Mike Cope's blog

Monday, September 19, 2005

Yesterday evening was my first chance to go dove hunting this year. There were lots of birds flying and I got my limit (15 since we were north of I-20). It was a perfect evening with West Texas skies trying to squeeze out every possible drop of beauty. A little breeze, plenty of birds, a good buddy, an endless sky, and no snakes. - - - - I hold to my prediction: Cards and Angels in the Series. - - - - Favorites on my Ipod lately: Bebo Norman, Shawn McDonald, Keb Mo, Allison Krauss, and Zoe (the new CD is excellent!). CCR and Buffett, of course. But that goes without saying. - - - - Have you seen the cartoon of the two little girls at the bus stop, chatting as they hold their personal planners? One says: "Okay, I'll move ballet back an hour, reschedule gymnastics, and cancel piano . . . you shift your violin lesson to Thursday and skip soccer practice . . . that gives us from 3:15 to 3:45 on Wednesday the 16th to play." Is that too close to home to be funny? More about that later . . . . But for now: what suggestions do you parents have for slowing down the pace enough so that kids can have a life that isn't franctic and breathless?


  • Mike,

    How do you fix dove? Roast it, bake it or fry it? With gravy or a chutney?

    Doves seem kind of small - do you have to eat a mess of them to get full?


    By Blogger J A Pierpont, at 9/19/2005 05:10:00 AM  

  • I think we first have to stop trying to find our own identity and worth in the abilities of our children. Once you get past the surface, more of our kids' frantic lives are wrapped up in our own desires to feel validated as parents, not the given needs of the children.

    Ex: "I want my kid to be good at sports so I can be the father of the kid that's good at sports." We wouldn't say it out loud, but we know it's a driving force in our decisions. Sometimes it's not about being proud of them, it's about being proud of ourselves because of them, and there's an important difference.

    By Blogger James, at 9/19/2005 05:17:00 AM  

  • Shawn McDonald's CD is wonderful, his song Beautiful is one of the 2 or 3 most powerful contemporary Christian songs I've ever heard.

    Written by Shawn McDonald

    As I look into the stars
    Pondering how far away they are
    How You hold them in Your hands
    And still You know this man
    You know my inner most being, oh
    Even better than I know, than I know myself
    What a beautiful God
    What a beautiful God
    And what am I, that I might be called Your child
    What am I, what am I
    That You might know me, my King
    What am I, what am I, what am I
    As I look off into the distance
    Watching the sun roll on by
    Beautiful colors all around me, oh
    Painted all over the sky
    The same hands that created all of this
    They created you and I
    What a beautiful God
    What a beautiful God
    And what am I, that I might be called Your child
    What am I, what am I
    That You might know me, my King
    What am I, what am I
    That You might die, that I might live
    What am I, what am I, what am I, what am I
    What am I
    What am I
    What am I
    What am I
    What am I

    By Blogger KentF, at 9/19/2005 05:52:00 AM  

  • Mike,

    I told some friends yesterday that while God set eternity in the hearts of men, he doesn't activate it in children. He activates it in adults.

    Children are designed by God to live for the short term - I mean they think about tomorrow, and not too far beyond very often. We think that's bad. We try to get them to grow out of that as quickly as possible. We think they need to play all the sports they can so they can discover their natural skills, develop them fast, because we are thinking about scholarship for college while the kid is seven years old.

    We need to let our children live for today. Let the planning they have to do be about who they will play with tomorrow.

    God will activate thoughts of eternity in them at the right time. We don't need to push. In fact, according to Jesus, we would do well to become more like them in some respects.

    By Blogger dagwud, at 9/19/2005 05:55:00 AM  

  • Are you familiar with the Lead Pencil Club? They promote communicating by hand written letters or face to face. The Lead Pencil Club believes in opposing this “godless age of speed and technology,” its motto is “Not so Fast.” It’s a club that believes in not answering the phone at supper time. We need one day off in seven to keep our emotions healthy.

