Baking Bread with my Big Boy

I know this articleis going around a lot online (at least in the reformed community) right now, and I’ve heard that people are specifically tweeting, facebooking, and blogging this quote from it:

A friend of mine, a homeschool mom, just passed away of cancer. In the week before she died, I asked her if she had any regrets in her life. She told me she wished she had baked less bread – she said if she had it to do over again she would buy bread and spend more time with her children.

But pardon me, if I may: one thing that I will not say on my death bed is that I wish I would have baked less bread. One of the best memories I can give my child(ren) is the gift of cooking & baking alongside me. (Perhaps that was this woman’s downfall? Shoving her kids aside and separating spending time with her children from doing other work? I don’t know, I can’t say, just reading between the lines in this out-of-context quote. And yes, I did read the entire article: and no, I did not very much like it.) Sharing in work and play and joy together. Learning and talking and laughing. Dumping in fluffy flour, making messes, punching down squishy dough, cleaning the messes & washing the dishes together while listening to music, watching the dough rise and being amazed at how it grows, smelling the deliciousness of baking all the way from the backyard where we took a soccer break, slathering on the butter when the bread was still steaming, and biting into the warm & crunchy goodness. So I just want to offer my perspective here. If there is one thing I am attempting to do more in my motherhood, it is include my child(ren) more in “my” world. If I were to die tomorrow, I would be so incredibly thankful that I have taken the time to (among other things) cook and bake from scratch, and include my child(ren) in the process, because it is life-changing and joy-giving for all of us ~ not because it is part of what will sanctify myself or my children, because the method makes no difference, but because it is such a beautiful opportunity to work together, rejoice together, and share together in some of God’s goodness.

I’ve got photo evidence of my big boy’s bread-baking joy for you. Wish you could hear his glee, feel the freshly ground grain in between your fingers, smell the rich bread, and share a crusty loaf with us. It’s like God’s goodness for all of my senses right here, right now. We’re loving it; and Gabriel especially loves his own little miniature round loaves. πŸ™‚

13 Replies to “Baking Bread with my Big Boy”

  1. I was just wondering if you’d care to comment on this “And yes, I did read the entire article: and no, I did not very much like it.” ? it seems everyone I’ve heard who’s actually read it thought a great deal of it and I’d love to hear more opinions. πŸ™‚

  2. Also, that article has gone ALL over Facebook and I did read it and I had the same impression you did, Melissa. I’m not a “fan” of Josh Harris, necessarily, so it didn’t surprise me that I didn’t care for it. It was pretty typical of his writing – you could sum all of his ramblings up in about one paragraph and condense it down to “be sure your goal and heart is that your children know Jesus and set a Christlike example in your home, behind closed doors.”

    I am also turned off by all the “dangers of home schooling” articles that float around, when we rarely, if ever, get to hear the dangers of sending your kids to public school. If you even mention it you’re told you’re judgmental, self righteous and legalistic.
    Its sad.

    When I read the blurb he wrote about the homeschooling mom regretting her time making bread, I had the same thought you did (and I don’t even make bread!). Why didn’t she include her children in kitchen time? That’s not a fault with baking or providing for your family, its a fault she personally fell into. Homeschooling isn’t about text books and good grades – its about doing learning (all learning) AT HOME. The purpose is for us to be engaging as a whole family, as much as possible. I still do this or that by myself (and find no guilt in it whatsoever) but for the main part of my day, I am with my kids, learning with them. I kind of thought that was the whole point.


  3. Laura ~ I will just respond in a short comment because I am not a big fan of debates, and certainly wouldn’t want to spark one here on this topic. πŸ™‚ In short, while I appreciated the author’s humility and candor and desire to pass on to others what he learned from his own mistakes, it seems like some of his presuppositions may be confused. His points were not necessarily bad ones at all, as there is some good wisdom in a large amount of what he wrote. But I don’t think his experiences were stemming from the isolated fact that he homeschooled his children: I think it was the parenting in general that was flawed. It is not the site of the school but the state of the heart that is the issue. It is reasonable to assume that he would have had the same harvest, even if he had sown his children into Christian day-school. I understand that the article was written for a homeschooling magazine by a homeschooling father, so that’s why he would have been writing with the strong emphasis on homeschooling: but I still think it would be extremely pertinent to point to Christian parenthood in general, and not veer off the edge of isolating the method behind the schooling. There are flaws (very, very similar ones, in fact!) with both methods (public schooling being a completely separate issue which I won’t even deign to touch here). Which is why methods are not the point: principles are. The heart is the issue, and sin is the problem ~ no matter where and how educating is accomplished.

