[categories family life]

“Mama can I please have a whole apple all to myself.” said Jude.
To which I replied: “Uh. No. Sorry.”
‘Cuz I’m just that kind of mean mommy. Here in our jungle-y mountain home we have, miracles of miracles, started getting a small bag full of apples almost weekly. Michael buys several apples (they are quite expensive) from a new vendor at the market on the coast. They are like gold to us, so we eat them slowly, slicing them, and sharing them between the 5 of us. We never have a whole apple to ourselves. With lack the boys are appreciative.

Last year, when we were living within walking distance of 4 grocery stores we had a fruit bowl full of apples that was replenished weekly. The boys could have an apple (to themselves) any time they wanted. They only occasionally wanted. With plenty the boys were bored.

My point isn’t that it is good for kids to experience lack…maybe it is…maybe it isn’t. My point is that the things that we think of as sacrifices, the costs that we count up for our kids…those are the things that can be used in their lives to make them more complete and well rounded individuals.

As parents we all want our kids to appreciate the food that they have, the clothes that they wear, the houses that they live in, and to be grateful for the toys that they play with. We don’t want them to be so bored by having everything, that they never appreciate it.

It is tempting for me to try to shelter my kids…I can scramble and scheme to get them each an apple a day (and keep the doctor away). But, I am learning that it is okay that they don’t always get everything that they want. I am learning that sacrifices aren’t always all bad in their lives (or in mine).

Greens and Whining.

One loves yellow rice. The other loves chocolate cereal.

For lunch the other day we had rice, cassava and papaya greens in coconut milk, and fried tempeh

If you are thinking “my kids would NEVER eat that, and would just beg for some pizza.” Yeah. My kids didn’t want to either. And there was wishing for pizza. 

After their daddy prayed and thanked God for the greens that we grew in our yard and the rice and fish that we were able to buy with the money He provides us with, Michael reminded the boys that the Israelites whined and wished for pizza too…or er…leeks. 

The Israelites were bored. Bored of the miracle that fell from the sky every day. Yawn. They only had to pick up the miracle from the ground. Yawn. God provided the miracle Yawn.

It’s kind of hard to imagine that the thing the Iraelites called manna, and described as tasting like honey cakes would get boring. But, once it became usual they overlooked the miracle, the provision. 

I do the same thing…I overlook the miracle. I overlook the One that allows us to live and work in a simple, mountain environment. I strap on my big girl boots and figure that I am the reason we all survive. No wonder I end up becoming the Queen of Compain. Today I am remembering that God provides for us in miraculous ways. I am trying to be grateful for the manna. 

It’s not only my kids who need a spirit of gratefulness.


“We could eat you up, we love you so.” –Where the Wild Things Are.

The other day G blindfolded the little boy and I. He led us, stumbling, to a bed he had made out of tree branches. The little one told his brother, “wow G you did such a good job.” Then while big brother ran off to get more branches to add to the bed, the little boy leaned into me and sighed, “mama this is so nice, G is so foughtful.”
Honestly I wasn’t too thrilled to be blindfolded, or to trip along behind the big boy, or to sit on a bed of branches for no reason, when I had a long list of other things I needed to get done. But, as soon as I saw J’s pure enjoyment ,and appreciation of G’s hard work, I repented of my lack of wonderment. So, I sat back and listened to the cicadas and the river for the few minutes. I leaned into J and watched his bright eyes watching his big brother.
And I truthfully thanked G for his hard work and for being so “foughtful…um I mean, thoughtful.”
Then I left to go do my other things, while the boys sat and enjoyed each other for a while longer…before they started fighting again.

picture taken by G, with our iPad.

raising little celebrities

Awhile ago I was watching one of those “Entertainment Tonight” type shows, and they showed video of a celebrities’ baby IN THE HOSPITAL in her little warming bed. Now I thought that was C-R-A-Z-Y. 

I’m used to the “privacy” of the stars in the US….I’m not used to so much ACCESS into their lives. I think I usually hear of celebrities trying to help their kids stay “grounded” and unaffected by the publicity, fame, and money; so they protect them from being overly photographed or interviewed or whatever.

So why am I talking about this, or even CARING? 
Because, in many ways, MY kids are treated like celebrities here. They’ve had large groups pushing and shoving to take pictures with them, they’ve had people sneaking pictures with their cell phone, they have people reaching out to grab them all the time, they’ve had people RUN from across the store to talk with them, the kids have people inviting them to parties all the time and making THEM the guests of honor, they have people give them freebies, and on and on. All because my kids are white foreigners. And I guess having pictures of foreigners gives you something to brag about on Facebook.

SO, the question is how do we raise grounded and unaffected kids, and most of all how do we raise them without a sense of entitlement? I’ve gotten used to being treated a little better than the average person, I’ve gotten used to the freebies, and the differential treatment. I’ve often thought that I deserve it…so how can I help my kids act the opposite way? How can I teach them to serve, not be served? How can I teach them to not let the attention go to their heads, and help them to stay humble? 
I suppose its not really a unique problem, every parent has to work with their kids to teach them to not be selfish. It’s good for me to realize that they are just kids and help them establish, and enforce their boundaries. But at the same time push them to interact with their “fans”, and be interested in others.

Simple, and yet hard. How do you guys do it?

*pictures from a trip to a water park where we created a mini sensation, and had several “groupies” trailing us around to get pictures with us. They were nice, and polite and mostly wanted to practice their English AND get good pictures for Facebook. You can see these and others on my instagram page which I update, like everything else, WHEN WE GET TO TOWN 🙂