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No. 1

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by Dr. Rodger Sayre
- disclaimer -
Out of the Mouths of Babes

Scripture says, “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22a; New American Standard Bible). In this issue’s column I am hoping to improve the general health of Home School Legal Defense Association’s member families by sharing a little humor. During these dark and cold winter months we need a little cheer—perhaps more so than at other times of the year. So if in this issue you were hoping for an information-packed discussion of the latest treatment options for scabies, or a secret formula for how to lower your LDL cholesterol while still eating T-bones, you will surely be disappointed. Instead, sit back and relax with the condensed Sayre family version of a contrario sensu . . . just because I thought you might need a little “good medicine.”

Courtesy of the family
The Sayre family homeschools in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania.

During our family devotions we were discussing the prophetic statements of Paul in I Thessalonians, including the upcoming millennial reign of Christ. Peter (6) was obviously confused. He said, “Dad, I thought God promised never to flood the earth again. How come He is going to allow it to rain for 1,000 years?”

Daniel (3) announced as I returned home from work one hot summer afternoon: “We went fwimmin’ barenaked today . . .” My mouth dropped open, and I glanced toward his brothers and sisters for verification. He obviously recognized my incredulity, because he quickly added, “With our fwimsuits on.”

We try really hard to maintain regularity with our children’s hygiene, but sometimes we succumb to other priorities. Recently, when I was attempting to convince Daniel to open wide so I could floss his teeth, he was insistent: “I don’t want to floss!”

“Why not?” I asked with irritation in my voice.

“Because it’s not a weekend!” (I really thought we were doing better than that!)

On a similar theme, three days into our time at the HSLDA leadership conference in Nashville in 2006, we were waiting for an elevator in a crowded hotel lobby. I noticed that Peter’s hair seemed a little oily. “Peter,” I whispered, “have you had a bath since we got here?”

“Dad,” he responded loudly, “I haven’t taken a bath for months!” Things suddenly got very quiet . . .

As the head of a family committed to the concept of courtship, imagine my curiosity when my 3-year-old announced that he had a new girlfriend. “Really?” I asked. “Who?”

“Molly, Betsy, and William,” was his response. (He is a really confused kid.)

Peter crawled out of bed early one morning and wandered into his sister’s room. Rousing Betsy from her slumber he asked, “Remember that dream, Betsy?”

Betsy propped herself up on one elbow and responded sleepily, “What dream?”

Peter looked surprised. “The one last night.”

Betsy struggled to a sitting position. “How could I remember it? You didn’t tell me about it.”

Obviously frustrated by his sister’s apparent lack of short-term memory, Peter replied, “But Betsy, you were in it!”

As I was putting Peter to bed one night, I said, “Peter, Daddy loves you.”

“How come you keep saying that?” he asked with a hint of agitation in his voice.

“Because I want to be sure you know it,” I responded. His face softened somewhat, and he followed with, “Why do you love me?”

“Because you’re my son,” I replied.

For what seemed like a very long time, he intently studied my face. My mind raced, wondering what profound follow-up was coming. At long last he broke the silence.

“Did you know that the hairs on your head grow out of little holes?”

Well, as time passes, the ratio of holes to hairs is changing for this old fella, and I’m sure my children have something to do with the process! Truthfully, I am so thankful for my children. They are, as the Scriptures say, “a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3; NASB).

All of the above quotes are from the two youngest members of our family, Peter and Daniel. I wish I had been a more faithful record keeper with the first nine kids! For those of you with small children, don’t forget to record those precious moments that tickle your funny bone or warm your heart. When you are old, you can share your memories with others. Come to think of it, you can share them now by sending them to the Court Report to be included in a contrario sensu!

About the author

An HSLDA board member since 1997, Dr. Rodger Sayre is a family physician. He received his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and maintains board certification in family practice.