Showing posts from 2018

Dragons, Kings, Queens, & Horses

My kids and I play make believe often. We take turns being dragons and knights, princes and princesses, wizards and trolls, and kings and queens. In one of our recent playtimes they introduced a new character: a horse. I was sitting on my throne made of pillows in my castle made of cushions protected by walls formed from blankets when my kids collectively agreed, “Dad, you’re a horse.”  After a bit of arguing and negotiation it became clear that my short-lived reign was at an end. My new role was to crawl around my house on my hands and knees with a kid on my back while the two other kids shouted instructions from on high. My knees ached, my glasses got bent, my back was bruised, my shirt collar was stretched beyond repair and I loved every minute of it.  Regardless of our age, I think we all like to dream about being kings and queens. We seek autonomy and power. We long for the freedom to make our own choices, set our own schedules, and chart our own course. We want to sur


My children have entirely way too many books (and stuffed animals and toys and crayons and clothes). And so, recently in an effort to clean their rooms and teach them a lesson I challenged them to find all the books they weren’t going to read again and put them in a pile so we could donate them to kids who don’t have any. I explained to them that when you have a lot it’s always nice to help people who only have a little.  When I left the room I expected to return to a short pile of pathetic looking books – books without their covers and with pages torn out, drawn on, and dog-eared. I figured they’d each grab one or two of these old books, throw it in the pile and call it a day. I was amazed to discover the opposite. Not only did they create a large pile of books, but also their pile contained some of their best, newest and most favorite stories.  Then, I panicked a little bit.  I said to my daughters who are four and six years old, “Hey guys, good work here but are you sur


My children ask a lot of questions. A lot. They ask  why . They ask  where . They ask  who . They ask  when . They ask  how come . And more than anything else they like to ask:  What ?!  What?! What?! Their favorite time to ask questions is when we’re on the road. Trapped in their car seats, my kids immediately become little detectives. With nothing to do but think about and look out at the world around them they become exceedingly inquisitive. They ask both simple and existential questions. They inquire about the mundane and the magnificent. They ask questions that are fun to answer, difficult to respond to and – admittedly – tricky as all get out to address. In fact, more often than not, on the ride home from school I am stumped and tripped up by the questions of my four and six year old daughters.  I got to thinking about my kids and their questions when I read the gospel lesson assigned for Sunday. Jesus is on the road with his disciples and he’s prepping them for the thin

Words, Sticks, and Stones

My daughter came home from her first week of school chanting that phrase they taught us all as kids.  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!  And all I could think as I watched this innocent kid defiantly not giving other people the power to hurt her was:  yeah right . And I got sort of sad – for her, for me, for you, for us all – as I reflected on how hurtful some words can be.  See, sticks and stones my break my bones, but words… can harm a friendship. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can end a marriage. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can break our spirit. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words… can hurt forever. We tell our children that words will never hurt us, but that’s not true. Words have the power to hurt. Words can be wielded as weapons. Words can be put together in ways that break down and beat down. Bullies use words to degrade others. Politicians use words to slander others. Racists and sexis

Meat and Ketchup

“MEAT AND KETCHUP!” my two-year-old son John yelled at me when I entered the house.  His face and hands were covered in ketchup. His clothes were too. He had a baby ‘spork’ in his right hand and he couldn’t have been prouder of himself.  “Meat and ketchup,” I replied. “Yum.”  “NO!” he shouted back. “MEAT AND KETCHUP.”  “Yea, Johnny, I heard you,” I offered. “Meat and ketchup. Good boy.”  With his ketchup covered fingers he grabbed my hand and led me to the table. He pointed to his plate, dug the spork in and ate a mouthful of ketchup.  “I’m eating ketchup,” he said.  He sure was. It wasn’t meat and ketchup. He was eating ketchup. He shoveled spork-ful after spork-ful of ketchup into his mouth. When the spork wasn’t cutting it he literally licked the plate clean.  As I watched my son, I couldn’t help but wonder why a person would ever do such a thing. What kind of person just eats a plate of ketchup? There’s no point. It’s not filling. It’s not nutrition


As I read the story of Jesus’ Last Supper, betrayal, trial, persecution, suffering, and death last week, I couldn’t help but notice a few characters that escaped me before. You may be familiar with the main characters – Jesus and Judas, Peter and Pilate, the chief priests and the scribes – but did you know that in Mark’s gospel alone there are 7 bystanders who are complicit in the crucifixion of Christ?   These bystanders typically are spokespeople for the crowd. Though mere individuals, they speak for the masses. Through their inaction, they are witnesses to injustice. Through their questions, they fuel hatred. Through their comments, they demonstrate coldness and indifference.  While arguably not as evil as Judas the betrayer, Pilate who had Jesus flogged, or the soldiers who cast lots for Jesus’ robes, these characters are burdened with a more subtle form of sin – the sin of inaction and apathy.  My fear for God’s people today is that we have once again assumed the ro

Skating on Crutches

I have a confession to make. I can’t skate. Despite growing up in Western New York where playing hockey seems to be a childhood rite of passage and where backyard rinks still abound, I never learned to do it. And it was never an issue, until my girls received ice skates for Christmas. What you have to understand is that I have convinced my daughters that I can do everything and that I can fix anything. They believe in me and have never had to wonder why I couldn’t perform a task. I’ve been able to demonstrate and teach. I’ve led the way and helped them discover their talents and gifts. Until now. About a month ago we went to the ice rink in East Aurora. My plan was to offer to watch my son, John, while Kate blissfully skated around the rink with Molly and Delaney. Unfortunately, Kate said that two parents were required on the ice and brought me skates (fun fact: my wife doesn’t know I can’t skate). Once I put the skates on I could barely walk on the floor let a


I forgot to eat yesterday. I had meetings from 7AM through 9PM that night. Around dinner time I caught 45 minutes of free time and meant to grab a bite, but, like I said, I forgot.  And so, when I arrived at home at 9:30 that evening, I was cranky.  My wife wanted to talk about her day. I shrugged her off.  My older daughter used every delay tactic she knows so she could see me before going to bed so she was still up and wanted a story. Standing at her door, I quickly scrambled through a lame-duck narrative. Once upon a time there was a girl named Molly. She was tired. So was her dad. So she went to bed. And they all lived happily ever after. Good night.    When I crashed on the couch, my wife sat next to me. She wanted a conversation with an adult for the first time all day. I obliged by replying “yea” and “nah” to her questions – too tired to even put an “s” at the end of a one syllable word.  “Thanks for the riveting conversation, Scott.” “What?” I replied. “Exactly