Only eighteen shopping days until Christmas! Yikes! And if you exclude the three Sundays, which all good Sabbath Keepers will do, that leaves only fifteen more shopping days. And so, in order to make your gift decisions easier and to encourage your family to read more books in the upcoming year, I am attaching my annual reading list: 2017 Book Recommendations. Each December for the past six years I have compiled a list of about ten books that I have enjoyed that year and recommend to our families. These are not anyone’s all-time favorites or the year’s absolute best, but they are all books that I propose reading. I try particularly to suggest books for folks who are not serious readers but might be looking for a good place to start. So, look over this year’s list (and past lists: 2012-2016 Book Recommendations) ,and veni, vidi, visa (I came, I saw, I bought it with my card), and then tolle lege! (Take up and read)
Finally, I want to direct you an excellent article from Matt Whitling, principle at Logos School in Moscow, Idaho. Logos School is generally viewed as the “mother school” of classical and Christian schools. Mr. Whitling speaks every year at the annual conference of the ACCS. This article, Eternity in a Span, is the transcript of his plenary session talk at this summer’s annual conference in Pittsburgh. The article is directed to teachers, all he says applies to teachers and parents alike. Here, in powerful and encouraging words, Matt Whitling calls us to a vision that sees God at work in all we do –even in the mundane little things –and sees God at work in our little world to do something with far reaching implications in His kingdom. [But] sometimes there’s a mom and she thinks, “I’m not changing the world, I’m changing diapers,” or “I’m changing laundry again.” It’s kind of the monotony. I believe that some of the most effective and profound ways that you change the world are pedestrian. It’s the little things. Love your kids well. And sometimes it’s hard because we’re short-sighted and we just see what’s in front of us, we just see the little picture. I was reading this morning in Genesis 22 where God says to Abraham, “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Gen. 22:17 ESV] It is one grain at a time. And in this passage God says, “Look up, you’re at the beach, look at the shore, count them.” And we say, “Okay, I see it.”
Teach, train, and love those little grains of sand as unto the Lord. You are laboring on God’s seashore.
Have a great week and a Blessed Thanksgiving!
I trust you are having a great week. It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week. Everyone is looking forward to the break, to feasting with family, and to this season of special thankfulness for God’s goodness to us. We will hear much about gratitude in the next two weeks, much of it profound, but some of it clichéd, perhaps. I have often thought that God gives us particular holidays, holy-days, and special seasons so that for a few days we would reflect intently on the things for that we ought to be possessed by every day. We remember the incarnation at Christmas, because the gift of Christ should occupy our minds daily. We contemplate the cross and resurrection at Easter because the realities behind those events should own us moment by moment. God gave us Thanksgiving because most of us forget to praise and thank God for the thousands of gifts He gives us every hour. Most of us tend toward grumbling and complaining rather than thanking and praising. Hence, the apostle Paul challenges us to, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 5:19-20) and to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:18). I am grateful for the season of Thanksgiving to remind me to be thankful always and in all things.
In a recent post I encouraged you to read The Vanishing American Adult, by Ben Sasse. The book calls parents to be intentional, tough-minded, and forward looking in raising their kids. If we want our kids to grow up to be responsible and mature adults -who can climb life’s mountains –we must demand certain things of them when they are children -some things which run against the grain of what Sasse calls “soft parenting.” I ran across a short article at the business magazine, Inc.com, Science Says the Most Successful Kids Have Parents Who Do These 9 Things. While I am always a bit cautious about articles that claim “science says” and do not agree with every point in this article (i.e. #4), the article reinforces much of what Ben Sasse asserts. It is okay, in fact, it is wise and good, to make your children work hard, to allow them to fail, to limit screen-time, and delay gratification of their desires. The links in the article will take you to some fascinating articles and videos. (Every parent should read about the marshmallow study!)
I know many of you are avid podcast listeners. The ACCS has begun recording BaseCamp Live, a weekly 23-minute podcast on classical, Christian education and parenting. Our “greatest challenge is how to shape young people who will encounter a culture that is often working against them and equip them to become flourishing adults who love Jesus Christ, think with confidence, believe with courage and serve with compassion . . .BaseCamp Live will equip you, the parent, grandparent, educator, or mentor, to climb that biggest mountain.” You could start with the July 26, 2017 episode titled “I Was Robbed.” The interview with George Grant will be a great encouragement to you. You can listen to these podcasts directly from the website or you can subscribe to BaseCampLive in iTunes or from your Android podcast manager.