October 2008

Well I think this article needs nothing added from me…it convicted me…I think I am not consistent enough with teaching this discipline…sadly not really even a good example…I will work on being a better example to my children and teaching them to be hard workers, and helping them know they can do more than they realize
Where Are Your Kids on the Lazy Meter?
Jenefer Igarashi
Working hard is one of the trickier things to teach children. At least it is for me. But I am lucky to be married to a man who has high expectations. He has always looked at himself and our family and believed we could do more, no matter what the task!

When our kids were very little, Geoff and I would have days where we would be out and about, and we’d end up getting home very late at night. I used to get mad when we got home because he would not carry all of our little tired sweeties into the house. He would wake them up and not only expect them to walk inside without being carried, but he would also expect them to carry in groceries or bring their food wrappers and empty water bottles into the house with them. I used to whine at him and romanticize, “Honey, they are so tired, they just need a big strong daddy who will scoop them up and take them to their cozy beds.” But as a general rule, my husband would not do that. He told me that the small act of walking, all by themselves, to the house was teaching them good lessons. It was showing them that they could do things that were uncomfortable; that even when they were tired they could go the extra mile by bringing in groceries; that it was not somebody else’s job to ensure a constant stream of comfort. The small act of taking themselves into the house was one of many lessons that showed them they were stronger than they thought they were.

There were times Geoff would carry the kids in, but he let me know–and this always stuck with me–that he would not make it a general habit because he never wanted our kids to “expect it.”

Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is very kind and patient and tolerates a lot (he’s still married to me, isn’t he?). But one thing that he cannot help noticing is lazy, good-for-nothing children. These are kids who never help, and when they do help they offer only sloppy, careless, hurried work. It makes him crazy. He cannot understand why parents don’t train their kids to be useful.

I’ve heard parents state that they want life to be easy and fun for their kids because “they learn soon enough that the world is full of hardship and woe and childhood is the only time they will ever have to just be kids and have fun.” I reject this nonsense wholeheartedly. These parents have it dead wrong. We only have a very short time to train our children while they are young. What they learn in these formative years is what will stick with them later in life. It will shape their worldview as adults. If they are used to being catered to, playing excessively, and not being expected to do anything useful, do you think that when they hit 22 all of a sudden an instinctual hard-worker gene will kick in? No, on the contrary, they will spend the rest of their lives longing for the “good old days” and trying to manipulate their situation so as to always do as little as possible.

This was a lesson that my dad was also good at teaching. I remember he expected my best, not just words like “I tried my hardest.” He once drew a large pumpkin on a huge piece of white paper. I must have been about 5 or 6, and he told me to color the entire thing orange. I scribbled about half of it orange and then went running to my dad to show him I had completed the task. But he turned me around and said, “Go back to the table with it; you didn’t finish your job, make the whole thing orange.” I must have come back to him ten times before I finally figured out that he really expected me to do exactly what he said. By this time, I didn’t want to color the pumpkin. It wasn’t fun anymore, it had become a chore. But when I was done, my dad taped that pumpkin to the window for everybody to see. It was a job well done and a job worthy to be praised.

That was a good feeling that lasted. A job well done is very satisfying. Dad would not accept a lazy job for anything. Did I like that? No, not a bit–but nonetheless, he persisted in teaching me to do things that were hard. I spent hours pulling rocks out of our yard and hauling them to a ditch, I spent hours watering trees because we didn’t have a sprinkler system, I spent hours practicing my guitar “because he said so” and helping to carry heavy furniture up and down the stairs when we moved. I realized later that there was something more important than me “liking” to do something, and that was learning that I was capable of doing more than I thought possible, of doing a job thoroughly and of doing a job right.

As parents, it is hard for us to see our kids unhappy, but we are unwise if we let this dictate how we raise them. A trait that I see too often in parents is they underestimate how much their children are capable of doing in terms of work (cleaning their rooms, doing dishes, scrubbing toilets, making beds, cleaning out cupboards, taking care of animals, etc). They imagine that they see “the strain in their little one’s face” and they “just know little Hannah could not manage any more,” and so they clean up the toys for her. It always makes me cringe, because it is obvious that the kids are learning a lesson on how to get somebody else to do stuff that they don’t feel like doing. Parents also seem to overestimate their child’s virtue: “My child would never steal, lie, treat other children badly, look at pornography, act out inappropriately, etc.” But that is another subject for another day.

