Sand in the Gears

Archive for the ‘Fatherhood’ Category

Not home

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 7 Comments »

On Sunday nights, after I've tucked in the boys, after I've packed my bags for another trip, I write each of them a note. I tell Caleb that I love the way he takes care of his younger brothers, or ...

The pumpkin patch

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

I think the cook at a local eatery gave me an e coli burger because he didn't like my hat. That's the theory I've been operating under the last 48 hours. We went to the pumpkin patch as planned yesterday ...

Remembering Caroline

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 10 Comments »

Tonight is the night she shuddered out her last breath and left us holding the shell of a girl. I thought for a time it was to make me better, consumed as I am with me, and I thought maybe ...

Render thy car seat unto…

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 1 Comment »

Six year-old Isaac had a running argument with three year-old Isaiah for a few weeks, on the question of who owns Isaiah's car seat. Isaac, more than any of my other children, has seized on the God trump card in ...

Nerf war

Saturday, October 9th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Greatest Hits | 6 Comments »

A gymnasium strewn with upturned tables for barricades, a child-hearted husband and wife instigators of the fracas. Boys with single-shot pistols, automatics, rifles, rocket launchers, gathering to compare armaments. The older ones show the younger how to modify their weapons ...

Vacation II: 800 nights in a museum in 3 hours

Thursday, September 9th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 5 Comments »

More on the Great Woodlief Vacation of 2010, which might also have been titled: "You do know it's 1400 miles to the East Coast, right?" When last I left off, I had just extricated the Big Love van from a midget-sized ...

Laboring days

Monday, September 6th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 1 Comment »

I've cut grass and cleaned offices and guarded buildings; I've been a grill cook and a college teacher and a karate instructor. I've bussed tables and stocked labs and punched numbers; I've managed more emotional twenty-somethings than I can count, ...

Vacation: the dark yawning pit of destruction

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

I took six books with me for a two-week vacation. Since I also took my four children, we have a clear indication that I understand neither math nor children. This may also explain why I found myself, through a series ...

A father’s waning day

Monday, June 21st, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

As I write, there are nine minutes left in Father's Day, which is just right, given that every father I know feels like he has so much left to do, and just a scrap of time in which to do ...

Tickle Monster

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 4 Comments »

Tonight I introduced Isaac and Isaiah to the Tickle Monster Game, which I used to play with Caleb and Eli. (And which I write about in my book. Have I mentioned the new book today?) I armed them both with ...

Wishing homeward

Sunday, May 16th, 2010 Posted in Faith and Life, Fatherhood | 4 Comments »

I counted, and I've been in my office a total of fifteen minutes since sometime in April. I've been home maybe five days. DC, New Orleans, Atlanta, Detroit, DC, DC, DC. I suppose they'd all be nice to visit, if ...

There’s no program for fixing rotten

Friday, April 30th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

The thing you run into, when you are in the business of saving the world from itself, is that there is no lever marked: "PULL HERE TO SAVE WORLD." It fascinates me to see intelligent thinkers reason out top-down solutions to ...

Expect to win

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

Caleb has been on a robotics team. They use Lego Mindstorms equipment to overcome a variety of obstacles laid out for them in an annual competition at Wichita State University. It was his first year, and I think he must ...

Fourteen

Sunday, March 7th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 10 Comments »

You would have been fourteen today. Amidst the chaos of cobbled-together derby cars and robot obstacle courses and four sweaty boys we might have made a cake just for you. I would have made you spaghetti, because it is your ...

Straight to danger

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

Five year-old Isaac decided that he wanted to ride his bike without the training wheels. "They slow me down," he explained. If you knew this boy, you would understand why I was reluctant to give him more speed. But there ...

The going rate

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 2 Comments »

"Four M&M's if I poop," Isaiah explained. This is how we finally got him potty-trained, you see. With bribery. He was getting M&M's for peeing as well, but then he started doling it out in little dribs and drabs in ...

Quietly amazing

Friday, February 12th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 2 Comments »

Caleb is now ten. He's a "ten-ager," as he likes to say. The boys come to work with me on their birthdays. I don't know what they'll do once I'm a world-famous author who writes full-time for a living. Perhaps sit ...

Because

Friday, January 29th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 8 Comments »

This is why I write to you, boys with me, girl who is gone. I write to you because when I am with you, when I look into your soft brown eyes, I do not have the words. They come ...

On leading your children

Sunday, January 10th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on On leading your children

Joanna Moorhead offers another example of surprisingly good advice flowing from disastrously poor premises. Among her flawed bits of wisdom: "Our children are entirely different from us. . ."; and ". . . the more you hold things to be ...

This just in: children aren’t so bad after all

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on This just in: children aren’t so bad after all

Some of you might recall research floating about suggesting that having children reduces happiness. My own point of view has been that immediate happiness is not the point of a fulfilling life, at least not for the Christian. Now I've ...

Marionette parenting

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off on Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there's a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., "helicopter parenting"). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, ...

When is it legal for them to mix me a drink?

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 1 Comment »

I suppose it's helpful to hear some expert advice on when my children can have sleepovers and get their own mobile phones, but there's some other milestones I have in mind, like the age when they can operate a chainsaw, ...

He who spares the rod . . .

Monday, January 4th, 2010 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 3 Comments »

. . . hates his child. Didn't know that was in the Bible, did you? And now a new study suggests that children who are spanked as youngsters go on to be happier and more successful. I'm sure even now ...

Kill your television before it gets you

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 15 Comments »

The average child between the ages of two and five in the U.S. watches over 32 hours of television per week, according to the latest Nielsen numbers. Nearly five hours a day, in other words. Given the greater sleep needs ...

Etched in flesh

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, The Art of Parenting | 5 Comments »

I must confess that my first reaction, upon hearing about the thug who had his seven year-old tattooed with his gang's symbol, was that the solution seemed pretty straightforward: a bullet under the chin of the sperm-donor, along with a ...

There’s always runner up

Monday, October 5th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 3 Comments »

Isaiah John, at two years old, was born to be a last child. If you are trying to get something accomplished, he hurls his body against your legs, slings his arms upward, and begs to be held. If there is ...

Light beyond daylight

Monday, September 14th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

We are at the fair, and the sun has disappeared below the treeline, so that the illumination from the rides has become our daylight. We are watching Caleb twirl and spin about in some contraption that his brothers are either ...

Marshmallow war

Friday, July 17th, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

In these troubled economic times, good wholesome family entertainment can be a difficult expense to bear. That's why I'm especially pleased that we've discovered a way to have big family fun for under ten dollars. Yesterday we had friends over, ...

Dear United: Next time how about you kiss me first?

Saturday, April 25th, 2009 Posted in Business Reviews, Fatherhood | 8 Comments »

As I bribe my children with candy to find me one of the two dozen sippy cups cleverly hidden by the baby throughout the house, it occurs to me that I have a solution for that institution remarkably like children ...

Smitten

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 Posted in Fatherhood, Snapshots of Life | 6 Comments »

I have just come home, and Eli runs up to me. "Dad, I left you a Boxcar Children book on your nightstand. It's your Easter present." "Thank you," I say. He turns back toward where he has been playing. "Eli," I ...