CASTLES, BIRDHOUSES, AND MEMORIES
I knew it wasn’t forever, few keepsakes that big ever make it long… especially around our house. Once or twice a year I’d see it, smile inside, my youngest would smile on the outside, my wife will smile later. It was a school project around the time our daughter was in fifth or sixth grade.
Even though my little one was young, she already knew she was dreading having to rely on my help. I could tell my wife felt sorry for her too… shucks, even I felt sorry for her. My wife, she, her sisters, and I, knew it was going to be a task. I don’t have the “that’s good enough” mentality. I admit it. Like most of the eyes reading, I’m an all or nothing type of person.
The mission: build a castle. Now being a builder left me little choice but to live up to my title. I mean how bad would it be for me to build something inferior to the doctor, the lawyer, or anybody for that matter! During the process of buying the materials and beginning to put the castle together… with tools I wouldn’t let a young adult touch, much less and elementary school kid… I remembered.
I remembered standing in front of the class beside my birdhouse, beaming with pride as if I’d built it myself. In truth, I barely touched it, but I did watch a good part of the process as my dad built it, I helped with some finishing touches. It’s good for a kid to taste pride and victory I think, to be part of something successful even if only in title.
After the castle structure was built, glued in place by the little messy hands of my daughter, I directed the imitation slate grey tiles to be cut by my daughter and her classmate and glued in place at my direction. It’s hard to watch someone do things we know could be better, but a powerful way to learn. They glued the chains, windows, the people, the animals and sprinkled sand over the freshly painted on glue for the interior of the grand castle.
“Dad! It was the best castle by far! I got an A+!” my daughter told me afterward.
I smiled, “You guys did a great job, babe,” I answered.
“Thanks, dad! she beamed.
I wonder what my life would look like if I put that much pride and energy into defending my title of “Christian”? How much more would be gained by all of my family members? I suppose the line between selfish pride and teaching my daughter proper work ethic is too fine a line for me to measure, but trying to is a just cause.
“It’s time to throw the castle out,” my wife said. I agreed. The little one did not. She put up a fight, but in the end stood over the trash can helping me tear it apart so as to fit in the trash can.
“Doesn’t it make you feel bad to tear it apart, dad?” she asked.
“We have the memories of building it, babe. That’s always the best part,” I answered.
I had her take a picture of her castle above with the camera she got for Christmas… she knew I’d make sure our memory and lesson lived on in cyberspace. Not so different than the sweet memory of my dad and that birdhouse gently easing my mind.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 5:30 am
I like this sentence: ” I wonder what my life would look like if I put that much pride and energy into defending my title of “Christian”? Yes, indeed. I’d venture to say, for me at least, that I miss the mark more times than I hit it. Would God be “beaming with with pride. Probably not.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:28 pm
You’re not alone, Thomas. You described me pretty well, my friend. Thank Him for that grace, huh? Wow. Thanks, Thomas. You nailed it.
Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ 5:40 pm
Me too Thomas!!! It’s a powerful one.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 5:47 am
The dinosaur project is still in the garage. Annie wants to keep that one a while longer. It’s hard to let go of those things that we did with our kids. Annie turns nine next month.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:29 pm
It is hard to let go, at least until you have to step over them! The memories can’t ever be thrown away. Mine are with me and sweet. Thanks, Dan. You have a knew house to fill up!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 8:29 am
I got a lot of that as a kid, my dad asking me to help but then getting gently moved aside when I didn’t do exactly right the first time. He couldn’t help it, but it enhanced the perfectionist tendencies in me. I didn’t (and sometime still don’t) want to attempt anything until I know it can be done well. And I struggle with doing the same thing with my kids, but thank God for grace and the Holy Spirit to help us recognize and correct things. It’s quite the process! I sort of got stuck on one point, but great post. 🙂 Thanks Floyd.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
The neat part is that we all have memories to learn and draw from. It’s a tough process, the balancing between the two. I’m better than I used to be, but not near perfect. Thanks, Jason.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 11:29 am
A sweet time with your daughter, Floyd. 🙂
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:31 pm
Sweet memories indeed, Jennifer. Not perfect, but the perfect gift from our Father. Thanks, Jennifer.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 12:26 pm
Nice castle. Nicer still is her doing it and remembering the time with her dad.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:35 pm
Yeah, that’s the best part, Bill. Thanks.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 12:27 pm
I forgot to add. Interested in coming to Indiana to help with some work around a real house (if the guy decides not to buy?) 😉
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:35 pm
I’d drive you and your wife crazy, Bill!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 2:46 pm
I used to spend hours in the garage with my dad working on projects. I’m grateful that he gave me the freedom to make mistakes and was patient with me.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:36 pm
Yes. You are blessed indeed, Caleb. I have to say it shows in how you present yourself in heart and wisdom, brother. Thanks, Caleb.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 5:29 pm
Those school projects are great memories, aren’t they? Great story, Floyd!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:37 pm
They are, Chuck! Then and now! What a blessing to be able to be a part of both. Thanks, Chuck.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:26 pm
Floyd, building those projects bring back great memories for me, too. During elementary school, my whole family (extended family, too) helped create my projects. It was so much fun. Sometimes, I was able to help…smiles. About defending your Christianity…don’t bother. Just try to live it, every day. In my daily life, I sometimes fail to walk His path, but I try. When I mess-up, which is inevitable, I ask for forgiveness–I try to fix it–dust myself off and learn from it. Your struggle to walk in His way and light is the best example of Christianity and people can feel it. Why? The LOVE! LOVE is the key to His walk. If we look like Christians but don’t have love, then our Christianity is dead. Just live it…it’s the best defense you can build. Joy to you and yours~
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:39 pm
Oh man, that was great, Cynthia! You have profound wisdom, sister! It is about love! And our Father is honored when we strive in this weak flesh. What a wonderful comment and testimony, Cynthia! You preach and I’ll turn the pages! Blessings to you and yours, Cynthia. And thanks a heart full.
