Faith, Photography & Photoshop

Drop By Drop

Day by day, drop by drop, the world seeps in and crowds us out.

His daddy and I are in a race against the clock to lay a firm and level foundation that will last him a lifetime and withstand any storm.


Because already, there is a storm gathering in the distance.

We see it. We hear it. We know it is coming.

He’s interacting with the world more and more these days, independent of us.

He’s already heard the most corrupting lie ever told:  Everybody does it.

We try to teach him to stand apart with confidence, to not be Everybody.

We try to teach him that it’s better to be wise than smart.

We try to teach him that it’s better to be kind than accepted.

We try to teach him that good choices lead to goodness.

And every day that passes is one less day we have to  shore up the foundation of his life.

Our prayer for him is not wealth, health and happiness.

Our prayer for him is that goodness and mercy follow him all the days of his life.

51 thoughts on “Drop By Drop

  1. If your child has started walking, the storm is already on the horizon. It’s not too soon to start laying a firm foundation. I know that sounds crazy, but its true.

  2. How blessed your son is with wise parents. I am more aware than ever these days of how the world bends us as we grow. So many things I would have done differently as a parent, and now do differently as a grandparent.


  3. No kidding. Preach it!

    It took me years to really get that “better to be wise than smart” thing. I was an intellectually gifted kid, and it came with pretty rotten consequences for my character– I was lauded, awarded and told I was so special for accomplishing with zero effort what many other people struggled for. I had a nasty sense of entitlement and no work ethic. I had to go through some pretty rough years of experiencing consequences before I finally got that I should have been seeking wisdom rather than being smug and taking for granted what was basically an accident of birth, a gift that I had nothing to merit or earn.

    Now that my own little people are showing signs of being smarties, we are being very careful to cultivate their gifts as best we can while always emphasizing that it is more important to be good than smart.

    Whew! I didn’t mean to write my own little blog post there. Guess you touched a nerve.

  4. You are doing a wonderful job as parents. We need a few million more parents like you two. 😉

  5. Uh-huh.
    Thanks for the reminder. Sometimes I panic when I think about Kindergarden in the fall, wondering if he knows enough stuff. Thanks for reminding me what I really should be focusing on. Does he know the RIGHT stuff?

    * * *
    Even in pre-K he started coming home with stuff that doesn’t reflect our family or world view. More or less benign stuff, but still — not good, lovely, noble and all that. And he’s at a good school with good families. I guess I thought that insulated us a bit more and gave us more time. I was wrong. It doesn’t.

    The world seeps in drop by drop and you don’t notice it. I think as a parent you have to be diligent and make the decision to begin establishing that firm foundation almost from the day they are born. ~AM

  6. May it be so, dear Lord. May it be so.
    May he not look to the left or the right, and keep his feet from evil. May he not be conformed to this world, but may he be transformed by the renewing of his mind, proving the will of God, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray. AMEN

    There is a great book by Dr. James Dobson, “Bringing Up Boys” that may be a good resource.

    Blessings and wisdom,


  7. I understand what Curtiss Ann is saying. Somehow I find it easier to be firm with the grandchildren and really talk about values with them than I did my own children….why is that? Grateful to God for His grace is giving me the time to spend with the grandchildren.

  8. You’re absolutely right. As parents all we can do is prepare them as best we can, and pray for them as they are slowly but surely launched out into the world.

    Of course, when they hand you “everybody does it,” it’s your job to spit back the line “if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”

  9. I know that it’s hard to always live up to our own ideals as parents, but to have such ideals so firmly fixed offers great hope that you will raise a person of character, a gentle man of great strength. I would love to know Sean when he is grown!

  10. At the end of a year in kindergarten — which in NYC goes from 8:15 to 3:10 every day — my son has picked up some things I wish he hadn’t. (The allure of Stuff is constant!) On the other hand, he’s also learning to stand up for what’s important to him, which usually coincides with the values his Dad and I have taught him, and continue to teach him. Among other things, we’ve tried to teach him to be a leader in doing what he feels is right, rather than being a follower when other children are misbehaving. I think finding out how to make your own path in the world is something valuable to learn early, and keep practicing while parents are still permitted to help. As a college professor, I see too many students whose lives have been very insulated — until the moment they step into a college dorm room, lacking skills to sort out what they think is right from what the crowd is doing.

