that his son will grow to be a man, marry and be faithful to God and his wife every day of his life.

I am praying for that Dad.

I am praying he will live his own life with integrity and faith in Jesus. I pray he will be strong and soft, and that he will love his wife sacrificially. I pray he will be teaching his son to become a man, full of self-control, humility, faith, curiosity, gentleness, courage, and a firm desire to work. I pray that Dad will be teaching his son not only how to think well, but to speak well, learn well, and to take his place among real men. I pray that dad will have a vision for generational faithfulness to the Lord God.
You see, the young man who someday may come calling here may be your son.

So DADD to Dad, let me encourage you to raise your sons to be men of God. Because there are daughters of God out there who are waiting for them to lead, love and sacrifice themselves.

And someday (years from now!!!!) one of those daughters may be my own.

Prepare him well, dad,

The Homeschooling Dad

Be There by Blythe Freshwater

September 13th, 2015

My name is Blythe, and I am Parker Freshwater's oldest daughter, writing as a guest blogger. Several nights ago, my siblings, some friends, and I watched the 2014 movie Interstellar. In this futuristic movie, global crop blight was slowly rendering Earth uninhabitable. Former NASA pilot Cooper was an engineer/astronaut who had been reduced to farming to stay alive. A brilliant NASA physicist asked him to take a chance to travel across the galaxy to find out which planets could be mankind's new home.


Be there for your kids



Cooper had to decide between seeing his children again and the future of the human race. In a heroic move, Cooper decided to pilot a spaceship through a wormhole to save the world. In doing so, he chose to leave behind his ten-year-old daughter and his sixteen-year-old son.

As Cooper and the Endurance neared different galaxies, black holes, and other planets, the gravitational pulls affected the relativity of time. At the end of the 2 and a half hour movie, Cooper finally discovered how to save the world. Returning to Earth, Cooper thought he had
been only gone for 3-10 years.

He is thrilled that he has not aged much, but he is dismayed to find that while he was gone, his daughter had lived her entire life due to the time continuum rip.

He had been gone for over 90 years.

His daughter was 100. His son was dead.

Throughout the whole movie, I wrestled with the subtlety of the values portrayed. While Cooper’s move to save the world from imminent destruction was indeed heroic, I couldn’t get over the fact that he had left his children behind. Sure, he may have saved the world. But he
lost his children. He did not sacrifice himself for them--he sacrificed them for himself: his dreams, his wishes, his need for recognition and success.

Cooper did indeed save the world. But, there is a dichotomy between true heroism and fantasy. Very, very few men will be actually called to “save the world.” Instead, many dads live normal lives but convince themselves of the fantasy that what they are doing—work, adventure, importance, power, hobbies—is true heroism.

This is not heroism. This is selfish.

Don’t get me wrong: it is good and honorable for a man to live a sacrificial life—even give his life—for others. We are all called to do this. But very few men will be called to be a “hero of the world.” Instead, every man is called to be a hero in his own family—by being there. Unlike Cooper, you will probably never get the chance to go into space to save the world from impending doom. But you do have children to live for—to be there for.

I think part of the reason this movie troubled me so deeply was its appalling parallel to real life.

I know too many dads who are not there for their children. They aren't there because they're too busy. Too busy with work. Too busy with hobbies. Too busy climbing to the top of the social ladder. I know kids who have suffered tremendously because their dad didn’t care enough about them to spend time with them. I can tell you straight from a kid’s heart that your children don’t care if you actually save the world. You can save the world, and yet miss your greatest mission. If you’ve lost your kids’ hearts, Dad, all the wealth or power or recognition in the world will not suffice.

Dad, I encourage you to be there for your children. Don’t be absent during their foundational years, only to come back home and see that they’re all grown up, bitter towards you for never being there.

Be there. Tend them, nurture them, discipline them. Don’t just let your wife be the “homeschool mom” with you supporting her and funding your children’s education. Actively be there to be a homeschool dad. Help with homework. Be there in the mundane. Be there to fix boo-boos and broken toys. Be there for their recitals and games. Be the dad they’re silently pleading you to be. Be there, and be a hero in your children’s eyes. Don’t buy into the lies of the world. Don’t be like Cooper: sacrificing your children to the gods of work or play or “saving the world.” Put your family first, even before yourself.

