Seven weeks

Two weeks ago we added to our clan — Hutchins clan, that is. However, this addition came via one of our own children, second child and oldest son, who (with the help of his wife) produced a baby girl — our first grandchild. Surreal? For my son and daughter-in-law, yes. For my wife and I… well, we knew this day was coming, and being well-versed in the process of courting to delivery, we figured it’d happen one day with one of our 8 children. It just so happened it would be this couple, at this time. But, yeah, it’s still surreal.

They wrestled with two names and settled on one, Amelia, then gave her my grandmother’s first name as a middle name, Anne — Amelia Anne, it has a nice ring. It was a beautiful choice, seeing as my grandmother (the baby’s great, great grandmother) missed the birth by something like 7 weeks — 7 weeks; five generations alive all at once, and we missed it by 7 weeks. My grandmother died a few weeks following her 97th birthday. No one really saw it coming (albeit, it had been coming for years) because Nan (my grandmother) was slowly sliding into a new normal with eye degeneration, leading to blindness. And although her eyesight suffered, she was mentally and spiritually in tact — a strong, Christian woman, sound mind and spirit. Sure, her body lacked, but at 97, most folks aren’t getting any younger. However, Nan expressed a willingness to hang in there and pose for a 5-generation photo with Amelia, my son, me, and my dad, so I’m sure her hasty departure was out of her own hands.

It’s a weird feeling to have missed that. Why? Because, like death, it’s gone forever — in a way. Nan will be missed, and Amelia’s birth will be celebrated year after year, but both will forever share a name that means “full of grace.” Deep inside I know that Amelia will carry on the spirit of a strong, Christian woman, sound in mind and spirit. If for no other reason, it’s in her blood.

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Borrowing from the wise

Below is an August 12, 2013, article by Family psychologist John Rosemond. Worth posting.


Sometimes, the so-called “good old days” really were better. For example, if the data is correct, then the state of parenting in America has been in slow but steady decline since the 1960s. Child mental health and school achievement were much better back then, when the go-to parenting experts were grandparents.

In my public presentations, I sometimes begin sentences with “I’m a member of the last generation … ” and go on to describe some benefit we Boomers enjoyed that today’s kids, by and large, do not enjoy. Some of these sentences include:

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who did not receive much adult attention.” As long as we were doing nothing wrong, our parents largely left us alone. They let us have the freedom to entertain ourselves, learn from our mistakes and fight our own battles.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who were not allowed to have high self-esteem.” Back then, to express a high opinion of oneself was known as “acting too big for your britches.” Today, high self-esteem is supposedly the key to everything good in life. Problem is, it hasn’t worked out that way. Researchers have found that high self-esteem is associated with lots of bad stuff, like fear of failure and bullying.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children who did their own homework.” And we did much better in school. Our mothers were not accountable for our schoolwork. They held us accountable. It’s a very simple equation, really: The more responsible one is, the better one does.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to grow up in homes where the relationship between our parents was a lot stronger than either of their relationships with us.” I’m convinced that one reason so many of today’s young people are eschewing marriage is because they didn’t see their parents having one, even if their parents lived together. They saw mother and father, two people devoted to them. We saw husband and wife. It makes a huge difference.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children whose parents, especially mothers, did not worry about us almost constantly.” It has got to be a burden on a child to be the object of lots of parental concern. I have to wonder if parental concern isn’t eventually self-fulfilling; as in, if you are concerned, then your child will give you something to be concerned about.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to lie in the beds we made and stew in our own juices.” We were taught to take responsibility for our actions. When we did something wrong or failed to do our best in school, our parents told us we had no excuses. Life was not a soap opera, and we were not victims, which is why the next point is relevant.

“I’m a member of the last generation of American children to leave home when children should leave home.” We left home as soon as possible because we were convinced we could make better lives for ourselves than our parents were willing to make for us. That’s a good thing for all concerned.

The good news is that more and more of today’s parents are getting it. They’re raising their kids pretty much the same way kids were raised 50-plus years ago, with no cell phones, video games, or junk food. Their kids eat what’s put in front of them, sleep in their own beds, do their own homework, entertain themselves, have no excuses, and see, on a daily basis, what a real marriage looks like.

They may be a small minority, but the way I see things, they’re the future.

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A birthday for Mom

The children made cards for their mom this year (typical of most birthdays), however, Rachael went a step further and wrote a poem. So without further delay, enjoy:

The biggest job in the world by far
It is also very hard
Yet rewarding all the same
It’s exciting, and rarely lame

She has to be a hair stylist and cook
She has to read a lot of books
Not only to her kids for fun
But to learn how, until the job is done

She’s a secretary, librarian, and a nurse
She has to carry a huge purse
In the purse, she has THE BRAIN
It keeps her life in a single lane

One of her biggest jobs is to teach
And she also loves the beach
Swim in the ocean, ride the bikes
It is something she really likes

Her favorite food is Chinese
She says, “Oh, Howard, please!”
So they go down to China Wok
Eat some rice, and have a talk

She’s in love with Daddy, it is true
And she makes good potato stew
She is also very cheap
She picks up furniture off the street

Paul says, “For ailments, take some wine”
So she does, when she has the time
She loves coffee very much
And she’s a fan of cream and such

We love her so much, we cannot deny
Especially when she makes us apple pie

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Parenting Diversity

I just received The E-Myth in the mail and started reading it almost immediately.  It’s a book by Michael E. Gerber about business, which fellow filmmakers, Abandon Films, suggested I read.  Best quote so far:

Because my experience as taught me only too well that end points in the development of an extraordinary business are instantly replaced by beginning points.

A perfect business quote, for sure, but also with applications for parenting. I dare say every good parent has that down by now.  For parenting, great parenting, requires a constant reexamining of each child’s spiritual, emotional, social, physical, etc change.  And that change in the child is the “beginning point” in the parent/child relationship.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about child-centered parenting; rather I am referring to the fact that God has created each child to be unique, and that the parent (whether the child is biological or adopted, it matters not) must see the Lord’s work in that child in order to be used by God to train and equip him or her.  This is opposed to the “all kids are alike” parenting flaw, a quick-fix wrench thrown into the engine of proper parenting. For a parent should never expect their child-rearing methods that work on one child to apply to the rest.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. — Psalm 139: 13-14

The better parents will be the ones that recognize — and celebrate — the diversity in their children. Although there will be some similarities in the mannerisms and character traits, children span the spectrum like a promise from the Lord.

Every finish line is the beginning of a new race. — Lil Wayne

Be in prayer, Parent, and look for those new beginnings.

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