Thursday, May 27, 2010

Protecting the Kids

The lawn of my childhood home never won any awards. It may have had something to do with the random brown patches of charred grass that dotted our landscape. In an attempt to protect us from the ants, my Dad burned the ant piles. I thought that was the reason they were called fire ants.
Although I don’t share my Dad’s method of extermination, I understand the desire to protect a child’s play space. When my children were younger, I vigilantly sought methods of destroying mounds of ants, carefully aimed cans of Raid at bees, and got much exercise from stalking mosquitoes that threatened a sleeping child. My mission to protect was also carried out in the living room, where I did my best to ban the viewing of cartoons and movies I considered detrimental. Protecting them mentally and spiritually was just as important to me as ridding their environment of danger.
Four of my five children have made the transition from high school to beyond, and now bear the responsibility and consequences of their choices. No longer do I dictate their viewing habits, nor am I able to swat the things that bite and sting. And I’m not just referring to insects. I never have figured out a way to make little bumper pads for their hearts. (Why does the same child who seeks my opinion when scheduling classes, accepting jobs, and choosing jewelry, not want my thoughts regarding relationships?) So what’s a mother to do?
Pray. A lot. And I do.
I trust God to protect them from accidents, diseases, impurities, and imposters. I ask for good friends to be added to their lives, and for them to be godly examples to others. I pray they have wisdom from God when making decisions, remain in the center of His will, and realize their daily dependence upon Him.
I know that you, too, have specific prayers that you pray for your children. May our children not only benefit from the prayers that have been invested in their lives, but develop an ever increasing prayer life of their own.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Geoffrey's Graduation

I’ve heard that when death is near, a person’s life flashes before their eyes. I don’t know about that; however, I know that when a child graduates, moments from their past are replayed in my mind. It happened again this week when my son, Geoffrey, earned his degree from Loyola University’s College of Law.
Throughout the day of his graduation, I remembered conversations from the past that were clues to his future. At the age of four, during a visit to the state capitol in Baton Rouge, Geoffrey said, “I want to work here.” For the next several months, he insisted on wearing a suit and tie for church, social events, and the photo which still sits on my desk.
Another voice from the past, one belonging to Geoffrey’s third grade teacher, echoed loudly in my mind as I pressed his graduation gown. “He’s going to be a lawyer,” Mrs. Muriel Louque said. “Before Geoffrey asks a question or informs me of a situation, he states the facts, and presents his case.”
Beginning in sixth grade, Geoffrey would read the paper, and want to discuss court cases that were in the news. His love of the law and desire for justice were not reserved for current events, but first applied in the home to issues of rules, curfews, and arguments with siblings. The conflicts that arose among his four sisters have given him years of mediation experience.
These memories mixed with so many more as I watched Geoffrey walk out of the auditorium at the conclusion of the graduation ceremonies. My father leaned over and said, “He walks like Michael.” I smiled and agreed. Geoffrey shares not only his father’s physical features, but many of his mannerisms. As he walks into his future, I pray that Geoffrey will hold onto the values that he learned from his Dad.
In addition, I pray that Geoffrey, and your children, too, daily reflect and rightly represent their Heavenly Father. May every decision be made in submission to God, Who, according to Ephesians 3:20, “is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Hearts in Touch
By Ronny Michel
“Now that my grandchildren have gotten older, they don’t need me.” My Mom tossed this shocker into our otherwise upbeat conversation.
I wonder if she knows that Dad feels the same way. Just a few days ago, we had this exact conversation.
She continued, “Your Dad and I talked about it and we realize we’re no longer needed.”
It’s no wonder they sound alike. They’ve rehearsed this! So that’s what they talk about on their daily trips to shop, dine out with friends, or attend high school sporting events? Or do they discuss this during their weekly trips to minister at the drug rehab?
“Mom, all this time, for all of these years, I have felt guilty for asking you and Dad to take my kids to the doctor, dentist, and orthodontist. More guilt was added for those field trips both of you chaperoned, and the lunches you delivered to the kids at school. I thought you’d be relieved to rest. I should have asked you to bring Victoria to the dentist. Michael just dropped her off and made her call when she was finished. I couldn’t believe my husband didn’t wait for our child.”
“Well, you should have called me. I would have waited for her,” she smugly replied.
I’ll just start thinking of things they can do for us so they’ll feel useful again.
“I have an appointment at the eye doctor Monday. Can you bring me? I don’t like to drive when my eyes are dilated?”
We both smiled as she agreed.
Parents! They give and give and give, and then when they have an opportunity to rest, they want to give more. They should be appreciated daily, but sometimes it takes a conversation such as the one I had, or an annual holiday, to celebrate these treasured people.
With Mother’s Day near, let’s remember to honor the special women who have poured into our lives. I am thankful for the countless ways mothers care for their children, and grandchildren, and for their daily examples of unconditional love. May they see the result of every prayer that has been whispered over a cradle, or cried out in desperation. I’m also mindful of women whose hearts are full, yet their arms are empty. May God bless you with the precious gift of a child.
Now, back to my own mother. Thank you for continuing to be a shining example of a wife, mother, and grandmother. Your grandchildren may not need you as they once did, but their phone calls, invitations to lunch, and requests for cooking classes are proof that they still adore having you in their lives. And let me remind you and Dad that one of your great-grandsons will enter preschool this fall. Let the field trips begin!
Oh, and by the way, why did you just drop me off at the eye doctor? I had to call you to come and get me. You never would have done that to Victoria.
Ronny may be reached at