The Impenetrable Shield of Protection

Bear with me as I continue to process our transition to a two-day-a-week school and seem to only share the yucky things. There are actually a LOT of good things and, overall, it continues to feel like a good fit for our family. But nothing is perfect, darn it.

When I picked up the girls today, Maddie greeted me at the door with tears in her eyes. “I got teased today,” she said. I knew it wasn’t an ordinary tease as she can handle fun joking pretty well. I pulled her aside and asked her what happened. She said that one of the girls noticed she was in the lower level math (with Chloe) and that Chloe finished before her. The girl thought it funny that the younger sister was faster than the older sister and made fun of Maddie for it.

I asked her how the teasing made her feel and she said it made her feel sad and hurt. I asked her how she responded to the teasing and she said she didn’t really do anything, just finished her math. I told her I was proud of her for working hard at it and trying to give it her very best, as that was what mattered and not someone else’s opinion of her ability. I hugged her tightly and secretly plotted how I could intervene in the classroom and make that other kid really, really sorry for what she did.

As we got in the car and drove home, I reminded Maddie of the principles we’ve been learning in the Young Peacemaker when someone begins a conflict with us. “So basically,” I said, “you have three choices: you can ignore it, pretend it never happened, and hope it just goes away. Do you remember what that was called? Escape, or peace-faking. You can get mad and argue with her over it. Remember that one? Attack, or peace-breaking. Or you can try to work it out by talking to her calmly about how her words made you feel. That one is called peace-making. It is the hardest of the three to do, but it is the most important one to try. Then, if she doesn’t respond to your attempt to make it right, you can get help from your teacher or from me.”

Who needed to hear that the most? Me. My job isn’t to step in at first offense and mama-bear every one around until all problems are solved, though I so desperately want to be able to provide that impenetrable shield of protection for her. I simply can’t. I can walk her through it, hug her through it, pray her through it, and if needed, get her through it if I do need to step in later in the proper order of things.

But I need to let her wrestle with this a bit first, and that’s a very hard place to be. For both of us.



So can someone out there in internet land give me the Reader’s Digest condensed version of the Federal Vision? I’d like to know basically what it is and what the two positions are (ie: why is there a disagreement about it) and I’d prefer not to have to look up any words to understand the explanation given.

Open forum:

A Sprung Spring

We just completed two nights of discussion here in St. Louis on biblical worldview and education for the How Kids Think project. The groups were small (about seven each), which was a disappointment on the planning end, but on the implementation end, we realized the groups needed to be small to facilitate the kind of discussion we were hoping for. There was a good representation both nights from Christian school teachers, homeschool parents, and parents of really young kids. It was pretty amazing, really, how the groups turned out, and the input we gathered was great.

Craig and I are paying for it a bit now as we’re both introverts. Though we didn’t interact with scores of people two nights in a row, we were both “on” with people two nights in a row (we’ve agreed that tomorrow we’re “off”). I’m thinking a movie tomorrow night and no phone calls answered. Dr. Douglass called it the rubber band effect (which I’m sure I’ve mentioned here before) in which someone can be stretched outside of his or her personality, but to the degree therubber band is stretched one way, it will inevitably spring back to that same degree in the other direction.

Our girls have done well through all of this, even entertaining themselves in one of the Sunday School classrooms tonight for two hours (complete with video, all-you-can-eat-Goldfish, and fun toys they don’t get to play with much on Sundays). But two nights of this has been enough for them, too, and they’re ready for a return to normal, especially after our busy Apple Festival weekend in Illinois.

Days like yesterday and today usually breed family-pajama-day tomorrows. We’ll get done what we need to get done, but we’ll look like we’ve just rolled out of bed all day long. Sounds pretty good to me.

Griggsville Apple Festival 2007

One Cute Apple

  • Miles driven: 200
  • 4-H lemonade shake-ups downed: 16
  • Corndogs consumed: 11
  • American Legion french fry sides ordered: 10
  • Rainbow-flavored snowcones slurped: 4
  • Cheeseburgers purchased: 3
  • Place Dunham Family float won: 2nd (the dynasty ends)
  • Fried fish and butterfly porkchop sandwiches eaten: 1 each
  • Rural America entertainment (queen contest, lip sync, Macon County Line country/western band, Magnificent Mile parade) and more hometown culture than you can shake a stick at: Priceless

In Which I Prove to God and Everyone That I Have No Business in Business

I’m a stay-at-home mom by trade, call, and desire. I also like to write, which doesn’t seem like a job, but more like a way to process the world so I can move on with life.

Currently, I’m a researcher masquerading as someone who has an actual job with a work-related email address, payroll paperwork, and administrative folks I communicate with on a daily basis.
The research of the job is fascinating to me, and I’m liking it a lot. The administrative details? Let’s just say I’m not as administrative as I thought I had the potential to be.

Case in point #1: I locked myself out of my email address this week and had to get help from the Tech Master to get me back in. (Hi, my name is Megan, and do you think you could explain how email works again?)

Case in point #2: I have not been able to submit my reimbursement paperwork correctly to the Payroll Master and I’ve tried, oh, about five times. (Hi, my name is Megan, and do you think you could just give me an allowance so I don’t have to keep track of paper and remember how to do hard computer tasks like type inside boxes on a standard form?)

Case in point #3: I’ve been working on surveys to send out to folks that will be going in official-looking formatted and html-enabled emails. I’ve sent 3 of them to the Email Master two times each, each time with “These are ready to send!” typed in with them. Each time, 12 hours later, I’ve emailed her again with a, “WAIT! Those can’t go yet. Just throw them in the trash and I’ll get them to you again.” Like she’s going to believe me the next time I send her anything with “Yes, send these now, please!” (Hi, my name is Megan, and I just like to create extra work for everyone.)

