Here’s the song reference.
The fire reference in the title of this post is strictly metaphorical. I scared the daylights out of some readers with a headline several months back, so I thought I’d clarify that.
Yesterday was not full of entries for the Big Book of Harmonious Homeschooling, to put it mildly. I had taken Bugaboo and Beanie out on Sunday night, after Mr. Man and Baby Guy were abed, to peruse the offerings a local craft store. We were running a little low on the foam craft kits they love, and with my educator’s discount on top of the sale, such could be had for about $0.45 each. A chance meeting with a friend at the end of our shopping led to a lengthy conversation, which resulted in the girls not getting to bed until after 10 p.m. Their regular bedtime, for reference purposes, is 8:00.
I was therefore surprised (and not pleasantly) when Bugaboo grouched her way down the hallway at 7:00 yesterday morning, voicing a litany of complaints about everything from the hue of the sunlight to the family policy of not turning on the television on weekday mornings. Beanie followed her a couple of minutes later, and when I did not immediately drop the books I was shelving to wrap her up in a hug and cover her face with kisses, she set up a shrill shrieking, which resumed at the least provocation for the next four hours.
The less said about our lessons, the better, although we did manage to work in some extra story time. We’ve retrieved all of the Christmas stories from their hiding places on various bookshelves, and while the girls were concocting reasons not to do their assignments, the five of us enjoyed some good literature, including several stories from the Book of Genesis, which will hopefully give rise to some art projects today. Yesterday, there was no way anyone was going to be trusted with a pair of scissors.
I finally lost my cool at around 10:30, after Bugaboo told me she didn’t know what numbers were, and joined in the screaming for a few moments before calling my ever-patient husband, who admonished everyone, including me, about not settling our differences with raised voices. After that, we cleared the books off the table, had a little lunch, and four tiny people were marched off to their cozy beds for a nap.
We normally separate Bugaboo and Beanie for nap time, as they tend to play with each other instead of taking actual naps; Bugaboo generally enjoys crashing on the loveseat in the living room, while Beanie cannot be without her giant Hello Kitty and Funshine, so she sticks to her own bed for naps. Yesterday, nary a sound was heard from the girls’ room for just over 2 1/2 hours. When I woke them so we could be about an errand that absolutely had to be run, they bore a much stronger resemblance to our beautiful daughters instead of banshees with toothaches.
As we drove to our afternoon destination, I talked with the girls over the chattering and chortling of Mr. Man and Baby Guy. The exact conversation would be tough to reproduce here (five people, one of whom doesn’t know many actual words, talking at once) in its entirety, but the upshot of it was that while the correct response to being tired is to go back to sleep instead of spending the morning shrieking, defying, crying, and complaining, that my response to their behavior had been a bad example. We all apologized to each other, and the girls and I took turns explaining what we could have done differently. Mine included cutting the previous night’s conversation short in order to get the girls to bed at a reasonable hour. They can’t drive themselves home, and I’m supposed to be the adult in the room.
For a day on which the school books were largely set dressing for a bad melodrama, we did okay in the important lessons arena.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the little blessings You have entrusted to my care. Please keep me mindful that they will learn many lessons from me, and that I must guard my mind, heart, and tongue carefully so that they will learn to show love and kindness to all Your children. If I speak with a haughty and angry mouth, then praise You sweetly, I am teaching them hypocrisy instead of love and humility. Please engrave the words of Your servant, James, on my heart:
New International Version (NIV)
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Lord, please guide my sowing, so that my harvest may be that which is pleasing to You.