So are your children learning to be hard workers? Or are they learning to live an easy life? There is an easy test to see where your kids land on the Lazy Meter. You can gauge an awful lot by what they expect and whether or not they are thankful for what they have. If you told your sleepy children to walk up the stairs and put their own selves to bed, would they cry and whine? Why do they cry? It is because they expect you to do it for them. Do they cry when you tell them to clean their room? It’s because they don’t expect they should have to. Do they whine when you tell them they can’t play on the slide? Then they have a worldview that expects to get what they want when they want it. Do they complain when you give them green beans? An unthankful child expects something better. Train them now, while they are young. I know you’ve met ungrateful, complainey, whiney, expectant adults, and they are never pretty. They expect you to go out of your way to make their life easier somehow. These adults were probably children of parents who “just wanted a sweet easy life” for their little pookie-pie-honey-melon. It’s an easy trap to fall in to, but it is the child who suffers. May we teach our children wisely while we have the time. 


Jenefer Igarashi is married to Geoff the Great and homeschools her six children (ages 4–19) near the Smoky Mountains in East TN. Visit Jen at her blog, 


where my memories hide...

where my memories hide...



 I lived in lots of different houses.  I grew up in Granny Bea’s house.  Most every memory I have from my hometown revolves around that house.  Birthday parties, slumber parties, breakfast at the kitchen table, the smell of the bacon, coffee, and apple juice ahhhh….Sunday dinners after church…the room Granny Bea fixed for me….how she and my grandfather never made us feel like we were intruding on their life or home when we moved back there with my Mom…they just made it OUR home…they gave us a home, a childhood full of love, life, adventure, & blessings…(of course there were sad times, there were fights and arguments and there were hard times…but what family doesn’t have that?)  Hmmm, I remember sliding in my sock feet on the hardwood floors…I remember playing hide and seek with my brother…and I remember my grandparents laughing at us, and helping us find good places to hide…I remember the “treat” of getting to eat supper in front of the TV in the den, and I remember watching Granny Bea cook…I remember after my Papa Doc would make rounds at the hospital and come home late that she would fix him a tray and take it to him in the den while he would listen to a game on the radio, watch a game on tv and read about a game in the paper…all at the same time!!!  Lots of times she would just fix him leftovers from what we had or broil him a steak…but during oyster season, she would make oyster stew…I would watch…it smelled so good…but I didn’t want to eat the oysters…the stew was heavy cream, butter, green onions, and I don’t know what else…and at the very end she would put the oysters in for just a few minutes…and then I got to have the left over broth…yummmmm…she was such a good cook…her shrimp creole is still the best I’ve ever had…and we didn’t eat the regular stuff people eat growing up like spaghetti, and meatloaf… we had chicken & wine sauce, shrimp creole, quail and grits baked in a great big cassarole dish,  fried quail or dove…baked fish, turnip green, cornbread, black-eyed peas and rice…I don’t ever remember my grandmother making spaghetti…and it wasn’t pasta and potatoes at my house…the starch always seemed to be rice…there was a pot of rice sitting on the stove all the time…growing up in Louisiana EVERYTHING was served with rice!!  I remember her teaching me how to make chicken salad, and how to steam the rice…and how at almost every family event someone would burn the bread–we (all of us women) would be standing in the kitchen, someone’s hand could even be on the oven door (in order not to forget the bread was in there) and we’d all be talking and suddenly, blackened bread, (a family speciality)– I can smell the house and see so vividly everything about it–the furniture, the books and trophies, and the cabinets I wasn’t suppose to get into ;-)…and while I know it is just a thing…just a place and I can’t take it with me…letting go of it is like losing a family member or friend…it was the place we gathered…it was playing, friends, laughter, tears, kisses, fights, & hugs…it was football in the front yard, basketball in the back, bike rides, roller skating, and digging for crawfish…it was snakes in the house, and feeding the dog the slop from the bucket by the sink…it is just a house, and those memories will go with me I know even if I never set foot in that house again…but saying goodbye to it this year has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  Perhaps it would have been easier to let it go if Katrina took it, or if it burned…but the way it is now seems wrong…it seems wrong that the home my grandparents built…(literally…as we are the only family to have ever lived in that house) will be occupied by someone else…another family…it feels wrong–…my mother and her siblings, my brother and I and our children have grown up and experienced so much of life in and around that house…saying goodbye would have been easier if it had been destroyed by a disaster…and wow…when I think about it, I have done nothing to start to do what my grandparents did…they married and bought a small house with a couple of acres…they lived in that house and built another right next to it…and finally tore down the old house…and there they lived…and raised and loved and grew old…we, Ken and I are on our 3 house…and while I do love my home and am happy and blessed to be here…I can’t see that we will be here forever…that our children will bring their children here to visit…why is that?  Why aren’t we in today’s world sitting still…why aren’t we finding a spot and sticking to it…is it money?  Are we constantly wanting so much more or needing more to get by that we can’t stick in one small town somewhere for the rest of our days?  Ken and I have made wonderful friends here…and moving to TN has been a blessing to us in more ways than we can count…but we always go “home” to Louisiana…what will my children know as home?  Maybe the best thing for me to teach them is that they always think of heaven as home…and that they always look forward to and long to go “home”…but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find my mansion in heaven looks a lot like 629 Bene Street…