    Stef ~ I really like what you said about the article. Spot on. (And just so you know, Josh Harris didn’t write the article; he simply reposted it, while it was written by a man named Reb Bradley.) You and I obviously think similarly about parenting, motherhood, and homeschooling ~ being with my kids, learning alongside one another, and seeking for all of us to grow in unity & godliness while humbly endeavoring to overcome stumbling blocks as they surface.

  4. ah, thanks for the clarification! That makes more sense. I read his book Boy Meets Girl and really liked it and when I saw this article I kept thinking “this doesn’t seem written in Josh Harris form.”


  5. if i may interject…i think the point was that this woman was lamenting the things she did as a parent to impress others, to look and feel superior, or to uphold an exterior standard of “good motherhood” that was being imposed on her by her social circle. our pastor had a fantastic sermon on this this morning in fact…not on the topic of breadmaking or homeschooling, but the topic of wanting all Christians to look like us because, we reason with ourselves, that “real” love for Christ would “obviously” work its way out in looking JUST like US! we have a hard time seeing that someone else has another way (maybe even a store bought way!) that is very different from ours but is just as much loving Jesus, and loving their child(ren). we all have things that we’re good at, things that we love, things that we find deep meaning in, and sometimes we try to make a claim that ALL Christians should do more of what WE do in order to be TRULY Christ-like. maybe we pray a hours at a time and think others, if they were truly mature, would pray as much as we do. maybe we love reading Scripture in it’s original languages and we secretly think that anyone who isn’t interested in the Greek Byzantine text must not love Jesus as much. maybe we are great at evangelizing to strangers or forging deep relationships with our neighbors or taking in the orphan or helping the widows and elderly and we point to verses that support our passion and scold or scoff at those who have a harder time with that and we say in our hearts that we are a better Christian. instead of clinging to Christ for our goodness and letting that overflow to our children in WHATEVER way God has wired us individually to do that. there is no fault found in the bread-making, but in the competitive “i’m a better mom than you because i ______” attitude, which makes other moms (like the one quoted) cower with guilt, then scamper to reach the pharisaical standards and then still never feel good-enough. every mom needs to decide for herself what her priorities are, under Christ’s headship and her husband’s headship, and not the headship of popular opinion in her social circle. after i post this, i’ll follow your link and see if this was the same one i read. it’s not by joshua harris, he reposted an abridged version of it. (and “hi!”, by the way. i got your email too late; we were already home. i’m sorry i didn’t call more than once. we’ll be back again at Christmas…hope we can connect then! we’ll do a cookie exchange…you with your homemade ones and me with my store-bought ones!;)

  6. I knew you’d comment on this one eventually. πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with your perspective on what the woman was saying, and like I said in a previous response to an above comment (while, again, not wanting to encourage debate here…), my hangup is that it seems taken out of context for the article’s purpose. I have no problem with her saying that she was pursuing wrong methods because of her heart attitude, and regretted it: like I said, methods are not the issue. Principles ~ the heart! ~ are the issue. And hammering on homeschooling (merely a method) is not the point.
    I do hope we can connect at Christmas; we’d love to have you up to our new place. πŸ™‚

  7. And the look on Gabriel’s face shows just how wonderful it is to include him in all your daily activities! πŸ™‚

    I think you are spot on… it’s all a matter of the heart and principles. Homeschooling really isn’t what the problem is there. (It’s not even an article about homeschooling, IMO)

  8. yes, i love that you include gabriel in bread making. i did that for awhile too. now we play at the beach in the sand, or at the park and playground or at kids’ museum with the hands-on learning stuff. still learning with mom, different medium, and usually with other moms and kids around. and this mom needs relationships. just how i’m wired.

    i’ll tell you when we buy our plane tickets what days we’re coming and we’ll be SURE to connect this time.

  9. i just re-read your response and want to say amen! yes, methods are not the point. and the heart issue that i was mostly raising was that of certain circles that want to elevate methods, (specifically homemade bread, homemade gifts, homemade toothpaste and laundry soap and diapers, a VERY specific type of worship, a VERY specific kind of hospitality, a specific method of preaching, of communion, of manners and etiquette and on and on and on …) to say they are more godly, more superior than others. and honestly, CREC circles have a huge tendency toward this. thinking we have the “superior” way of doing things puts an unfair burden on those around us. so my point was not the heart issue of this poor woman. yes, she was believing lies. she was believing the lies that others were speaking to her. are not both parties accountable?

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