There is a lot of talk in the world of “adulting” about emotional intelligence. People who are emotionally intelligent know how others are feeling. They know what to say and what not to say in a social media thread. They are aware of their surroundings, etc.
I recently came upon yet another list of commonalities of those with emotional intelligence. As I read through the list (they truly are good commonalities), I couldn’t help but think about how many of them were our goals for our children before we had ever learned about such a thing as emotional intelligence. (Many of them are, after all, grounded in the golden rule!)
For not really being “singers”—and for most of us not really knowing that much about music—we are a pretty “sing-ee” family! We love to sing hymns and worship songs while we’re driving or sitting around the living room. If one of our pianists is here (Kara and Cami), it’s even better! At Christmas time, we really getting into the singing spirit! We love to memorize a complete carol (all the verse) and sing it together; we love to drive around looking at lights and have someone lead out when a certain decoration or sight reminds him of a carol; we love to “sing through the Christmas story.”
Tonight as we drove home from an extended family Christmas gathering, reading aloud and singing, I was reminded of an old article I wrote for our newsletter several years ago—Christmas in the Car. I will post it in its entirety below—gotta sneak in those family times any chance we get as our kids get older!
“Linus’ reading of the story of the Nativity was, quite simply, the dramatic highlight of the season.” Harriet Van Horne in the “New York World Telegram” December 1965
Every year our family enjoys reading about Christmas traditions and songs—how they began, what they mean, etc. One of my favorite readings is the story of how “A Charlie Brown Christmas” came about—and continues to bless people today. Read my “story behind the Charlie Brown Christmas” below aloud to your family—then watch the movie (or at least check out the given links from youtube). Have fun!
On Thursday, December 9, 1965 (nearly fifty years ago!), “A Charlie Brown Christmas” made its debut on CBS on television screens all over the United States. Surprising the network executives, this darling Christmas story was an immediate hit. It seems that its creator, Charles Schulz, battled with the powers-that-be at the network concerning the show’s religious content (CBS thought it was too religious) and the kids’ voices (citing that they should be professional actors, not children). Additionally, they felt that Vince Guaraldi’s theme music was too modern for kids’ tastes. (The jazz soundtrack has, by the way, become a classic.)
Rumor has it that through the years it has been suggested that Linus’ reading of the Christmas story from Luke be taken out of the movie. However, forty-five years later, this classic still contains that powerful passage from Luke, those sweet child voices, and that catchy music*—and each year the true story of Jesus’ birth and the reason for the season—is proclaimed via the secular media.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what
you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Many years ago when we had seven children fourteen and under, we decided that we wanted our children and our family to be blessings to others—not burdens. We knew that bringing seven kids into situations can seem overwhelming to hosts. We wanted people to look forward to our family coming—not dread seeing our big thirteen passenger van pull in the drive-way! We decided that when we went to a get-together, as Christians, we should be energy-givers, not energy-zappers!
We knew that going to a family get together of any kind, but especially any with non-Christians, and trying to “show” people our Christianity by our standards wouldn’t work. Non-Christians do not care about your standards—they do not worry about what you are wearing, what you are not watching, and other outward signs that we often think are important (and they might be, but they seldom show our faith as much as we think they do). What non-Christians care about is how they are treated (which is what everybody cares about, really!).
Earlier I introduced Gregg Harris’ “attachment” principle for doing the many things that are important in our kids’ Christian upbringing. (Read Attaching Important Things To Your Schedule here.)
Today I want to introduce another paradigm that has kept us going in all of the myriad Christian training endeavors: If something is important to you, you will do it more often than you do not.
Simple, really. But it has kept us going when we felt defeated, overwhelmed, or unsuccessful in our parenting. No matter what was happening, we tried to follow that principle. When one of us got discouraged, the other would remind the first that we were, indeed, doing what we were supposed to be doing.