Preschool training

Confession: All I wanted was to raise kids who were polite and well-mannered; intelligent kids who knew how to think.



They know how to think.

You may well say it was a trifling goal, a sideline aspiration. (Most of mine are.) I agree with you, but I still wouldn’t have chosen this Regan-path for myself. I didn’t want my child to be the one for whom hushed, impromptu parent-teacher conferences must be held in hallways and empty classrooms. I imagined him the head of the class, not the head of the outlaws. I imagined no fuss, no worries, and above all, no punching.

I signed up for a tour of sunny Spain and ended up in northern Saskatchewan, where punching is par for the course. As well as lying, petty theft, time-outs on the playground, and smiling threats on the lives of loved ones.

regan age 5I would like each of my children to be imbued with a large dose of Normalcy. My second son has it in stripes, interspersed with Devilry, Brilliance, Freakishness, and Disconnect.

I receive daily opportunities to lay down my idol of Well-Mannered Kids. (Or it lays down on its own, Dagon-style, smashing face first to the ground.)

I am learning to pray things that won’t be polished and articulate no matter how hard I try. I think when the Holy Spirit translates them to the Father they sound like


Please, please keep my boy.

Please, please sanctify his mother.

And I am learning, painfully, to do this–

open my hands

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Uncle Jim
11 years ago

To have such well-behaved children would be to deny the bloodline that came through the Zooks, Coblentz and Yutzy genes!! You said you want normal Kids? I think you have them. And all that energy will someday turn into something very useful. But I do understand what you are saying.

Shari Zook
11 years ago
Reply to  Uncle Jim

You know, you have a point about bloodlines. 😉

11 years ago

I’m sorry about the unmet expectations, Shari; the open hands are beautiful. Over the weekend I was praying about why at least one in the family is at least somewhat sick almost every day since New Year. God asked me if I want the spiritual cancer of normalcy. (No!)
My plight is minor. ..

11 years ago

Hmm…sounds like you have children like mine. Except for the petty theft. 🙂 I’m slowly learning to give up my expectations for well-mannered children. It has been hard on a mother’s ego – but that maybe needed to die anyway.

“God gives grace to the humble.”

11 years ago
Reply to  Gina

and then there’s children like mine–including the petty theft. Although, I will insert that it was only a gift card stolen –without any balance, from right in front of the cash register. We still returned it, but I couldn’t figure out if the cashier was grateful to the repentant thief, or if she thought the mother was just a little over zealous.

I would say I have the whispered conferences in the hallway, but mine today included emails. Yeah, I said today. Like the one received right before your blog was announced published.

I must need to be humbled more, die to my ego and reputation, or this is my “normal”…

And I have the claim to fame of Zook bloodlines, also! 🙂

11 years ago

Much love and grace to you, my dear friend!

Mothering is such a tough dance.

You do it beautifully.

11 years ago

This I love: “I signed up for a tour of sunny Spain and ended up in northern Saskatchewan.”

The other day I was at school using the copier and trying not to hear the conversation the teacher was having with a parent on the phone about a student getting angry in hockey. I thought, “Oh dear. Poor people.”

That evening I found out the teacher was talking to my husband about our son.

There are a lot of “please, please” prayers happening in our corner too.

Grace to you.

11 years ago
Reply to  Luci

Oh, Luci, your post made me laugh because I could so see that happening here!!

11 years ago

Dear Shari, how my heart goes out to you and how I wish we could sit down together for a long chat. You see, I too am raising Zook children, 7 of them to be exact. I know some of what you speak of. I see, and i understand. May I ever so gently suggest that the same spirits of darkness that try so hard to press you down and overwhelm you would also like to destroy your son. They are seeking to bring havoc and despair. But there is deliverance and freedom. I also know and understand this. We pray for you all! Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to chat sometime. I’d be happy to. Love & blessings to you.

11 years ago

Even though I hold no claim to Zook bloodlines it seems that we have the same unruly children here! I wish for easy and unruffled as well but then I would probably be bored and would not know what to pray for. My prayer is that somehow with this imperfect mother my children would be able to be used of God in all of their imperfections and that somehow we will get through the tumultuous times of fist-fighting and arguing!! Blessings to all you mothers as we all strive to teach our children the ways of God!

11 years ago

“I receive daily opportunities to lay down my idol of Well-Mannered Kids. ” –I need to remember that this is an idol…and what a struggle I have laying it down ;( I want you to know that I so admire you on this journey you are going with your boy…You are a great mom!!! The Zook line!? so that’s my children’s problem that good ole Zook blood line lol

Mama Zook
11 years ago

Shari, your journey has inspired me!! Not that I’m planning to raise any more little Zooks, but I want so much to be able to reassure you that mothering is tough, and I think you’re doing a grand job! And I do believe with my whole heart that Regan is going to do some great things in his lifetime!! and I want to be his greatest cheerleader…yes, I believe in cheerleading…it inspires the players! (Not sure why all those later posts have forgotten about the Coblentz’s and the Yutzy’s that your uncle Jim mentioned)! =)

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