So the fair starts today in my hometown of Franklinton, LA…the Washington Parish Free Fair is the largest free fair in the world…!!  It is like one big giant homecoming!  You see faces every year that you only see at fair time, and you see people that you haven’t seen in years.  Schools are out and it is possibly some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my life…every year…As a kid it was getting up early to march, ride, or participate somehow in the parade, gathering early in the parking lot of Jack Brown’s and waiting for the parade to start and rolling through town, ending up in the fairgrounds…grabbing a corndog  and coke and then going home to change before going to the midway to ride rides the rest of the afternoon…unless you had to perform on the stage…then it was parade, eating, waiting…performing, then changing and riding…of course I’ve left out the nuances…the conversations, the smells and sounds…the laughter, the particular way the sun shone down through the pine trees…the way the kicked up dust settled on your shoes…the way the cokes and corndogs taste better on the fairgrounds than anywhere else on earth!  My husband and I got married the weekend before the fair, spent a couple of days on the gulf coast and came home and spent the rest of the week at the fair…with friends and family…we love the fair!  I love how I could tell someone that’s never been exactly where to find the folks selling the milk t-shirts, exactly where to find Mrs. Sara & Mrs. Alma selling stuff…that Letha’s is selling BBQ over by the rodeo arena, that the chicken at Bowling Green’s Big Kitchen is the absolute best chicken EVER!! (wow, I’m gonna really miss having that tommorow)  And if  you sit in front of the stage or in Mile Branch Settlement long enough the entire town will walk by…not to mention the tons of people you don’t know…!  Personally, I will miss watching the midway lights and rides from the backyard at Granny Bea’s house, I will miss spending the whole day with friends at the fair, coming home and taking a shower and getting all cleaned up for a fair date…and the way the fairgrounds look at night, seeing other friends on dates…and feeling so grown up…!!  Walking from the front entrance I can smell the boiled peanuts, hamburgers & fries, ooh and the funnel cakes at the girl scouts booth behind the stage…a child is crying cause he just let go of his balloon or dropped his snow cone…there’s the fair t-shirt booth…and a school choir singing on the stage, let’s go see what the new poster looks like at the art building…and maybe see who’s hanging around the band booth or the big kitchen, man oh man what’s that smell comin’ from Schexshyder’s booth…etouffee?  jambalaya?  and oh my I can smell the roasted peanuts from Mile Branch all the way over here…who’s that playing down by the creek?  When’s Abigale or Owen gonna be there?  Let’s not forget to buy some fair tickets and keep the fair free!!  You wanna walk through Mile Branch or the commercial building first?  We gotta get our milk shirts…and see who Ken Knight has put up in his booth…let’s go see what Omar has brought this year…and walk through the trailers and campers…how do they keep that water sooo cold at the little well?  Across the street at Mile Branch settlement there’s a group of men playing music on the porch…$5 says Mike Pace is sitting there with ’em…let’s go pick up our ornaments…and see who else we can see…I need some of those peanuts…and I bet Miss Sue and Mr Jerry are square dancing…let’s take the kids and get some sasafrass tea or a piece of sugar cane…wonder if they’d eat the cracklin’s…don’t let me leave without getting some cornmeal, let’s watch ’em make lye soap…let’s head for the midway and see if we see anybody else we know…maybe they have new rides…or maybe the line for the zipper isn’t very long right now…Oh my the cotton candy smells good…ooh, the polish sausage smells good…and the popcorn and candy apples…I may have to get one of those giant corndogs tommorow…and of course all of these thoughts and conversations come in between stopping to visit and hug old friends…catching up…seeing their kids…laughing…joking…Oh my stars I haven’t seen you in forever!!!  You wanna ride today or wait til tommorow and get a pay one price bracelet?  Wanna walk over to see the animals?  Or walk through the buildings up front…?  Is there somebody you wanna see on the stage?  What time?  Should we go stake out our seats?  We could sit there and eat our peanuts and wait…ahhhh, the fair….and in my mind this was a sunny day…it’s a whole different story if it rains…people running for cover in the big kitchen, or commercial building or barns, or one building or another…leave?  Nobody leaves…the rain’ll pass…this is the fair…the rain’ll just settle the dust…I just need to run home and put my boots on later to deal with the mud…but the fair’s the fair…rain or shine…there’s nothing like it in the world…there is nothing like sitting on the patio at Granny Bea’s waiting for everyone to get ready and come outside so we can go…there’s nothing like all of us, Mom, John Scott, Sandy, Ken, Rosemary, Corrie, Susannah, John Caleb, Joshua, James Russell, Bailey, McKenna and making our own parade to and from the fairgrounds…finding an empty bench or 2 to watch a show, piling in the den after a long day and watching something on tv…or just falling asleep…playing Taboo…eating, eating, and more eating…knock knock…someone is dropping by…