Encouraging you to BE THERE,

Blythe Freshwater

(The Homeschooling Daughter :-) )

Ready, Set, GO!!!

August 29th, 2015

August brings the bitter-sweet realization that summer is coming to a close and the school year is about to begin. The rhythm of life will soon become more paced and focused. New adventures of mind and challenges to character will be part and parcel of every new day. And the days, though they seem to drag, really do go by quickly.

Today at dinner we asked our kids how it was that they all have learned how to cook, clean, turn in assignments, organize trips and even clean their rooms? To a person they said “Because you showed us, helped us, did it with us and you MADE us do it, even when we were toddlers.”

The best thing? They were NOT complaining. In fact they were grateful. Warmed this old guy’s heart!

Why do I point this out?

You may be embarking on the early years of homeschooling and parenting. Curriculum choices, scheduling, life and oh, planning, gaining vision and setting goals seem so overwhelming and confusing! You have a picture in your mind of an idyllic happy little homeschool with happy little students. But the reality is sometimes things are not idyllic nor are we happy!

But take heart. This calling to parent and homeschool is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. The end is far down the road. The getting there is the real test.

In the next several weeks you will ease back in to the routine, or establish new ones. Every day will be your complete responsibility. Before you begin to run a sprint, take a moment to evaluate the course you must run, and the course you feel pressured to run. As a good long distance runner you must put aside the things that are too much to carry. Maybe that is a schedule that is too optimistic, or a list of scheduled sports and activities that folds out like Al Capone’s rap sheet. Let some go!

Remember, the best teaching includes demonstration, guided discovery, teacher working together beside the learner, and firm conviction that we will do it, together.

Take time now to get ready. Prepare your heart with the understanding that homeschooling your children and parenting them is God’s choice for you and is His will. Rest in His call. Set spiritual goals for yourself and your children this year. In the end that is what lasts.

Take time to get set. Order that curriculum you need. Get your classroom organized. Work with your students to make a place to do school a pleasant place and something they are a part of making. Make a plan for the first week, or two, at least!

Last of all, GO! Take that plunge into the new school year with the confidence of a long distance runner, not a sprinter. Keep plugging along. Soon you will find days turn to months, months to years, and years to a graduation! It can be done, and the work along the way is a labor of love that brings great reward.

The Homeschooling Dad

The Time Has Come

August 18th, 2015

This week we will celebrate my son’s graduation from our homeschool.  Guests will come by for food, fellowship and remembering.  People who have been instrumental in his life will hug him, encourage him and tell him they will pray for him as he moves to Colorado for Bridgeyear at Worldview at the Abbey.  He will stand tall, shake hands, being genuinely humble and thankful for the relationships with his guests and relatives who have been the mainstay of his education, socialization, growth in faith and fellowship for eighteen years.  In two weeks he will be in the hands of strangers who will take up the task of building his mind, his faith, his hopes and his surrender to God’s call on his life. 

He will no longer be sitting at his little desk swinging his little tennis shoe clad feet, rolling his eyes to the ceiling as his mom points his finger to print and tries to help him attend to the skill of reading.  No longer will he be seated next to his school buddy and best friend-sister Blythe, pestering her but making her lunch for her every day. No longer will he be the resident big brother for his “little sisters”.  No longer will he be my go to guy for tasks that require balance, strength and a limber teenage physique. That time is coming quickly and bitter-sweetly to a close.  There are no second runs at it and our time and energies have been spent, invested and poured out in to his life.  We can’t go back for a do over.

In two short weeks he will launch in to the world and the future that God has for him.  He will make decisions on his own.  He will develop friendships, establish study habits, take care of his room as he sees fit.  He will hopefully make lifetime friends and will gain a vision for walking with Jesus that he has yet to fully comprehend.

This is a very good thing.  In fact, this is exactly what we hoped for, planned for and had vision for when we began parenting, and homeschooling.  Our son is becoming a man in his own right, walking in faith, growing in integrity, warm, reserved, and confident.  That did not happen by accident.  It happened because we had a vision for raising a man, not an overgrown child.  It happened because God has been faithful to keep him, build him and will continue to do so.  He is launching because we understand that every boy needs to become a man, standing before men and God on his own two feet, and not remain under the direct care of his family.  He would never do that if he were coddled, controlled or over-protected.

My daughters say that they really have seldom seen me cry.  I can assure you that this grizzled cop will be watering the lawn the day he leaves.  I will so miss him. 

