The Curries

The Curries
Keith and Patricia

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!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

When Trouble Comes


    Neal was a marine in Iraq during Desert Storm. He and his platoon served as an outpost searching for enemy movement or activity of any kind. On one very ordinary day, they were suddenly being shelled by enemy mortars. The spies had been spied. Ordinary became intensity in a moment. Everyone reacted according to his training. They grabbed their gear, threw their stuff and themselves into the Humvees, and escaped with all accounted for. When those guys see each other fifteen years later, memories like this one come to the surface and they enjoy a oneness that others just can’t understand.

    Those marines shared a common training. Then a common experience requiring a unified response resulted in a sense of oneness.

    When Patricia and I began to plan for marriage, we agreed that we would make the Bible our foundation. As we saw those around us who lived by its truth, we saw the kind of fruit that we wanted in our home and family. We agreed to be trained by God’s Word. We sought to find the Biblical response to a situation and put it into practice. In James 5:13-14 he explains it this way:
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.
Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him
and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

    The Bible became our common everyday training. We read it every morning, we listen to it often in the car, we memorize it together at meals, we discuss it around our table. As our children have grown, we have sought to instill this same training in them.

    Through the years we have been shocked into action by surprise mortar shells:
The doctor stated, "Judith has spinal meningitis."
A call at night: “Your son has been in an accident; he is being taken to the hospital.”
“Your property value has dropped below its cost.”

    Through illnesses, accidents, financial difficulties, we have followed the pattern in James: understand the situation, find the Biblical response, then do it. We have survived. All are accounted for. We have been blessed to enjoy an ever-deepening degree of oneness within our family and an ever-broadening degree of joy within the body of Christ.

    Make the Bible your training, make its words your intentional responses, watch the unity deepen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



    I once asked our friend Kathy Thomson what she did to raise two exceptional kids, Andrew and Lydia. Somewhat surprised, she threw her head back and laughingly answered, “I yelled a lot.”

    In those four little words, Kathy expressed what a lot of parents feel, especially moms. Many moms feel like they are nagging, yelling, reminding, directing, over and over on the same things each day for a long time. And they are. Parenting is the most difficult responsibility because it is too important to let go. You just get no rest. You are at it 24/7/365/20: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, 20 years.

    Even the most cooperative kids have moments when they are, well, just kids. They forget, they relapse, they struggle against the programming. And all of that is normal.

    We remind them again and again. In the process we feel the frustration and that also is normal. We keep reminding because we care. Isaiah 28:9-10 refers to training children like this: “Do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule ; a little here, a little there." Little by little, all those reminders add up.

    You might tell them one hundred times to eat the right kind of food. Then a coach says it, or a youth minister, or a teacher, and they come home and say, “You know, Mom, my coach says that I need to eat the right kind of food.” He says it like it is the first time he ever heard it. I like to think that your 100 times made room for the coach’s once.

    In 2 Peter 1:12, Peter said, “So I will always remind you of these things . . .” His goal was to establish his readers in the truth. Isn’t that your goal, too?

    Don’t give up, don’t quit. Your reminders matter; they establish your kids in important things.

    Don’t judge yourself in the 7 or the 24 or the 365. Wait for the 20. You just might be surprised, and like Kathy, raise some exceptional kids.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Parents are always teaching



    Recently, we were able to spend a little time with some young friends of ours, Thomas and Beth. They are parents of three young children ages seven, three, and one. You can tell that they are doing a good job as parents. We met in a public restaurant and even though the kids tagged along, we were able to have a substantive conversation. It was fun to be with the whole family.

    Beth is a wise little mom who has been home-schooling Caleb, the oldest. As they look at the fall, they are thinking of enrolling him in a day school program. In talking about the change in venue for his education, she made this very true statement: “but I will always be teaching.”

    And she is right. Parents are always teaching their children.

    Since that conversation, I have given some thought to the three main things that we teach our children. Here are my three. I encourage you to comment and add your own thoughts to our discussion.

    1.    We teach what is important. As our kids watch us invest our time, our energy, and our money, they learn what we think is important. Do this little exercise to get some hints on what you are really teaching your kids. Look at your calendar—where has your time gone? Look at your checkbook—where has your money gone? Make a note of your accomplishments this past month—where has your energy gone? How you answer these three questions will give you a good indicator of what you think is important. That’s what your kids are learning.

    2.    We teach attitude. They see us react to numerous situations, many that don’t go our way or that don’t go according to our liking. As they watch and listen they are learning attitude. They are learning to trust God or not to. They are learning to gripe or to praise. They are learning a mindset toward life.
    3.    We teach what we know. A thousand little things that occur each day are taught almost by osmosis. They just catch it. How we dress, how we brush teeth, how we organize, how we laugh, how we speak. Social graces, manners, choices of words, and on and on.

    So you see that we are always teaching and our kids are always learning. If you are like us, you will get some of this stuff right, and you will fall short on too many things to mention. So let’s get the most important thing right. 1 Corinthians 3: 20-23 summarizes it this way:

"The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether . . .  the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

    More than anything else, let’s make sure that we live belonging to Christ.