    * * * *
    I hear what you are saying and agree.

    We certainly don’t want to “insulate” him into adulthood because what a disservice that would be. Our “plan” is to inoculate him rather than isolate him. Having said that, he’s only five and in our judgment, he needs to a little bit of insulation at this point. Hopefully it will become clear to us and we’ll have eyes to see when it’s time to peel back a protective layer.

    In my view, in some ways, kids are growing up entirely too fast these days because they are exposed to too much (sex, violence, television, vile music). In other ways, they are delaying childhood or not growing up at all because they are not exposed to enough (responsibility, work, sacrifice).

    I am old and I’m old-fashioned too I suppose. ~AM

  11. It’s so hard when they start school. Especially riding the bus with 6th graders and learning not so nice new words.
    What was most upsetting was the entire school and staff in support of a particular political candidate this election year, and trying to explain why our family is of the other choice. Yes, pressure on a 1st grader, how dare they!

    School…they are a hard bunch to fight.

  12. I agree with you that kids grow up too fast, and there’s a whole lot I’m trying to insulate my kid, also five, from! (We don’t have television in our house, for instance.) When I re-read my post, I realized there’s a lot I couldn’t say in a few hundred words, and it was already getting kind of long…. I’m another old mom with old-fashioned values frequently at odds with the larger culture.

    * * *

    I wish I had the guts to get rid of our television, but God help me I love the Food Network. ~AM 🙂

  13. I agree with you so much. Susannah comes home quite often and we say to ourselves, “Where did she learn that?” and have to correct her on the facts! 🙂 You two are doing a wonderful job with the sweetest little boy that I have met in that little bible class. REALLY. I see it everytime that I walk by and say hello to him. Keep it up…you are doing the right things! Susannah will miss him.

  14. Wow! God is using you in my life this week. Both posts have been exactly what I needed in regard to things we are dealing with in our young children. Thank you for your clarity. Your prayer is my prayer and also that God will give me strength, wisdom to live a life worth imitating for my children to see.

  15. Yes yes yes to all you say.

    I have a middle schooler, an elementary schooler, and a preschooler. In a way, this whole thing gets harder the older they grow, which is what you’d probably expect me to say. But in another way, I think I’ve learnt that it’s ok, that I can trust my kids to find their own way through. Even if they sometimes do it differently to how I would like.

    I so agree with your comment about growing up too fast and too slow.

  16. Upon reflection, I think it’s also important to remember that “the world” isn’t the source of corruption; we are already born with it in our own desperately wicked hearts. Honestly, most days I’m more worried about what I might be doing to them than any outside cultural forces.

    * * *

    Like you, I know that what I model for him is not always ideal, but I really really would like to believe it is not worse that what he can find in the world — which se*ualizes children, disavows respect and sacrifice for others and no longer blinks at vulgar language.

    Having said that I’m not sure that I’m so much “worried” as I feel the onus to daily be diligent in anchoring him in the bedrock of faith that will allow him to navigate the world as is, while not compromising who he is.

    I don’t know. Thinking out loud. I love your perspective. ~AM

  17. My advice would be to take him out of public school. (Do you even have him in public school?) He will be exposed to so much there, it’s frightening. Myself, I would not put a child in public school these days. Scary. Private school or home school.

    * * *
    He IS in private school. I think private school is only about one step above public school in terms of worldliness.

  18. When we were raising our boys, we called it “swimming upstream” & we did it all the time. Truthfully, most distressing to us was when we found it necessary to swim upstream against the norm found in the “good families”, the ones we trusted to be supports in our child-rearing system, the ones who opposed the same bad storms out there that we did.

    e.g. We insisted on giving the “Parental Guidance” needed for PG movies shown in Grade School. If we didn’t have a chance to pre-watch the movie & give the needed PG, our kids didn’t watch the movie. Period. People thought we were nuts. But good grief, if even those who rate movies deemed PG as needed for that movie, why would we risk our kids seeing the stuff without it??