    Check out the book: The Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club.


    By Blogger Steve Puckett, at 9/19/2005 06:00:00 AM  

  • We're big on Julia only doing one activity at a time. She had to quit dance to take up soccer this year. (Which was fine with her.) I overheard another dance mom last year talking about her daughter who was in dance, cheerleading, scouts, etc. She said, "As long as she thinks she can handle all that, it's OK with me." It really bothers me when parents give younger children too much decision-making power. I think it should be parents' responsibility to set boundaries for our kids.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 9/19/2005 06:17:00 AM  

  • Mike, long-time reader, first time commenter. I've got a link on my blog to yours because I value your independent thinking within the churches of Christ. I'm a former lifelong member who has recently moved on to a more "gracious" association.

    About kids ... Our 8 and 6 year-old are "forced" to participate in an extra-curricular that we choose (piano and swimming lessons depending on the time of year) and are allowed one of their choice. That's it. My daughter has gone from ballet, to gymnastics, and this fall to ice skating. She'll likely play soccer in the spring. We homeschool the kids, so we have a bit more control over their activities because the school district isn't in their face touting all the possibilities every day of the week.

    Sometimes I feel pangs of guilt about limiting their "ECs" because I certainly wasn't raised that way. But this restrictive approach actually blesses us with certain freedoms too -- the freedom of time, the freedom of money (all these ECs are expensive) and the freedom that allows our kids to experiment with activities they can give their all to because there aren't competing interests.

    I hope we can stick with this road as the kids get older, or perhaps God will change our hearts about this.

    By Blogger Brian, at 9/19/2005 06:19:00 AM  

  • I agree with Deana. Our family has a similar philosophy. Multiply that one activity times three children along with church involvement and the plate gets pretty full!

    I struggle with how to keep first things first. You know the illustration about putting the big rocks in the jar before the rice, sand, water.

    Another difficulty is learning to say no to good things. Especially when I feel like others have expectations of my involvement in their projects and activities.

    You have hit on a major issue we all face in our families. We as parents have to be intentional in our daily decisions and schedules.

    By Blogger Amy, at 9/19/2005 06:27:00 AM  

  • Our kids are too young for ECs (they're not in school yet), but we've started early by making sure TV isn't part of their schedules.

    Can't decide if it's cool or sad that my son is fascinated by a pine cone... :)

    By Blogger Terry Austin, at 9/19/2005 06:29:00 AM  

  • I just have to say that I got stuck for a moment in the idea of the "sky sqeezing out every last drop." Since that phrase came right after you said you had shot 15 birds...well, it sounded like you were going to be gory. I'm glad you weren't!

    I don't have kids, but I do appreciate my parents helping me learn discipline by putting me in piano in the 1st grade and not letting me quit (even though I whined a lot) until the 8th grade. By the time I got to high school, I was pretty good at the piano and learned some skills that I still use all the time (sight reading, discipline, an ear for music, etc.)

    By Blogger jocelyn, at 9/19/2005 06:33:00 AM  

  • I am still waiting for a reply to the first posting with questions about cooking dove.........Is it true that you can get Dove McNuggets at Mickey Ds in west Texas?


    By Blogger Leland & Jackie, at 9/19/2005 07:12:00 AM  

  • stonebridge,
    I have only been dove hunting once. Well, i've only been hunting once for that matter. it was a male bonding thing with my father-in-law. My wife and I took the dove I bagged, stuffed them with jalapeno, and wrapped them in bacon, then baked them in the oven. They were great. Just a suggestion.

    By Blogger Eric, at 9/19/2005 07:13:00 AM  

  • Thanks Eric!

    I have hunted squirrel, (Squirrel gravy!), raccoon (dark gamey meat), rabbit and deer. I have never hunted bird or waterfowl. I have shot some skeet and did well so I guess one of these days my feathered friends will be on my list.

