Thursday, May 19, 2011

Soaring on Paper Wings!

Wednesday night marked the end of the year for our RA group at church.  It has been a great year with some great kids.  We will pick back up in a couple of months when school starts back and we are already planning on expanding our program to include more outdoor activities that encourage the boys to participate in different projects.  We try to make it fun for them, but we also require them to do the work.  One of the things that I think that we do well is reward the kids that put forth the effort.  For example, this little glider that you see here was built by Reid and me.  He got to build this because he completed his Missions folder for the year and also completed his requirements for his Athletic patch that is placed on his chart in the RA room.  To complete the Athletic patch requirements, he had to do 200 push ups, sit ups and leg raises.  The boys have all year to get this done.  They can come in and do 10 or 20 a week of each one and eventually get to 200.  Out of Reid's age group, we had 4 boys complete both their folder and receive their athletic patch.  That meant that 4 boys got a chance to put together a glider and fly them on the last Wednesday of RA's.

These little gliders can be found in a kit by White Wings.  The wings are cut out and glued together and then glued onto the body of the plane.  This was our first attempt at building one of these planes and we really did not have any directions to go by, as our Sr. RA leader provided the materials but couldn't find copies of the instructions.  I tried to build it strong with some extra glue as I figured some mighty big crash landings were in this little plane's foreseeable future.  We flew it in the yard a few times and I told Reid not to expect too much.  I could throw it about 30 or 40 feet, but it was definitely not gliding gracefully.  I was curious as to what it would do once it was placed on a rubber band launcher.  You can see the hook on the bottom of the plane where the band can be attached for launch.  We loaded up the little plane and hoped for the best.

When we got to church the first thing Mr. Larry (Sr. RA leader) said to us was that we had our wings glued on backwards.  Well there was no changing that now and I told him that my good buddy Hal would be arriving with the same problem.  He brought his son's plane over to compare to Reid's to see how to put it together.  We ended up with only 3 planes to fly and two of them had backwards wings.  This was not looking good.  It got worse for one kid!

The competition for "Plane of the Year" was simple.  All planes would be measured for distance flown and time in flight.  Records would be kept and the name of the winner would be displayed on the records board for the next year.  Our fist contestant gave his plane to Mr. Larry to launch from the rubber band launcher.  As Larry let the plane fly, the plane's tail wing caught on the launching stick and broke the plane in half.  The kid had glued his tail wings to the bottom of the plane body instead of the top.  The kid was crushed and Mr. Larry spent the next few minutes trying to complete a patch job (or a small miracle).  He gave me the launcher and Hal took the measuring tape.

I took Reid's little plane in hand and gave the rubber band a mighty pull.  The plane ducked and dived to respectable 67 feet.  We hooked up the next plane and it flew pretty close to the same distance.  I kept launching the little planes at different angles trying to get that one great flight.  We got  up to around 100ft, but we were only getting about 8 seconds of flight time.  Mr. Larry returned with the patched up plane and saw the troubles we were having.  He showed me a few little tweaks for the wings and I loaded up the next glider.  Off she went and set sail.  We got her out to 150 feet and had her in the air for about 18 seconds.  The kids were going nuts.  I took Reid's glider in hand and made the same little adjustments to the wings.  When I shot it into the air I knew we were going to be tough to beat.  It flew straight up into the air and started gliding down in a straight line path riding the wind as it went.  The final tally of that one flight was 177 feet and an air time of 22 seconds.  Reid won "The Plane of the Year"!  His glider will be displayed all year in the RA room as a reminder of his accomplishment.  Just imagine what we could have done if his wings were actually on the plane the correct way!!

I like stuff like this.  This was a simple little project that Reid and I could share together and have some fun doing.  I just ordered us a glider making kit so that we can continue to have some fun this summer.  I found it at under White Wing Gliders.  It was only $19.00 but I can guarantee you that we will get more than $19 worth of fun out of it.