    On the other hand, we watched TV in our home (1 TV in the living room where we ALL could watch what was being watched…) & sent our kids to public school. Having been raised without TV & sent to private school myself, I was fully aware of the need to teach children how to function in the middle of the storm, not stay out of it.

    Now our boys are both in their 20s and we can say actively inoculating without insulating was a parenting choice we are very glad we made.

    All that to say, I believe you are so, so, so on the right track & doing something gravely important. And I find great encouragement in your sharing your perspective with so many other parents. May many more parents like you emerge!

  19. A wonderful post! I’m another old & old-fashioned mom…and I’ve been astounded at how quickly things can change. My very innocent Kindergartener was exposed to more than I was comfortable with when she entered a combined 1st-3rd grade class this past year. As a warning, all it takes is just one undisciplined child to lead others astray. Not to say that it was all bad — she (and we as parents) learned much through dealing with each situation as it arose. Because I’m not ready to lose so much of her to “the world,” I’ve made plans to homeschool, even though I thought I’d never be able to do it.

  20. Dear AM,

    If you’re old-fashioned then I’m old-fashioned too (which is probably no consolation since I’m an AM, also!).

    I’ve been trying to fashion some sort of coherent BUT SHORT comment, but I find my thoughts all over the place so I’ll just say that our decision for Carter is to home school him, as others have mentioned. I’m glad you said Sean is in private school as it confirms what we already thought: no place is safe as long as you have parents. As in parents who seem to not notice the corrupting influences (big and small). A recent example: a co-worker of my husband’s is divorced (apparently amicable) with joint custody of two children (I believe 9 and 12 y.o.). He mentioned one day that he’s been having some discipline issues with them about sassing him. He spoke to his ex-wife about it and her reply was that “oh, that’s how kids are nowadays.” Apparently when recounting this conversation to my husband (a few days later) he was still astounded by her attitude. Like I said, “parents”.

  21. As one of ‘those parents’ whose boy is in public schools, I had to come back and say there are some wonderful, caring, involved parents in the public system. I’m slightly insulted that anyone would paint public schools with such a broad stroke.

    Kids need to experience real life along with that firm foundation from home, not be kept in bubble wrap. Sooner or later they will face the world and those public school kids…

  22. Got the same thing from my 12 yo son when I told him he wouldn’t be going to see a “great” movie that the church youth group is going to see tomorrow night. The first one of these movies taught me the lesson of looking at the review online BEFORE letting him watch anything.

  23. I think it goes without saying that it’s great to live in a country where we have a choice to either home school, private school or public school, depending what we think is best for our kids.

    There are good and not that good parents/teachers in all schooling situations, there are problems/benefits and pros and cons in all schooling situations.

    Each of us has to determine what our tolerance is for those good and bad things, embrace that choice and then respect those who may make a different choice. I know exceptional home schooled kids and I know exceptional public/private schooled kids.

    There always seems to be a lot painting with the broad brush that goes on when this topic comes up, on both sides, and we need to stop it and remember that we are all trying to do the best for our kids and that every choice we make in that regard is complicated and personal.

    It’s hard, this task of raising kids, but ultimately we are all in it together.

  24. I had my children in both private and public schools. (They are all wonderful adults now.) I have taught in both private and public schools. After 25 years of parenting and 20 years of teaching, I think the most important factor is just the love and involvement of parents, and the mercy and grace of God who chose those parents for that child. That same God who has a plan for good to give those children a future and a hope. Deep breath, everybody!

  25. Very sincere apologies if my comment further incited a discussion on the merits of homeschool, private school or public school. I strongly agree that decision is fraught with a million variables & therefore there is no right choice that applies to everyone.

