Patrick’s birth is also consistent with the past 8 years in that he is a boy. We affectionately refer to the overwhelming male birth rate in all categories of man and beast as the “bulls, bucks, and boys syndrome.” Granted, the humans have added two females to the list but the three males have put the boys at a definite advantage around the house. However, I remind the girls that “she who rules the refrigerator rules the roost” and, thus, the boys are kept in their proper place.
Which is a valuable lesson for Clarke who acquired an insatiable fascination for flying and flying apparatus. His constant talk about building gliders and the such and jumping off the cliff to see if it works was only intensified after his surprise April birthday gift. He, Wes, Micah, and Evan shared 90 minutes of flying time at our little local airport. They had a splendid time as each one got a turn in the pilot’s seat buzzing around the airport. Meanwhile, Clarke has yet to build anything that his mom has confidence in for jumping off the cliff. We’ll keep you posted.
DeJaVu – I guess it should not be a surprise that, with the number of children we have, there would be some shared characteristics between the kids, both physically and psychologically. Take Lindsey and Allison, for example. Not only do they share the same distinctive beauty of their mother, but these two could pass as carbon copies in character. Allison is following in Lindsey’s footsteps as very studious and competitive, and also as “beta” mother to Andy and Patrick. I think there are a number of people who, after watching little Allison carry Andy around (the appearance is that Allison is perpetually on the verge of dropping him), are surprised that Andy survived and believe Patrick’s fate is sure to be as they thought Andy’s would be.
Meanwhile, Lindsey has adopted Micah as her current project. She is convinced that she can have Micah graduated from Harvard before he turns 20 and ready for the Presidency by 2024. We all think Micah has a lot of potential, too. He enjoys public speaking – when he can get an audience – and possesses pretty good oratory skills for his age. Sometimes, though, his topics of conversation can become tedious causing his audience (mainly us) to grow weary in our attention. Micah has overcome some of that difficulty, not in changing his style, but in expanding his audience. Micah passed the amateur radio operator’s exam, bought himself a little ham radio, and has expanded the scope of his unsuspecting audience ad infinitum.
Household Super-heroes – Then there is Monica and Melody. There are little to no similarities in looks. But they both share a love for animals that exceeds the normal appreciation for pets by the rest of the family. Melody seems quite pleased that Monica’s collie population has grown to four, as that gives her plenty of available dogs to drag around on a leash and boss. One quality that is unique to Melody is her current fascination with heroes – specifically Batman and Zorro. Her interest has triggered some deep theological discussions between her and Carrie:
Melody: “Mommy, can Batman do all things?”
Carrie: “No dear, only God can do all His holy will.”
Melody: “Mommy, can Batman die and wake up dead?”
Carrie: “No, only Jesus put away death when he rose again.”
One can never anticipate just when Melody will suddenly bound down the hallway and present herself fully costumed, with mask and accessories, and ready to battle against all bad guys. Her most favorite imitation is Zorro, whom she identifies as Zero.
Making Do – Now that Allison is more focussed on Patrick, little Andy is left to figure out for himself the best way to get from point A to point B. Being a late walker didn’t slow him down. His speed on all fours, with little rear high in the air, was surpassed only by the natural four-legged creatures. But what do you do when you are two years old and have that typical two-year-old craving to wear mom and dad’s shoes? Andy’s solution was to walk on all fours with the shoes on his hands. Even though he is walking on two legs today, the impact on Carrie and me is the same i.e., never knowing if we will be able to find one or both shoes when needed.
Lost in the Mix – We’ve always thought that Evan was the poor little middle child that tended to get pushed to the side, ignored, and forgotten. In the hustle and bustle of busy family life, Evan, by his own admission, just hangs around waiting for someone to find him and hoping to get overlooked on the chore list. It was only a matter of time before Evan would make a name for himself around the house and the time has arrived. Evan has become, as of late, the boy to beat in chess. Not that any of us are chess masters or anything like that, but among the competition in the home, Evan’s “the man.” And then, he’s “the man” with mom too, who has insured Evan’s presence with everyone else with an expanded chore list just for him. J
Homeschool Suspension – Wes, as the oldest boy, sets the pace for the rest of the household boys. He has paved the way for their interest in Ham radio, computers, piano/guitar, taking apart the small engines we wear out, spreading the parts and messes all over creation, etc…. All things considered, Wes is a good model for the younger boys and a good big brother. Additionally, Wes serves the family by providing the advantage of having a man around the house full time. In short, I’ve been able to reduce my honey-do-list by simply transferring my assignments to him. The next big surge will be when Wes is licensed to drive. I know he is looking forward to that time. I’m not sure Carrie and I know what to think, yet.
