[Portions reprinted from Gentle Discipline: Tips, Tools, and Techniques by L.R.Knost available November 2013; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost now available on Amazon.]
“Although the evidence against spanking is in the form of correlations (not direct causal proof), the effect is more robust than for the correlations that have served as the basis for other public health interventions, such as secondhand smoke and cancer, exposure to lead and IQ scores in children, and exposure to asbestos and laryngeal cancer.” (Scientific America)
Yes, you read that right. There is less evidence linking secondhand smoke to cancer, lead exposure to developmental delays in children, and asbestos to cancer than there is of the short and long-term detrimental effects of spanking. Study after study has confirmed that spanking (not just physical abuse, but any physical act of correction-smacking, hitting, swatting, slapping, paddling, switching, etc.) is directly linked to greater aggression and other behavioral issues, impaired cognitive development, and increased risk of depression and anxiety in childhood as well as long-term mental issues in adulthood. (See research here) And yet the American public is still reluctant to dismiss the physical punishment of children as an option for parents and school systems.
It is not unusual for public opinion to evolve slowly. Until recent years husbands hitting their spouses in the US was considered “reasonable chastisement of wives” and “a private family matter” by the courts and by law enforcement even though it has technically been against the law in all fifty states for decades. Now domestic violence in the US is viewed with outrage and abusers with disdain.
While the tide is ever-so-slowly turning regarding public opinion of the physical punishment of children, in excess of 80% of Americans still believe spanking is a necessary part of raising a child according to a survey cited by a UN report. And in the 19 US states where corporal punishment is still legal in the public school system, wooden paddles are used on children as young as preschool, and parents’ permission and/or notification is not even required. By contrast, in every branch of the US military and in the US penal system, physical punishment has long been outlawed as it was deemed ‘cruel and unusual’ and a ’use of excessive force.’
Clearly there is a disconnect when it comes to physical punishment of the most vulnerable and defenseless of our citizens, our children. Even in the face of study after study detailing the detrimental effects of physical punishment on young children, more than 90% of American parents still admit to spanking their toddlers and preschoolers. The responses to a recently released study linking a significantly increased risk of mental illness in adulthood to being spanked as a child point to some possible reasons for that dichotomy:
- ”I was spanked, and I turned out okay.” Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, but why take the risk?
- “I don’t want to raise a rotten brat!” Studies link spanking to increased aggression and other behavioral issues, not decreased.
- “I spank my kids because the Bible commands me to.” Spanking is not one of the Ten Commandments. (See here)
- “They’re my kids, and nobody has the right to tell me how to raise them!” Our laws are civil agreements as to what is and is not acceptable in our society. We once agreed that slavery was acceptable. Now we know better, and our laws reflect that. As research continues to reveal the detrimental effects of spanking, public opinion will begin to shift and our laws will naturally follow suit. It is the way of a democratic society.
- ”Nothing else works!” Thoughtful, proactive parenting works. Here are some positive parenting ideas to try.
There is no doubt that the vast majority of parents not only deeply love their children, but are also making the best parenting decisions they know how to with the information and experiences they have to work with. That is why it is vital that the discussion and flow of information remain open and civil when it comes to spanking. Change does not come easily, but to happen at all it must have an atmosphere of honest, open communication in which to blossom.
Life with kids is messy. Just ask God. He’s got a whole planet of them, and the scrapes they get themselves into are the stuff of legends, literally! Luckily for us, He’s the best. parent. ever.
That’s one of the things I like best about Easter, celebrating the Original Gentle Parent, the Author of Intentional Parenting, Unconditional Love in Person, and I love sharing and implementing what I learn from His example.
I had a perfect opportunity to implement some of that gentle, intentional, unconditional parenting last night when I headed into the kitchen to color Easter eggs with a clingy, tired baby on one hip and an over-excited six-year-old dancing around my legs, only to find a tidal wave of sudsy bubbles exploding from every crevice of my dishwasher and covering my newly cleaned floor. My Renaissance Girl had used dishwashING liquid instead of dishwashER liquid…sigh.