    My intention was to applaud parents who are willing to go beyond, and often against, cultural norms in order to proactively teach their child(ren) what is truly good and how to aspire to true goodness in a society that seems not to know any more.

  26. My goals are the same…and it is very, very, very hard. Especially when I know my example isn’t what it should be many times. Makes me so thankful for Grace. 🙂

  27. School with other children is the overture to their loss of innocence. It seems to leak out through a fine sieve, drop by drop, to be replaced by worldliness. Parental vigilence is the armor demanded. It’s a war out there!

    Your photo of Sean is exquisite– multimedia art. I just love what appears to be the fine line drawings. Very tentative, restrained and beautiful.

  28. A wise prayer that the Father answers with such love and grace. As the mother of grown children I can say with grateful heart that His grace covers our children as we place them into His hands – hands where they find that they have been engraved.

  29. As my son grew up, I talked and talked with what he felt was narrow minded (God’s perspective). He loved pushing my buttons, and wearing me down, when he came up against a wall(the truth) he would sigh and tell me it was impossible to talk to me. Of course I was praying the whole time for wisdom and discernment! Today he is a lawyer for domestic violence victims.
    man plans his ways, but God directs his path.

  30. I raised a really great caring, sweet nice boy. His is almost 20 now. I fought the upstream battle from the time he was born.
    My few pieces of advice are:

    Do NOT get a video game system ever!!!

    Include him in adult activities and discussion whenever possible and if appropriate.

    Allow him to experiment with different activities and then find one that he loves and foster his passions with support and love.

    Volunteer at the school and get to know the staff well and as many of the kids as you can. You will pick up a wealth of information on anyone that he wants to hang out with.

    You are already doing a great job and I’m sure you will continue to do so!!

  31. I love this post. Thanks for sharing your heart. Our greatest desire and prayer is that our daughter grow to know and love Jesus and become more like Him daily, but I admit that pray for health for her as well. =)

    * * *
    Yeah, honestly, me too. I pray for his health. And mine too that I might live to see him grown. ~AM

  32. Interesting, I am so anxious about kindergarten in the fall for these same reasons. In so many cases, the growing has been beautiful for us. My heart aches that their sweet innocence will be so tested, but I’m happy to say they’ve resisted a number of things lately, saying ‘that’s not good for kids’. May the road be safe and smooth for us all. Thank you for the forum 🙂

  33. This is absolutely beautiful. My favorite line is “…it’s better to be wise than smart.” As a parent to a soon to be 3rd grader, you would not believe the comments that are made by parents in regard to their childs intelligence! I hope to raise my daughters to be “wise” and kind and confident, too! Thank you for sharing this!

  34. Ageless truths: parents aren’t meant to be best friends with their children, at least not while they’re young. If what you want for your child is for them to be happy, then you are most likely doing them a great disservice. And most importantly.. train up a child in the way that they should go, and when they are old, they will not leave it. You’re a wise woman and a wonderful mom! Do know that, at age 9 1/2, my boy still wants me to sit by him on the bed at night; we discuss God and good and salvation. I pray over him, and he will STILL kiss me goodbye in front of people at school. Time is fleeting, but I do believe that every minute you put into earnest parenting buys you more….

  35. Oh, that’s exactly how I felt. You two are so blessed, and so is he, that you two both agree on that!!!!!!!!

  36. So insigthtful and true.

    My 11 yo daughter is finishing primary school this week, and in September will be starting grammar school. This is my wish for her too, but you say it so much better 🙂

  37. This is a beautiful and touching post. You amaze me. What a wonderful mom and dad y’all are to be teaching you baby boy this. What a beautiflly biblical prayer you have for him.

    I wish your entire family many blessing.

  38. Wow…what a beautiful post and its so odd that I found it it at the same time I am going thru some not so good times with my 19 yo daughter. This is exactly how I have tried to raise my kids, and yet she still has found a bit of trouble. I copied this and sent it to her(without the photo)…I hope you don;t mind. It was the best way I knew how of getting my feelings across. Thank you…

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