Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Feelin' the Love...NOT!"

During dinner this week, after a nice day I received the following manner of fact quote from one of my kids:  “You don’t care about my stories.”   (Said child will hereafter referred to as Child A) .

    TRANSLATION:  “You don’t care about me and don’t love me.”  Let me tell you this phrase made me quite angry and hurt (on the inside—it took effort to keep it on the inside too!).  Now, I sort of felt like I had done a good bit of giving for these kids to make this trip happen.  I was offended.  But then the Lord started to quicken 1 Cor 13 in my spirit. 

1 Cor 13:1 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but I have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” 

MONTY TRANSLATION:  Though I’ve given up a lot of stuff for my kids, but haven’t made them feel loved, I’m wasting my time! 

You see, Child A wasn’t “feelin’ the love” because of my handling of this specific situation.  (I highly recommend you pick up Gary Smalley’s book on the Five Love Languages—it can change your life!)  I realized Child A was doing what kids do—communicating like a child, and I was trying to force that kid to communicate as an adult!  (I was also violating some other Growing Families International/Childwise parenting principles).  It hit me I’d been doing it for some time.  Thus the preventable response.  No matter how much I gave up to make this trip happen…if these kids don’t “feel the love,” its all been for naught—just NOISE!      

I also realized something else.  Have you ever thought much about how teens tend to be quiet and not want to tell us about the issues of their hearts?  And have you further wondered or noticed how younger kids will tell you EVERY thought that pops into their dear little heads about 3 nanoseconds after it arrives?  Why such a drastic change in their communication habits from the younger years to the teens? 
            I think we parents have unwittingly played a large role in this transformation.  Stick with me on this…
When Child B is young and they spill every detail about everything and more than you thought they could even process, we’ve dutifully listened and attempted to share in their excitement of the discovery they made.  Eventually, this becomes more and more difficult to do.  In my experience, kids love the attention and sharing in their excitement.  But, I’ve allowed things and checklists and events to push this important process aside.  What happens?  I ask them to shorten their stories, or minimize their discovery of the simple because its “old hat” to us.  By doing this on a routine basis, I run the very real risk of actually TRAINING my children NOT TO TALK TO ME.  By the time they hit their teens—unfortunately for all of us—they’ve become too well trained.  My Child A got the message which was quoted above so often (even though we all know it’s a false message) that now Child A has clammed up.  How sad!  Especially because the teen years are so full of danger and challenges! 

            The bottom line is this:  no matter how hard it is (and it is hard), I MUST do my best at listening to my children and sharing their excitement about their discoveries because it is this very act that TRAINS their hearts to come to me and share with me.  This is one of the things I want most with my children.  I must NOT FAINT in well doing now, because it will pay off in the future.  So no matter how much I think they should “feel the love” I’ve got to make sure they do, in ways which matter TO THEM!  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Know your equipment...

I've never locked myself out of a car, in 25 years of driving.  Well, today after living in the RV for less than 3 weeks, I locked us out of it!  How in the world could I have done this, when the doors lock only from the outside with keys?

It'll all happened innocently enough.  We were making a short walk to a playground in the camping area when I locked one door from the inside and walked out through our other door.  I thought that our home was only partly locked.  Good enough, since we weren't going to be that far away.

I have now learned, there are 2 types of locks on each door.  One acts like a deadbolt and one acts like a simple lock on a door knob.  I threw the "deadbolt" on the front door, while the back door had the simple lock engaged that wasn't detectable from the inside.

It really is a good thing to know how your equipment works.  I think we'll all have a few RV101 lessons in the near future!

You know, I'm so blessed.  When we returned and discovered what I had done, my family laughed and handled the whole incident with grace and understanding.  We had just eaten lunch, the weather was beautiful, and we bought Good Sam's road side assistance insurance last week.


We're on the road!

Welcome to our family’s blog!  We’re known as Team Monty.  Both Jon and Kellie will be posting about our story, experiences, lessons learned, new places, and our great adventure on this journey.  Our three kids will also be blogging!  They’ll be working on their blogs and we’ll link them on the side bar.

A journey like this does not come about easily.  We’ll share about how we got on the road and the many ways God opened up this opportunity.  We have a great “pit crew” of friends and family that have prayed with us, encouraged us, and are supporting us along the way.  We’re so grateful for each of them!

We will be reading and responding to your comments.  If you have any questions, please ask!  We plan on posting often, but one thing we’ve already learned so far---Internet access on the road is intermittent! 

Let’s enjoy the journey on the “Will of God Trail” as it unfolds, together!