Now, just to set the stage, we have a home church and, in anticipation of the extra family and friends we were expecting for the Easter service, I had spent the entire day cleaning and scrubbing and organizing and still had more cleaning and setting up to do as well as coloring eggs and settling little ones in bed for the night before filling Easter baskets.
So I stood there, staring at the billowing disaster and adding a slew of new tasks to my already too-long list, and winged a quick prayer up to my Role Model. Then I threw down a towel levee, plopped my little people down for a good old bubble romp, and grabbed my camera. Disaster-misaster, what we had was a fun Easter memory in the making!
That Old Rugged Cross on a lonely hill is a testimony to triumph…life conquering death, good conquering evil, hope conquering fear…justice served and grace given. And that Empty Tomb we celebrate isn’t about death. It’s about life…messy, muddled, mysterious, mistake-ridden life, the kind we live every day…even Easter!
An aged beauty tips her face up, and her elderly companion leans down out of life-long habit to catch her soft voice. His old eyes see past the ever-deepening lines to the vision of youth he married decades earlier. His hands reach out to steady her fragile, but oh-so-familiar frame, and she smiles the same smile he’s woken up to and kissed goodnight his entire adult life. Theirs is an old love, subtle with wear, ripe with age, its rich beauty lost to those without the palate to plumb its boundless depths or the senses to delight in its warm bouquet. They are a living love story, two hearts time-stitched into one, beautiful old souls stepping in tandem toward eternity.
Truly, love does have many seasons and faces, each revealing its own power, its own purpose…
Young love shouts from the rooftops and expresses itself in passionate displays. Its flames are brilliant, stoked with newness and fueled with idealism, but at times it burns itself out with its own heat or through lack of care and tending.
Old love whispers quietly, “I’m here. No matter what, I’m always here.” It is a silent glance, a hand clasp, a timeless commitment.
Young love, blind to the rich time-tested tapestry, deaf to the wealth of meaning in quiet companionship, lost to the supple oneness of hearts in accord, often looks at old love and calls it dead.
Old love sometimes looks at young love and smiles with fond remembrance, but ofttimes shakes its head and declares it foolish.
Each has a place in the world, a purpose, a time, and a season.
And then there are the other faces of love…
The exhausted young mother tenderly cradling a brand new life in the early morning hours. The middle-aged man getting up at four o’clock in the morning for another backbreaking day of work to support his family. The teacher spending her meager pay to make sure her students have pencils. The pastor visiting a convicted felon just to play a game of cards. The teenager stopping to help a stranger push their stalled car to the side of the road…
Each speaks love in a different language, but the message is the same…love is alive.
There is another Love, a living, breathing, timeless, endless, lavish, inconceivable, unconditional, sacrificial, unlikely Love. His Name is Love because He is Love. He and I have an old love, a stalwart and enduring love, a time-tested, unraveled and rewoven, wounded and healed, shattered and renewed love.
In the beginning, when I was newly in love with my Love, His passion fueled mine and I was consumed. I flared white-hot and brandished His Name like a sword, intent on conquering the world all on my own and presenting it as a treasure to my Love. I scorned the quiet love of my elders as a burned-out relic, not fit for my King.
Then time passed and life happened. My Love clung to me fiercely through the storms, even as my own grasp weakened and slipped. My Love held me close in the dark and never let go even when I kicked and flailed and railed at Him because I couldn’t see Him through my tears.
And my young love grew into an old love, deep and rich and still. Our old love is a stunning tapestry of life and loss, triumph and tragedy, joy and heartache, woven from the tattered and torn remnants of our young love.
Now, in place of conquering the world, I let Him love the world through me. Instead of proselytizing, evangelizing, and sermonizing for my King, I let His love permeate all I do like the subtle fragrance of rain as it washes clean the earth. Rather than feverishly working to present My Love a treasure, I bask in His presence knowing I am His treasure.
