The Family Tree 2011

Catering to the Kids

“All the world’s a screen”. At least that’s what my prof from college argues page after page in his book Meaning At The Movies. He also writes, “God made us in his image, and we make movies in ours”. So true. Sometimes the reason why movies (or television shows) are so entertaining to us is because it’s like looking in a mirror. We see our lives, emotions, thoughts, feelings played out before us and it’s very attractive and revealing about our own hearts. For more on this idea, pick up a copy of Meaning At The Movies, but in the meantime I wanted to show you this clip from a recent episode of The Middle that Bethany and I watched with great laughter and appreciation as it revealed a little bit about the human heart and parenting. If you’ve never seen this show, it’s about a “middle” class family in “middle” America. It’s a classic family sitcom, but it’s narrated from the viewpoint of the mom Franki (Patricia Heaton) to give us an insight in to her feelings and thoughts about being a mom and having a family in “the middle”. Here’s the clip:

The rest of the episode goes on to show just how the parents “take back their lives” in a pretty amusing fashion. The furniture in the living room is rearranged just the way mom wants it. The dad and mom are high-fiving every time they “take back” another portion of their lives, be it the kind of pizza they order, taking a parent’s night out with friends, not dropping everything to cater to any one of their kids specific/immediate needs, etc. Bethany and I were just laughing in agreement as the parents actually start to rule the home and not let the kids run the place. The kids of course are completely taken back that their parents are now saying “no” and their efforts to plead with the parents to go back to the way things were before simply creates hilarity throughout.

It all reminded me of a blog I read just this week from Jay Younts of the Shepherd’s Press blog titled “Go to Sleep!”. It’s a critique of a new book that tries to humorously discuss why kids just won’t “go to sleep” and are annoying their tired and frustrated parents. The problem is, as Jay Younts argues, “Children were never intended to be installed as rulers of the universe…”. And often this is exactly what they are in families today, rulers of their own schedules, bed times, toy selection, and the like. But there’s already a ruler of the universe — his name is Jesus. And when children begin to rule their own universe (e.g. parents, household, etc.), and when parents reinforce this sense of dominion in the child it will only frustrate everyone involved. That’s why we need the Gospel. Without the Gospel, Jesus doesn’t rule in our hearts and stake the claim He rightfully owns (paid for by His shed blood) in our homes, children, and families. What we end up with is a war for authority of which each little battle is often won by the children who finally win the war.

By the end of the episode both parents finally “give in” to one of their child’s needs and basically go back to their old ways. The furniture is rearranged to the way it was, the parents drop everything to meet their children’s needs, etc. Honestly, they needed balance in their approach, but it’s still sad that they couldn’t stay committed to ruling their home as the authority in the kid’s lives. In the final scene, Franki (the mom) goes outside to get the mail and another mom with a toddler in a stroller are walking by. The child is obviously not happy about something and you hear the other mom saying “What is it honey? Whatever you need I’ll get it for you.” Franki quickly approaches the mom and says, “Don’t do it! Don’t give him everything he wants!” It was a last ditch effort to keep her dream alive of helping another mom change her ways before it’s too late! The concerned mom just gives Franki an odd look, helps her child, and keeps walking down the sidewalk. As Franki stands there watching them walk away we hear her say “She won’t listen”, as if to say “It’s a lost cause. In the end, the kids win. Parents lose.” You’re right, Franki. If parents keep letting their kids rule the universe, it’ll be a lost cause to try and rule your home. It’s only when parents see that their children were designed for authority and limits that blessing will come.

Astronomical

I shot a short video of the Astronomical Clock in Prague when we visited a few weeks ago. This thing turned 600 years old (yes, I just said 600 years old) last year. Here’s a little bit about it:

The [Astronomical Clock] is mounted on the southern wall of Old Town City Hall in the Old Town Square. The clock mechanism itself is composed of three main components: the astronomical dial, representing the position of the Sun and Moon in the sky and displaying various astronomical details; “The Walk of the Apostles”, a clockwork hourly show of figures of the Apostles and other moving sculptures—notably a figure of Death (represented by a skeleton) striking the time; and a calendar dial with medallions representing the months. [via Wikipedia]

Lost Photographs and the Art of Storytelling

This weekend Bethany and I watched the movie Citizen Kane. Originally released in 1941 and often considered one of the best movies ever made, the film follows the rise and fall of one man as seen and remembered by those who knew him. I had only heard a few things about the movie before watching it, but a big reason I wanted to see it was because I just finished reading Meaning at the Movies by Grant Horner in which he says that’s it not so much the story that grabs you, but the way the story is told.

I love a good story–who doesn’t? But a good story can rise and fall at the mercy of the storyteller. That’s why I love the story and videos below. Yes, the story is good, but more than that, the way this young man tells the story of how he was able to reunite a lost roll of film with it’s owner is just great. Take a few minutes and watch these little videos. I think you’ll be blessed.

Found: Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard (part 1)

Found: Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard (part 2)

Found: Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard (part 3)

If you can’t see the above videos, here are links to all three parts of “Found: Lost Pictures of New York Blizzard”: part 1, part 2, part 3

Hand Made Shoes

I’m only posting this because I want to remind the world that there IS life beyond the computer. Okay, maybe that’s a reminder for myself, but I feel like in a world that is increasingly reliant upon technology that this kind of craftsmanship just doesn’t get the appreciate it deserves. I had the privilege once of visiting a guitar factory and I’ll never forget the feeling of watching people hand craft things — it’s inspiring, artistic, and all around just very cool.

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