Posts Tagged ‘children’
I love reading aloud to my kids. They love it too. Of course they love it in different ways. My 6 year old usually sits right next to me on the floor in rapt attention occasionally asking his loquacious brothers to please be quiet–though the please isn’t always included. My 4 year old generally chooses reading time to expend all left over energy from the day. This usually includes covering every square inch of his bedroom with leaps, bounds, and general mayhem. He is however listening and often proves it by interrupting at key moments to ask questions. My two year old listens less but snuggles more. He generally sits in my lap, not so much to listen to the story but to be close to his daddy. My one year old is more oblivious and spends reading time exploring his brothers’ room with his new found skill–walking.
Each in their own way, my boys love listening to me read and I love reading to them. We’ve been through the Narnia series and are now almost finished with the Lord of Rings trilogy. We actually began in The Hobbit and have read straight through. I love that my boys are growing up in Middle Earth. I primarily love the times we spend in family worship studying the Bible but our secondary family stories of Aragorn, Ents, and Gandalf are sweet to a father’s soul.
I know I am only becoming vaguely aware of the power of stories in my own life. I always loved nonfiction and intentionally majored in Chemistry to stay away from literature and history. But reading to my children has changed my attitude to the whole thing. I frequently get so caught up in reading that I have to stop for a minute finding my throat choked up with the thrill of plot or the poignant truthfulness of the moment. My boys take note of daddy’s wavering voice and learn about bravery in battle, virtue towards women, and love for friends–and they’re learning how to feel about these things.
I love reading to my boys. I hope to make it a long standing family tradition. For whatever reason Middle Earth has become our staple. I couldn’t be happier. I close simply by asking, “Where are you children growing up?”
For further reading
Sleep – I’ve always been fascinated by sleep studies. Here is a little online app that diagnoses your current sleep habits.
Not Such a Genius – Challies provides some biblical thoughts on marriage using Albert Einstein’s horrendous marriage contract.
Children – Tony posts the spiritual questions Rich Gamache uses with his own children.
Humor – For those who have been following the FV debate, here is some good sarcastic humor.
While we were on vacation my three year old son asked a poignant question. Poignant questions from a three year old are few and far between so I figured I would chronicle it here.
After finishing up a bath, he turned to my wife and said with his questioning voice, “Mama, does bad plus funny equal good?” My wife and I looked at each other with puzzled expressions expecting to have to translate some silly version of toddler math until we realized what he was asking. Does bad plus funny equal good? That is a good question. We both answered “No” and proceeded to talk about how we sometimes use humor to mask right and wrong but that doesn’t make the bad into good.
I admit that I am part the culprit. There are times when one of my sons does something blatantly wrong yet outlandishly funny sending me into facial gesticulations trying to hold a firm brow without bursting out laughing. And I know you other parents have done the same thing. You walk into your bathroom only to find junior thoroughly covered in “mama’s libstish.” Or you find the art box scissors on the floor with swatches of toddler hair scattered about. Bad can be funny though not good. I certainly am not advocating a parenting model of a laughter no fly zone. But how would you answer my son, “Does funny plus bad equal good?”
The reason the question is so good is because it lays bare a common tendency to use humor to cover up sin. There is an unwritten code of social interaction that says, “if I can laugh at something it cannot be bad.” That statement taken a little bit further can come to be, “if I can laugh at something it must be good.” There is something about humor and laughter that makes us comfortable and more at ease. There are times when humor can be especially good for the soul. But there are also times that humor can be used inappropriately to make us more comfortable with topics that should be revolting.
This ability to use humor as a means of softening sin is most evident in film and television. I used to enjoy Saturday Night Live and a good slapstick movie. I can no longer find either without deviant sexuality or crude expletives wrapped in cheap laughs. Adultery apparently is funny. Homosexuality is apparently quite comedic. That iconic expletive covering bleep apparently is a side splitting riot. Gross disrespect to parents apparently is the modern equivalent of Who is on First. Funny plus bad may not be good but it does sell airtime and movie tickets.
I am reminded that any form of media can be used as a way to make us more comfortable with our sins. A moral philosopher can write a manifesto on libertine transcendentalism. Weeknight programming can portray inattentive and lazy fathers as objects of innocuous humor. Both are attempting to make people more comfortable with their sin. As the old adage goes, everyone is selling something. There is no such thing as meaningless humor. Comedic writers are not idiots. They know what they are doing. And we are buying.
But the appropriate reaction to the dangers of humor is not a call to empty moralism. Both are enemies to the cross. Anything that has the ability to make sin look good, whether it is the facade of good works or slide splitting laughter, should be held out as the arch weapon of Satan. Bad is not turned to good through humor. Sin covering humor is a false gospel. It is the empty promise of soul comfort to those enslaved by the brutality of sin. A man who laughs at mortal danger is not most brave but rather most foolish. Funny plus bad does not equal good. Jesus plus bad equals good. Jesus’s atoning death for sin makes sinners righteous. That is Christianity. Jesus didn’t come as a court jester. He came to take our filth and to offer his purity in return. He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus plus bad equals good.