The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


      My dad did not like to hear us brag. We would be watching a football game and the announcer would say, “This quarterback has not thrown an interception in 22 games.”
      Dad would moan, “Well, he’ll surenuff throw one this game.” And ‘surenuff’ he would. When that happened, he would tell me this story.

     When we were crossing the Pacific on our way to the Philippines during WW II, Tom Ferguson and me were standing on the ship just talking. And ol’ Tom looked right at me and said, “If anybody makes it home from this war, it’ll be me. You hear that Currie; ain’t nobody gonna kill ol’ Tom Ferguson.”
When they pitched camp in the Philippines, Dad was walking by ol’ Tom’s tent when he heard Tom say, “Hey, Currie, you silly ol’ fool, you wanta piece of coconut?”
“Nah,” Dad answered, “not now.”
But the next thing he heard was ol’ Tom yelling, “Currie, get the medico, get the medico.”Tom had taken his bayonet blade and tried to open a coconut between his legs. The coconut turned, the blade slipped and sliced the artery in his leg; Tom was gone before anyone could do anything. The medical officer couldn’t have saved him even if he had been standing right there.

     Then Dad would look right at me and say, “Don’t let me hear you bragging again.”
     He made his point. Whenever I bragged, I made sure I didn’t eat any coconuts for a long time. Seriously, that story made an impression on me. (He also told that story if he saw me handling a knife in a careless way). 

     Stories carry an emotional power, a memory missile that targets our hearts with truth. Too often as parents, we preach at our kids, lecture our kids, even yell at our kids when a story would work much better.
Here are four kinds of stories to keep in mind:

1)    Deuteronomy 6:20 encourages us to tell our children our own stories when they ask about why we do certain things. Our children love to hear about our past, our mistakes, and our adventures. Family memories, family characters, all add together to build in them family identity. And they will learn how we came to walk with God. Our stories are big in their eyes.
2)    Fictional stories are also helpful. These made-up stories can carry life lessons that help our children learn from “others” without having to go through everything themselves. Aesop’s Fables, Nursery rhymes, biographies, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Book of Virtue, and many others become our allies as we seek to form the character of our children. We can even make up our own stories.
3)    Biographies and selected current events can also be resources that are invaluable to our kids.
4)    God’s story. The grand scheme of God’s plan: creation, fall, sacrifice, redemption, resurrection, and restoration build a foundation that we want our next generation to have in their hearts. It is His story that lies underneath all the great stories of literature, especially western literature. As parents, we want this story firmly embedded in us so that we can choose wisely the stories we let through the doorways to our homes.
Jesus spoke many things to the people in parables.
Matthew 13:3

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Look Ahead and Work Backwards

Once upon a time, a huge freight liner came across the Atlantic Ocean laden with sought-after African coffee beans and bananas. Unknown to any of the ship’s officers, to any of the crew men, or to any of the ship’s workers was stowed away a likable, good-natured, but very independent little monkey. Having skipped up the ramp, he had followed his favorite food as it was lifted from the loading docks to the huge ship.

Across the vast ocean, through many storms and wind gusts, after many weeks, the massive vessel anchored at the state docks in none other than Mobile, Alabama. After all the goods had been unloaded and the captain was doing his final walk through, he heard a little chattering coming from behind one of the doors on deck. Cautiously he opened the door. Incredible! Unthinkable! ...a little monkey? Sitting forlornly, looking at him with great big brown eyes, the monkey seemed to be saying, “Help me.” As the captain stepped forward and reached down to pick him up---WHOOSH--he streaked past the captain, raced across the deck and jumped, yes JUMPED, to the docks!

After many long days and many frightful experiences wandering through the streets, the hungry little monkey found a very comfortable live oak tree which he decided would be home....It just so happened that this tree was in the Currie backyard.

Waking up one morning and having gone out to play (as usual), Anna and Patrick found this hungry and friendly little monkey. They decided to keep him and to name him Pickety-Pockety.

That very morning began the many adventures of all the Currie kids and their mischievous little friend, Pickey-Pockety.

©2010 Patricia J. Currie

Little Pickety-Pockety had many naughty adventures. [This is, by the way, is not a true story.] This was one way truths from Scripture took on a very real setting. As we performed many of the everyday tasks, these stories would bring fun and life and a lesson to the kids.

Author Anne Ortlund wrote a book several years ago entitled Children are Wet Cement. It is an excellent book, but more importantly, this is a foundational concept when thinking about spirit training. We are always inscribing thoughts, ideas, views, perspectives. Conciously and subconciously, an assimilation process is ongoing. Two questions, maybe one and the same, we have to ask ourselves, What does the finished product look like? What am I imprinting on my children?

We probably should look way ahead and then work our way backwards. If I want my children to be intimately connected with the Father, hearing the Holy Spirit, beginning to understand the kingdom of God, knowing how to put into life what the Bible says, displaying the fruits of the spirit, loving one another, caring for the lost and hurting... That’s a big bite! What little things can I do today to instill these in them little by little, practice by practice?

One way is story telling. Helping them learn attitudes and truths by hearing about other people and characters like Pickety-Pockety, a make-believe monkey.

What are some other ways we train the spirits of our children-disciples?