Yet I know that his path will go far in to a future I cannot and will not see, and His God and Savior Jesus Christ will be with him.  Ultimately, this is what we raised him up to become:  A man who pursues God and serves Him with abandon. 

Go in God’s unending and ever present grace, dearest son.  The day has finally come.

Dad

PS: Pray for him please, and if his story gives any hope to you, or if you wonder how it was we managed to reach this point, take a look at my book offered for download right here.

Sowing for a Life-time Harvest

August 7th, 2015

This week my girls are at the beach for annual cousin camp.  My wife gathers with two sisters and their teen children and they spend the week camping at the beach.  My wife calls it ‘paying lots of money to live like a homeless person”.  But every year after arrival she calls me to say, in the words of Templeton the Rat, “It is rich, very rich”. 

Karyn is very good at making memories for others.  She plans trips, observes traditions and establishes new ones, takes photos and makes memory books.  She makes life full, and meaningful, centered in relationships, especially with children.  Her sisters are creative, organized and together they make for a dynamic group, guiding eight teens to the land of great memories made, every year.

 

 

Being the homeschooling dad, I find being that intentional difficult to sustain.  I am more of the administrator type, making sure that the gears mesh and get occasional oil, planning for the ‘have-to” things of life.  I can get pretty boring.

 

Maybe that is why I don’t (nor do any of my brother-in-laws) get invited to go to cousin camp!

But all is not lost.  My son, eighteen, had to work and could not attend cousin camp.  So last night we grabbed the fly rods and a little (of his!) cash and went on an eating/fishing trip.  We did not catch any fish, but we re-visited a tiny little Italian restaurant nearby.  Located in one of the now less than desirable parts of town this four generation family owned restaurant only serves dinner four nights a week.  It seats 40 in straight backed plywood booths circa 1945. Bread and salad are mainstays. Dinner is from 5-830PM. Located in an old frame house, it remains an icon of the early mill town history of the community.  Most nights you stand in line to be seated.  Decorated in original 1940’s style, the Melodyland is a place for families and memories.  The menu is small, the food homemade, the portions sized for big appetites, the prices reasonable, this restaurant is a mainstay in the community, since the early 1920’s.  The kitchen is so small that every meal is made on order with a total staff of eight.

Every time I eat there I just sit and grin.  It makes me feel good to be there, though nothing about it even strikes as close to what is expected in modern restaurants.

Last night I realized why.

 

 

When I was a child on rare occasions I went out to eat with my parents, and even sometimes alone with my dad.  We ate at the Red Rooster, or the Maplewood.  Both were 1940’s mill town local eateries, family owned.  The clientele were mill workers in the steel valley of western PA.  Hard working people, simple and honest.  The men wore hats ala Chuck Noll of Steeler fame.  The ladies wore scarves or babushka, and dresses, never pants.  We ate mashed potato and chicken, or roast.  Sometimes I would have fried fish.  Salad was iceberg, with choice of oil and vinegar or Italian. 

 

It must have made an impression, because when I go to Melodyland over four hundred miles from where I was raised, I feel at home. And it feels good.

I am certain my dad was not thinking about sowing to a lifetime harvest when he took me to dinner or lunch.  He was just being my dad, taking care of my needs, oiling the gears, and doing life.  But I know now, as I reach middle age, that my parents were sowing into a future they would not see.

My son may not feel the nostalgia I feel when at the Melodyland, but he likes the food, the company and maybe someday he will feel at home when he sits in a family owned restaurant, long after I am gone.

Dad, spend the day with your son or daughter today.  Talk with them about life, important ideas, values, and the future. You do not have to go to a fancy place or a modern place.  Just go do life with your child.  You will be sowing into a life-time harvest. 

And if ever in Cortland NY, stop by the Melodyland, South Main Steet.  It is worth the experience.

Loneliness, Lament and Worship

July 3rd, 2015

Image: 

“A voice says, “Cry!” And I said “What shall I cry?’ All flesh is grass and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass.  The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:6-8

Eighteen years ago my closest friend, only thirty three, passed into heaven only hours after his third daughter was born.  I had never been closer to a friend than I was to him.  

In May of 2009 my father, eighty three and a double leg amputee since he was nine years old, died after six terrible years of dialysis.  He had worked for 33 years in a steel mill, had driven cars, rode motorcycles, lived a full life and he loved me.  

