Jackson Five Friday: Strong Words


Hi Friends,

Hope you’ve had a great week.  Mine started out on a bit of sour note but ended up just fine.  Poor Sam hates Mondays more than anyone I know.  He starts to crash, filled with dread, on Sunday nights.  Most days he claims to have had a good day at school, even says he likes it.  But after having more than a week off, he was in no way ready to get back to the grind.  He’s a kid who doesn’t deal well with anticipation.  Lots of times we just don’t tell him things we are doing that he won’t like, for example leaving the mountain, until we are walking out the door.  It feels a little like we are ambushing him, but on the other hand he doesn’t have a chance to get himself worked up over nothing.

Anyway when I dropped him at school on Monday I told him I loved him and asked him if he would please try to have a good attitude.

Grabbing his backpack and climbing with resignation out of the car, he looked back at me and announced: “I doubt that will occur!”

The kid cracks me up.

How I’ve tried to convince his brothers that the best way to revise a paper is to use stronger verbs!  “Scrap as many adjectives and adverbs as you can, and instead use some really great verbs,” I’ve said.  I’m not sure either of them have heeded my advice.  But Sam — Sam must have been listening all along.

“I doubt that will occur.”  He’s hilarious.  He has always had a real knack for language, effortlessly choosing words that add interest and humor to the dullest exchange.  I love listening to him talk about anything under the sun.

Will and Nate were both much better readers at nine than Sam is, and yet neither of them, even now, have Sam’s special talent for word choice.  Isn’t it fascinating how children growing up in the same house can develop such unique talents?  I mean vocabulary has to be highly correlated with reading level and heavily influenced by the language used in the home.  The only explanation I have for the difference in Sam is that he is an innate deep thinker and slow processor.

Not to say that Will and Nate aren’t both pretty skilled storytellers, they are.  In fact, I hardly enjoy anything as much as good story from one of my sons.  Will recently took a trip with his swim team.  He was gone almost six full days.  It’s the longest he’s ever been away, and upon his return he told some great stories.  Laughing at his nuanced observations warms my heart and makes me proud.

Do you and yours spend time relishing stories?  You can’t really do it in front of the TV, or with music blaring.  You can’t do it when everybody is holding a device.  Stories seem to flow best with the aid of a meal, and a time of lingering around the table.  White space is key for storytelling.  Our house in Tennessee has a spacious eat-in kitchen and a dining room — the TV is not visible from either table.  I love that.  I wouldn’t have chosen that because I’m naturally drawn to kitchen and family rooms that are completely open, but I’ve found it is beneficial in eliminating the possibility of trying to watch a game while also eating.

Obviously, since I’ve been blogging for more than eight years, I also believe many stories are worth writing down.  I was looking for a post recently and came across this little gem.  I had zero recollection of this happening.  Zero.  I read it to Sam and asked him if he remembered it.  He did not.

The point is, if we don’t retell stories and even write some down, they will not be remembered.  Forgetting cute things your kids said or did, is of course natural, and only modestly sad.  But there are some stories that it would be tragic to forget.

The story of how God created this world, loved it through rebellion, and is redeeming it.  The story of how God created YOU, loved you through your rebellion and rejection of Him, and continues to love you and redeem you through Jesus.  The stories of how God has been faithful in your life — the specifics of how you knew He was loving you through a difficult time.  The stories of how you experienced the greatest satisfaction in this life when you knew you were smack in the middle of His will and plan for your life.

May I suggest you write some of these things down?  Here are a couple of verses to meditate on before you write.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates 

Deuteronomy 11:18-20

I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:19-24

Have a  restful weekend remembering how God has loved and cared for you.  And remember to use strong verbs!






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