RA's has been good for Reid this year.  It has been good for me also.  We have learned to tie knots, race Pinewood Derby cars and fly gliders, but we have also learned about being good missionaries for God and what it means to be graceful, thankful, good Christian young men.  Mr. Larry has been teaching these boys for several years and I am glad that I was able to come back on board after a few years off.  I found that I have missed seeing the boys each week and trying to make a difference in their Christian lives.  I hope that they will take what we are trying to teach them each week and learn to soar higher than these paper airplanes.  They all have so much potential to accomplish whatever God has laid out before them.  I just hope that we have given them enough to see that if they keep Jesus in their life and put him first, anything is possible. 

Even a record setting paper glider with backward wings!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Summertime means busy time!

It is hard to believe, but school is about to be out for the summer.  It seems like just yesterday that this picture was taken as we started our first day of Pre-K and First grade.  Time really does fly by.

I was talking to my good friend Hal Wiley the other day and he made the comment about how busy our kids are these days.  I have to agree with him as I look at the calendar and see just what my kids have scheduled for the next month.  It is going to be a busy summer.  Here's what I mean...

We will be missing the last day of school next week as we travel to Florida to board the Disney Dream boat and cruise with Mickey Mouse for a few days.  We return home on Memorial Day.  Mia will then have a busy week making the final preparations for her year ending dance recital on Saturday June 4th.  The next week my little girl will attend "Arts" camp which is hosted by the local Fitzgerald Arts council.  She will get to do all kinds of artsy stuff, which is right up her ally.  The next week she will attend Cheer camp at our local high school and learn some new cheers that she will perform at a football game in the fall.  She will also have children's church activities that will last all through the summer months, as well as a week of Vacation Bible School.

Don't think we are leaving Reid out!  He will attend baseball camp at a nearby local college for a week and then attend soccer camp the week after.  He will also have children's church activities and a week of Vacation Bible School.  This will get us through June!!!  Who knows what the other two months will bring!!

I don't remember being that busy as a kid.  I'm sure that I was, but it seems to me that I spent more time playing in the neighbor's back yard than I did attending an organized day camp or activity.  Times are different now.  When did we change and become parents and children who have to be constantly entertained?  I'm sure that we all want the best for our kids but I'm scared that we are creating a society of young people that expect to be catered to and entertained at all times.  I know my son is that way.  He wants someone to play with him at ALL times.  He will drive you nuts until you give in and entertain him.  My daughter on the other hand is a little better in the fact that she will entertain herself.  She can spend hours drawing or pretending with her dolls.  She is able to make herself happy.  I wish her brother would follow suit!

I want my kids to have a great summer!  I want them to have great memories of their childhood!  I want them to have things to do!  But I also want them to be able to have fun without all the fluff.  I want them to have fun spending the day playing ball in the yard or running through the sprinkler.  I want them to have fun catching crickets and fishing in the back yard.  I want them to have fun riding their bikes and catching fireflies.  That's what summer is all about!  Having fun!!  No homework, no school, no worries!!  It doesn't always have to be a camp or a planned activity everyday!  Summer can be whatever you make it!  I hope you make it fun!

It's going to be a busy summer!  I'm ready!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Daddy, is singing in the choir cool????

My baseball playing son asked me this on the same day that he participated in our church's children's musical.  He sang all the songs and did all of the moves and even had a couple of lines that he had to recite.  He did them all very well and we were so proud of him.  As his father I can say that I was just as proud of him as I would have been if he had hit a home run in his last baseball game.  I wish more fathers would feel the same way.

Reid is 8 years old and only one of 4 boys that participated in the musical yesterday.  Two of the boys belong to our church pianist and the other is in our RA group.  There are more than 4 boys in our church.  We average 25 in RA's on Wednesday nights.  Why did they not participate?  Somewhere along the way they decided that music wasn't cool and that singing in the choir might make them a sissy.  I know this because Reid has told me that some of his friends have told him that.  His interest in music has seemed to diminish this year as he is feeling his first effects of peer pressure.  Now I have no problem if a child decides that performing in front of a crowd is just not for them, but I do have an issue with a parent that tells their son that he will be a sissy for performing in a children's musical.  Why not encourage your son to do whatever he likes?

