Sunday, January 29, 2012

Everyday Graces

    I recently purchased the book "Everyday Graces A Child's Book of Good Manners", Edited by Karen Santorum.  It is a lovely hard covered book with wonderful adaptions of children's classics to illustrate good manners.  I love this book because it is written for the same purposes that I always felt children's literature should be used for.  To teach good and to encourage  my children to understand the people in the stories and the character qualities that they exemplified.  Mrs. Santorum has done just that in this book.   She covers many different types of manners.  Here are a few chapter titles:  Good Manners at Home; Using Words, Wisely; Table Manners; Washing and Dressing; Appreciating People with Disabilities; Getting Along with Others; Good Manners in School; Good Sportsmanship; Writing Letters and Invitations; Church, Weddings and Funerals; Kindness Toward Animals; Respecting Our Country.  

     I laughed at the poem by Jack Prelutsky entitled; Why Do I Have to Clean My Room?  It might just fit around here. At the end of the poem, Mrs. Santorum explains in her motherly way, that once you were small and your parents took care of picking up your room, but now that you're older it's your responsibility.  The book is full of these types of antidotes.

    "Anne of Green Gables" is frequently used as a wonderful example of manner lessons.  We are "Anne" with an e, lovers in our home and know the story frontwards and backwards.  But I love how the lessons can be used from the story and the children relate so well to it as they can clearly see in Anne's behavior, good and bad.  A few other stories used in the book are "George Washington and the Cherry Tree",  "Alice in Wonderland",  "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", "Robinson Crusoe", "The Secret Garden", "Squanto, the Pilgrim's Friend" and many more.  Also included are poems and quotes.  I have enjoyed reading through this and wish I'd had it on our library shelf when the kids were little.  It will be a fun reminder for them however, since most of the stories and poems are so familiar to us.  I hope you can pick it up and enjoy it as well.
Happy Homeschooling!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Patchwork Principles

We have been reading JC Ryle's  "Thought's for Young Men" in our morning devotion time.  Each morning our studies start out with Bible study and a thought provoking devotion.  Matt is my only student and he is fourteen so I try to focus on studies geared specifically toward young men.  This year we have read "Made for Work" and also "Every Day Battles" by Bob Schultz.  All of these have been wonderful challenges to Matt and I have been challenged as well.  I love "Thought's for Young Men" because it gets straight to the heart of the matter.   In each chapter Ryle exhorts young men to stay pure.  He explains how boys are enticed to sin and how they can so easily fall away from their Christian principles.  Today we read a section dealing with a "clear view of the evil of sin."  How does sin impact our principles?  We have standards that we've set and many times those standards are pushed easily aside or allowed to slide here and there.  We allow little sins to sneak in and before we know it we have compromised those principles.  As parents do we allow our child's  little sins to just slip by?  Do they come and we say that isn't so important right now?  Do we compromise just "oh so slightly"?  If so, then we don't believe that sin is as evil as it really is.

I will share a small example of how this came to my thoughts this morning.  We are strict about what we have let our children view on TV or at the movies and whenever the children have been invited to a movie and I don't know anything about it I look it up on line to see what kind of reviews it has or I watch the trailer.  The trailer can tell  a lot about a movie.  In just three short seconds I can pretty much make up my mind in regards to whether it is okay or not.  This morning I reviewed a trailer for a movie party that my son has been invited to for his piano lessons.  I will not reveal the name, but it sounded harmless, and was rated for "all audiences".  After seeing more animated anatomy than I felt was necessary I told him it just wasn't appropriate for all audiences after all.  That is audiences who want to keep their fourteen year old son's purity in check.

The point I am trying to make is that each one of these little steps in sinning leads only toward more and more sinning.  That little bit of anatomy leads to more and more desire to see more anatomy.  This is the patchwork principle that I'm alluding to in my title.  If we as parents allow our children or ourselves to get caught up into these "little sins" or little patches, we ignore the fact that sin really is evil and it grows and grows into a bunch of patches, eventually a patchwork quilt.  (Not that quilts are sin or course, just a good example of how they all connect. )  A little sin is evil and a lot of sin is more evil.  Jesus died for ALL sin.  It only took one small sin to separate us from God.  It only took Adam's pride to separate all humanity from God.

I am so encouraged by the above books that I mentioned  and I highly recommend them for young men, and all of the rest of us as well.

Happy Homeschooling!