4

Why the house is suddenly so quiet with only 5 boys in it…

IMG_2152
It’s always a treat to have Grandparents on-island. But this last visit from Oma and Opa sent our boys over the moon. Not only did they bring candy, they brought more grandkids. So while Oma and Opa enjoyed their ocean-front cottage, Tom and I shared our condo with not 5, but 7 wiggly, giggly, having-way-too-much-fun-just-being-together boys. The amazing thing is, our two extra guests were about as easy to accommodate as could be. They just blended right in and they all got along together beautifully. Really, I’d add these extra two to my crew anytime.

2 of the nicest house guests anyone could ask for.

2 of the nicest house guests anyone could ask for.


But oh, did things turn dreary once they were gone. It’s like being left with only 4 brothers in the house is the worst form of loneliness imaginable. But I think we’ll pull through. Thankfully we have the summer to look forward to, which means visits with not just these 2, but all 18 cousins, Uncles and Aunts, and 2 sets of Grandparents besides! Oh the familial bliss! In the meantime, we’ll just have to savor a fun-filled week’s worth of memories as pictured here…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements
3

Around Our World in a Dozen Pictures

After Boys Day I realized that I had spent a number of weeks without posting anything except my series on “Industrial Waste” and the Omas might be wondering what all their boys have been up to. ¬†They have in fact been hard at work with piano and paddling,

5k running and window revamping,

lava viewing and lobster hunting,

swimming with dolphins and sewing with Mom, bag-piping and baking, and somewhere in there we manage to throw in a little school work and sleep.

You may be surprised to find cooking and sewing in the mix of activities after my five week rant about letting boys be boys, but there are two very good reason for their sudden interest in domestic affairs.

#1:  I started working on this little project:

My version of a Hawaiian appliqué quilt.  Each of the boys decided what they wanted their own square to look like and the other 4 squares depict Big Island landmarks.  The red background is a Boys Day print.

My version of a Hawaiian appliqué quilt. Each of the boys decided what they wanted their own square to look like and the other 4 squares depict Big Island landmarks. The red background is a Boys Day print.

which project was immediately hijacked by the subjects of the quilt images themselves who insisted that if I was going to use their likeness they were going to get to do the stitching on their own profiles.  So what began as a solitary quilting project for Mom has now become this:

#2: ¬†We’ve been studying world geography and have had whole lot of fun learning about the history, culture and cuisine of different countries through these supplemental books (thanks again Kristin C):

photo 1-4

Each of the boys has chosen a different continent to study and then focused their attention on one of it’s countries. ¬†They each cooked us a meal using recipes from this series and with the exception of Sam’s Egyptian Palace Bread they all turned out great! ¬†The absolute highlight of our geography studies has been reading this book aloud:

photo 2-3

We followed Phileas Fogg’s journey in our atlases, learning about all the different countries he passed through along the way and trying some recipes from each one. ¬† We kept waiting for the part with the balloon ride as the book cover portrays but alas, a balloon ride is actually not a part of the story. ¬†New assignment: ¬†Design a book cover that actually portrays the story inside…

So that’s what’s been going on around our little world. ¬†Hope all is as full of God’s goodness in your own.

Video
9

Boys Day 2015

I would think it would be a little bit hard to be a boy growing up in an era where the advancements of women are continually lauded but any success by men is just par-for-the-course and probably unfairly earned. ¬†Imagine seeing “Girls Rule” t-shirts all around while the slightest bit of enthusiasm over your own gender is met with disapproval and downright disdain. ¬†That’s why I am such a huge fan of the Japanese holiday, “Boys Day,” which is still celebrated every May 5th here in Hawaii, although it is slowly morphing into the more politically correct, “Children’s Day.” ¬†After finishing up a rather dismal series on “Industrial Waste,” it felt good to give my boys a chance to celebrate being boys. ¬†While our Boys Day celebrations have taken different shapes every year (click here and here for examples) the following 5 elements are absolutely essential: ¬†comrades, competition, Japanese cuisine, candy and carp. ¬†The carp comes first.

