Our Reading Time at Home

My son joined me as I was reading my daily dose of devotionals. He was learning how to read. We were struggling with those repertoires of vowels.

When I hold the book in my hand, he’d simply take a seat beside me, pushing me slowly. So, for the next few moments, we are going to spend some time together. We change our place of reading, from time to time.

Many of the words are difficult for a five-year-old to read. The vowels did have many sounds. They were important because the vowels were the letters that really make the sound out of a word. But we go on. We even prayed for the vowels to go easy on us.

In reality, we are following the instructions of their teacher in the schools too. They pressed hard on reading practice at home. Since English is not our native language, we are speaking indigenous tongue; we have to learn several languages.

I am happy because he came out of his sheer will of learning. Although it consume much of our time, it was worth trying, spelling the long words and trying to make the most suitable pronunciation out of them. Sometimes it might sound silly. But is it silly? I thought not!

Reading daily devotionals at home
Our reading time at home

In the meantime, he would say English reading is really hard. However, I assured him that in few times he would be as smooth as the news readers. Most things are difficult when we learn, many times, I assured him.

It requires a lot of patience followed by encouraging words from me. Sometimes, we wonder together where these words have come from. The laughter and the thoughts that followed our reading times are worth more than our struggles.

The Good Part of Our Reading:

Now let me tell you the best part of our experience. But let me tell you that we are still struggling.

When we’re done with our reading, we’d revisited the meaning and lessons to be learn from our devotional readings.
He insisted on telling him the Bible verse for the day:

“Papa, now tell me our Bible verse for today with the meaning,” he said. To which I quickly, at the same time happily, read out the given verse again and again.

We would revisit the stories around which the verse was taken. He was more than willing to listen. One more thing: explaining those difficult words and their meanings are valuable.

The best part is that it’s a good time teaching Christian values straight from the Bible. When we understand the words; why it was recorded or written, to whom, for what purpose, and its implications, it is good for the soul.

Explaining the Given Verses:

Our reading task can be arduous but it few minutes of uphill climb we could understand them all. Some of the words in the Bible are deep-rooted. But when we asked the owner of the word, we can have a sufficient understanding of the words.

Here, in this short space, I cannot share you those multiple verses we read every day. But I wanted to share you one:

One evening, we are reading about a topic on rest; the rest we are invited to have. (Matthew 11:28) For a young child in his tender age, who’s hardly weary and burdened, it takes time to let him understand in its truest sense.

We started by saying that our world is full of weariness, pain, hunger, debt, poverty, disease, illness, and death. Now he stopped me, there are few of them he understood. For example, he knows what hunger is – when he is very hungry and I did not give him something to eat. That’s really difficult, he said. It is because it could take times preparing the best meal for our children.

He also understood illness and few more. We always pray for daddy to get well. When we pray for someone and our self, God really did work in the best way for us. The reality is, God’s ways are His ways, we cannot understand in its subtlety.

Jesus Christ invited us to have this rest. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” And we need this rest!

We are entitled to have this rest, in His blood, even during this life. While our pains and worries would be wiped away in its entirety when we attended the new heaven and new earth. (Rev. 21:1-5)

Everyone Needs Rest:

We spend some more time listening, to the type of worries and pain, from a five-year-old. Sometimes we burst out laughing listening to the list; but all the listings are given due important. Maybe, I will write some other day.

In our walk of life, we wanted many things. All the things we wanted are not a necessity for living. But when our wants are not fulfilled it can caused weariness in our living. Our wants can be misunderstood as our needs too.
So, in several certain situations we need understandings from God, which would eventually give us rest!

Even in our reading exercise our eyes can get strained. Straining in our eyes can be simple for some, but it caused uneasiness and sometimes pain. We need to take a short break from our reading period.

In the end, our reading together, with my son, is one of those moments that would be sweetly cherished. It is a privilege to enjoy special time with our love ones. This experience taught us certain lessons, as a parent, and as part of our Christian Living.

