The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Can MakeThe Rules For My Toothbrush

On November 11, 1995, as we were completing the bedtime ritual, three year old Jean-Luc was putting his toothbrush away in the wrong place. When I (Trish) said something to him about it, he said, “It’s my toothbrush, and I can make the rules for it.” 
What a thing in him--desiring to rule and be in control. 
“Well,” I thought, “he needs to rule something.  I guess his toothbrush is a good place to start.”

It is fascinating to watch a child’s personality develop.  Although Jean-Luc was the fifth child, he intrigued us because he acted as a typical first-born--always wanting to be in charge, always wanting to be the leader.

Jean-Luc was expressing a God-given mandate (Gen. 1:28) that he clearly felt at three years of age. Looking back at this from a parenting viewpoint, we see that learning to govern is an important concept to begin teaching our children even at a young age.

The first steps of governing for a child are accepting responsibility for his actions and for his things.  He learns that doing good things brings good consequences and doing bad things brings bad consequences. He learns that caring for or neglecting your things also has consequences.

The next step of governing is self-governing--when he begins to rule himself to choose right over wrong and good over evil. As he develops discernment, he begins to choose the good over the mediocre, and eventually the best over the good.  

The highest form of self-government is a willing submission to the will of Father God.  Jesus stated that he only did what the Father was doing and said what the Father was saying; and all of this he did in the same manner as the Father (John 5:19, 12:49). This is the ongoing process of child training: helping our children to see the Lord and respond to His Spirit and His word willingly.

Now, back to the toothbrush. The sphere that children can govern while they are young and growing is their possessions--taking care of their things.  It may begin with a toothbrush, but it grows to include a bed, a book, a toy, a room, a pet, a company, a house. Each of these things requires training from Mom or Dad. It will take time. It will take effort. They won’t always succeed. No one does.

Nevertheless, clear and consistent training while they are young will bring good habits as children get older.  A procedure for each task will have to be done over and over again with your children.  You are teaching them to “rule over” their things. 

Jesus said learning to be faithful over a few things will bring rulership over much (Luke 16:10). Through this training process you are preparing them for life, and you are preparing them for increase. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mr. Ho Knows What it Takes

    I recently had the opportunity to have a meal with Mike Ho, a Vietnamese immigrant who came to this country when he was 18. He had nothing when he came, just the clothes on his back. Even some of those he had pulled from a bag that was made available to him for the journey. He laughed and said, “I didn’t even have one dime!”

    His dream was to get a tent and live under a bridge just to be in America. But God directed his steps differently. Motivated by faith in Christ, a family in Oregon took him in. They helped Mike acclimate to life in the states, they helped him learn English, they introduced him to Jesus Christ. They supported him as he pursued a college education.

    He studied engineering. He met Lily, a young Vietnamese woman on a career path. They were married and her job brought them to Mobile. He invested in a local business. His strategy was clear: intelligence and hard work.

    They have two daughters. Vivian is the same age as our Danny, 17; and she has been in our home occasionally over the last year or so.

    The first thing that strikes you about Mike is that he is happy. His joy is contagious; his smile is constant and yet always seems as if it just broke across his face.

    We expressed our fondness for Vivian and that she was an impressive young lady. Mike and Lily began to share their philosophy about being parents. They said, “We talk about everything with our children. We analyze situations and school and everything. We help them rationalize and think things through.”

    Mike continued, “I ask this question all the time: ‘What did you learn?’
If they go to the movie, I ask ‘What did you learn?’
If they read a book, I ask, ‘What did you learn?’
When they meet new people, I ask, ‘What did you learn?’
Each experience that they have, I ask, ‘What did you learn?’”

    Mike is an intentional dad. He has made his two daughters his priority. He works hard. He is there for his family and for his daughters. He talks to them; he listens to their responses. The results are obvious. Vivian’s smile, spontaneous and constant, is a reflection of her dad’s.

    We have added Mike’s question to our parenting toolbox. We encourage you to add it to yours.

    It just seems appropriate as I wrap up this blog that I ask you his question:
What did you learn?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011



     Monday we attended the climbing of Herndon. Herndon is a 26 foot monument located in front of the chapel at the Naval Academy. It is the final rite of passage for the plebe (freshman) year at the academy. At 1:30 Monday afternoon over 1000 plebes raced to the base of Herndon, yelling and screaming. They were confident, they were ready, they were a little naïve.

     You see, they had practiced climbing Herndon the week before and it took about twenty minutes. This time it would take two hours and forty-one minutes. The difference was one simple ingredient: over 200 pounds of lard. The challenge in climbing Herndon is that it is covered in Crisco, baby, Crisco! The second class (juniors) cover the monument completely with the white grease. Twenty-six feet tall and slick as ice.

     Using their shirts to wipe off the grease, they then begin to build human pyramids around it. At each new level, more grease had to be wiped. Time after time they mounted and fell. Someone on the bottom would give out with the increasing weight. Twenty foot tumbles landing on the upraised hands of their classmates below. Exciting and dangerous!

     A small group of bleachers were set up for a special group of former USNA graduates, class of 1964, their fifty-year sponsors. Parents and friends brought lawn chairs, blankets, binoculars, and more to watch the event. A great cloud of witnesses cheering on the class of 2014.

     After the first hour the adrenaline wore off and the exciting adventure became a toilsome task. I wondered if they could do it. A former Navy man standing next to me must have read my thoughts. He said with confidence, “They’ll do it.”

     He was right. They had faced daunting tasks before that seemed impossible to overcome, but they had been trained to persevere, to continue, never to quit. They did not. In the third hour, numerous close attempts ended in failure. Finally, one tall, skinny plebe climbed the pyramid, stepped on the heads of two others near the top and dislodged the sailors cap on the top of Herndon, replacing it with a midshipman’s cover.

     Then the shout went up, from the plebes, from the parents, from the 1964 graduates. Victory had been achieved, difficulty overcome. They had climbed Herndon; it was done; they were plebes no more. As we walked away, I stopped and looked at the monument Herndon. It was still there, unmoved, waiting for the next group of plebes to meet its challenge and win the day.

     There was risk. There were injuries. Not a single parent crossed the line to help. It was their day alone--the class of 2014.

     Your children also face challenges that require perseverance to overcome. Encourage them, root for them, and let them face the monumental tasks they must face on their own. They can face the challenge, they can persevere in the struggle, they can achieve the victory. They learn to talk, to walk, to read, and to do innumerable things because of your encouragement. They are fearfully and wonderfully made. They are made in God’s image. Trust Him to help them. Be there for them with this message: YOU CAN DO IT!