And our beautiful old souls step lightly toward eternity…
To Everything…Turn, Turn, Turn
There is a season…Turn, Turn, Turn
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep
To Everything…Turn, Turn, Turn
There is a season…Turn, Turn, Turn
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To Everything…Turn, Turn, Turn
There is a season…Turn, Turn, Turn
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing
There is a season…Turn, Turn, Turn
And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late
St.Nicholas was just a man, but he was a man with a mission. Born in the third century, he grew up to be an intensely kind-hearted man who was especially devoted to children’s issues and helping the poor. He was a Greek Bishop who defied the established Church in order to go out among the ‘unwashed masses’ and live his life as the ‘heart and hands of Jesus.’ While many miracles and legends about him evolved through the centuries, his penchant for leaving secret gifts is the one that captured the hearts and imaginations of people world-wide, leading to the present-day legend of Santa Claus.
I, like many new parents, struggled with the idea of perpetuating a ‘false belief’ and thus undermining my children’s trust. But then I turned to the Bible and saw how Jesus, who spoke absolute truth always, often spoke that truth in stories. He knew something about people’s hearts that I needed to learn as a young parent. He knew that the human mind is logic, analysis, reason, and that the human heart is imagination, creativity, love. He knew that sometimes you have to bypass people’s minds and speak straight to their hearts, those well-springs of wonder, for true understanding to occur and that often the deepest truths are the ones that are too big for the human mind to receive and can only be grasped by the heart.
When it comes to the breathtaking gift of the Christ-Child, the Eternal Creator born of a woman, God Himself wrapped in swaddling clothes, the I AM in a manger, what better way to share such an absurd and immense truth than Jesus’ way…with a story? How else would my little ones be able to grasp the concept of such a gift? How would they embrace the wonder? How could I possibly break down the impossible into a pedantic lecture? Would the improbable make more sense in a dissertation?
And so I chose the way of the parable. I embraced Christmas in all its glory, decorated and baked and showered my little ones with gifts, all while sharing the story of the birth of a Baby. Woven through every event, every tradition, every memorable moment of our family’s Christmas, is the celebration of the wondrous gift of a Savior. We watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and all the other fun Christmas shows together. We read bedtime stories about Christmas elves and magical toys and talking animals. And when my children ask me if Santa really exists, I tell them yes, because it’s true. Every parent who carries on St. Nicholas’ tradition of leaving secret gifts, of being the heart and hands of Jesus, of sharing the wonder, excitement, and glory of the most extraordinary Gift ever given to mankind, every one of us is Santa Claus.
I believe in Santa Claus because I am Santa Claus…and you are, too!
Note: I don’t ever use Santa Claus as a threat (i.e. “I’m calling Santa right now if you don’t…” or “Santa’s watching, and you won’t get any presents for Christmas if…”) first because a parable’s purpose is to teach, not to manipulate or control, and second because what I am teaching is the wonder and miracle of receiving a free gift, one that can’t be earned because it is freely given! Manipulating my children into ‘performing’ might work temporarily, but am I really trying to raise works-driven Christians, or am I trying to teach my little people about the incredible gift of grace?
Here are some of the ways we focus on Jesus for Christmas:
Children learn best and most happily through play, so letting my little people ‘play Santa’ (i.e. wrapping up their toys and ’surprising’ each other, making ornaments and delivering them to a nursing home, shopping at the dollar store for Operation Christmas Child, etc.) is a very important part of our Christmas traditions. And the best part is…they’re playing Santa for Jesus!
Leading up to Christmas, we marvel about how Jesus loves us so much He wants us to get presents on His birthday (truly awe-inspiring to children and a lesson in sacrificial giving!) because all He wants for His birthday are smiles and happy hearts.
