Archives for the month of: May, 2008

Trying to keep up with his buddy Ryan, Michael rolled over today from stomach to back. Michelle saw him do it, but unfortunately was only able to get the following picture shortly before he rolled over. We’ll keep the camera close by in case Michael decides to do it again some time soon.

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This weekend we taught Michael dice.

After a somewhat slow start,

he seemed to get the hang of it.

Since before we were married we’ve been discussing what our parenting philosophy should be. Although it’s been over 5 weeks since Michael was born, we STILL don’t have our philosophy nailed down (I hope you’re picking up on the sarcasm). We have made some progress, though, thanks largely to some passages in Scripture and, in part, to the truth-laden (again, some sarcasm here) song Hold on Loosely by 38 Special.

While the song seems to be describing the writer’s philosophy on love, part of the chorus succinctly describes our current parenting philosophy*:

Hold on loosely, but don’t let go

If you cling too tightly, you’re gonna lose control.

In defining our role as parents, the term “steward” seems apropos. A steward is “a person who has charge of the household of another”1. Scripture makes it clear that children are a blessing from God (Psalm 127.3-5), not an entitlement. Additionally, parents are responsible for training their children (Proverbs 22.6). In the same way we are stewards of the material blessings we receive from God, we are to be stewards of the children He has entrusted to our care.

Holding Loosely

Understanding our parenting role as that of a steward as opposed to a controller enables us to “hold on loosely” to Michael. It helps us worry less and trust God more to watch over and protect him. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, here are three specific areas in which we are trying (“trying” being the key word) to hold loosely:

1. Not stressing too much about Michael’s schedule. We’re following the model outlined in Baby Wise which calls for a somewhat strict schedule; however, even in the book they talk about the need for flexibility. This is definitely a challenge for Michelle and I as we are both fairly regimented. Going forward we need to do what we can to keep Michael on his schedule but understand that there will be exceptions.

2. Putting Michael in the church nursery. Let me preface this by saying that this is a topic of much debate among parents, and we’re certainly not suggesting that we have arrived on this issue. Last Sunday, with Michael being 4 weeks old, we decided it was ok to put him in the nursery. We understood that this could result in him getting sick, but we decided it was worth accepting that risk in exchange for our ability to attend church without the distraction (I mean that in the nicest possible way) of a new born.

We most certainly want to be wise about the risks we take with our children and will, within reason, do our best to keep them healthy. Having said that, germs and sickness are a fact of life. In as much as we need to learn how to keep our kids from getting sick and how to take care of them when they are sick, we need to learn to trust God to keep them healthy and heal them.

3. Recognizing that Michael’s salvation is in God’s hands, not ours. Romans 9.14-16 and other passages in Scripture make it clear that it’s by God’s grace, not our own efforts or those of our parents, that we’re saved. As mentioned in our Dedication post, it’s our job as Michael’s parents to teach him the Gospel, pray for his salvation, and live lives that, as John Piper says, make it evident that we treasure Christ above all else. After that, it’s up to God.

As time goes on there will be numerous items to add to the “hold loosely” list, but for now these are the big 3. Whether it’s scheduling, health, or even salvation, it’s imperative that we don’t try to cling too tightly. Doing so will, as the song states, result in loosing control – getting stressed out, becoming over-protective, and even doubting God’s sovereignty.

Lord, help us hold on loosely.

Not Letting Go

While we understand that we must hold Michael loosely, we also understand that we will be held accountable for how we parent. Thus, we never want to completely “let go”. I hesitate to even use this term as there are countless examples of parents who still have not let go, in the right sense, of their 20, 30, 40, etc. year-old children. These parents can’t seem to stop controlling and/or worrying about their kids. That’s not at all what I’m talking about. What I mean is that we don’t let go in the sense of continually loving, praying for, and encouraging our children.

I have had the blessing of parents who have not “let go” of me or my siblings, regardless of what we did. This unwavering loyalty, which at times manifests itself in discipline and “tough love”, has formed a bedrock of trust and openness in our family for which I am extremely grateful.

Our prayer is that we would be conduits of God’s love – that it would flow to us and then continually through us to our children.

Lord, help us not let go.

* As parents of one, 5-week old infant, we have much to learn about parenting and, undoubtedly, much tweaking to do of our philosophy. We would greatly appreciate any wisdom and insight that any of you can provide.

After my dad taught me to use the computer, I decided to get an email account.

Feel free to email me whenever you’d like at amichaelsage@gmail.com.