Young Parents at Christmas Time

We have started assembling the decoration items from last Christmas. Our young children are more than ready to help. As we mounted our small Christmas tree on its stand, they started singing Christmas carols, although bit by bit. Excitement filled our rooms.

There’s one problem though, they’d appreciate our work but they’re reluctant to help keep the house tidy. It’s a child’s play, and we understood it. While we’re busy hanging the items someone would be busy taking it down.

We sat down, as we had a hearty laugh. Few years down the line they’ll be fine, we said. Well, they are our future and for them we lived. It is relieving to spend time with young one in considerable ways. They possessed a mind still pure, which would soon be intoxicated by the groaning planet.

Every year when Christmas is nigh, we’re in a dilemma whether to decorate our rooms or not. It is one among those many forms of dilemmas young parents faced, at the end of the day.

Young parents are trendsetters. We are raising the future. How we celebrate the birth of a Savior; either partying or worshipping, would be sowing values in their lives. It would be something we cannot take a redo. We teach them more with our moves. We are sowing values, at the same time, reminding our children the heart of Christmas.

Christmas decoration of a room
Shade of simple decorations at Christmas time

For most young parents, either our children bring in the spirit of Christmas or they stole some portion of the mood, especially meditating on the words around the birth of Jesus Christ. Young parents could be left with fluctuating moods in comparison to single life. All in all, it is always enjoyable.

Generally speaking, young parents are either very excited or in dilemmas all the time. Not only during Christmas times. It is like two people, new to their job, who wanted to perform very well in sowing good seeds. They delighted at what they had with number of decisions, small or big, awaiting them.

Young Parents of the new-born Savior:

For a brief moment, I wanted to take you to the nativity story. Joseph learned that his betrothed wife, Mary was with a child of the Holy Spirit, before they came together. It was time for him, in taking decision, what to do next. (Matthew 1:18-25)

In short, the angel appeared to Joseph in his sleep confirming the child conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. He took her as his wife as commanded by the angel of the Lord.

The soon-to-be parents went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be registered with Mary following the decree for census issued by Caesar Augustus. (Luke 2:1-7)

The days were completed for Mary to be delivered. And there was no room for them in the inn, so they laid her firstborn, Jesus Christ, in a manger. These things happen so that prophecies could be fulfilled. They are the young parent who deeply relies on the word of God.

Now, as a young parent they are truly dedicated on serving their purpose of bringing up baby Jesus. It was their task at hand for the time being. The child they are raising, one day, would be a Savior for mankind.

Should we move forward to the occurrences in regards to baby Jesus, His parents have fled from one place to another. It would really be a great challenge staying strong on the promises of God.

Here are few questions I would like to ask them:

Did you really know it was the Son of God you’re holding in your very own arm? How would it feel to hold our Heavenly Father, in the form of human, in your hands? Did you really know the boy you feed today would deliver people from their impending sin?

Does your little boy showed any sign of divinity, being the Son of God, from time to time? Did you really know that one day you will call Him Lord? Is it hard to hold on to the faith foretold about your boy? Do you really believe your dedication would pay off one day?

Challenges as a Young Parent:

It is sad but true that there are many parents who give their all, in raising their children, who does not do well in life. They had invested their time, wealth, and wisdom in shaping a child. Still some are unsuccessful, we called them, which largely depends on the basis of the factors we’d weighed them.

We took many decisions for them; some did confidently while some did in good faith. Decisions, decisions, and decisions, are along the way. For example, the dress we led them wear before they could decide by themselves, and the schools where we sent them, etc., etc.

But it’s going to be worth it. For it is written; Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6) I hope and believe that Our Wonderful Counselor would counsel them beyond what we can do.

Does anyone know who our little children are going to be when they grow up? Do you think it would be easier should we’ve been foretold? I hope not! Parenting is full of challenges.

As young parents, it might be challenging but our role is to simply channelized their necessities, which would help our children in serving their purpose God had set for them. It has something to do with more of their purpose than ours.

When we’re low on finances and unexpected problem came up, although quietly, we might question ourselves and what we had sacrificed for their sake. I don’t know whether you did that, maybe it’s only me.

