This blog is a collection of tales from our adventure of raising three sons. Most of these stories have long since passed into our family lore; they’re the ones that seem to come up again and again when we’re gathered around a common table. They involve things like Loaded Omelet Biscuits, wooden spoons, donut days, monsters, push-ups, secret hand signs, and much more.

Many of the stories involve good ideas we picked up through the years, mostly from other parents (our own included), which we then adapted for our own uses. It’s my hope that you’ll be able to do the same with some of them, or at the very least have a chuckle at our expense.

When I originally started posting these stories, I had no idea how long the whole thing was going to last. Now it seems that we’ve exhausted the tales worth telling about the raising of our men so it will be up to the next generation to continue the tale. Since the collection seems to be complete, I have rearranged the blogs so they can be more easily read in order, though I’ve noted the original posting dates for each.

We’re really glad you’re here! We even added a leaf to the table and put on a pot of coffee for your visit, so pull up a chair and enjoy the ride. We sure did.

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Raising Men

One of the earliest and most important things we figured out was that in parenting, as in life, you generally hit what you’re aiming for. This bit of wisdom must be tempered of course by the inconvenient fact that children sometimes have the tendency to develop trajectories of their own.  While this can be most unsettling, particularly when they spring it on you after long periods of flying in formation, their excursions often help highlight areas where we need to readjust our sights. Let me give you an example.

Church has always been a part of our lives, and our boys all grew up going to Sunday school. We didn’t need any special rules for behavior in Sunday school; it was just understood that they were supposed to be respectful and obedient there, just like at home. It was also understood that we would be chatting with their teacher when we picked them up, to find out how things had gone.

We liked this part. A lot. Read more »

Categories: Behavior, Standards | Tags: | 1 Comment

The Other Side of Experience

If you want to build something that lasts, you have to have a proper foundation. Building a family works the same way.  If you can start off with a solid foundation the chances are better (though not guaranteed) that whatever you end up building on top of it will be more secure. Start out shaky and you’re going to spend your life shoring up walls and patching things together.

The problem for most of us as first-time parents is that, no matter how much we think we’ve prepared for the blessed event, our children seem to arrive determined to prove just how little we really know. All that preparation quickly evaporates into a fog of late-night feedings, dirty diapers, and desperate attempts to figure out why he’s crying this time!

The Bible teaches us that “the wise man built his house upon a rock,” but the story isn’t exactly clear on how the wise builder acquired his gift in the first place. While we truly appreciate his skill at finding proverb-inspiring real estate, it would really be more helpful if he could just tell us where to get some of that wisdom!

Thankfully, wisdom is available. Solomon was smart enough to ask for it directly, but for most of us wisdom arrives on the other side of experience. Read more »

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The foundation for our fledgling family was built on top of two already-solid family traditions. Karen grew up the daughter of missionaries in South America, and I was raised in a Navy family. We both grew up surrounded by faith, hope, and lots of love.

Our paths first crossed in El Paso, Texas. Karen was attending nursing school at UTEP, and I was assigned to Fort Bliss for a school, following my first tour of duty in Germany as an army lieutenant. We met at church, in the college department. I was Karen’s Sunday school teacher.

After our first date, Karen went home and told her father she didn’t think we’d ever go out again. I went home and dreamed we were calling our parents to let them know we were engaged. It took a while, but eventually I convinced her that my way was better. :-) Read more »

Categories: Standards | 2 Comments

Many Choices

Parenting has a lot to do with setting boundaries. In fact, two of parenting’s biggest challenges are figuring out where to set the boundaries for our kids and deciding what the consequences of their crossing them will be.

Some of those decisions are easy. Telling our boys they shouldn’t stick dinner knives into the wall outlets didn’t require a lot of thought on our part. The boys, on the other hand, were instantly faced with a dilemma. They knew that doing so would result in grave consequences, but they didn’t know for sure if it might be worth it.

Life is full of choices.

Read more »

Categories: Discipline | Tags: | 1 Comment

Passing Gas

If you’re honest, you’ll have to admit that passing gas can be pretty funny. Oh sure, it’s rude and bad manners and all of that, but even as an adult, in the right circumstances, you know it still makes you snicker.

In a house full of boys it’s an art form.

When I was in college, I dated a girl whose high school boyfriend transferred into our school after we started going out. I’ll never understand what she saw in me after seeing him. He was built like Mr. Universe and had a humility and shyness that was apparently irresistible. Every girl on the campus swooned when he walked by; they weren’t even subtle about it.

Once it became clear that he wasn’t interested in using all those muscles to destroy me for going out with his girl, we actually got to be pretty good friends. We attended the same campus youth group. As the year went by I discovered that he was a great guy with a heart of gold, deservedly well-known and well respected.

I also discovered that he and his roommate had been tape-recording every fart they produced in their dorm room for the entire year. Read more »

Categories: Standards | 4 Comments