Oh, how I hate that I can’t be there…how I hate that McKenna won’t have the memories from Granny Bea’s house and the fair that my other children do…how I hate hate hate that I can’t go home anymore…how I hate how family politics have taken those memories away from her…and how I hate that even if I go back to the fair…it won’t ever be the same for me because I won’t be able to be at home…how I hate that from now on I will be a visitor in my hometown…Oh sweet fair, I am there in my heart with you today and for the rest of the week…have fun…

I love hugging my kids…I love snuggling up on the couch and holding them anytime…but there’s something about the morning snuggles.  Bailey is almost always the first one downstairs…stumbling and still a little groggy she heads straight for me, and snuggles up under my arm…she doesn’t really talk…and neither do I, we just sit there and let the snuggle warm us from the inside out and then she gets up to fix her breakfast.  McKenna is next…she runs right to me, climbs in my lap and settles into a fetal position, resting her head on my chest, and well…my heart just swells…it’s what I need to start my day…because later I’m pretty sure I will have moments with these 2 girls that will make these moments seem very distant.  But this morning while snuggling with my girls my thoughts went back to our small group discussion this week (one of them) about finding the time in the day to have some quiet time with God.  And I realized that this is the kind of moment He wants to have with us…a snuggle time…it doesn’t have to be a long time…but the quality needs to be there…That moment in your day, at the beginning or the end that says “you are the most important thing in my life and I need a few minutes to be with you, and for you to just warm me with your love.”  This became even more apparent when James Russell came downstairs this morning and leaned over, kissed me on the cheek and went straight to fix his breakfast…he’s older now, he doesn’t need to snuggle so much anymore.  It’s kinda heartbreaking…as I feel it is for my Father when I don’t give him the quality time he desires and deserves.  And oh, those moments when James Russell does come and give me a big hug…!!  What a wonderful feeling.  It kinda made me ashamed of myself when I think of how I deprive God from showing me His love in this way.  I love my snuggle time with the girls in the morning…and it helps me get my day started…I love the time I spend at night talking with James Russell discussing things he has questions about before he goes to sleep…why do I deprive myself of having this time with my Father…what am I replacing it with?  The computer, the news?  Wow…how sad is that…?