The upside? Everyone I’ve been working with has been extra gracious with me, and nobody has cyber-sighed in my direction (at least not that I’ve heard). They seem to be okay with the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing yet.

So the only one being hard on me is me. I told Craig I’m feeling this weird need to bake cookies for the entire administrative team of GWN and apologize with sugar.

Maybe just getting my details submitted properly the first time would suffice.

Defending the Family Honor

Apple Festival First Place TrophyThis is our third fall season back in the Midwest, and with that comes our third year to participate in the Griggsville Apple Festival with the rest of the Dunham crew. Craig’s sisters do most of the work on the float and we show up and look cute (okay, the girls do).
The Dunhams have won the Apple Festival Parade trophy for the past two years (maybe more, but that was before our time), so tomorrow we go back to defend our title, eat corndogs, drink fresh-squeezed lemonade, peruse the public library’s discards, maybe take an overpriced tractor ride around town, and take pictures of funny advertisements we will see along the way.

This year will be extra fun, though, because Craig’s parents are the honorary citizens of the festival, so we will go tomorrow to watch them participate in that aspect of the festival as well.

My parents have been in town this week since Tuesday and they leave tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon we take off for the farm, so this is Grandparents week for us and the girls have enjoyed it very much. I have too, for all the obvious reasons of getting to see my parents again, but also because my mom should win some kind of award for washing, drying, folding, and putting away all the laundry we had piling up in this house. All of it (and there was a lot).

My dad taught Chloe how to tie her shoes, as we’ve made learning to tie your shoes a “learned from Papa” skill around here, which has been a beautiful thing because my dad is the perfect person to sit with a kid and go through the tying process over and over and over and over and over. Early Wednesday morning, he and Chloe took their tennis shoes to the front porch, sat on the steps, and began. She was a pro in no time, so we can now successfully mark “ties shoes” off her list of need-to-learn life skills.

I’ve been How Kids Think-ing, grading papers for Craig, and teaching the girls. I need to be sleeping and staying current with our laundry so we don’t again develop the problem we had when my parents arrived on Tuesday. I officially admitted to my limitations in the ironing department, and hauled a whole basket full of Craig’s shirts to the cleaners last weekend. It was the best $20 we’ve spent in a long time.

So, that’s the latest scoop from the Half Pint House. Our chaos has exceeded the “acquired” state right now (it’s more like “normal,” which we hope will change – maybe in November).

I Am the Dancing Queen

Disco Mama

Only no longer 17. But that’s a good thing, because if I were, I wouldn’t have Katie. She brought this picture to me while I was still sleeping yesterday morning and said, “I drew this picture for you, Mama. It’s you in a hat at a disco.”

If that isn’t a sure way to wake me up in the morning, there isn’t one.

Whirled View

My brain has been taken over by How Kids Think, and each day this week I could have sworn I’d written something here, only to realize later that I’ve been spending most of my time over there. These next few weeks are going to be fairly research-heavy for me (not just here on the WWW, but in the World As We Know It).

This means that when I’m not holding conversations about what does having a biblical worldview even mean, I’m holding ones that go like this:

Millie: (Singing, about something that sounded like, “I-I-I-I have an H H H H H”)
Me: Wow, you do? That sounds really neat.
Millie: It is. I like it.
Me: Tell me more about your “H.”
Millie: My what?
Me: Your “H.” You said you have an H.
Millie: What’s an “H?”
Me: It’s what you said you had.
Millie: I have an “H?”
Me: Don’t you?
Millie: Don’t I what?
Me: Have an “H.”
Millie: No, I don’t have an “H.”
Me: What were you singing about then?
Millie: I don’t know. Are we having peanut butter for lunch?

And this is who I’m trying to figure out how to teach biblical worldview concepts to…

Oh, So That’s Our Problem

I think I finally figured out our math problem (no pun intended). I thought that the concrete nature of mathematics was a given. Apparently I’m wrong. I just read the following from Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth:

Today, however, most philosophers no longer even regard mathematics as a body of truths.  The dominant philosophy of mathematics treats it as a social construction, like the game of baseball. “Three strikes and you’re out” is an arbitrary rule. It’s not true or false; it’s just the way we choose to play the game. By the same token, mathematical rules are just the way we play the game.

Even American schoolchildren are now taught this postmodern view of math. A popular middle school curriculum says students should learn that “mathematics is man-made, that it is arbitrary, and good solutions are arrived at by consensus among those who are considered expert.”

She then goes on to say,

Moreover, if math is arbitrary, then there are no wrong answers, just different perspectives. In Minnesota, teachers are instructed to be tolerant of “multiple mathematical worldviews.” In New Mexico, I met a young man who had recently graduated from high school, where a mathematics teacher had labeled him a “bigot” for thinking it was important to get the right answer. As long as students worked together in a group and achieved consensus, the teacher insisted, the outcome was acceptable.

Ah ha. So that’s been my problem. I’ve expected math to always lead to the same answer everytime. Now I realize that as long as Maddie and Chloe agree on what they can come up with, they are right. This should make math a LOT easier in the future.

Okay, So My Job

I’m ready to come out with what I’ve alluded to doing recently. Craig and I are both working as part-time researchers for a new project of God’s World Publications called How Kids Think (read all about it by clicking the link).

Over the next few weeks, I will be posing questions over there that I need participation on – from educators of both the classroom and home variety (ie: traditional teachers and homeschool parents). There will be some nice prizes for participation (details to come), as they’re that serious about drawing you and all of your educationally- and biblically-minded friends over to help me out.

If you care about kids receiving education formed with a biblical worldview, please bookmark my new blog and spread the word. Let’s think together about how kids think.