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Monday, November 30, 2015

A Charlie Brown Christmas (The Meaning of Christmas)

This classic is now 50 years old.

Last year the city of Reading put up such a straggly tree it raised a ruckus that was heard nationwide. But it turned out to be the most memorable Christmas tree the city ever had. And this year they have added Snoopy's dog house to the display in memory of last year's Charlie Brown tree.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

When Kids Become King

A lot of the parenting advice that is printed today is not worth reading. Here is an article in today's Reading Eagle newspaper that is right on the money.
When Kids Become King
In the 1960s, as part of an overall, culture-wide paradigm shift, a sea change took place in our collective understanding of the rearing of children. The two fundamental questions in that regard are and have always been: 1. What is the nature of a child? and 2. What constitute parental responsibilities toward a child? In the 1950s and before, those questions were answered in one way; since the 1960s, they have been answered in quite another way.
One parenting point of view was replaced with another. As I say in my latest book, "Grandma Was Right After All!" the traditional point of view was represented by a set of parenting aphorisms that all but disappeared as the new, postmodern psychological view took over. For example, I am a member of the last generation of American children to be corrected when one of us acted too big for our britches. But then, our parents understood the common sense of not sanctioning high self-esteem.
In the good old days (when according to reliable statistics the mental health of children was lots and lots better than it is today), children were to be seen and not heard. In more direct terms, when adults were talking, children were to listen. They were not to interrupt. This assisted in maintaining a healthy boundary between adults and children. That boundary caused them to "look up," to aspire to become adults (because they were not treated as if they already were adults, only shorter).
In the good old days, children lay in the beds they made. One's parents made clear, early on, that one was responsible for the choices he/she had made. Today's parents lie in the beds their children make. They also complain that child rearing is stressful. Get it?
In the good old days, parents told children to stew in their own juices. The parent was not going to be swayed by a child's emotional outbursts. Today's parents feel their children's pain. When they make decisions that cause children emotional pain, they actually think their children's pain (expressed as crying, shouting, screaming and so on) is indication that their decisions should be revisited. Lots of today's parents complain to me that their kids are manipulative. Duh!
Once upon a time, money did not grow on trees. It still doesn't. Today, it magically appears when a parent swipes a plastic card at an ATM. I wish I had some ATM money for every time a parent has said to me that her child acts entitled.
Baby boomers ate what parents put on their plates because there were starving children in the world. I credit unfortunate children in Europe, Africa and China for why I enjoy eating stuff some people can't even pronounce - borscht, for example. I have lost count of the number of times I've seen parents bring a plastic container of the only food their child will eat to group meals. Proper parenting is hard, or so I'm told.
Nearly every child raised in the 1950s was told he was just a little fish in a big pond. That's a good thing for anyone to keep in mind. Humility, after all, is weightless. It must be a terrible burden to think of oneself as a big fish.
The burden is all the worse if the big fish in question is 4 or 5 years old.
by family psychologist John Rosemond

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


The month is ten days old and I have not posted anything since the last days of October. Why? Too busy. I thought things were supposed to slow down by this stage of life. In some ways, it has but the overall picture is the same. It's just that the type of activity has changed. I have never sat around with time on my hands wondering what to do. Here's a run down of the first ten days of this month.
November 1--One of our sister churches had a weekend meeting with a speaker from Virginia on the subject of the Civil War. We took in all three sessions: Saturday evening, Sunday morning and evening.
November 2--Laundry day, finished the project I was working on all summer in which I was serving as editor, revival meetings began at our church in the evening
November 3--Worked at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society all day, church in the evening
November 4--Took a friend to a funeral in the morning, planted some tulips and cleaned up some flower beds, cleaned upstairs so it's ready for overnight guests on Friday, worked on preparing to teach Sunday school, and went to church in the evening
November 5--Babysat a 3 year-old grandson, caught up on ironing, cleaned most of the house, had a long phone call from someone asking for advice about writing, finished reading a manuscript someone else sent for review, went to church in the evening
November 6--Finished getting my Sunday school lesson ready, mopped floors, and went for groceries. We skipped church that evening because I was one of the speakers at a book signing arranged by the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society. Becky McGurrin was the other speaker. She read from her book Somewhere In The Skies and I read from my newest book Esther Starts From Home. We had a nice turnout and sold a lot of books.

Becky and her husband, Joe, followed us home and were here overnight. They live in West Virginia and it was too far for them to drive home that night.
November 7--We had a wonderful visit with Becky and Joe which stretched out until nearly noon. Then we spent the rest of the day at the Christian Aid Ministries' Open House.
November 8--I taught Sunday school in the morning, we had a fellowship meal for lunch, came home to get much-needed naps, and went back for the final session of revivals. I had not had time to make anything for my contribution to the fellowship meal and got by with dumping jars of pickles and olives on a tray.
November 9--Laundry day again. I had breakfast at a restaurant with three other ladies which again stretched until nearly noon. Then I came home to finish laundry, do some more clean up work in flower beds and other small jobs. Finally, the rush was over and I sat down to read a book.
November 10--I am taking today to catch my breath and do some sit-down jobs like this. Maybe tomorrow I will have the energy to tackle something more strenuous.
I am enjoying this stage of life as much as I did each stage before this. But the idea that "retirement age" is slow and boring with not much to do is an illusion. I'm just as busy as ever, just in different ways. Excuse me now as I move on to the next thing.