I will be the first to tell you that I would rather Reid play sports than dress up and sing show tunes, but I will also say that I hope that Reid will always find room for music in his life.  I know that as little boys get older they will generally make a decision about the path that they will follow.  Society seems to steer them down one of only two paths.  Sports or music and arts.  Very seldom do they do both.  I wish that would change.

I considered myself an athlete first.  Ball practice and outdoor events came before singing, but I always made time for the talents that I was given.  My church had a children's choir and was the place where I found my voice.  I sang my first church solo at the age of 5.  I continued to sing and have not stopped singing since.  I even sang in high school often going from ball practice to choir practice and back to ball practice again.  Was I a sissy??  Far from it.  I was an athlete that happened to be able to sing and enjoyed doing both.  Some would say that it takes a bigger man to perform with his voice than with his ball and glove.  I also found out that the older I got, the less that sports really mattered.  People are not impressed that I once went 5 for 5 in a state playoff game, but they sure do ask me to sing a lot!

So Reid, is singing in the choir cool?  Your Dad thinks so.  Matter of fact, I think that anything you enjoy doing is cool as long as you honor God and your family while doing it.  If you want to sing, then sing loud!  If you want to play ball, then play hard!  If you want to do both, then do both! 

I promise that it will be very cool!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Challenge #3- "Amaze Me!"

The definition of amazing is as follows- causing great surprise or sudden wonder; astonish greatly; to bewilder or perplex

The third leg of the Duckman's challenges was for me to "amaze" him with something.  I have already filmed a video of my son catching a 4 pound bass and filmed a video of me chipping a golf ball into a bucket from 50 feet for challenges number 1 and 2, but this challenge is a bit different.  You see there are a number of things in this life that I find amazing and I'm not sure that I can choose just one or even have the chance to film one of these events or take a picture.  What I thought I would do is list a few of the things that astonish, surprise, perplex or bewilder me on a daily basis.  My hope is that the Duckman will be "amazed" in my efforts to point out to all of you the wonderful things that astonish me in my little world and grant me a passing grade in Challenge #3!

I'm amazed that....

...Jesus Christ is my savior and that he forgives me for my many sins!  He has a home for me in his kingdom!
...I am a father to two of the most beautiful children in this world.  I'm not kidding!  My wife and I made good looking kids!
...God has chosen to bless me!  I have a great family, a great job, and great friends.
...most anything can be accomplished with a little hard work and a lot of great attitude!
...more people do not understand the previous statement!!!
...I have customers who trust me to help them with their financial needs.
...I have to opportunity to live and work in my hometown in which I grew up.
...this year marks my 20 year high school reunion.
...time flies by so fast!

I'm amazed that... daughter can use her imagination and draw the prettiest pictures. son still lets me kiss him goodnight. dog seems to understand what I am telling her most of the time.
...I receive so much pleasure from doing yard work!
...a mighty oak tree starts from such small beginnings.
...sitting in a deer stand can be so peaceful.
...hearing a turkey gobble can boil my blood.
...every dove shoot makes me think of my Grand Daddy. for the boys makes me so happy.

I'm amazed that... hyper active son will sit down and watch the Braves with me.
...someone would cover a beautiful piece of furniture with paint (3 layers).
...I enjoy taking those layers of paint off to find what beauty lies underneath.
...people spend more time worrying about things and less time doing something about them.
...some people would rather focus on the negative than the positive.
...I remember so much about my childhood and how fond those memories are.
...I have the opportunity to work with good people. son can tie more knots than I can. Mama knows how to text!

I'm amazed that... wife has such artistic talents.
...I was given a voice in which to sing with.
...I enjoy a good book.
...I get out of bed everyday with something to look forward to.

...I have been writing a blog for over a year.
...people actually read it.
...I have formed such a good friendship with someone I have never actually met!
...I really am a very lucky person! is really so short.

I'm amazed that... parents were able to pick themselves up and continue on with life after loosing a daughter and just how much I still miss my sister to this day!

So there you have it Duckman.  I could go on and on but i think you get the point.  I consider myself a blessed man and i know how lucky I am to have such wonderful things in my life.  I hope you are amazed!

I know I am!!!