I know how to use a cell phone and can’t wait for my dad to buy me a BlackBerry so I can efficiently manage my email. Until then, my dad added my email account to his BlackBerry, so he’ll let me know when I get mail.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

On our way up to Eau Claire, WI to spend the weekend with Michelle’s mom and step-dad, we stopped in Minneapolis to introduce Michael to his Great Grandma and Grandpa Sage.

Last Saturday we went to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. In addition to all of the produce and food vendors, there was a display of military equipment. Here Michael and I are standing next to a Black Hawk helicopter, the kind Michael’s Uncle Jesse rides in for his missions in Iraq.

Jesse, we’re thinking of you and praying for your safety, especially this Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for serving.  We couldn’t be more appreciative and proud of you and all the soldiers!

Last Sunday, Mother’s Day, we had Michael dedicated at Cornerstone in Ames. The theme verse for Cornerstone’s dedication is Proverbs 22.6:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

One of the items included in the packet we received at the dedication was an excerpt from The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck. It explains Proverbs 22.6 as follows:

This is perhaps the best-known verse in Proverbs on child training. The other verses on childrearing (13.24, 19.18, 22.15, 23.13-14, 29.17) are all on discipline. The Hebrew word for train (hanak) means to dedicate. It is used of dedicating a house (Deut 20.5), the temple (1 Kings 8.63, 2 Chron 7.5), and an image (Dan 3.2). The noun hanukkah speaks of the dedication of an altar (Num 7.10, 2 Chron 7.9) and the walls of Jerusalem (Neh 12.27). Only in Proverbs 22.6 is the verb translated “train”. Hanak seems to include the idea of setting aside, narrowing, or hedging in. The word is sometimes used in the sense of “start”. Child-training involves “narrowing” a child’s conduct away from evil and toward godliness and starting him in the right direction.

Having Michael dedicated does not make him a Christian, nor does it ensure he will live a God-honoring life. It is, however, a significant outward sign that it is our desire as his parents to train him to flee evil and pursue godliness. It is also a reminder that as part of the church, the body of Christ, we have people we can turn to who will help us in this endeavor.

Our prayer is that God would grant us the wisdom, grace, strength, and community (not to be confused with village) to train Michael in the way he should go.

Lawn Equipment

Apparently Michael wasn’t too impressed

Addison was check’n her cousin out.  He was looking pretty fly in his new denim jacket from Grandma Connie.

Today, May 14, was my due date; however, since I’m impatient like my dad, I decided to come early. So instead of just being born, today I’m over 3.5 weeks old.

Laptop

iPod

It’s never too early to start teaching kids how to use technology.

Lesson #1: The Cell Phone

Michael hung out with his buddy Ryan Putney Tuesday night during small group. Ryan was born almost exactly 1 week after Michael.  Click HERE for the details.

As Michael and I were reading the Proverb for today, I realized that this is an incredible prayer for Michelle and me to pray for him. Our prayer for Michael today is that he would

– pursue wisdom and understanding (vs 5-13)

– avoid the path of the wicked; follow the path of the righteous (vs 14-19)

– guard his heart (vs 23)

– keep perverse speech from his lips (vs 24)

– keep his eyes focused on what is right (vs 25)

– make wise decisions that keep him from harm (vs 26-27)

God, may these things be true not only of Michael but also for Michelle and me.

Today we discovered a new use for our sink sprayer. Check out the videos.

Blanket courtesy of Great G&G Sage.

Today we celebrated Bradley’s (Michael’s cousin) birthday. Click HERE for some pictures.

Today was Michael’s two week birthday; another reminder that he’s getting older. Additionally, during Michael’s two week check-up today we discovered that he’s displaying two of the primary signs of aging – gaining weight and getting shorter.

The good news is he gained 11 ounces since his appointment last Tuesday (4/22). He now weighs 6 lbs. 12 oz, which is right on target for the average weight gain of 0.5 – 1 oz. per day.

The bad news is, he’s getting shorter. Michael measured 20″ in the hospital; today he was 19.25″. The nurse explained that if the baby’s head is coned after birth, which Michael’s was, they’ll measure longer than they actually are. So, in all seriousness, this was no big deal – just something to laugh about.

The weight and length were the highlights. Everything else looked good, and our next appointment is at 2 months.

We took Michael for his first walk yesterday. We’re hoping he’ll be done with the stroller soon and running races with his Dad. The Des Moines marathon is this October – that should give him plenty of time to train.