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:39 pm
What a delightful post. Your story stirred up memories of crafts we did as kids and also my Sunday school lessons. So I wrote up a story and I mentioned your post. This is another excellent post that needs to be shared!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 @ 6:40 pm
I love how you and I inspire one another, Hazel! What a blessing to be able to share! I’ll be looking forward to reading yours, sister!
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 3:56 am
I love the story but more importantly your comment about “defending my title of ‘Christian'” made me take a closer look at myself. Am I as much of a perfectionist about my walk and witness as I am about other things, say, my blog spots?
You have given me food for thought this morning, Floyd. Thanks, buddy!
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 6:08 pm
Glad to return the favor, Pam. Thanks, sister.
Nannette and the Sweetheart
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 5:10 am
LOVE!Such memories and great analogy….love the castle.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 6:09 pm
Thanks, Nannette. I had to turn it sideways to get it out the door… funny how the sand comes magically unglued after all those years…
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 9:43 am
Stories like these make me wonder how God looks when He views us. He’s a proud papa, lovingly letting us make mistakes- knowing He could do it better, but also knowing we’d never learn if He did everything for us.
Great story. Thanks for sharing.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 6:12 pm
What a great point, TC! Perfect analogy! And we get to be proficient at what it is He’s designed us for as we strive and persevere in it! Wise words, my friend. Thanks!
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 1:45 pm
“Once or twice a year I’d see it, smile inside, my youngest would smile on the outside, my wife will smile later.”
And that sentence alone made me smile now. 🙂 It looks like it was a great castle! I’d have put up a fight over destroying it too. It’s hard for me to let go of those babies. But you’re right that the memory of building it was the best part. Good dad!
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 6:14 pm
We held onto it for about five years, but when you start tripping over stuff it’s time to clean house! Glad to make you smile, Lisa. I know you have some grand memories. Thanks, Lisa.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 4:54 pm
Ace is the perfectionist in the family so he was the one to always help the kids. I just want things done yesterday. Have been grateful through the years that anything he put his hand to usually turned out good. Recently I ask him to build me a big bird house, about three feet tall. I said, now hon I don’t want a perfect birdhouse, I want one that looks like a bird would live in it. He won’t let me use the saw or I would have tackled it myself. Our kids thinks their Dad can fix anything. In fact we were throwing out titles for our son to write songs to one day. Ace’s was, I’m a jack of all trades but don’t know jack about you. What a great memory brother and as always you brought right into the story.
Thursday, May 8, 2014 @ 6:17 pm
I love that song title! Having a husband and dad around that can figure things out and get things done is a gift. I have to admit that I’m also like you, Betty, when it comes to wanting things done yesterday! Thanks, Betty.
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 8:43 am
I made an awesome Mt. Vesuvius tri-fold board, another incredible backdrop for an Egypt report…. Oh, my first daughter had expectations as high as mine — We learned, though. thankfully, she learned how to do it on her own, and now she’s writing papers all by herself at the university. (She still sends them to me for edits, however 😉 ) So thankful we have the memories, the opportunity to build into them, even if we’re learning right alongside them.
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 6:02 pm
What a blessing, Alyssa. My big girls learned quickly to do their own so they didn’t have to deal with me! Except the ones that took power tools! It is a gift to get to spend time creating and sharing. I do my fair share of editing now as well… hope it doesn’t fade into college! I recall one time my oldest needed my help on a paper for English… she and I got a C on that paper… I called “Subjective”! Thanks, Alyssa.