No obligations to my dear children if they read this piece when they grow up. We are happy being your parents. My children, you should also devote their time and money in raising your children you’d be blessed with, I hope.

Our parenthood might not start with grandeur but if we carry out our responsibility with delicacy and absolute care towards our children, it would be a purposeful life.

In the end, Christmas times are joyful moments. Joy to the world the Lord has come; the greatest gift of all. Let us rejoice in the sacrifice of the Lamb for mankind.

As you sit under the mistletoes, submerged in the nativity story, trying to explain the heart of Christmas at your best, looking at the stars and decorations, let your hope be renewed. May your heart be filled with joy!

The Unchanging Amount of Love

“I am sorry. But this doesn’t change the amount of love in the house,” I said to my children while letting them do their homework, ending their free time for a moment.

There are times when I need to reiterate my love for them. I do love them, but when something goes wrong I need to intervene and take action. My interventions cannot, always, be sweet and welcomed by them.

Some restrictions and limitations needs to be followed by me, which in my hope would extract the best out of them while preserving their innate quality. It is my obligation, as a parent, to guide them to the best of my knowledge and belief. (Proverbs 3:12)

We have this notion that the amount of love in the family gets depleted in due course of time. Time doesn’t change the amount of our love. We might not say ‘I love you’ as much before as we did today. However, with each time passing by our love grew. And it’s better to tell each other our love than not.

By not agreeing to every decision of ours, the amount of love doesn’t change at all. They are sacrifices made for combating the unity of the family. Every member of the family contributes in different ways. If we could build a good family it reflected in the society.

As we go on with our lives, there could be several factors which could make us think that the amount of love gets change. We met different kind of people in our daily life who could influence, in good or bad, our way of thinking.

For example, parenting is a vast subject whose practicality depends massively on every father or mother. Our way of raising children might differ with our vision. Children are quick to spot the difference and for them the grass always looks greener on the other side. We’ve been through it so it doesn’t require detailed explanation.

It was not a good feeling being unable to play with my children, inside and outside the house. Leave aside playing, there are times when it is difficult speaking and talking with them due to some unwanted side effects of medicine intake. However, our amount of love doesn’t change at all. It’s just that our activities are limited.

What Amount of Love?

As we grow up, our parents have entrusted us to carry on with the instruction they have given before. Their amount of love doesn’t change, they missed us. Some of us mistook their less intervention as denigrating their love. But it was not.

In the meantime, it would be a good experience if we could show the amount of love we had for our families and people around us. It’s just a wish and not a possibility. There are few things money can show but far greater what’s inside the heart. Love Meter, Love Calculator, and the likes are developed, which are meant for entertainment.

There is an amount of love which never changes; it is the love of God. There might be times when I felt I was less valued, His love never changes. It is my state of mind which occupies my heart at certain times. His love never changes. It is the same forever.

As it happened, there could be times we questioned the amount of love we get. In the face of adversities, sufferings, and failures we tend to poise many questions to our God. It wasn’t easy to go through such situations; our heart is filled with loneliness.

Sometimes, ‘Why God? Where is your love?’ could be our inner cry. We wanted to get the full love and attention of God. We wanted our adversities be lifted; our problems get solved, in His abiding love. Yet many of the afflictions are for straightening our path although it’s hard to see at the moment. (Hebrew 12:7-11)

God’s love never changes; yet we missed many of them when our relationships failed. When our relationship is not good, we saw it as receiving less love.

Bargaining the amount of love we get, actually, depends on the state of our mind. When God’s love never changes we took as an amount which can be change. However, the amount towards our love for God keeps fluctuating, which causes rift inside our heart.

So in its practical sense, following God via our dogmatically inclined practices makes our heart vulnerable to the work of evil. Above all, God’s love is the greatest and the source of all love. Any amount of love stemming out of Him could never be intolerable.

The Greatest Love of All:

When we’re in love, we wanted to change the fate of our beloved in the best way possible. But since we have nothing in our hand, we can end up the other way round.

