Monday, September 16, 2002

Tales from the front pew, Chapter 8

David is a free spirit. One of the things that he was excited about with home-schooling was that he would have some say over what he studied. I think he had the idea that he would be able to do whatever he wanted without any bounds. He has this idea in his head that he wants to do experiments. He has Deb's old chemistry set and he wants very badly to start mixing things together to see if they will blow up. I think we have a future pyrotechnics expert on our hands. Or perhaps just a pyromaniac.

Some of these experiments he does are constructive and I think he learns from them. He has been studying magnetism. There is a bowl of water on his desk in his bedroom. It has some wire wrapped around the rim, several magnets arranged around the rim, one magnet in the bottom, and a nail, slowly rusting away in the water. He discovered that if he stirred the water with the nail, he could get a small reading from a meter connected to the wire and the water. I'm still trying to explain what is actually making the meter move, but he already has visions of large bowls of water used to generate electricity.

Some of those experiments do not go so well. He wanted to experiment this morning before church. He had his new clothes on that Grandma had bought for him just the other day. He went downstairs. He was going to make a drill. He somehow connected an old ink pen to a motor and started the thing turning by connecting it to a battery. Unfortunately, the ink pen still had ink in it. Lots of ink. It is now all over his new clothes. He came upstairs rather sheepishly. "Uhh, Mom," he said. "We have a problem."

All the homeschool books encourage letting your kids discover by experiencing and experimenting. What they don't tell you is how much it will cost.

In church this evening, the pastor started a series of sermons on marriage. David wanted to lie down because it didn't apply to him. I told him to sit up. "You'll probably get married someday, " I told him. "Besides, if you sit up and act like you're listening, everyone behind us will think that we have such good kids." (I think they already know better.)

As the service started David asked me, "Dad, if you're a bachelor, do you have to go to these?"

I guess when you're 9 years old, marriage seems like it's a million years away.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

Tales from the Front Pew, Chapter 7

Tonight's sermon topic was the Fruit of the Spirit, taken from Galatians 5:22-23. We were not in our usual spot, the fourth row from the front. Instead, we were in the fifth row from the front to make room for the Gems (the girls group), who led part of the worship service. There was a basket of fruit on the stage, and Pastor Doug introduced his message by holding up an apple and asking, "Who wants some fruit?" Many hands from the less inhibited among us (the children) shot in the air, and our two cherubs were practically leaping out of their seats in an effort to get their hands higher than the others.

He lobbed the apple into the audience, taking careful aim at someone who was actually paying attention. An orange was lofted next, and a couple other fruits. With an apple in hand, Pastor Doug caught David's eye and gently underhanded the apple into the air.

Understand that I do play catch with my son, and he does catch pretty well. Only this time, he didn't. The apple missed his outstretched hands and with the distinctive apple-sounding thud, struck David in the forehead and bounced onto the floor. David yelped, probably more in surprise than in pain, and the audience roared. David is good at eliciting that kind of response. After making sure David was OK, Pastor Doug continued his pitching practice. His last apple was thrown to Josh who still had his hand in the air. Only this time he came a few paces down the aisle before lofting the apple. Josh caught it and was now satisfied that he also had an apple. To have one child get an apple thrown to him in church and not the other can be a cause for war. Pastor Doug is a wise man. He has three boys of his own.

Saturday, February 16, 2002

Tales from the Front Pew, Chapter 6

We had a choir in our church last Sunday. A big choir complete with robes. It's been a while since we have had a choir with robes, as the reactions of our kids indicated. When we were coming in, Joshua was looking around at all the choir members milling around. "Dad," he said with a questioning voice, "Why are all these people walking around dressed like prophets?"

David was doing some wondering of his own. Less than 30 seconds after Josh posed his question, I got a poke in the side from David. "Dad," he asked, "why are all these angel-ladies walking around here?"

We've been watching the Olympics the last few nights, right now there are skiers flinging themselves fifty feet into the air doing tumbles and twists and actually landing on their feet. Incredible. David has it in his head that he wants to do the luge. There is a luge run in Muskegon. He wants to try it out. Maybe this is the start of another Olympic legend. Then Deb and I can be the ones on those commercials saying we were the only ones who believed in him. We'll make millions.

The kids have a couple days off from school next week. We decided to take them to Chicago to the Field Museum. After some debate, we gave them a choice. Stay overnight at a hotel and spend some time in the pool or take the entire trip in a single day with a twenty dollar credit towards legos or some other thing of their choice. The decision didn't take long. They went for the twenty bucks. So we'll do the trip in a day.