Then we brainstorm ways to give Jesus as many ‘birthday presents’ as possible (a lesson on generosity). We work together to share Christmas cheer with everyone we meet, but focus our best efforts on the grumpiest people because they don’t smile as often and so their smiles make really special gifts for Jesus (a lesson on unconditional love!).
We have a 12 Days of Christmas tradition where everyone gets a small present (chocolate, a special pencil, etc), and we read Christmas picturebooks every evening, building excitement for the Christmas morning celebration of the BEST GIFT EVER!
On Christmas Eve, we go to a special church service and then, after celebrating Christmas with family, we go home and make a fire in the fireplace (in Florida weather!) and make s’mores and hot chocolate and read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke.
Then, on Christmas morning, we have a ‘Happy Birthday, Jesus’ party before opening presents, complete with a birthday cake and candles and singing ‘Happy birthday to Jesus!’
Here are some other resources on making the true meaning of Christmas central to your celebrations this year (I’ll be adding more as I find them!):
What traditions does your family have to keep Christ in Christmas? Share them in the comment section!
[Reprinted from Gentle Parenting: A Christian Perspective due to be released in 2014; Two Thousand Kisses a Day: Gentle Parenting Through the Ages and Stages by L.R.Knost now available on Amazon]
Throughout the Old Testament, He spoke through prophets, dreams, angels, and even a bush! He revealed His character in His commandments and in the Names He called Himself and in His interactions with that lovely, stubborn, chosen nation, Israel.
And, finally, in the New Testament, He just stuck His feet right in the dirt and somehow stuffed His infinite Being into the skin of a human.
GOD. With. Us!
Why in Heaven’s Name would He do that? Well, that’s been the subject of dusty tomes and esoteric debates for centuries, but in truth the answer is very simple: God is a Father, a Daddy who wants to connect with and build a relationship with His children.
In the Old Testament God revealed Himself as a Father who is Creator, Provider, and Protector. He showed Himself to be an involved Father, interested in every detail of His children’s lives, from what they ate to how and where and when they worshiped Him. And He revealed His purity, His incomprehensible Holiness that kept His beloved children hopelessly separated from Him and helpless to change that fact. All the rules for cleansing, all the rituals, and all the formulas, only served to highlight the pitiful fallen state of God’s beloved children.
And that ritualistic, external, temporal cleansing? It became internal and eternal.
Stones once thrown in righteous judgment were laid down in humble mercy. Punishment was replaced with grace as Righteousness Himself stood between sinful man and his dire fate.
And so we have Jesus, God Himself with us in the flesh, God’s heart in a very literal sense laid bare for all the world to see, the perfect Parent to model ourselves after.
We have the Father…not a father, but THE Father…to look to for guidance on how to parent our children.
So, let’s get practical. What does God’s parenting look like, and how can we model ourselves after Him?
Well, Jesus raised twelve children, so let’s take a look at how He did it!
Twelve of God’s children, all with different personalities, backgrounds, and talents, became Jesus’ disciples. The word disciple is the root word in discipline, so to discipline our children means to disciple them.
What characteristics defined Jesus’ discipleship? In other words, how did He treat His disciples? Was He harsh? Did He yell? Did He punish them? Clearly, He had the authority to. But since He came to take our punishment, it really wouldn’t make sense for Him to start meting it out, would it?
Was He distant, unresponsive to their needs? Did He make demands, insist on instant obedience, and toss around kingly commands?
No, no, no, and no! Jesus treated His disciples gently, tenderly. He listened. He responded to their needs, answered their questions, spoke their language. Jesus encouraged and guided and taught His disciples.
He drew them close to Himself, lived with them, ate with them, traveled with them. Jesus didn’t just say He loved His disciples. He didn’t simply feel love for His disciples. Jesus lived love for His disciples. And He lived that love daily, mercifully, sacrificially.
So, what are the characteristics that defined Jesus’ discipleship?
Gentle. Tender. Responsive. Available.