In John 3:16, the truest sense of love was found. It surpassed any amount of love in this world. The amount of love required for a man to change their life completely. The greatest amount of love was shown, given, and rewarded in giving us an everlasting life.

It reads: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

This is the amount of love we get. It is always up for grab once we believe in the Son of God; Jesus Christ.

Conforming or Not

We know it was risky and he too was well aware of it, I hope. He came running to leap forward and jump into the river bank below. But then, he stopped at the edge of the river wall about fifteen meters high.

“Jump! Jump! Jump! You can do it,” we shouted. We cheered him to give it another try.

He looked down calculating in his mind whether he’d be able to reach the water. There was a huge deposition, near the water, caused by the recent mud sliding. He couldn’t get his pride killed easily.

We cheered him again. I don’t remember who started it. We wanted to let him do it by any means, it seems. We, bunch of boys, conformed to let him jump so that he might learn his lesson.

This time, more determined, he went back. And he came running as we are still cheering for him. He jumped from that height!

THUD! A sound burst! He couldn’t make it to the water! He was reeling in pain. The clapping and cheering had stopped suddenly.

We quickly swim to the other side of the river. We stand nearby him. There was no immediate help available. We don’t know what to do. After sometime, he came back to sense. It was huge relief for all of us.

This happened during our pre-teen and early teen years. We easily fall prey to what is commonly known as peer pressure. We try to avoid being different and bear the wrath of ‘the brutes’ among our group of friends. Especially when we’re going for a swim, away from home, in the river nearby the hills.

Having not protested against the unwanted cheering and clapping, which caused great pain to one of our friend, I regretted a lot. Yet I am glad he has learned his lesson and does not sustained any irreparable damage to his body.

Conformity:

Conformity, in other words, is succumbing to pressure groups. To conform is to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, compliance to the surroundings, and the likes.

It is one of the most difficult stages to overcome in life, especially during our pre-adolescence or adolescence period. In our adolescence years, we wanted to be accepted, have friends and abide by their or our rules.

Grownups, like you and me, must have been through these stages in our life, I hope. However, the way we have experienced and overcome the same would different. The time has come now, for us to help our young ones when they been through this stage.

My young friends, if you are still in this phase, do not get discouraged if you cannot get conformed to your surroundings. This is one of the many tests of life you are about to get passed with flying colors. It is important to not get carried away with the swarm of flies.

In case, you are faced with dilemma day in and day out, ask our God for His abiding help and presence. The hormonal changes and the adrenaline rush are not easy to get by, but it can be conquered.

Do Not Conform:

It is enjoyable, pleasurable, and easily addictive to conform in the ways of the fallen world. Everyone enjoyed doing sinful practices, although with guilt ridden heart. The pleasure and enjoyment can be short-lived.
Now, let see what the Bible says for a believer to follow:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

‘Dare to be different’, in a good way, in the likeness of Christ is what the Bible teach. Do not depend on your own interpretation of God’s word, it can be hugely misleading.

We have lived in the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air. All of us lived among them at one time, following the desires of flesh and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. (Ephesians 2:1-3) But we have been saved by the grace of God.

Not conforming also means to not go with what the majority are doing in a place or time, if our deeds would demean our faith as well as others.

Participation and separation in the fallen world is a pilgrimage in progress. (2 Cor. 6:17) Our participation to the world must not discourage others nor should our separation hurt other person, in our path to follow Christ.

The Lullaby Singer

“Papa, sing me a song. I can’t sleep,” said my children. They are requesting a lullaby that I used to sing.

So, I get near them and sang lullabies, making my voice as soft as I could. Before I know, their body softens and they slept peacefully. It works like magic. And I enjoyed every bit of it.

It is a good time for building strong relationships. A good time to cherish that someone in the world really enjoyed your presence and voicing around them. It is a great privilege, being able to do that, I would say.

Wait, what is a Lullaby? A lullaby is a song to lull young ones to sleep. While its primary objective is to put young ones to sleep, the wordings could be a reflection of the surroundings, happenings, and cultural perspectives.

