I recently had the opportunity to have a meal with Mike Ho, a Vietnamese immigrant who came to this country when he was 18. He had nothing when he came, just the clothes on his back. Even some of those he had pulled from a bag that was made available to him for the journey. He laughed and said, “I didn’t even have one dime!”
His dream was to get a tent and live under a bridge just to be in America. But God directed his steps differently. Motivated by faith in Christ, a family in Oregon took him in. They helped Mike acclimate to life in the states, they helped him learn English, they introduced him to Jesus Christ. They supported him as he pursued a college education.
He studied engineering. He met Lily, a young Vietnamese woman on a career path. They were married and her job brought them to Mobile. He invested in a local business. His strategy was clear: intelligence and hard work. (more…)
This blog is not ours, not directly. It is Jean-Luc’s. He wrote this not long ago, and I asked him if I could reprint it on our blog. So, from Jean-Luc’s perspective, come sit with us at dinner.
Our dinner table was always a center of laughter, of joy, of stories and songs, of the day’s events, of schedules and commitments, and of discipline and correction. I view our table with deep fondness…it has fostered so much that I see as necessary to my growth. It also fostered memories which I cherish and will re-live when my childhood is far behind me. (more…)
Ernie (not the muppet) was my friend in my first year of college. He was a solid, good guy—the kind of person you want as a friend. He was one of those people who had no guile about him but spoke his mind in trust and openness, often making himself vulnerable for a good-natured jab or maybe a humorous quip by those who were near. Unfortunately, I played that role with Ernie. In what I thought was “just joking,” I often turned his words into a laugh for others who were present. One day, Ernie had enough. He told me—in the middle of our little group—that he was sick and tired of my constant ridicule of him, that he was deeply hurt, and that our friendship was ended. Then he walked away. . .and out of my life. (more…)
Staying at home with my kids was a great joy when they were younger. Being a teacher, I enjoyed planning little learning lessons for them to do. Happy and busy, things would rock along fairly well. Then there would come times when things were not good at all. Selfishness can rear its ugly head at any moment. You learn to hear it in their voices—the tone, the stridence, the pain showing as anger.
We handled this in different ways at different times. When I knew they just needed space, I gave it to them. I just told them to do different things away from each other. Anna: reading time, Patrick: piano practice, William: reading, Judith: reading, Jean-Luc: blocks, Danny: nap. Fortunately, you know your kids, so you know the different activities each one can do alone.
When harsh words were spoken, I simply said, “When sweets don’t come out, sweets cannot go in.” That child would receive no sweet treats and no desserts for the rest of that day.
Keith’s mom told us once, “You don’t need to ‘see’ everything. So let them work some things out themselves.” Sometimes they can work it out; sometimes they can’t. What we didn’t want was for there to be no resolution and for resentment to grow. (more…)
Patricia stuck her head around the corner from the kitchen and said, “We have to talk.”
I was right in the middle of “helping” Danny with math homework. For some reason or another, Danny had a mental block with math. I was simply explaining to him that he had to concentrate, to apply himself, to put forth more effort. It was about 8:30 at night and he was tired. I was becoming more and more exasperated that he could not get it. That’s when Patricia stepped in and said, “We have to talk.”
For us, that meant that we had to go to our bedroom and discuss the current situation. As we entered the bedroom and closed the door, she said, “You’re not helping.”
I immediately became defensive. “He is not trying,” I said. “He is resisting, he is just being stubborn.” And so it went until we came to an understanding in the privacy of our own room. Then I went back to help Dan, who by now had fallen asleep on his notebook. I sent him to bed, and we both got up early the next morning to finish the work.
Patricia and I had agreed that we would not discuss the kids in front of them. (more…)