Four times I heard the doctor say “It’s a boy!” When Owen – the last – was born Andrew suggested that we trade him in for a girl. He thought we already had enough boys.
I love having all boys, although at times I have wondered if they were at a disadvantage not having a sister. I worried that girls would be these puzzling and mysterious creatures. Our choice of an all boys’ school for them added to my concern.
As with most things, I should not have worried. Girls arepuzzling and mysterious creatures, but that doesn’t seem to bother my boys in the least. Thanks to church youth groups and two near-by girls’ schools, the boys have had plenty of interactions with girls.
In fact, it might be a good thing if girls were a bit more puzzling to my youngest. After his first 7th grade social at a girls’ school, Owen came home saying “Mom, George and I were the bridge.” He explained, “All the guys were afraid to talk to the girls. George (another gregarious 4th child) and I would just go over to a group of girls Continue reading →
A stunning new dining hall at my sons’ school features this quote from Shakespeare engraved in stone high on the front wall: “Strive Mightily, but Eat and Drink as Friends.” It is an appropriate quote for a school where the competition and camaraderie are strong threads knitting together a community that spans generations.
But sadly, all too often parents and children “strive mightily” at the family dinner table, instead of “eating and drinking as friends.” Misguided efforts at control disrupt precious family fellowship.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
I am not one to just take the easy way out. In fact, sometimes I think I approached parenting with the motto “There must be a harder way!“ as if the hardest way was always the best way. No pain meds during labor, four sons in 5.5 years, cloth diapers, homeschooling – I did what I thought best for my children, even if it was hard. Hard is not bad, just hard.
But in some areas, it seems that my husband and I took paths that were much easier than those chosen by many of our friends. And we didn’t do it because it was easy, but because we thought it best.
Owen was 8. His brother’s friend was 14. We were all in the car driving to the lake for the weekend. The friend called his mom. “Did you remember to pack my contact lens solution?” “You didn’t! Mom, you always forget that!”
I looked at Owen in the rearview mirror. He was staring at the friend with a look of serious concern. Once the friend was off the phone he asked, incredulously, “Did your mom pack your suitcase?”
“Not very well!” the friend replied. Owen began to giggle. “My mom has never packed my suitcase!” Although this was not completely true, Owen had never known a day that he did not pack his own suitcase.
The youngest of 4 boys, Owen has always thought he was as old and as capable as his brothers. Early on, I would give the older boys written lists of items to pack for trips. Owen could not yet read, but asked me to draw pictures of what he needed. Pretty soon he could not be bothered with the list and just made his own packing selections. Admittedly, he has a preference for packing light. Once for a week at the lake house he packed a toothbrush, two swimsuits, a white t-shirt, and his church clothes. He managed just fine.
It is 2001. Everything is in order in the Powell household. There are 4 little boys ages 10, 8, 7, and 5. Daddy works and Mom stays home, homeschooling the boys, teaching them the catechism, tending the vegetable garden, and living a quiet life centered around church and family. All is safe and secure.
Mom is washing the breakfast dishes and the boys turn on the TV to catch the last bit of Blue’s Clues before lessons begin.
“The aim of the boy is to tell the world ‘I am a force to be reckoned with.’” Having known four boys quite well, I agree. Here are some thoughts on boys finding their callings.
On a morning walk through Krutch Park in downtown Knoxville, I notice something that should not be there.
The juvenile scrawl, in black Sharpie marker on the creek-side boulder, proclaims to all who pass “Bogey was here.” Other stones bear witness to the date and time of the visit and to Bogey’s love of soccer. One displays a drawing of a flag, firmly planted in the rock. Bogey left his mark.
When I come across the vandalism, I am confused and even angered. How can a child be so selfish? How could he have so little respect for the beauty of the setting, provided by the goodness of another? And even the self-righteous “Where was his mother?” These are valid questions, but not the most interesting. Instead, why did Bogey do it?