You don’t need to be a good singer in singing a lullaby. It is rarely accompanied with musical instruments. The tune and words can be easily modified to suit what the Lullaby Singer wanted to express. A certain cultural traditions had their own wording and style of singing though.

Love is the ingredient of singing a good lullaby. It is a good way of shaping young thoughts, assuring our love and security being their parents. With certain modifications or my modifications, this is one example here:

Sleep Baby Sleep, My dear darling Baby
Oh my dear baby I love you, sleep baby sleep.
Your Papa and Mummy loves you, sleep baby sleep
The angels are watching you, sleep peacefully
My dear baby, I will always love you
Sleep baby sleep……..

You can keep on adding words and verses, till your baby slept or till you are done with expressing your love. Sometimes, it can be in the form of a story too.

The Lullaby Singer could easily thrived in any kind of society, be it modern, post-modern, pre-modern society. Even in the age of technology, we are still raising human not robot or some programmed character.

Reminiscence of our childhood, a lullaby could bring back. The love, of my parents and grandparents, easily flashback in my minds. They would put me in a handmade cradle or carry me in their back while singing a lullaby gently.

The soft patting on my backs and their back becoming softer and more comfortable as the lullaby proceeds, are my favorite childhood memories. I believe you have your cherish moments of the same experience.

Recalling those precious days; we lived in a village nearby the hills. When darkness was about to descended, Foxes barking or screaming from the nearby foothills can be heard. The hens panicked and rushed inside their pen. May be inspired by this, here is one lullaby, I could recall:

Sleep, sleep, baby sleep
Before the foxes scream, sleep my baby
If you don’t sleep, vixen might come
Oh hungry vixen! Leave my sweet child alone
My child, my love one, I will not let you take him.
Sleep baby sleep….and so on.

Since the foxes and vixen screaming were common, we felt happy and secure in our parents’ arm. So, we would easily fell asleep in their arms.

From this lullaby we, young ones, can learn that we are valued and would be protected. Our love for our parents also grew stronger.

A lullaby is useful in many ways: It can be a medium of feeding our best love and wisdom in their tender minds. It can be a great moment for building strong relationships. They will remember your very words when they grow up.

A lullaby could be a channel for passing on values. The values we wanted to focus depend on us. We can emphasize on the Love of God, our love for them as a parent, what we expect them to be, our culture and our traditions.

That is why, I say, it is a great privilege to be the Lullaby Singer, to my young ones. It made me felt valued, in a way.

Just as I still remember the lullabies of my parents and grandparents dearly, they would recall my Lullaby. By then, they would know what I really wanted to tell them at that time.

Raising Human

Parenting, in other words, is raising humans. It cannot be an under-performing job. More than a job, it is an obligation or duty for betterment of mankind, on a larger scale.

In my younger days, I am part of raising several domestic animals. They get matured in no time. They cannot exercise their thinking power like we do. Humans are more complicated.

Not all-wise people raised a wise person. It can be challenging yet enjoyable. Challenging, in some way that, raising a human with right values among the hugely distorted world of values, could be disheartening. Enjoyable, as we are raising our own young ones to secure a good future for us and for them.

One day, our young ones will become young adult, young leader, and succeeded the world we left behind. If we FAILED to deliver at our job, we would witness chaos in every sphere of life. Should we live long, we will suffer along with them witnessing humankind denigrating.

If I raise a good human it implies I have a bright future ahead, despite the tumultuous world. The same way, if ‘we’ raise a good human then ‘our’ future is bright, as a whole. There is no empirical formula for raising human, and I knew it too.

There is hope since we have time with us. Moreover, the Almighty Father would find worthy soul, if enough, to spare them. Yet majority would already suffered by that time.

When I started as a Stay-at-Home-Dad, I have huge hope that it would be enjoyable since I will be spending all my time with my loved ones. In that way, it is enjoyable. But my work, my job of being with them carries a huge obligation for the future of us.

