The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Boys and Puppies

    Mike Stoops, my next door neighbor, had a beautiful cocker spaniel named Sally. When Sally had a litter of pups, Mike and I could not wait to hold them and play with them. I remember lying on the ground with those puppies jumping all over us, yapping and yipping, licking and nibbling our ears and faces as our giggles bubbled uncontrollably from way down deep in our carefree childhood hearts. There is something almost magical about eight-year-old boys and puppies.

    After school one afternoon, I was looking out of the big window in our den that overlooked our back yard and the acres and acres of Mr. Early’s pastures. My dad called that window a picture window. Many are the times I saw him stand with a cup of coffee in his hand looking out of that window watching a sunset. It was probably his favorite thing about that house.

    As I looked out of the window, I saw the puppies playing in the backyard next door; and the urge to play with them was irresistible. I headed for the back door, telling my mom that I was going outside. “No problem,” she responded. I later wished that she had been right.

    Out of the door my steps assumed laser-beam purpose and I headed straight to Mike’s back yard. He wasn’t home, but he wouldn’t care if I played with the pups. All those pups climbing over me— just me—seemed like heaven. They nibbled at my “tenny shoes” biting the laces and chewing on the hems of my britches, which is what I called my jeans.

    I heard mom call; I had to go.

    As I started home, the puppies followed. I told them to go back. They didn’t. I picked up the pace, but they ran after me, still biting my laces and the jeans around my ankles. By the time I got to the big picture window behind my house, I was panicked. The puppies had to go home. Then I tripped over one. When I hit the ground, they were on me, nibbling and licking; but I wasn’t laughing. What had been fun had now become aggravation. As I was scrambling to my feet, I was yelling at those pups to go home. They still didn’t. I went from aggravated to angry. I commenced to kicking and yelling at them until they finally turned tail and started running home.

    But I wasn’t through. Just to finish the job, I picked up a handful of rocks from our driveway and threw them at the puppies with all my eight-year-old might.

    I don’t know exactly how it happened, but one of those rocks went haywire, and instead of going toward the pups, found its line of flight through Dad’s picture window.

    Unfortunately, our sinful nature doesn’t disappear just because we grow up. Sometimes as adults, sometimes as parents, our responses can go beyond correction to carnage. We may not break windows, but we can break hearts. The stakes are much higher.

    Puppies are going to be puppies. Children are going to be children.

    Father, help us as adults to be adults, to be mature, to reflect Your nature . . . to our pups.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Buckeye Blues

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    When I was in third grade, my best friend “borrowed some buckeyes” from the science cabinet in the back of our classroom. Because we were best friends, he shared them with me. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t look at the teacher. I couldn’t face my parents because they had taught me not to steal. I ended up confessing that I had some of the buckeyes because someone had given them to me. It was a pretty lame story, but the teacher didn’t press it. I didn’t care; my conscience was clear.

     As parents one of our goals is that our children will make right decisions when we are not present. The key to this is the training of the conscience. Conscience is the sense of right and wrong that governs a person’s thoughts and actions.  Our consciences are developed within a context of culture, and the family is the most powerful and significant force in any culture.

    It is important that we teach the truth to our children.  Without a correct sense of right and wrong, our children are subject to the ever changing and corrupt values that are portrayed in society. When God created the nation of Israel after their deliverance from Egypt, He gave them the Ten Commandments to begin to build into them a new conscience and culture. Those Ten Commandments are a good place for anyone to start building a conscience.

    In Paul’s letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:5 and 3:9), Paul declares that a conscience can be good and clean.
    There are other scriptures that mark a downward spiral of the conscience.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:7 mentions that the conscience is weak and can become defiled.
  • Hebrews 10:22 describes a conscience that is guilty and therefore evil.
  • 1 Timothy 4:2 warns that a conscience can become seared, obviously through continual and unconfessed wrongdoing.
  • Isaiah 5:20 describes the condition of people who call right wrong and wrong right, who call light dark and dark light. Apparently, they have corrupted their consciences until they no longer are sensitive.
    The weak conscience of a child can be led down the wrong road to a corrupt conscience. Jesus said, “Woe to the one who causes one of these little ones to stumble.”

    On the other hand, we have a great opportunity to raise children who have a strong sense of right and wrong, who stand for right, who side with Jesus Christ. Let's guard our own consciences for the sake of those little ones who are watching us.
    Share a comment with us about an incident that shaped your conscience.

    We are now in our fourth year of blogging. In addition to our blog, Patricia and I have discussed stepping out into the world of teleclasses, video blogs, podcasts, youtube, a membership, and more. The possibilities are a little overwhelming.

    We have created a survey in hopes that you will help us know where to focus. Would you please take our short 10 question survey? It should take less than five minutes.

    To take the survey, click here. Thank you for your help.

    Or you can copy and paste the following link into your browser:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

There’s no future in the middle of the road!

   Do you ever feel like the danger and evil in our high pressure, in-your-face world will just run us and our children over? Does our next generation have a chance? What can we do? 

    The National Study on Youth and Religion (2002 to 2005) may have pinpointed the problem. We parents will have to live out the answer. In her book Almost Christian, Kenda Creasy Dean summarizes the results of the NSYR project.
     Some results are encouraging: Teens are much more interested in God and religion than we have assumed. And they are 80% influenced by the faith of their parents. That’s encouraging.
     Some results are troubling: The faith that the parents are passing on to their children is not quite Christian. Almost Christian. Middle of the road. Here is the brand of faith in Jesus that the American church is passing on to the next generation:
        1.    A god exists who watches over the world.
        2.    God wants people to be good, nice, and fair.
        3.    The main goal in life is to be happy and feel good about oneself.
        4.    God is not involved except when I need him to solve a problem.
        5.    Good people go to heaven when they die.

    Jesus has a different calling for us.
        1.    God is our Father.
        2.    If anyone would follow him, he must deny himself and take up his cross.
        3.    The main goal in life is to do the will of God, to live for him, to bring him glory.
        4.    Jesus is involved in everything, from atoms to galaxies, from babies to nations.
        5.    Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life: the only way to the heavenly Father.

    How do we move ourselves and our teens from the first set of beliefs to the call of Jesus? From shallow faith to deep commitment. From pastel to passionate. From zombie to zealot. From fear to boldness. How do we get out of the middle-of-the-road mentality?

    I am starting on my knees. I am praying that the intense fire of God’s Spirit will rekindle me and my family and my church and our churches until the next generation is ablaze. Until Peter and James and John and Paul would look at our generation and say, “That’s what we lived and died for.” Until the Lord himself would say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    If we as parents are 80% of the influence on our kids, our own faith needs to be rekindled. We have to step up and step forward. We have to look our children and our culture in the eye and demonstrate that our time, our money, and our energy belong to Jesus Christ!

    As Isaac Watts penned, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

    Question: In addition to prayer, what actions can we take to get out of the middle of the road and really follow Jesus?