Friday, January 25, 2013

Demonstrating God's Love: 1 Corinthians 13 -- A Family Activity

We put the verses on the fridge.
     We did something wonderful last week.  We worked hard at catching each other in the act!

     Allow me to explain.  Kyle, our youth pastor, challenged some families with youth to try out the book  Ideas for Parents by Mark Matlock and Christopher Lyon.  After skimming the book, my husband, Miles, chose the activity "Fill the Love Jar."  After reading 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Miles explained that for the next week, we would be watching each other and looking for examples of others in our family demonstrating the principles in these verses.  So, for example, if you see someone being patient, you should take a minute to write it down and put it in the container.  After one week, we would read them all.  

     Miles put The Mullins Demonstrating God's Love (1 Corinthians 13) Jar on the kitchen table along with some index cards and a pen.  He printed the verses out for each of us and put a copy on the fridge.  Then the fun began. 
     During the week, each of use wrote down when we saw 1 Corinthians 13 being lived out in someone else. We all did our best to put in at least one card every day. At the end of the week, our container held 39 cards.  After lunch on Sunday, Miles opened the jar and read them all.  

The Mullins Demonstrating God's Love Jar

     It was incredibly affirming.  Here are a few:

*Darius very patiently tried to help Titus pick out clothes today. -- Mommy
*Darius lowered the basketball hoop for Titus even though he preferred to do something else ("does not insist on its own way") -- Daddy
*Titus came out and did basketball with me (even before Daddy went out). -- Darius
*Darius played with me even though he didn't want to. -- Titus
*Miles makes the coffee almost every morning.  How kind!  -- Jenny
*On Monday, Jenny (Mommy) hoped for a good day of school, even though it was Monday.  -- Miles
*Daddy took me for a walk. -- Titus
*Mommy made dinner for us almost every day. -- Darius
*When Titus was doing his math and geography, Darius was very patient about waiting to practice piano. -- Mommy
*Daddy saved a peice of garlick brad for Mommy. -- Titus
*Titus had a great school day today.  He was not rude or irritable!  Yay Titus! -- Mommy
*Darius didn't brag, even though he did a great job on his Spanish Quiz. -- Daddy

     How awesome is that!  We had 39 examples of our family living out 1 Corinthians 13.  We decided we need to do this again -- maybe several times a year!

     With Valentine's Day right around the corner, perhaps you and your family should try it, too!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lunchtime Conversations: MLK, Jesus, Race, and Jokes

     Today, at lunch, my husband asked our boys if they knew what day it was.  My youngest ran to the calendar and said, “Martin Luther King Day.”  My husband asked him if he knew who Martin Luther King, Jr. was.  He replied, “A president?  Jesus?” 
     “Jesus?!  Why in the world would you think he was Jesus?”
     “I don’t know.”  (Personally, I think he was giving the Sunday School answer – when in doubt, say “Jesus.”)
     The conversation continued with a short history of the Civil War, segregation, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  My husband ended by saying something about not looking at someone’s outside or their race.
     “What is ‘race’”? my youngest asked sincerely.
     We looked at each other, wondering, “Is that a good thing or a bad thing that he doesn’t know what ‘race’ is?”
     After an explanation of “race,” my husband said, “That’s why we should never tell jokes about someone’s race.  It’s not funny or kind.  Have either of you ever heard someone make jokes about someone’s race?”
     My youngest piped up.  “Oh dear.  I’ve heard one.  If you’re an American in the living room, what are you in the bathroom?”  Pause.
     I exploded in laughter, and well, that was the end of our history lesson!

     Ahhhh, life with boys.

     On a more serious note, here is a link to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.  He was an incredible speaker!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I Was Sad -- A BAD Paragraph: A Writing Lesson

     I am up to my neck in writing.  My head is swirling with thoughts about writing.  My brain is exploding with writing thoughts.  I have little scraps of paper everywhere.  They say things like, "Exposition -- what we do most" and "must PLAN" and "same persuasive letter -- 2 audiences" and "the best way to get better is to DO ie. piano, math, instrument, writing."  

     You see, this Friday, I begin teaching two writing classes to intermediate students at our homeschool co-op.

     Today, I typed up our first activity.  Sometimes the best way to teach a subject is to show the students what NOT to do.  I had so much fun with it that I had to share it with you!  Feel free to use it with your own students.

     Have the student read the paragraph out loud, and then do the activity at the bottom.

I Was Sad
By Mrs. Mullin
     I am supposed to write about a time I was sad recently.  Here goes,  Today, I took down my Christmas tree.  that made me sad.  I took off all the ownamants.  There weas a lot of them.  It was empty.  I looked at the tree.  It made me sad.  It was bare.  And plain.  Just green with lights.  Other people were watching football.  It reminded me that i have to wait a long time until christmas comes back.  Isn’t that sad?  No more family time.  My in-laws came for the holidays. No more free time.  School is starting back, too.  Oh, and the presents.  I have to wait to get more presents.  I can’t wait until my birthday in February.  So, that’s why I was sad recently.
January 7, 2013 
The End

This is a BAD paragraph.

*How many “sentences” are in this paragraph?  _______
*Circle any mistakes that you see.  (Grammar, usage, mechanics)
*Which sentences are completely random?  Write “random” boldly above them.
*Underline the fragments?  A fragment is not a complete sentence. 
*Create a better title.
*Rewrite the pitiful topic sentence: 

*In your group, rewrite this paragraph.  Combine sentences.  Eliminate random thoughts.  Expand sentences.  Add some interesting details.  Oh please – fix this paragraph!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stopping to Listen

     A few days ago, I was reading a book on the couch.  It had been a long day, and I was tired.  I was at that point in the novel where everything is going nuts.  The hero and heroine were running for their lives.  Guns, smoke, falling rocks.  Then from somewhere far away, I heard this voice break in.
     "Hey Mom.  Did you know there was a type of music called "trance"?"
      A few feet away, my teen-aged son had spoken.  
     "Huh?"  I replied, looking up slowly from my book.
     "There's this type of music called "trance"?  And ....."
     He wasn't finished, and he wanted to talk.  I wanted to read.  
     It was at that moment that I had a choice to make.  I was tired.  The book was in its literary climax.  My son wanted to talk.  
     I put the bookmark in the book, closed it, and listened to my son discuss different types of music for the next 15 minutes, saying little, but showing that I was interested simply because the subject is important to him.  
     If I've learned anything about parenting a teenage boy, it's that when he wants to talk, you should listen because if you don't, he'll stop trying.  Little ones are persistent.  They don't give up.  They keep trying.  Teenage boys -- not so much.
     The book could wait.  My son could not.  

Lord, help me to remember this -- every single time.