Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Simply a good day

We took the kids to a place called the Springfield Nature Center today. It's a combination of a hands-on discovery center and well-marked trails through different kinds of terrain (forests, glades, prairies, wetlands) and is a popular place for field trips for homeschoolers and public schools alike.

We used to go regularily when the boys were smaller, but between work schedules and gas prices we fell out of the habit. So for my youngest, Sam, this was an all new experience as the last time we went, he was too little to really appreciate it. I think he's the first of our boys to actually slow down and attempt to learn something from it. The others prefer running the trails--which is okay, exercise is every bit as important, but Sam's determination to get something from it made the whole trip a lot more fun for his mother-educator.

I bought a color-coded book on Missouri wildflowers and Sam and I spent a fair amount of our afternoon wandering the trails identifying them. This was his idea; I just wanted the book to take home. While his teenage brothers were charging around the trials being faster and stronger than everyone else, he was pointing out tiny flowers and comparing them to pictures in the book. By the time we left he'd learned to spot at least five different kinds of plants.

(By the way, the picture is of Sam (who is 9 1/2) and Gary visiting the "wetland" area of the park. No, that's not an illusion. Gary is 6'5 and Sam is going to be every bit as tall. I'm too tired to deal with formatting and captioning tonight).

I've sometimes joked that Sam was born in the wrong era. In a household very much dominated by technology, he loves to play board games, eat dinner at the table with his family, draw pictures, walk his dog, and play football in the front yard with his Dad. Sam is the reason we go camping during the summer. He was the one who dragged his brothers out into the front yard to camp in our tents, quickly decided that wasn't enough, and asked for more. If I'm into it, then Sam is generally right behind trying to figure out how he can join in. I write, so Sam writes. I'm gardening this summer, and Sam is in the dirt alongside me.

I think you could describe him as an "old soul" in many respects. He gets the "every minute is precious" thing and seems determined to make sure each one counts. Sam never fails to tell people he loves them. He remembers birthdays, Mother's Day, and Father's day. His Sunday school teachers get thank you cards and small gifts once in a while. I'd love to tell you I taught him that, but I didn't. It is all Sam.

Tonight after he'd played Clue with his Dad and brothers and he was putting away the game, he turned to me and said, "Mom, I want to be baptized."

I wasn't completely shocked, but he did catch me off guard. "You do? What brought this on?"

"I want to accept Jesus Christ into my heart."

I asked him if he understood sin and what baptism is supposed to do. He explained in his nine-year old way, that baptism washed away sins--which are the things we do which make God sad--and makes us new.

I asked if one of his Sunday school teachers had to been talking to him about it (I doubted this as the Methodist church doesn't handle it this way. My feelings about our church have been discussed before. Just call me Martin Luther Mary).

He looked genuinely hurt. No, he said. I've been thinking about it for a while and reading my Bible and I just want to be baptized.

Holy cow.

I told him I thought it was a great idea and that we'd talk about it more in the morning.

I don't think a winning lottery ticket could have made this day any better.


Scotty said...

Sounds like a great moment, Mary.


Hi to Gary too - nice to finally see him.

Mary Paddock said...

Hi Scotty and thank you. Around here that's a banner occasion.


Mary Paddock said...

Oh and as for Gary. He's almost as camera-shy as I am. I'm hoping he doesn't find out I posted this picture. :)

debby said...

We won't tell him...

Hal Johnson said...

Sam sounds like a delightful kid to live with.