Tag Archives: family

Lessons from a Lizard

mf7After leaving the putt-putt course in Alabama, we headed to Florida to visit more family – aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma. My children always find a lot to do when we visit, and one of their favorite activities is trying to catch the lizards that run around outside my mom’s house. This took on a whole new dimension, however, when the cat chased a lizard inside.                                 

We were sitting around the table with my mom finishing up breakfast when the cat raced through the door that had been propped open. I saw it pounce on something under my mom’s chair, then I saw a tail underneath its paws. 

“A lizard! Get the lizard!” I shouted, and everyone started looking around in confusion.

“What? What?” My mom shouted. By this time the lizard had gotten free, but the cat was still holding onto it’s tail. The tail had come off and was wiggling on the floor. 

“The lizard!” I shouted. “It ran into the bedroom behind the door!” A lizard in the house has nothing to eat, and it usually dies and dries up. “Get the lizard!”

Four children were still sitting around the table, and my mom was still hollering “What?” and laughing. The cat was the only one looking for the lizard, and the tail was still wiggling on the floor. 

I pulled John (age 12) from his chair and took him into the bedroom. The lizard was hiding behind the door against the wall. An easy place to catch him, or so I thought. 

“Get him, John!”

“I can’t.” 

“Why not? Look – he’s right there. Get him!” 

“I don’t think I can.” 

“He’s going under my foot. Ah!  He’s under my foot. Get him!”  I said. 

But within a moment the lizard had slipped out from under my foot, under the door again, and back into the kitchen, where the cat chased it under a bookshelf. The tail was still wiggling on the floor. 

“Somebody pick up that tail,” my mom said. John sat back down. Everyone else stayed in their chairs, laughing. 

“Oh, I’ll get it,” I said, grabbing some paper towel. I picked up the tail and threw it in the trash. There were quite a few lessons here, I thought. The first two were obvious: How To Catch a Lizard and How to Pick Up a Tail. But there are some good homeschooling lessons as well. What is the natural habitat of lizards? What do lizards need to survive?  Why do the lizards tails come off? Besides cats, what other predators attack lizards?

Life events do lend themselves to learning, don’t they?

Daddy’s Night

If you’re like me, you have some extra projects you’d like to get to. Perhaps you like to sew, crochet, scrapbook, or write. And if you’re like me, you have a hard time fitting it into your schedule as a homeschooler.

I like to think that I can spend a couple of hours every night after the children are in bed working on projects. This sounds like a lot of time and a good plan, but it rarely works out. Evening activities such scouts or church mean that the children go to bed later than planned; by the time they’re all tucked in, I’m usually too tired to work on anything. Fortunately, we still have our weekly Daddy’s Night.

 It all started a couple of years ago, and it’s one of my favorite traditions. On a Friday or Saturday evening, we rent a movie or borrow one from the library. Then, when Dad arrives home from work, I disappear — to the bedroom, the study, or the store – wherever I need to go to do what I need to do.

 While I’m gone, Daddy steps in and takes over. He makes supper, usually something simple, such as frozen pizzas he can top with extra cheese and pepperoni. The children enjoy creating the pizzas with him – they’ve come up with some creative topping designs.  One of the children spreads out a towel on the floor of the family room to use as a tablecloth, and the pizza is served as the movie begins. Dad usually provides a special dessert, too– ice cream or honey buns or popcorn.     

 Sometimes Daddy decides to take the children out instead — maybe for supper and an extra-thick milk shake. But whatever they do, I can relax and enjoy the bit of free time, knowing that all are well-fed, cared for, and making special memories with their dad.

A Gracious Guest

To add to the fun of Luke’s birthday, my sister, four of her children, and my mom who was visiting them came from Tennessee to spend the day. Towards the end of their visit, my oldest son, John, looked a little distressed; his cousin, who’s the same age, had wandered off by himself, and John couldn’t find him. John was aware that their time together was growing short, and he wanted to make the most of the last thirty minutes or so.

After a couple of minutes calling for him, the cousin emerged from our chicken pen holding one of the chickens. He was close enough that he must have heard John calling for him. My sister scolded him. “John’s looking for you,” she said. “Ask him what he wants to do. Remember, you’re the guest.”

Her comments reminded me of something she had mentioned to me a few years before. As we were growing up, we’d have friends over, and we’d spend the time doing the things they wanted to do. We were taught to be good hostesses, ensuring that our friends had a good time at our house. Now grown, my sister had a new view of the situation. A child, she said, should also be taught to be a gracious guest.

A gracious guest is one that doesn’t demand his own way. He understands that activities with his host don’t have to revolve around him; instead, he finds out what  his host wants to do. He helps out when he can and fits himself into the host’s schedule.

I thought about it again that day, and I believe my sister is right. I, too, want my children to learn to be a blessing, whether they are serving in the position of the host or as an invited guest – a gracious guest.

I Love You Bigger

When my oldest son was about three years old, we began to play a game called “I Love You Bigger.” If we were taking a walk or driving somewhere in the car, I would start by saying something like, “I love you bigger than a table.”

Then, my son would think of something bigger. “I love you bigger than a tree,” he might say.

It was my turn to think of something bigger. “I love you bigger than a house.”

“I love you bigger than a tall building!”

“I love you bigger than the sky!”

“I love you bigger than the whole world!”

Eventually, we say the biggest thing either of us could think of, and the game would end.

Now I play the game with my youngest, a four-year-old boy. He played the game a little differently, though. He never quite caught on that we were supposed to think of bigger and bigger things; instead, he would say whatever it was he could see at the time. So our game went more like this:

“I love you bigger than a table,” I might say.

“I love you bigger than a leaf,” he would say.

“I love you bigger than a house!” I would say on my turn, trying to get him to think of something larger.

“I love you bigger than a napkin,” he would reply, or “I love you bigger than a book.” I knew I was something special when he loved me bigger than the potty.

Then, just last week, my four-year-old won the game. “I love you bigger than this couch,” I said, as we snuggled together watching a show.

“I love you bigger than you can imagine,” he answered.

I know I’ll hold on to those words forever, because I love him bigger than he can imagine, too.