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 12:59 pm
Hi Floyd, You stopped by my site a while ago after Wanda from The Watered Soul recommended my post, A Testimony I Never Wanted. Since then, I’ve been reading through your posts, and I really want to thank you for the goodness I find here. As a single mom of 5 boys, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate being reassured that there are good, Faith-filled men out there. I pray my sons grow strong in their faith too. I’m not sure if you’re into things like this or not, but I just want you to know I linked to you on my site as one of those I recommended you for the Liebster Award an award passed on from blogger to blogger. In your voice and faith, you are a role model – even to those you’ve never met. Thank you for that and God Bless…
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 6:05 pm
Wow… I’m honored, Strahlen. Your post was deeply moving and really spoke volumes to my heart and all who read it. I’ve never heard of that award, but I’ll check it out and thank you for your kind words. I’m not special in any way other than the most important One that gives us grace. May God continue to lift you up and carry you and your boys high on His shoulder and under the shelter of His loving hand. Thanks, sister.
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 4:19 pm
What treasured memories for you and your girl…she is very blessed to have a dad who will work with her on a school project..it really is the time and attention that lets them feel loved….I am thoroughly impressed with the castle…”grey tiles” (big smile)…blessings to you and yours this weekend…nice legacy as you reflect on your birdhouse with your dad.
Friday, May 9, 2014 @ 6:07 pm
Thanks, Dolly. I was so proud of that birdhouse. Still am. The little things that we don’t always consider to be big, are bigger than we could ever imagine. Blessings from our Father on you and yours as well, Dolly.
Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ 5:43 pm
Great cattle and principle Floyd. I mentioned on Thomas’s comment about how much I liked the sentence you wrote. It’s something we all should really take time to think about and implement, putting more effort into sharing the Gospel/Jesus.
Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ 7:03 pm
Thanks, Dan. I need the reminder as much as anyone. Thanks for the reminder, my friend.
Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 10:04 am
What a lovely and inspirational story. Very touching. The love between the fsther and don, father and daughter and creation of memories.
Yes, we have to defend our title at all cost. God is with us!
Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 3:38 pm
Thanks, Joy. The best gifts we have are the ones that we tend to take for granted. Our most prized title is that of our Savior’s namesake. God is with us indeed!
Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 1:05 pm
Hi Floyd! What a smile-inducing memory for me too now! How fun is that knowing how happy you made your daughter. And you let her glue too!
This reminds me of pine wood derby cars, and cake castles…all those things you make with the kids.
I hope that this will spur me on to be more ‘front and center’ with losing my addiction to pride and being a more sharing, loving person. I don’t have all the answers, even though I sometimes act like I do. And sharing is the way to anyone’s heart. (Including mine…I get happy sharing too!)
May God direct me to be his good witness, and to give him all the glory. Thank you Floyd for this lovely post.
Sunday, May 11, 2014 @ 3:41 pm
I so appreciate your honesty and wisdom, Ceil. You and I are marching the same trail, sister. Your strength to be able to live a transparent life and share in truth is what brings others around, myself included. Blessings to you and your ministry, Ceil. Thanks so much.
Shandra White Harris
Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 7:16 pm
That is Fabulous!
Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 7:23 pm
What a wonderful story! It broke my heart to think you had to throw that away…it was beautiful! How precious that you devote your time and energy to being such a wonderful father. The world needs more men who will stand up and be who God is calling them to be. So thankful to have found your blog. God bless you and your family!
Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 9:56 pm
I’m far from perfect. I guess that one I’d have to give my dad credit for passing on to me… That’s one of the many blessings we get. Thanks, Cheryl. Good to hear from you!
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 6:06 pm
Good to see you again, good to read you again. Feel blessed to be catching up. Gotta do more, but this really caught my attention. Partly, b/c I did something similar for my kids about 35 years ago. You made me grin. Thanks, dear brother. As I said, I DO want to catch up on you and many others since I left home and am back now and trying to read/see/do for my blog friends and “family”. Yep, gotta do it.
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 7:43 pm
Welcome home! I didn’t think you were going to keep up on your blog while you were gone! You never slow down! I get it! Scary huh? We’re a couple of peas in a pod, sister. Glad you made it home safe, Joanne. Great to hear from you!
Thursday, May 15, 2014 @ 8:33 pm
Thanks. You are an encourager! One of these days I’d like to talk to you… health is kicking my tail and my brain. But I’ll keep trying to keep up with everyone.
Friday, May 16, 2014 @ 4:50 pm
You’re doin’ fine! You’re still going a hundred miles an hour!