Of the friends I have now, most are busy raising families, working careers, volunteering at church.  I have been awkwardly making my way toward the next steps after retiring from law enforcement. I have been very busy serving as an elder and pastoral search committee member, homeshooling dad, and am entering that time when I will be caring for my mother who is suffering dementia.   I have been pouring in to the lives of my children and will take my son to college in Colorado in September. My wonderful bride has been home with me this year and we were blessed to have her as a stay-home mom.

Yet I am lonely.

In the darkness of the night I find that memories become brighter, emotions more raw and the depth of loss palpable.  My mind moves from the burdens of the day to memories of the past.  I hear the voice of my friend; smell the aftershave and cigar of my dad.  Awkward and immature behaviors that I exhibited as a teen come back in Panavision.  Regret and sorrow build in my heart and I feel utterly alone.

Dads, I would assume that if you are old enough to have teenagers you have lived long enough to know sorrow.  You have lost a parent, a friend, maybe a child.  You have seen how quickly life passes, memory fades and how little compassion is shown by your fellow man.  You steel yourself against the march of time.  Everyone else gets older, but you don’t…at least in your mind you don’t!  You busy yourself with the plans for tomorrow, the cares of the day, but if you stop for a moment you feel the twinge of loss and regret.  Sometimes you even experience loneliness and heartache.  

I want to encourage you to lament.  

Lament is the active feeling and articulation of sorrow to God.  It is the process of engaging in the emotion of loneliness, sadness, loss, pain, regret.  Moreover, it is expressing that hurt to God.  In that act of lament, the believing Dad is also submitting himself to the will, power and sovereignty of God, recognizing that it is He who comforts, He who is Companion, He who is the very Object of worship.  

It is in the recognition of frailty that we can turn our heart to God and recognize His personal, eternal love and faithfulness, regardless of the limitations we experience as withering grass.  We can end our lament with the prophet who gave testimony “but the word of our God will stand forever.”

His word stands forever, and that is encouragement!

So, Dad, slow down a bit and when the realities of age, time and loss rush at you, embrace it with lament, for it is one of the purest forms of worship.  Teach your children by example.  This is a way of worship that is caught, not taught.  Prepare them, for someday they too will know sorrow.

Praying for your encounters with God in the hard places of life,

The Homeschooling Dad

Revisiting Bravery

June 11th, 2015





Yesterday I saw notice that the Commemorative Air Force was displaying FiFi, a WW2 B-29 Superfortress at a nearby airfield. In 2007 I was blessed to ride in Sentimental Journey, a WW2 B17. Today I gathered up my kids and we made a beeline for the airport. I am so thankful I did.

When we arrived I learned that FiFi had been grounded in 2006 due to aging engines. A fundraiser began and three million dollars later FiFi flies in memory of the many servicemen who gave their all in defense of our freedom.

I do not take that lightly.

We were just about to enter the bomb bay entry to FiFi when a representative of the Commemorative Air Force brought a middle aged lady and her father, in his 90’s, to enter the aircraft. We made way for them and it was announced that the dignified gentleman had been a bombardier on B29’s.


I stood in awe as he made his way to the aluminum ladder that led to a tiny hatch. I was stunned to see a surge of energy as he made his way up that ladder and into FiFi. As I watched , I was suddenly aware that when he last climbed that ladder he was likely 19 years old and the flights he took could have ended his life. In his hands he held the awesome responsibility of pushing back an evil empire, protecting our homes and our values. The values of freedom for ALL men, non-aggression in times of peace, strong defense in times of threat, and a moral grit that somehow, despite his valor, we seem to have lost. I found myself choked up and ever so thankful for the times he lived, so that I could enjoy the life of freedom and opportunity I have had.

His descent out of the cockpit was slow, but somehow I think that had more to do with the emotion that was on his face than the effects of age. As he walked away I stood at attention and gave thanks to God for his service.

In the face of a rising evil around us, ignored and renamed by the proponents of political correctness and tolerance, I wonder if we will have the fortitude to stand and serve as that man did, so that our grandchildren and their children may also have freedom.

Dad, today as you lead your family, talk with them about righteousness and grit. And if you ever have a chance to see FiFi or any of the aircraft of the Commemorative Air Force, make haste! It is worth the effort!

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