Monday, July 25, 2011

Tools for the Trade

When I was 19 years old and a student in Acting School, I worked with my Dad, who was a carpenter by trade, on a building project. On weekends he was repairing and rebuilding a fire damaged duplex he owned. He would pay me (more generously than I deserved) to pound nails and spread stucco. It was during that time that my Dad taught me how to use a hammer correctly. I had used a hammer many times before, but it was then that I learned to hold it in a manner that the hammer would do the work--and not my arm.
As a wedding gift my Dad gave me a tool kit made up of a hammer, tape measure, a level, a wrench and other handy gadgets--all with traces of the color pink. I guess he knew that in my new home I would need tools, and that I would no longer have the unlimited resources of the garage of a Licensed Contractor. 

Tools for the trade. Not the blueprints. And not the finished product. Simply the tools to get me to where I was going. 

Today, our lives and the lives of our children have been inundated with new tools--media tools. Everywhere we look we see the big blue f, we catch a glimpse of a blue bird as she goes twittering by, and we are encouraged to "get an app for that". Each generation has a new frontier to navigate--and this land of technology and social media seems to be theirs. And so, the way that I parent has had to find ways to incorporate that which they are drawn to, that which is just a normal part of their lives, into the things I want them to discover about themselves and the call that God has on their lives. 

In my church's worship service this week, our Pastor shared a quote from Dr. W Edward Deming, from a time Deming was speaking to top management leaders in Japan during the 1950's--he was encouraging them on how to improve design, product quality and testing. At one point in the lengthy quote, Deming says, "Improve something every single day!" And when I heard that, I was reminded of my children and the goals they are trying to achieve in their own lives. And the strides that I want to see them make in achieving their goals. 

We are called to use this tool of media to get our children to stretch and strain--to grow little by little. By doing this, the tools REMAIN tools and the children become better equipped to use them correctly

Last night, my married daughter and I were discussing her starting a blog. Well, actually, I was telling her that I thought she should. She just got a fabulous camera and I have some great photo editing tools. I know how much blogging has inspired me, and I would love to see that creativity EXPLODE from inside of her. I would love to see her develop an interest she has into a creative passion that the Lord can use in exciting ways. How do I know the passion will explode? 

I guess I don't. But, I still need to hand her the hammer and show her how to use it. And if the blog is the tool--then great! We are already a bit of a blogging family. And I encourage it all.
My older son has one blog called Sill on Life, where he shares his thoughts and sometimes writes poetry. He has another blog titled Sill on Film --where he sometimes reviews movies. It doesn't define him, but it is there for him when he wants to express.

My youngest child, also a son, has three blogs. He has one, that he writes on most frequently called Curiously Bizarre--where he practices his writing skills with both fiction and non-fiction. And he has two fiction sites--one is the story of a Superhero, Knight Phoenix, that my son created in Elementary school. The blog is titled, Angel of Fire and the other is the journey of the Biblical characters David and Saul, in a turn of the century American Western setting--called The Chronicles of Samuel. You can visit them if you are so inclined. Honestly, it doesn't matter to me if you do or you don't. Whether people read what my sons are writing or not doesn't matter, what matters to me is that they are using their gifts. 
Through the time that we have been "playing" with our blogs, I have watched as my sons have been discovering new passions. Passion for poetry, passion for expression, passion for writing. Through these passions their lives will unfold as they discover ways to use their gifts to serve the Lord and further his kingdom.

So, as I hammer away at these keys on my keyboard I ask my Heavenly Father each day, "Am I doing it right?" And, in the times that I feel His encouragement, I do all that I can to pass that along to my children--no matter how old.

"Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, 
and my fingers for battle" 
Psalm 144:1