So yesterday the kids and I met our friends at the zoo on a perfect Oct. day.  Not too hot, perfect cool breeze and good friends…a perfect afternoon!  There was no TV at the zoo, no radio blasting the markets numbers or campaign issues, just the breeze the kids and the sunshine.  The most important item of business of the day was to have fun…!  And for the most part the 8 kids we had with us were well behaved.  I love watching the animals.  I stood watching 3 giraffes just walking and grazing…what beautiful animals they are…they move with such fluidity and grace.  I looked at Becky and asked “how can anyone think that this just happens, that this is just random?”  I just kept thinking as I walked around, seeing the different animals, fish, bugs and birds what an amazing God we serve…maybe everyone should take a day off and go to the zoo or hike a mountain trail or do something that will seperate you from what you’ve been focusing on and return your focus to where it should be…maybe it won’t take a trip to the zoo for you, maybe just turning off the TV, the radio, or the computer and spending your day focusing on the One who is in control.  Of course some of my favorite moments were just watching and listening to the kids be with each other and enjoy themselves.  I think one of my favorite things about homeschooling is the fact that my children are not focused on only hanging out and being friends with kids their age.  I watched a group of 6 kids in a wide age-range play tag with each other on the playground, without fighting, without thinking “how lame”…just having fun…I see my son and daughter developing friendships with boys and girls that I hope will last a lifetime.

  I watched McKenna discover certain things…like frogs are kinda cute, and she doesn’t like snakes and spiders…she loves fish, and talked to the turtles (“Mommy, the turtle is waving at me!”) and I think if she could have brought a turtle home she would have.  When I was tucking her in last night I asked her what her favorite animal was and she really like the horses, she loved the giraffes, and the lions (cougars, tigers, and leopards–that she prefers to call lions) and “oh mommy all of the animals were good, and Oh, I loved the fish!”  I hope she had wonderful dreams about the zoo last night.  Maybe I’ll plan a trip soon to the Chattanooga aquarium…

A friend of mine posted this article by Glenn Beck on her facebook page…and while I agree the sentiments of George Washington quoted in the article I realize we have 2 major political parties in the country…and I can’t see that changing anytime soon…what does intrigue me about this particular article is the idea that if we give in to this 700 billion dollar bailout plan that we are setting ourselves on a path to becoming socialist nation…that if we vote yes for this bill…we start to slowly open the door to picking apart the fabric of what our nation was built on…and that our children/grandchilden will look back on this point in our history and see that this moment in time is when their freedoms began to deteriorate…and we bacame a socialist nation…?  I realize that I am sometimes given to the dramatic in my thinking…but how far-fetched is this thinking really? http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/01/beck.future/index.html

And let me add this…I will continue to vote for those people who I believe will hold sacred the Constitution of the United States…I will always vote for what keeps this nation a Democratic Republic…for my children and theirs…

Wow…is this really what we need to do to sell blue jeans these days…wow…I almost feel guilty for advertising for them by posting this…call me a prude…and I know “sex sells” but this is just over the top…What happened to modesty…what happened to “less is more” and the element of surprise…?  It seems like the “characters” portrayed in this ad are the same kind of sleezy bar snakes that every woman complains about…I just don’t get it…Is this an advertising ploy to make Levi’s as cool and hip as Lucky or Diesel jeans??  Do we really have to go this extreem to sell jeans?  Is this really what the target demographic is looking for when they are shopping at the mall??  I am flabbergasted!


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