    Dove bigger or smaller than quail?

    By Blogger J A Pierpont, at 9/19/2005 07:39:00 AM  

  • I can't believe you hunt doves! Those poor, innocent, Holy Spirit-like creatures. Don't you have any decency! How would you like it if Doves hunted preachers?

    I bet you eat Chicken too!

    By Blogger Travis, at 9/19/2005 07:55:00 AM  

  • We definitely need to instill in children the importance of living "sane" lives, not run by the Western push for productivity and busy-ness. Also, who says Sabbath time wouldn't be a bad idea for most kids? Shoot, if they start a habit when they're young, won't they value it when they're older, too? Thanks for bringing this up, Mike.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 9/19/2005 08:32:00 AM  

  • I've only been a mother for a litle over a month, so my experience in ECs is quite small. However, since "tha fur" (a.k.a. the fair) is in town it has officially become pageant time in Middle TN. Yesterday I was asked by about 10 different people if I was going to enter Hadlee in the baby contest... um, NO! She's so cute that it just wouldn't be fair to the other contestants and whatever she chooses to take part in outside of church activities and family functions will be HER decision! My husband and I have had this discussion ~ she'll get one EC per semester at her will and we'll put the major empahsis on having fun, having an outstanding positive attitude and most importantly making above standard grades to earn the right to do the other things... of course, we've got a few years to really tweak the rules and by then I'll probably have forgotten thses, but that's the plan for now! :)

    By Blogger Mae, at 9/19/2005 08:40:00 AM  

  • Repeat of 2004 world series: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals. One switch, Chris Carpenter pitches for the Cardinals in game 7 to lead the Cardinals to there first World Series victory since 1982 (and being a die-hard Cubs fan, such a prediction hurts).

    By Blogger K. Rex Butts, at 9/19/2005 08:42:00 AM  

  • Our culture has been sold a lie that if our kids are busy they will not get into trouble. Yikes! That is scary. When was the last time you checked out the general reputation of your high school volleyball/football/soccer team etc. Okay - don't stone me yet. A bunch of these kids are great kids - but the premise that sports ensures they will be kept busy doing "good" things is just flawed!
    We also go with the one activity besides Piano and that has helped keep us sane. There is nothing better than an entire Saturday in pj's with nothing to do and no where to go!!!

    By Blogger Arlene Kasselman, at 9/19/2005 08:43:00 AM  

  • Angels vs. Cardinals: Edmonds and Eckstein come home. The perfect scenario.

    I have a bunch of Kebmo on the iPod as well. "Lullaby Baby Blue" came on this morning on the way to work. I used to sing that to my boy when I could carry him in one arm. Now I piggyback him to bed and then take four advil.

    James is only 4 but we've already spent time discussing how much he will be involved in. For now the only comment I can make is that planning ahead and being of one mind is vital.

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 9/19/2005 08:44:00 AM  

  • Parents need to lead by example, as well! So many of our friends cannot find a free evening on their calendars. It may not be ballet and soccer, but rather PTA spaghetti dinners, finance committe meetings and choir rehearsals. I so enjoy our free evenings and Saturdays, which allow for fires in the fireplace (it's cooling off in the Northwest!), wrestling matches, long walks, yard work together and inviting friends over on the spur of the moment.

    By Blogger kristi w, at 9/19/2005 09:37:00 AM  

  • We also only let our kids do one activity at a time. For our middle child, though, it's hard for her to find even one thing she wants to do (and we've tried plenty). So what do we do? Make her keep trying activites or just let her be? I see both sides to this argument. Children in extracurricular activites tend to do better in school and have better self esteems, especially girls. On the other hand, we weren't over scheduled and we turned out fine.
    Lately, we've just been letting her have her first choice of activities which is to invite someone over and just play. The only problem with that is, there is no one to invite over because everyone is busy with activites after school.