Listening. Encouraging. Teaching. Guiding.
God, Himself, intimately and empathetically connecting with His children.
That is perfect parenting.
I, however, am NOT a perfect parent. In the time it’s taken me to write this so far, I’ve failed at pretty much every single one of those perfect parenting qualities. I only say that to point out that we aren’t shooting for perfection here.
If perfection were possible, the Cross wouldn’t have been necessary.
I have failed and will fail again as a parent. But even my failures have great value because they lead me back to the Cross, time and time again.
My failures remind me to turn to my perfect Parent, God, and trust Him with my children. And my failures offer me the opportunity to be transparent with my children, to ask for forgiveness, to show them it’s okay to be human and make mistakes.
In short, my imperfections are perfect for demonstrating God’s unconditional love. I call this particular parenting ‘technique,’ for want of better wording, “If you mess up, ‘fess up!”
So, what are some ways we can reflect Christ-like qualities in our never-perfect-but-best-effort parenting?
1.) Build your relationship. Everything, absolutely everything in raising children, is dependent upon a secure parent/child relationship, and the foundation is trust. We talk all the time in Christian circles about needing to trust God more. Why? What’s so important about trust? Trust is the secure knowledge that we will be cared for, that the person we are dependant on is who they say they are and will do what they say they will do. Without trust, there is no relationship. You build trust in your children starting from day one by responding faithfully and quickly to their needs, day or night, even if their ‘need’ is simply reassurance that you’re there.
2.) Be there in the moment. This isn’t about quality time or quantity time. This is about actually being with your children when you’re with them. I’m talking about muting the television and making sustained eye contact all the way through the story of how they had the piece of string first and how it was taken by a sibling when they only set it down for a minute and…well, you get the picture. Jesus showed He cared by listening and responding to what was important and relevant to His children.
3.) Encourage, don’t discourage. Jesus built up His disciples, giving positive directions, allowing time and opportunity for them to try, helping when they needed it, and forgiving them when they failed. Never, not once, did He lash out at His disciples in anger. He taught them gently and encouragingly, often in stories that related to their daily lives, and He was always available to discuss or clarify or answer questions.
4.) Practice what you preach. This is foundational, right along with trust. If you don’t live out how you want your children to turn out, you can be pretty much guaranteed they’ll go an entirely different way! Listen to your children if you want them to learn to listen. Respect your children if you want them to learn respect. Model compassion, kindness, honesty, forgiveness, and a grateful spirit if you want your children to grow into adults with those character traits. Jesus lived out every one of those qualities for His children!
5.) Don’t make excuses. If you fail (and you will) apologize! Nothing penetrates hurt more deeply and with more healing power than an honest, open apology.
6.) Give grace. The unconditional love of God is beyond human comprehension. Even ‘veteran’ Christians resort to trying to earn God’s grace when they’ve already been given it freely. We all fall into that trap, time and again, because we just can’t wrap our little human brains around something as awesomely simple as unconditional love. We think it MUST be more complicated, and we end up complicating it by trying to pay for something that is free! So help your children while they’re looking to you, their earthly parent, for an example of how their Heavenly Parent operates. Give them grace. Guide them gently. Forgive them when they fall, and get down on their level to help them back up again.
7.) Enjoy your blessings. Your children are a reward, a blessing, a gift straight from the heart of your Father to you, His precious child. He wants you to feel what He feels, to experience Him through your children. He wants you to delight in your children so you’ll understand how He delights in you. He wants you to feel the depth of concern He feels when you stray into danger, the heights of joy He feels when you run trustingly into His arms, the pangs of compassion He feels when you are hurting or scared. Take the time to enjoy your children, and you will find yourself closer to the heart of your Father than you can possibly imagine!