However, I told you last year there was going to be trouble. Sure enough, Wesley has messed around with VBasic enough the last couple of years that he has learned how to make a real nuisance of himself. So much so that he was actually blocked from access to the server by one of the Internet schools we use because of his miss-behaving BOTS. Simply stated, he was suspended from school for a day! A first for the family. Maybe a first for homeschooling!! Even as bad as I acted in school I was never suspended. Even so, I appreciate Wes a lot, for you see, I can see a lot of me in him when I was his age. Poor chap, he has a steep hill to climb. Pray for him.
Anti-Drive – While some are getting their Amateur radio licenses, someone else is NOT getting their driver’s license – Lindsey Hurd. Not that we don’t want her to, mind you, she just doesn’t seem to be motivated. If fact, knowing the amount of errand running and kid shuffling she would be doing, we suspect she might just be anti-motivated. But that’s OK – for now, at least.
For you see, Lindsey seems content to stick around the house and be Carrie’s right hand woman. Lindsey does more than her fair share of cooking and housework as well as teaching and training the younger kids. In her spare time, she does her own schoolwork. It’s been interesting to watch Lindsey’s writing skills and style mature over the past several years. This year, she has had an article published in a couple of homeschooling magazines and a couple of essays used as literary examples in a newly published (and highly recommended) creative writing curriculum. Contact me if you want more information.
Be that as it may, another aspect of her intense reading is the influence of such reading upon her writing. This has been most noticeable this past year as we have done several works of P.G. Wodehouse and G.K. Chesterton, each of which have a distinctive British style of writing (probably because they are British). Accordingly, Monica’s writings are typically spattered with colloquialisms such as “dash it all”, “jolly”, “cheerio”, “hullo”, “poor blighter”, “chap”, “bloke”, “the old egg”, “aged relative” and the likes. It certainly adds a different kind of flavor to her writing, which in some cases and with certain expressions not mentioned here, we’re not exactly sure what her teachers think.
Carrie and I send you our greetings. The time seems to swirl by at an increasingly faster pace. Carrie spends her time managing all the differing aspects of school assignments for the various kids, nursing the baby, getting them to and from their limited activities and obligations, nursing the baby, identifying maintenance issues around the house, nursing the baby, making sure the food supply pipeline is full, nursing the baby, administrating rewards and punishments commensurate to the behavior, nursing the baby, dreaming of her next big project (currently content with only dreaming), etc…. Between our respective responsibilities, there seems to be little time or opportunity for our paths to cross in anything beyond familial issues. We have learned to enjoy time alone on what we call “the point” in the evenings after the younger kids have gone to bed. It is our outdoor, evening away from the house refuge to gaze at the stars and actually be able to finish a sentence without some interruption. So important a time it has become for us that we will brave the cold, bundling up in coats, gloves, and hats to sit and talk and shiver, or just listen to the quiet and count the falling stars, for as long as we can maintain against fatigue or the elements.
As I write, I am iced in at home and tonight Gore is to give his concession speech followed by Bush’s victory speech. The struggle over the contest for the Presidency of our nation reflects, I believe, the growing advocacy and acceptance of the American people with the ideology of a democratic government (the “will of the people”) versus the representative republic form of government originally established by the founding fathers and the Constitution of the United States. That the issues of rule of law vs. the will of the people would be the center of debate at the highest level of our nation should cause concern for the future of our present constitution. It is a matter of objectively living according to the laws as established by the representatives elected by the people or subjectively re-interpreting the laws by judicial reconstruction to achieve a temporal goal. With regards to objective vs. subjective rule, Robert C. Winthrop said to the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society in Boston on May 28, 1849, “All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.”
In 1688, the benefits of embracing the Protestant Reformation evidenced itself in England’s Bloodless Revolution. The French, on the other hand, having rejected the influence of the Reformation, choose the bayonet (Madame Guillotine) in her bloody revolution from 1789 to 1799. Our country has already chosen the bayonet once to crush the rights of the States under the Constitution. If there is nothing else we have learned the past eight years, we have learned that the fabric of our nation 50 years from now is taking shape in the form of our children’s character today. If our children and grandchildren are to be armed well enough theologically to stave off tomorrow’s assault against individual freedom, someone has to train them today. I suggest to you that the future results are predictable if today’s parents depend on the same societal institutions that trained the current generation of leaders 50 years ago. Whatever course you take, be assured that the future of our nation rests not in the next generation alone but, rather, in you and what you do today to prepare the next generation for the challenges of tomorrow.
May God’s grace be abundant to you and yours this coming year and for many more to come.