The clueless parents in this story are Keith and Patricia. When Anna and Patrick, our two oldest, were eleven and twelve, we thought we had parenting figured out. By the time they were thirteen and fourteen, we were crying out to God for help. What had worked no longer worked. Two happy, cheerful, contented children had become more moody, more withdrawn, and less communicative. At first, we thought they were the problem and told them so. As time went on, we discovered that we were more of the problem, and we needed new tools and strategies. Fortunately for us, there were answers. (more…)
As we had instructed them, Patrick and Will were not throwing the ball in the house. Literally, they were being obedient. But just barely. As a matter of fact, they were throwing a bear, a stuffed bear. As boys often do, they were tossing the bear back and forth, then hitting the bear back and forth, then getting wilder and wilder until the bear sailed too high and hit the light fixture on the ceiling. Down came the bear and the fixture, glass shattering, bringing mom and dad quickly down the hall. (more…)
Sweet Anna was a typical middle school student. Making her way through the hormonal minefield of 7th grade was challenging — for Anna and for her parents. In the fall of that year, Anna won the annual school spelling bee contest. This wasn’t her first win and she knew what was involved for the next level of competition. Probably for a variety of reasons, Anna was struggling. She did not want to be involved. (more…)
I had taken a year off from teaching, relocated to Mobile, Alabama, and tried my hand at selling insurance. Throughout that year, the realization grew in my own heart and mind that I needed to be in the classroom teaching. On the Sunday evening before school started, I received a phone call hiring me to teach an inner-city classroom, middle school, 100% Afro-American. I was about to cross three cultural barriers—with a briefcase full of ignorance. I found out on the first day. The next six months were warlike: me against them. They resisted; I punished. I was losing; so were they. Lose/lose situation. Many times I would drive home in the afternoon, tears running down my face, pouring my heart out to God.
One particular day, a seventh grader Yvonne was being particularly disrespectful. Seeing red, I walked to her desk, knelt down and stuck my finger in her face, saying, “If you ever do that again, I will . . .” I stopped, not knowing what to say next. I never finished that sentence, got up and walked away. She laughed. (more…)
Patricia is having surgery. An old bridge in her mouth is deteriorating and needs attention; actually, it needs replacing with a whole new system. So she is having surgery. I get to be the nurse for a few days. So I sit here waiting and thinking about this woman God has given me. I’m thinking about our journey. (more…)