The world never knew you, but I held you under my heart as long as I could, treasured every kick knowing that was all of your life on earth I would experience, and delivered you into my arms for a moment, into God’s arms for eternity~L.R.Knost
~~~When God says ‘No’ ~~~
I started this with the intention of updating ‘The List’ (below) from my miscarriage/stillbirth blog, which I was able to do, and then I was going to talk about the times God has said ‘No’ to me, the miscarriages, the stillbirth…but I can’t. I can’t go there right now. It’s still too fresh.
So, here, instead is this beautiful memorial butterfly, created by I Am A Mother To An Angel in memory of my stillborn son, Sammy. It links to my miscarriage/stillbirth blog. You can click on it and read about my journey through many, many losses. ‘The List’ is a part of my journey.
I have a list of people I pray for every day, children, adults, even several babies, and they are all fighting for their lives. Some of them, a precious five year old little girl, a sweet mom with breast cancer, an infant with spinal cancer, and another baby with a rare brain disorder, lost their fight for life. My heart is broken for their hurting families. I can’t imagine what they must be going through. I don’t even want to try. Others are just starting their fight, like a seventeen-year-old boy, seemingly healthy and strong, who just went in one week for a routine sport’s physical…a mass was found…brain surgery followed quickly…pathology reports came back…cancer. Another is a friend waiting for a kidney transplant. And then there are is the newborn baby boy born with half a heart, the one-year-old who recently had a liver transplant, the four-year-old boy whose body is riddled with tumors, and so, so many more. My thoughts, prayers, and hopes are never far from these small people and their heroic families.
For my part, the struggles and losses these families are enduring press themselves deeply into my soul. I am in a constant battle with fear. I am all too familiar with how fragile life is and how suddenly life can change. I am filled with joy at the blessings God has given me, but my joy is often stolen by fear. My heart waits for the next bad thing to happen, always secretly wondering what will be taken from me next. I know God doesn’t want me to live that way. In First John 4:18 God says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Since God Himself is ‘Perfect Love’ He is saying that trusting Him is the key to overcoming fear. I know in my head that this is true, but it is my heart that keeps me awake in the darkness, locked in a battle with fear. God gives, and God does take away. I need to be at peace with that, trusting my Father’s perfect will. But I am afraid. I am so afraid.
I wish God never said ‘No’ when the whispered prayers of scared Mommies and Daddies reached His ears, when a child’s desperate prayers for a sick parent are sobbed in the night, when hearts and voices storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of a beloved friend. But He does say ‘No,’ and His ‘No’ is the right answer, even though I’ll never understand it this side of Heaven. I wish I could understand, though. I wish I could sit and talk and reason with God…but that is prayer, and so I will sit, and I will talk, and I will reason…and I will learn to trust. I will battle the fear and withstand the pain and cling to the Cross in the storm. And I will learn to trust. Or maybe I won’t, not fully. Maybe that is faith, not really trusting, not fully, because the heart is human, after all. Maybe faith is choosing to wait, to hold on, to struggle, never fully trusting, but always believing and always remembering that God even said ‘No’ to His own Son in the Garden of Gethsemane…and He did it for me.
I am thankful for my big, happy family!
“A happy family is but an earlier heaven”~ George Bernard Shaw
I am thankful for hardship.
Life is hard. That’s an intrinsic part of its breathless beauty. What joy would there be in a rollercoaster with no steep climb? What triumph in a race with no competition? What accomplishment in an endeavor with no risk? What motivation in a life with no death? I don’t speak lightly of hardship. Hardship involves suffering, and I have suffered more than I am willing to share. But I choose to embrace the beauty, to rise to the challenge, to submit to the fire…because that is where life in all of its rich, messy, glorious fullness is found.
I’m thankful for unique learners!