photo 3-2
This fish is revered for it’s energy and power which enable it to battle it’s way upstream and thus symbolizes spirit, strength, courage and determination to overcome all obstacles. ¬†These aren’t exactly the traits most cultivated in our boys today. ¬†Traditionally each family hangs out one giant black carp-shaped wind sock for the Dad and then a smaller,¬†brightly colored¬†one for each boy in the house. ¬†Since the big ones cost about $75 here, we just hang out our five small small ones, which sadly aren’t nearly as brightly colored as they used to be. After paddling practice at 5:05 (since 5 is the special number for Boys Day, I thought the party should be at 5:55 but they weren’t about to wait an extra fifty minutes), the boys met a couple of their buddies by the pool where they did some Japanese calligraphy. ¬†Sei’s mom is a very talented artist and is always ready to share her finer skills with a bunch of rowdy boys.

photo 2

Then we played a couple games which included a rather violent Japanese version of “Paper, Rock, Scissors,” and diving for nickles in the pool.

photo 4

After an amazing feast of roll-your-own sushi it was time for another competition, this one involving racing to pick up tiny beans with chopsticks. ¬†Our Japanese friends were kind enough to use their left hands but I was still so proud of my winning score that it is now posted on our fridge. ¬†I guess the boys aren’t the only ones with a competitive spirit in this house :).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By the way, there is also a Girls Day celebrated on March 3 and whether you have boys or girls I think these are great holidays to honor the unique God-given design and characteristics of each.  Happy Koinobori, everyone and remember to let your boys be boys!

Video
24

Industrial Waste… part 5

I do apologize for not being able to wrap this up sooner. It’s a big topic and I’m trying to do it justice, but at the same time there are oodles of other things going on here that I’d like to write about and scant amount of time to do so. Here are 7 points I would like to throw out there. No pictures. No frills. Just my two-cents worth and a hope that you will add yours.

1. Boys are made for work. I’m not pigeon-holing males into a meat-head role here, but Genesis 2 is very clear that God created Adam first and “put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” This was his primary created role and he was perfectly equipped to fulfill it. This role was also the subject of his subsequent curse, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground.”

2. For thousands of years that is exactly what boys grew up doing. They worked. And when they weren’t working, they played. Except for a few exceptions who were devoted to scholarly work at a young age, most would already be apprenticing for a career by 14.

3. With the advent of the printing press, Reformers like Martin Luther envisioned an entire population that could read the Bible for themselves (a noble and worthy goal) and primary schools were born.

4. The Industrial Revolution took this concept to an entirely new level with the effort to create a uniformly educated workforce universally equipped for factory operations.

5. Until the last century the purpose of schooling was to either provide a rudimentary
understanding of reading, writing and arithmetic or to prepare a student for a career particularly conducive to academic rigors.

6. Fast forward 100 years and social engineers now have boys as young as 3 years old spending the vast majority of their time in a classroom setting for the next 15 years of their life. Add to that the immense pressure to continue into higher education and another 2-6 years in an industry they possibly neither like nor excel at. Nor is this prolonged existence in academia any guarantee of a profitable career. There are some careers that necessitate a long and arduous classroom education. And I reiterate my awareness of those boys who thrive in a classroom setting. But the sad by-product of the education industry is the vast population of boys who not only fail to thrive in the classroom setting, but are also deprived of years and years of potential development actually doing what they were created to do.

7. Boys want to be good at something. It’s part of the drive God instilled in them. If they find out early on that that something is school then by all means cheer them on in that regard. But if the classroom is just not their thing, then give them a chance earlier on than 18 to find out what is! By 18 that drive to succeed may be already wasted due to the years of frustrating failure being forced to do what they are just not made for! That is industrial waste of epic proportions.

The video below has been widely circulated for a while now but I thought it illustrated a few of my points well.