Friday, May 30, 2008

Outdoor Activities

Spring is one of Tisha's favorite times of the year. She loves to garden (she is a horticulturist after all) and planting a vegetable garden is something she looks forward to each year. She had a 100 fold year last year, so it will be interesting to see if she gets the same results this time around.

While Tisha planted, the kids played. I added this to the post as both a scolding to my brother-in-law Chris and a chance to for him to see the fruit of his labor.

Chris! Didn't I tell you that you'd have my kids flipping themselves out of swings before summer time! AHHH! This is why we had to send Chris out of the country! It also adds just one more reason for me to say, "down with Uncle Chris!" :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

They Are More than Boyfriends or Girlfriends

A few days ago, Brett McKay wrote a blog post about Chastity on The Art of Manliness. This is the twelfth post in a series of posts about Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues. I'd like to come up along side Brett with my views as a father and share a few things I'm teaching my children now, and will continue to teach in the future.

Remember Who You're Dating
I often tell my oldest son that it is so easy for people who are dating to get caught up in a relationship and forget to respect the person they are with, and their future. They start thinking about how much they "love" them and how they want to be with them "forever". But as we all know, relationships sometimes end. So I'm going to take a little different approach to this subject and say that abstinence can be a gift if we look at it properly.

This Person is Someones Future Wife or Husband
The person you're dating may be your future wife or husband, or they may be someone else's. Either way, both parties should hold to the mindset that the other person in the relationship will be a cherished treasure to someone one day. The physical side of a relationship is "sacred", as Brett points out in his post. It's a special and private bond between two individuals that should be protected. Too often we allow our raging hormones to make decisions for us and do things in the moment. We don't think about the future consequences of those actions. We justify it because we are in "love", but what is love?

Love is that which Protects and Provides
There are many definitions of love. Some good, and some bad. But the best definition of love I've heard is "love is that which protects and provides". Those of us who are in love know that love is more than just the flutter of a heart, it is deeper, unexplainable, and yes it's a mystery. That's why love is so hard to define!

Even if you don't agree with this definition, I hope we all can agree that these two things express love. If you put a young man or woman in a position of choice, "If you loved me you would...", is that expressing love? If you have the opportunity to fulfill your desires, does that make it right? Do these things protect and provide for the person you claim to love? Is this putting them first?

My hope is that my children will see value in waiting for the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. That they wouldn't give in to their passion and share something intimate and personal with another. That they will protect the person they are with and provide them with a future that will be free of guilt or regret regarding this subject. Will they? Only time will tell. But will uncertainty keep me from encouraging them to put others before themselves, not on your life!

The Biggest Lie
One of the biggest lies we're told in these modern times is to do what feels good. But if we all entered into relationships with the viewpoint that this may be someones else's wife or husband one day, and make a commitment to treat that person the way we would want someone to treat our future spouse, can you see the power in that mindset? Can you see how this expresses love? When you truly love someone, it's not about you, it's about them. The hard part is remembering this and acting on that knowledge.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Camping with the Cub Scouts

The O'Donnell Clan had an adventurous weekend. We did some rough camping with Ian's Cub Scout Pack. One of our local nature preserves allowed us to set up for the night and use some of their facilities for our meals, crafts and award ceremony. Here are a few pictures of what we did:

Home away from home.

The kids LOVE to tent camp.

It wouldn't be camping if we didn't roast marshmallows. By the way, Aidan hates being sticky!

Mia hammering on the birdhouse she built.

Mom admiring Aidan's handy work.

Ian and Aidan sporting their new Blue Bird Houses.

Ian earned his WEBELOS Badge! Well done Ian!!!

Ian and Micheal folding up our Pack flag.

During the ceremony, one of the Pack leaders said, "What more could we ask for? Great weather, good food and good friends. Here here!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Last Trip with Chris and Ginger Before They Leave

Here's a quick video Ian put together of our last trip with Chris and Ginger before they ship out for Brazil. Ian also added some clips of our overnight on the USS Yorktown.