Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big scary Middle School

August is upon us and as may be the case in your household, the Christensen clan has been busy hunting and gathering backpacks, notebooks, pencils and sundry school supplies for the offspring that have taken up residence in our house.

This year, the normal migration back to school has been a little more stressful as Kerri has decided to re-enter the fourth grade, this time as a student teacher. This year some of the responsibility for shuttling papers, changing schedules and attending meetings fell to me.

Kerri and Nathan started back to school on Wednesday and Sarah, Ruth and I zipped up to Artesia to have our yearly spectacle adjustment.

However, before we left town, we had to take a few signed papers to Nathan's school. Did I mention that Nathan entered the big scary Middle School this year. Now, Nathan doesn't seem to think that Middle School is all that big or particularly scary. But for the two little girls who accompanied me into those halls, that place was as big and scary as any haunted Transilvanian chateau.

They seemed fine as we pulled into our parking spot, as they eagerly hopped out of the Jeep. But as we ran the gauntlet of teachers that lead up to the front steps, I noticed two hands gripping mine with increasing intensity.

Ruthie refused to speak as we entered the building, while Sarah mustered just enough courage to whisper to those who inquired that she was going into fourth grade. I am sure that you are aware of the size difference between elementary school teachers and those giants one finds in the halls of Middle Schools. One can only imagine how scary they must have looked to the wide eyed little girls that clung to my side. It must have seemed like an eternity before we made it to the relative safety of the Nurses office. I say relative, because according to Ruthie, Middle School has a "HUGE" nurses office.

We made it out alive and ran the gauntlet again before returning to the car. You could feel the tension dissipate as the doors closed and seat belts clicked, securing us inside. After a moment of silence, Ruthie remarked, "Daddy, those teachers look just like the ones at my school, 'cept those ones have different faces." Wouldn't it be interesting to see life through the eyes of a kid again?

Having said that, the high school kids who came into my Introduction to Print class this morning looked pretty intimidating. Much more so than the ones that I went to high school with.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Were arranged marriages really that bad?

Recently we attended the wedding of our pastor's son, Michael Prell. It was a beautiful wedding and the girls both took the opportunity to get all gussied up for the occasion. Afterwards, being the wise and diligent parents that we are, Kerri and I thought it best to seize the opportunity to talk to the girls about qualities they should seek in a man as they look towards marriage (in the far and long distant future).

Being the father, and a man myself, we felt it best that I undertake this important task during a little father/daughter date.

And so, with two giggly girls in tow, we piled into the Jeep and proceeded to the local Pizza Hut to discuss matters of matrimonial discernment.

Having chosen a secluded booth, I sat across from the girls and began with simple chit chat about the wedding and what they thought of the ceremony, etc. Everything was proceeding as planned...

That is, until I asked what traits these two wedding enamored girls thought that they should look for in a potential husband or boyfriend.

I feel that it is important at this point in the story to point out that girls begin planning their wedding day much sooner than boys. For example, Kerri began around the age of two to envision her wedding, I however started much later in life... at our rehearsal dinner, or shortly there after. My girls have taken after their mother in this respect and on any given day can be found sitting on the floor of their room, going over the details of a wedding with Barbie and Ken, or discussing Barbie boyfriends and such.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I imagined that all their attention to weddings and marriages might produce deep and profound answers to my questions about the character of a man who was worthy of their hand. It seems however that I was mistaken, very mistaken.

Our list of traits to search for in a suitable man began well enough. Topping the list was the issue of salvation. The man had to be a Christian, and not just a Church goer, but one who actually lived what he believed. Then a hard worker was added to the list, someone who could provide for the family. From there the standard dropped a bit to exclude murderers and stealers or robbers. And while I feel that those two traits should indeed disqualify a person, I had more hoped that they would be givens, not even needing to be mentioned.

From there though, our grasp of reality slipped further and to the list was added: kidnappers. "Because!" Ruthie pipped up, "If you marry a kidnapper, then you will be making dinner and go to the closet to get some food and you will find a kid there, holding a plate and asking to be fed." Ruthie explained "and you will have to tell your husband that he cannot keep bringing kids home because we don't have enough food to feed them all!"

The rest of the meal went well. The pizza was delicious and I think we brought things back on track a little. But I am quickly becoming a proponent of arranged marriages, shotguns and background checks. And definitely, No Kidnappers Allowed.