Blessed in a way, I have gone through several books on parenting before I got mine. Experience of successful parents, kept in mind I started. Books, written by experts and family enthusiasts become handy in raising them.
However, one can never be a perfect parent that too I had learned, in this short span of time.

Studying psychology of children with simply giving the required Input can never be enough in reality. Humans cannot be programmed. There are insurmountable cells inside the human body, which could not be simply tamed. Humans are created in the likeness of our God, but the Creator being Superior, remember that.

It is important to stick to one side in inculcating ‘Values’. Right and wrong: we should be able to say what is wrong as wrong, not compromised, as with right values. That means we should have our standing ground firm and bold. If failed, family values, faith values would keep depreciating day by day.

Should the values keep on depreciating, our world would be heading into a catastrophic situation. Look around the present world and its leaders; do you think they possessed real moral values? They too had their parents. However, most of them tend to downgrade the moral values as a whole.

Challenges are in abundant. But with God, He can multiply our little efforts in thousands. With humans growing in large-scale, evil did grow too. Complete safeguarding is in the hands of the Lord.

Raising human is a task that cannot be completed without the might of God. Should we take everything into our own hand, it will not lasts long. We might give up mid-way due to too much stresses, it is a possibility. As huge as the task could get, it can get be enjoyable through the way, I repeated.

In the Garden of Eden, the Lord God kept Adam and Eve with clear instructions which must be abide by them. Satan wanted to destroy a family-the powerhouse of raising human. Some give-in some fight it out!

Playing It Our Own Way

“Papa, let’s play it my way”, demanded my five-year-old.

We are in the midst of playing manual games – Snakes and Ladders.

“Wait; let me think about it….” I replied. I almost gave in, to his demands.

Today he had struggled a lot. By analyzing the way we played for the last thirty minutes, several times the snakes on the board had troubled him. It is difficult to hide my compassion towards him.

“No, let’s follow the universal rule of playing this game. Keep trying!” I said.

He gave me a scorned look. But he followed my instructions; he knew I have the authority over him.

Snake and ladder for playing
Game board; Snakes and Ladders

For starters, Snakes and Ladder is a abidings-20” target=”_blank”>game played by rolling a dice, in different turn, by each player. If your counter lands at the bottom of a ladder, you climb up. And if your counter lands at the head of a snake, you slide down at the bottom of the snake. You keep rolling the dice till you reach the goal or home.

We bought the game for some reasons: One, to reduce his screen time. Two, to help him learn how to count. Three, to spent time together. It is our hope that it would resulted in us growing closer and a good time for teaching life’s values.

Let’s talk about two things:

(a) Power Play at Home;

Now, when he demanded to play his way, by altering the rules a bit, it is natural. We also did that in our childhood days and even protested with hue and cry.

In our innate being, we wanted to bend few things if it does not favored us. But our parents enforced upon us some basic rules, which are not very sweet at that time. And I am really happy they did that.

It is a very small matter. I could have simply let him bend some rules. However, tomorrow he might say, “Papa, let’s play my way again!” So, I used my God-given authority over him so that he might learn his lesson.

In today’s society, I have seen young people challenging authorities, blending the rules and creating havoc in the society. We are deprived of inner peace and harmony.

It is becoming of a trend to revolt yet all revolutions are not bad. Please don’t get me wrong.

At home, the sanctity of family hierarchy has been challenged. In many cases, it has been destroyed. Small things flourished into destruction of human lives.

(b)The Way to the Father;

In the Bible, Jesus Christ told His disciples, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 NKJV)

We simply cannot bend or create our own way to go to the Father. There is only one way to get to the Father. No other way is given.

If we try to get to our Heavenly Father by our own way, we would perish. (John 3:16) God is beyond the challenge of human; He possessed the Highest Authority, forever and ever.

Do you think it would serve us good to depend on the wisdom of man; bending the way and playing it our own way?
In the game of life, let’s try to, at least, play it safe by following the ways of the Lord.

When failure looms large on our way of life, we are left with none to turn our ways to. This is the biggest threat to a life living on our own ways.