Sand in the Gears

Politics, porn, and football

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off

Some of you may like my attempt, though it probably deserves more thought, to articulate why we pay little attention to big-money sports in my home. Here's an excerpt: Now, let’s not quibble over semantics; I know the Canadians spent millions ...

The world we show them

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 Posted in Faith and Life | 13 Comments »

"Which world do you want to live in?" My oldest son, just days from his 14th birthday, glares back at me. Behind him in the car sit his brothers. Their hands are pressed to their faces. One of them is crying. Caleb begins ...

The ministering parent

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 16 Comments »

Do you ever look on your children, and wish they had better than you? Back when we were shopping my embarrassingly confessional first book, my agent at the time told me I needed a ministry to accompany it. She said this ...

The Cost of Calling: The Answer

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 18 Comments »

I come now to the question in my heart when I began: what can my sons say to a deceived and soul-sickened world? You might remember the story of a girl murdered that awful day in Columbine. As this story goes, ...

The Cost of Calling: Compromises

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 16 Comments »

What is the cost of a calling? You can be called to be a parent; you can be called to be a plumber. But having a child, or picking up a pipe wrench, is not—in and of itself—to pursue a ...

The Cost of Calling

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 12 Comments »

Many parents carry within our hearts—sometimes in a cramped and even despairing corner—a vision of what we hope our children will become. This vision lives deeper than our wish that they be doctors or NFL quarterbacks, deeper even than our desire ...

The professor in the home

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 48 Comments »

Every month, money flies from my checking account to the education savings accounts of my children, because I don't want them to become hobos. This is one way I allay my fear the world will eat them up. It's a ...

On the imperative of baby swaddling

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 6 Comments »

Hey you, with the crying baby. I understand that this little person is, in deeply emotional, psychological, physiological, theological senses of the term, an extension of your person. Please recognize, however, that this is not literally the case. In other words, the ...

Abandoning children

Friday, September 21st, 2012 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 13 Comments »

The intellectual consensus seems to be that having children is miserable business. This consensus is built on shoddy thinking and shoddier statistics. The latest example is brought to us by Why Have Kids? author Jessica Valenti, who notes that in the ...

The Least of These

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 Posted in Faith and Life | 6 Comments »

We've been adopted by a kitten. She's a scrawny black creature who darted out of the bushes a few days ago, mewling and shivering, afraid of all of us but desperately hungry. Now we have a dish for food and ...

The Striving

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | Comments Off

I'm learning patience from the lady who is teaching Eli how to play the violin. She is a long-time public school music teacher, the kind we wish or imagine still ran things there, kind and competent and able to talk ...

More Light

Monday, February 5th, 2007 Posted in The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

They say that the insane and geniuses are alike in that their minds make unusual connections between ideas. The good news is that I may be a genius. The bad news is that insane people often imagine that they are ...

Lost and Found

Friday, January 12th, 2007 Posted in Curmudgeonry | Comments Off

I'm trying to work from home, after flying back early to beat the ice storm. The youngest boy is in the next room with his belly on a big recliner that can spin 360 degrees. He is racing around and ...

Terrible fathers

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 Posted in Curmudgeonry, The Art of Parenting | Comments Off

I'm sitting in an airport restaurant near three men, three boisterous men drinking at 10:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. The oldest, who appears to be about thirty-five and dressed like he's twenty, is instructing the others on the tragedy of ...

Three Cowboys

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 Posted in Greatest Hits, The Art of Parenting | 7 Comments »

Last night we went to The Prairie Rose Chuckwagon supper, where they feed you brisket, beans, and biscuits until you pop, and then sing cowboy songs. Caleb and Eli went in their cowboy gear: big hats, shooting irons guns strapped ...

Father of the Year

Monday, March 27th, 2006 Posted in Greatest Hits, Snapshots of Life | 24 Comments »

I'm in an air museum with all three boys in tow. The two oldest are seated in the replica cockpit of a helicopter. The youngest and most troublesome is strapped to my back in a contraption designed for children less ...

Apology Accepted

Saturday, May 21st, 2005 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Art of Parenting | 9 Comments »

I return to the bathroom where only seconds before I had stationed Eli in front of the pot with instructions to tinkle before bedtime. This is important, you see, because otherwise he forgets to go until he is playing with ...

Home

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005 Posted in The Art of Parenting, The Sermons | 7 Comments »

Something inside draws us home. Last year, two swallows built a nest on the narrow ledge above my front door. We tried to shoo them off, used a broom to sweep away their construction a few times, but they just ...

Tracks

Wednesday, May 4th, 2005 Posted in The Art of Parenting | 8 Comments »

Some things are stitched through your life like a thread. I'm thinking of railroad tracks, which really are like threads, or perhaps great running scars. I learned to fear them when I was little; my grandmother would remind me often ...

Training Days

Monday, May 2nd, 2005 Posted in Snapshots of Life, The Art of Parenting | 11 Comments »

To be a proper parent, contrary to what one sees any given Saturday afternoon at McDonald's, is to train one's children. What they don't tell you before they let you take the kid home from the hospital, however, is that ...

Don’t Touch

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005 Posted in Snapshots of Life | 9 Comments »

The very first order given to us by the Almighty was: Don't touch. Are you listening to me? Hands to yourselves. Don't. Touch. Very, very bad things will happen if you touch that tree. See here, I've given you all ...