My SPD/SLD/ADD (Sensory Processing Disorder, Specific Learning Disability-Dyslexia, Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders, Attention Deficit Disorder, etc) sweetie, aka Renaissance Girl, has raised the bar on my homeschooling skills more times than I can count. Her beautiful mind sees the world through a unique lens similar to those of historical icons such as Thomas Edison, Leonardo Da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Albert Einstein. While academics have been a huge challenge for her, the artistic and musical gifts she’s been given are incredible, and her gentle, sensitive soul is a rare and precious treasure. Many years of therapy have yielded the ability to read, and she’s like a butterfly newly emerged from her cocoon. Jane Eyre, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables, all have sent her beautiful mind soaring to different times and places, and all have become intimate, lifelong friends with my sweet girl. I am so blessed to be entrusted with such a unique child to guide and grow and love!
One of my girl’s drawings!
Einstein recognized his unique lens and often commented about it and about how organized education systems didn’t accommodate individuality and creativity. Here is a look into this ‘unique learner’s’ mind in his own words:
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. Albert Einstein
A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex… It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. (One of my favorite Einstein quotes, lol!)
Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler.
Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.
Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts.
God always takes the simplest way.
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.
I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.
I used to go away for weeks in a state of confusion.
I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details.
If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
Information is not knowledge.
Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
Perfection of means and confusion of ends seem to characterize our age.
Pure mathematics is, in its way, the poetry of logical ideas.
Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge.
The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
The only real valuable thing is intuition.
The only source of knowledge is experience.
The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.
The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.
The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.
The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.
The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.
There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
There is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance.
To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.
Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.
We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.
Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.
When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.
When the solution is simple, God is answering.
Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Love is a better teacher than duty.
Most people say that is it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: it is character.
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
Never lose a holy curiosity.
A Colorless World
I grew up in a primarily black neighborhood in the 1970’s, a little white girl with mostly Black, Filipino, and Hispanic friends…a little white girl whose favorite babysitter was a black teenager named Cassandra…a little white girl who carefully tossed rose petals one by one down the aisle as the flower girl in a biracial wedding…a little white girl who never even knew racism existed until she became a teenager and found her friends divided, angry, mistrusting, no longer friends, now just ‘us’ and ‘them.’ I didn’t grow up color-blind, seeing only ugly shades of grey. I saw and understood and appreciated the different colors and backgrounds and cultures in my poor socioeconomic, but richly diverse neighborhood. I never felt the need to change to be like them or to change them to be like me. We all went to the same school, worshipped at the same church, played in the same streets, shopped at the same stores, but that was where the sameness ended. The unique flavor of each family filled their homes with tastes and colors and sounds my child’s heart delighted in, never knowing what exotic new treat my babysitter would produce or what dazzling hue would grace the hat on my neighbor’s head, and never, ever, knowing what in the world my Filipino friend’s sweet grandma was saying, bless her heart! And now, in a world where color-blindness is the supposed path to peace and gender-blindness the new chant of tolerance, my adult heart aches, wondering when we lost the wonder and the beauty of difference, why we reject who and what we were created to be instead of embracing and celebrating our uniqueness, and how we can “become like little children” again. God has created an amazing array of beautiful masterpieces splashed across the earth in a stunning mosaic. What tragedy if we reduce His majestic display to a series of canvases turned to the wall in uniform rows of monotony!
~I am thankful for babies!~
“Every child begins the world again.”~Thoreau
“Babies are such a nice way to start people.”~Herrold
“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.”~Vincent van Gogh
“A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men.”~Martin Fraquhar Tupper
“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.”~Author Unknown
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”~Elizabeth Stone
“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
~I am thankful for this man~
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.
A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.
Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.
The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”
With the possible exception of the equator, everything begins somewhere.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.
Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.
I gave in, and admitted that God was God.
What we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument.
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
When it comes down to it, gratitude is all about attitude!
I can moan about being overwhelmed with life, or I can be overwhelmed with joy by life’s blessings.
I can complain about all the extra work that comes with a new school year, or I can happily embrace a new beginning.
I can waste time longing for my youth, or I can gasp at the youthful beauty of my most precious gifts.
I can wish for riches, or I can revel in richness.
I can worry about the future, or I can trust Who holds the future.
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.