Don’t forget

Over the last couple of weeks my husband and I have been watching Band of Brothers. It is a second world war series that my my brother-in-law lent it to us, saying he thought we would enjoy it; I was sceptical. War movies are not generally my favourite, and this one looked like it might even be black and white (the horror – I cannot watch such desaturated entertainment!). However I agreed to give it a try, and to my and my husband’s surprise I was hooked.  Wow.  What a powerful movie.

In my school years I detested history, and when I started home-education I was allowed to drop the subject, much to my relief. I appreciate my parents’ respect for my personal interests, and now I am older I find I am increasingly self-motivated to learn all I can. Watching Band of Brothers coincided with an Open University course I am doing, the current topic of which is war poetry, so the timing was particularly good for me. I soaked up the history of the war, as told through the eyes of the courageous men who fought in it.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Band of Brothers follows the story of the US paratrooper unit ‘Easy Company’, from their drop behind enemy lines on D-Day to their capture of  the ‘Eagles Nest’ and the end of the war. Directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this is predictably an excellent series. I would warn those who watch it that the language is very excessive, and there is, unfortunately, one sex scene that we skipped. Being a war film it also has some pretty shocking violence, although this is not as bad as it could have been. Despite these aspects though, I thoroughly recommend the movie. It is a deeply moving true story of men who willingly volunteered their lives – even to the point of death – and gave everything they had to do what they believed was right. That is worth watching.

The last disc of the series has a commentary and other extras which are also very interesting to watch, including comments from several Easy Company veterans. Again, this section is moving as you see the men cry for their friends and recall horrors of battle that I cannot imagine having had to live through. But there was one line that stood out to me more than any other. At the end of ‘The Making Of’ section one of the actors who plays an Easy Company soldier makes this comment:

These guys lived hell for years, for the betterment of the world. Doing a movie like this is hopefully a small shred… a sliver… of a thank you. And a little piece of information that we can pass along to other people, and go, “Don’t forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and these guys did it so that you don’t have to.”

When I heard this, I was stuck to the core. Certainly after watching this movie I won’t forget what they did, and I do hold them in high esteem. I think there is not a person in the world who could watch and understand what Easy Company did and not regard them as heroes. And yet, they can’t hold a candle to Christ. What they did – mind-blowing as it was – is nothing compared to what Jesus has done.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly did go through hell – for the betterment of the world.  He did it not just for His friends but also His enemies. He took upon himself the sins of the entire world, even though the world scorned Him. He died in the ultimate battle for the salvation of our souls. And glory to God, He rose again and conquered!

Let us share this good news with the people in our lives, and tell them of the greatest hero who ever lived – and lives still today!

And let us not forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and Jesus did it so that you don’t have to.

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Ten ways to say ‘I love you’

Having a family is a beautiful gift. I am daily overwhelmed by the blessings God has chosen to give me!  Today I want to encourage us to remember to tell our husband and children how special they are to us.  Here are ten simple ways I thought of…

  1. Leave a note in a packed lunch.  Thank your husband for supporting your family. Tell a child you are praying for them today. Draw and colour a heart for your toddler.
  2. Plan and prepare a special meal.  It could be your husband’s favourite dish, a picnic on the dining room floor, or a themed dinner with decorations.
  3. Take time to join in a favourite activity.  Suggest an evening of computer games to your husband. Ask your children if they want to play hide and seek. Say ‘yes’ without hesitation if asked to join a family member in something they are doing.
  4. Say it. Say ‘I love you’ when your husband leaves and when he come home. Say ‘I love you’ when your kids wake up and when they go to sleep. Say ‘I love you’ at random times through the day. And when you say it, say it whole-heartedly.
  5. Go on a date.  Find a babysitter and take your husband out to the movies. Treat each child to a special one-on-one time at the park, McDonald’s, or Dairy Queen.
  6. Honour a person for a day.  Choose one family member and put and pictures of them around the house, leave encouraging messages for them on the fridge, pray over them at meal time. The next day/week/month choose a different member to honour.
  7. Be understanding.  If your husband comes home exhausted, offer him a hot bath and the remote control instead of expecting him to help with the kids. If a child is disappointed over something you consider insignificant, make the effort to see things from their perspective and offer support rather than simply dismissing the issue or disciplining unfeelingly.
  8. Save treats for your family.  If you make brownies for the neighbours, save some for your husband and children. If you knit blankets for charity, knit one for your family too. Don’t offer to others what you are not offering to your husband and kids.
  9. Create a family night.  Whether regular or a one-off, choose a night to devote to your family. Watch a movie with popcorn. Have a board game marathon. Tell funny stories. Eat homemade snacks.
  10. Serve with joy.  Sing while you wash dishes. Smile when you serve up lunch. Mention things you are thankful for instead of things that frustrate you.

What can you add to this list?

Above all else

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Colossians 3:12-14

As I go through my journey as a mother, seeking to “write on the door posts” in the lives on my children, I find countless important life lessons I need to teach them. When they were babies my responsibility lay in showing them care and love, and providing them with a stable family life. As they grew I began to teach them how to interact with others. As they get older still I explain to them the value of sharing, the importance of humility, how to forgive and be forgiven. In any one day I might take opportunities to teach everything from how to put their shirts on the right way around, to the meaning of faith.

With so many things to teach my children, it can sometimes be easy to lose focus of what is most important. In Colossians 3 Paul lists many things that are valuable for us to strive for – tender mercies, kindness, forgiveness. But he highlights that there is one thing that has greater value than all the others: love.

Above all, we must teach our children to love.

Love, Jesus tells us, is the fulfillment of the law. Love sums up the law and prophets. Love covers over a multitude of sins. The greatest commandments are to love God with everything we have, and to love others as we love ourselves. If I could teach only one thing to my children, it would be to love God with their whole hearts, souls and minds, because all good things flow from this.

Day to day it can be difficult to keep this priority in mind. Satan, I am sure, takes every opportunity to place distractions in our way and make us see them as so pressing and important that we forget to teach the our children about love. As a homeschooling mother I feel the pressure of the world to provide a good education for my children. Education and careers are extraordinarily highly valued in our society. Whilst I agree it is valuable to be well educated and able to earn a living, it is not the epitome of success. True success lies in love; in accepting the love of God, and returning it to Him and to others.

May we all, as parents, teach our children the ultimate lesson of love – above all else.

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