  • Use scripture to learn God's perspectives on life situations.
  • Be there in the crisis; instruct in non-crisis situations.
  • Role play; act out situations. It is fun.
  • Share from the arts--music, books, paintings, plays.....expanding cultural experiences
    to learn about the beauty and the excellence of God
  • Have a "Family Night" once a week when fun activities and treats are
    deliberately planned

Overall, we have to understand that our children are never more open to the Lord than in the first twelve years [Barna]. Jesus loves the children. He wants them to come to Him. The Spirit of God is working with you as parents to accomplish this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SPIRIT TRAINING: “Here a little, there a little”

When Anna and Patrick were small, three and four, Patricia and I decided that we would say a scripture before each meal. Our goal was to begin to memorize scriptures together as a family. If we had begun with something short like “God is love” we might have had success right away. But not us, oh no, we had to start with the 23rd Psalm. We said it. They watched. We continued to say it at each meal. We encouraged them to say it with us. They stared at us like two little owlets. But no words came out of their mouths.

After the third week, we became discouraged and wondered if the effort was worth it. Then one day, Anna and Patrick were playing at her little table in her bedroom. Before eating their make-believe meal, they began to quote the 23rd Psalm, each one supplying what the other did not remember. Patricia overheard them and called me to listen. I arrived just as they were finishing.

At that moment we agreed to keep this up and build this into our family mealtime: say a scripture, then the blessing. It was an easy way to add God’s word into our schedule, an easy way to acknowledge that we belong to Him.

“Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deut. 6:7

A good rule of thumb for interpreting scripture is that we take scriptures that are clear in order to explain those that are not so clear. Deut. 6:7 is a clear scripture on teaching children, on impressing God’s truth on them. Intentionally talk about God’s ways throughout the day. After all, God is with us throughout the day, in our goings and comings. Let’s acknowledge him at all times.

Isaiah 28: 9-10 asks this question, “Are you trying to teach us like we are children. . . here a little, there a little?” This question repeats the theme: Teach children along the way, little by little. Truly, we all learn better in small bites than in large doses. As we learn, it is constantly reinforced and stays with us longer.

This is a life-with-God approach, simply recognizing that He is Emanuel, God with us. Jesus came to save us from our sins and also to give us His Spirit who would dwell in us, leading us and enabling us. A day that includes God might be like this:

Wake them with a song

Read a short scripture at breakfast

Pray the blessing

Listen to a song on the way to school

After school, discuss the day (pray about any difficulties)

Say the memory scripture at supper as a family

Pray over the meal

A bedtime story (or read Proverbs)


Maybe a soft song as they go to sleep

These little reminders throughout the day provoke questions and discussions that allow you to sow truth into your little ones. The challenge is to adapt the idea for your family and your children based on their ages and activities.

Pray about it, look at your routines, include the Lord here a little, there a little. He helps all of us raise our children. He is with us in the thick of things if we ask.

He awaits the open door.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

INTEGRITY: Mom and Dad must be one

“People who commit to relationships are much happier than those who don’t. That’s why married people are happier than those who just live together. When people commit to something that’s expensive or difficult to get out of, they report feeling happier. My girlfriend and I had been living together for a dozen years, and those findings seemed so clear to me that I went home and proposed. Now we’re married and I do love my wife more than I loved my girlfriend, even though she’s the same person. Commitment isn’t just a sign of love; it’s a cause of love.” (Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness)

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. . . So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26-27)

Male and female in His image: separate but one. God is Father, Son, Spirit: Three Persons yet One God. Man and wife are male and female: two persons yet one flesh. God created man and woman together to reflect him. Why? Look at Malachi 2:15.

15 Has not the LORD made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.

God made the man and woman “one” for this purpose: He wants godly children. So guard your relationship with your wife. When we were first married, I was quite insensitive to Patricia’s feelings and thoughts. Without meaning to, I would often hurt her feelings. I wanted to say, “Get over it; it’s not that big a deal.” That just wasn’t true. Unresolved offenses are a big deal.

It would be like having a new puppy that is not yet housebroken. He messes, you clean up right away. Now instead of cleaning up, what if we treated the puppy poop like we do our relationships: “Leave it alone; it will be okay. Just step over it.” Or what if we just took a bowl and covered it up? We would live our lives stepping over or around mess, all the time. Not a good plan!

Yet that is exactly what we often do with relationships. Instead of cleaning up our relational messes immediately, we allow them to linger and hope the problems go away by themselves. They don’t; and after years of this avoidance, many marriages are just one big complicated, stinking mess—almost impossible to clean up. Impossible to step around.

Adding to this, imagine the effect this has on children. And with these young impressionable little people in our home, they learn to repeat our patterns, carrying our baggage into the next generation.

Through the encouragement of others, Patricia and I learned to ask this daily question, “Are we clear?” If either of us had an issue to discuss, we would take the time to clear it up. This meant asking for forgiveness. Saying “I’m sorry,” was not good enough; but “Will you forgive me for ________?” It is not always easy to ask for forgiveness; and sometimes it is difficult to forgive. Simply put, Jesus helped us.

Going the next step, we agreed to present unity to our kids even if we did not feel unified. Often we would “conference” in our bedroom trying to reach the same mind on an issue. We had determined that God’s word would be our final word. We made mistakes in judgment, failed to act as one, yet kept trying. Establishing Biblical patterns of relating to one another changed us, and today we see fruit of it in our children. We have grown in our confidence that God’s truth is for daily life, for real relationships, for real marriages, for real parents.

For us and for you.