RV Adventures

My folks bought a massive RV earlier this year. It’s an idea that has been percolating for some time. I remember when I was a kid myself my father voicing a desire to own a cottage or camper. It has taken sometime but here we are now.

The RV Park officially opened up and we have already take our first trip of the summer a few weekends ago.

So far I have to say that going to a seasonal RV Park is like entering into a whole new world. People are all out and about, they are speaking with their neighbors, heck they are even going out of their way to introduce themselves to new people like us.  But the strangest thing of all is the children, they all seem to be rather free range. To be clear I don’t mean just the older children, those teetering on the teenage years. I mean pretty much all of the children.

On the first night we were there I walked with my kids to the park only to discover it fully populated with 4 and 6 year old children, but completely devoid of parents. The next day brought more of the same. We walked down to the bounce pad only to discover that the children were there in full force but the adults were nowhere to be found.

I watched kids figure out play equipment by themselves. I watched kids sort out the rules to games by themselves. I watched kids figure out where to toss their garbage from the treats they bought at the store by themselves.

I even heard one girl who couldn’t have been more than 9 tell her friend that she had to go turtle hunting with these other kids that she didn’t know because she couldn’t find her. Unsupervised turtle hunting with strange children, what world have I found myself in, Lord of the Flies?

Blurry Kids At Play

All kidding aside I am realizing rather quickly that my job here is going to be to a) make sure my kids know how to get to and from the playgrounds by themselves b) know how to assert themselves if they don’t like how kids are playing with them c) have some ability to know the time of day to come back for meals.

Actually as I reflect on these necessary skills for the RV Park I am wondering if I have been more of a helicopter parent than I realized.

Up until now wherever my children have gone we have brought them. Most times we were there on the sidelines watching in case they needed us to jump in.  And we’re have even selected all their friends for them. In short we have had pretty much total control of their play up until now.

But that isn’t going to fly at the RV park. Like me my kids have already noticed that most children there roam free of their parents. Maybe this is a good thing. My kids are getting older and I have always been impressed with their abilities to handle themselves under my watchful eye.  Maybe it is time for my parenting to grow up some as well.

Then again while I was sitting here on the sidelines of the park contemplating about how much wiser and more mature my children have become over these past few months a girl told me that my kids are eating rocks.

Perhaps I am getting a little ahead of myself. Or maybe I will add an item ‘D’ to our list of things to make sure the children know; a) Know how to travel to and from the camper b) know how to be assertive when needed c) Know to come back for meals and d) Don’t eat the rocks.

This should be a fun summer.

Crossing

This post first appeared on the Urban Parent website. A wonderful site dedicated to all things parenting in Halifax.

Notable Biblical Women- The Canaanite Mother

Biblical Women

 

While I was finishing working on this sermon my daughter, Ariella lay half asleep on the couch beside me. She picked up a stomach bug and was feeling pretty under the weather. Now today a few days later she is still laying on the couch fighting the same stomach bug, but her older brother Simeon has joined her. I don’t like seeing them like this but they will feel better soon I am sure of it.

Today’s notable biblical women, is a woman known simply as the Canaanite Mother. And she also has a concern over the health of her daughter. Her daughter is said to be horribly demon possessed. I am not sure what that looks like for this mother and daughter or for how long she has been in this condition. But it is easy to imagine that it was very serious, and that it has gone on for a long time.

It is out of this desperation that this mother seeks out Jesus in hopes that he will heal her daughter. However when she approaches Jesus with her request he rather uncharacteristically refuses. The mother intensifies her request, Jesus intensifies his refusal. The conversation reaches its climax with this unusual exchange;

[Jesus] replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

There is a lot about this conversation that I don’t understand. I don’t know why Jesus was so uncharacteristically curt, and dare I say rather rude with this mother. But what I do know is that this mother demonstrates a faith that I want to have.

When she encounters a problem that she is unable to solve herself she turns to Jesus. But when met with initial silence and possible refusal she didn’t give up and she kept pressing forward. It is this kind of determined faith that I want to make sure I practice. There will be times in our lives when we face problems that we can not solve, but when we turn to prayer it seems like God is silent.

I think these moments of silence help to take our faith and refine it into great faith. Because it becomes a more tested faith. I don’t know why some prayers go unanswered for days, weeks, months or even years. But I know they do. It is within this space that we must follow the example of this notable biblical woman and demonstrate a faith that perseveres.

Canaanite Woman

Living Dangerously

Recent news stories have reinforced a belief that I hold. A belief that I routinely engage in the most dangerous activity imaginable for an adult male. Now I am no thrill seeker, and I don’t engage in extreme sports. I have never climbed a mountain, jumped out of a plane or gone white water rafting. In fact on the surface it would seem like I do very little on any given day that could be considered ‘dangerous’ in any sense of the word.

austin-powers-i-also-like-to-live-dangerously

No the danger that I speak of is that I routinely interact with children and teens. Here is a list of my dangerous activities;

1- I help run a youth group

2- I coach my children’s sports teams

3- I help out at my children’s school

4- I take my children to the park, the mall, the grocery story without my wife accompanying me.

Maybe these don’t sound like dangerous activities to you. If that is the case God bless you. However I am painfully aware that there is a rapidly growing sense in our culture that every male presents a very real possible risk to minors.

If you think I am exaggerating here are two stories that filled my Facebook news feed over the past few weeks;

First a little more than a week ago a YouTube video went viral. It was of a man and a puppy going over to three different children at a playground to see if he could convince them to leave the park with him. He was successful each time. The video ended say that 700 children are abducted a day. Which as far as I can tell is not true.

And second a man in Australia who took a selfie in a Target store with a Darth Vader cut out. A mother thought he had taken a picture of her children. She then followed the man around the store took his picture shared it on Facebook describing what she thought happened. The picture was shared well over 20,000 times. The man discovered while he was sitting in a business meeting the following day that this picture of him was circulating accusing him of being a pedophile. He had to go to the police and relinquish his phone to prove his innocence.

These kind of stories chill me to the bone. But I am just not sure what to do with them. The fact is that children in the US and Canada have never been safer. Yet it seems like parents have never been more scared. Lives of well meaning, innocent adults are being destroyed, and children are being kept sequestered away for no good reason.

Back in February I was asked to be Olaf at a community festival. I did it because I knew my daughter in particular would be so excited to see Olaf in person. I also knew that a lot of other kids would enjoy it as well. I was excited, but also nervous.

I knew that the kids would want to hug Olaf/me, he does love warm hugs after all. And they would want to pose with him/me for pictures. And that is what happened. So during the evening I tried to make sure that you could see my hand in every picture that was taken. My hands were either resting somewhere on my costume or they were waving in the air. I got the sense that the women dressed up as Elsa and Anna didn’t have the same concern.

Daddy Olaf

My name is Olaf, and I am generally nervous about hugs

 

I love my children, and I want to be active in their lives. But I also believe in the old saying that it takes a village to raise a child. So I want my children to have other adults in their lives that affect them in a positive way. And I hope I can affect others in a similar positive manor. I am just worried that it is getting too dangerous to try.

What do you think?