    By Blogger Kendra, at 9/19/2005 11:22:00 AM  

  • Two letters: "N" and "O". Use them early and often. We say them not only to outside sources pressing on our time, but to our children as well. Will is just getting to the age (almost 8) that he is more aware of all the cool stuff going on out there and of course wants to sign up for any and everything that all the other kids do. We lay out his choices and talk with him about the implications of each, but Mom and Dad have veto power. (A big help for our family is Bart's ability and desire to coach Will's teams more often than not. Will may be at practice or a game but he's getting Dad time, too.)

    By now you're probably thinking, "Well, duh!" I only bring it up because I'm still frequently astounded to hear a parent say, "Johnny just HAD to sign up for all 6 activities that meet on all 7 days!" Um, no, he really didn't...

    Our 3-year-old started ballet last week-- we're kicking it up a notch by adding 2nd child activites, so it remains to be seen how well we stick to our guns.

    And, by the by, if you don't think a studio full of 3- and 4-year-old ballerinas isn't the cutest thing going, then you're just CRAZY.

    By Blogger LauraH, at 9/19/2005 12:34:00 PM  

  • I agree with LauraH...just say "NO". We should help our children decide on one activity at a time (and if it's a team activity make them stick with it 'til the end!). If we spend every waking minute running from one activity to another when do we rest?...And when do we spend quality time with our families? We ALL need REST, and I'm not talking about the eight hours we get at night. Our children need to know that family is a priority and there is value in spending "down time" with our loved-ones.

    By Blogger Angela, at 9/19/2005 02:53:00 PM  

  • You won't like this... as I look around at other parents' and kids' crazy schedules, the #1 reason is this bizarre sports culture we live in. When I was a kid, I rode my bike to soccer practice in my neighborhood every Thursday and we had a game on Saturday. Now, beginning in T-BALL, the kids have multiple practices each week, sometimes multiple games, multiple tournaments, and sometimes you have to drive an hour or more to get to the games. There's no riding a bike to practice- moms are supposed to be there watching every moment of every practice and game. Multiply that by the number of children you have and the fact that there's a good chance you'll have to deal with some very unpleasant parents (or coaches) yelling at your child or team.... We decided it just wasn't worth it. We have 5 children and we find things multiple children in the family can do together. They do Children's Chorus, AWANAS (which puts most of our CoC "bible programs" to shame), 4-H, etc. People look at us weird when we say we don't do sports, but we just aren't willing to sacrifice all of our family time (and my sanity) for the sake of a few years of soccer or baseball memories.

    By Blogger Sandy, at 9/19/2005 04:00:00 PM  

  • Sandy -- that's why we're fans of the Upward sports programs. My daughter is in Upward soccer, and she has one practice and one game (always in town at the same field) every week. All the kids get equal playing time regardless of ability. Yelling parents are not tolerated. And the program is Bible-based -- the kids learn a memory verse every week and they have a devo at every practice and game. Great outreach tool, too.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 9/19/2005 05:13:00 PM  

  • Maybe I am the crazy one but I don't think that you can make a rule about these kinds of activities that apply to all children. We have 4 children and they are all so different. They have all been involved in many different activities and some more than others...soccer, baseball, lacrosse, brownies, flute, cello, tennis, swim team...I could keep going. They weren't all activities that they stayed with but they did learn something from all of them. Yes, we had to deal sometimes with coaches or parents who were crazy but we just talked our kids through all that. There were times with 4 children that we felt harried and dinner together was difficult but those were fun times also. One of sons traveled almost every weekend for soccer and I loved the time in the car with him. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we listened the music that he wanted to listen to and it was quality time together. On the way home we analyzed the game and sometimes talked through some of the negative behavior we saw there. I can only say that I would decide that individually with each child...their abilities, their desire to learn or do something, the time commitment, the cost, and their ability to handle another activity and school. I know this isn't a very concrete answer to your question but I don't think that raising children is black and white.

    By Blogger julie, at 9/19/2005 07:10:00 PM  

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