Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Aiding A Boy's Life by Karen Andreola

Aiding A Boy's Life

This is a girly blog. (Do you like how my son upgraded the design for me?) Girly, yes, but daily I am reminded that there is a male side of life. You see, I am the only female in the house at present. My married daughters are also the only females in their households.

Sophia and her boys

When we get together we talk freely about trivialities – the same trivialities that we stop short of waxing elegantly about in the presence of our husbands. The menfolk are good listeners – but we’ve taken on new house manners. We’ve learned that it is impolite and unprofitable to chatter about more trivial details than our patient husbands can comfortably endure.

Sometimes, however, the Lady-of-the-House forgets her manners.

“Green is fine. If you like it,” the Man-of-the-House replies cheerfully when his opinion is solicited.  

“I don’t mean that green,” the Lady-of-House says, snatching away the color chart he holds in his hand, replacing it with another. She chatters on, “More of a soft celery, I think. Like this one. On this paint chart. It isn’t so muddy that it looks army green. And it isn’t mixed with blue that it hints of robin’s egg. It’s only a teeny-tiny bit yellow-er, I suppose, than crayon-green. And much, much paler. D’you see?” The Lady-of-the-House points to the paint chart with a satisfying decisiveness that finally puts an end to her soliloquy on which green should be painted on the window trim of the parlor.  

“Yeah, green. Looks good,” the Man-of-the-House confirms, suppressing a sigh. He nods (bows out, really) and passes her back the paint chart until he is needed further.

Dean & Nigel and the Memphis Belle!

When important matters arise, my daughters and I, in voices lowered to a hush, talk over the telephone. Since we live apart it is rare that all three of us are together in a room. But when this occurs we are instantly verbose about trivialities. Like a cackle of geese we go on and on. The topic might be curtains – ruffles or no ruffles or maybe bobbles, paint colors – on trim or accent wall, flowers in the garden, something we are hand-stitching for Christmas, a new recipe that was eagerly consumed the week prior by our menfolk, or who had a baby and what color hair it has and how round its cheeks are already, etc.

My son, now a young man, still prefers the topic of  science. I remember washing dishes with a listening ear to the things that he was inclined to talk about - by spontaneous outburst – when he was a growing boy - even if I only responded with, “How interesting.” The topic might be sharks, dinosaurs, dirt biking, the tallest building in the world, the fastest car, the most poisonous octopus, or the useful properties of an element from the periodic table. He brings up similar topics today - add computer lingo. 

Nigel in Maine

Then, there are the important topics - the golden nuggets necessary for good living. These seldom pop up in everyday conversation (unless you have the perfect timing of Andy from Mayberry). And yet, wisdom rooted in the Word and the character it inspires make valuable conversation in a boy’s life. In his books, author Bob Schultz talks about topics from a male point of view. He sets before a boy’s mind and heart, the abstract truths of becoming other-oriented, strong-in-spirit, active, observant, appreciative, faithful, just, industrious - and as I see it from my female point-of-view - gentlemanly.

My husband Dean Andreola highly recommends Bob Schultz’s three books. He reviews two here.

Dean Writes:

Boyhood and Beyond helps build “manly backbone” into growing boys. I searched for years for a book that would be as helpful for boys as Karen’s special edition of Beautiful Girlhood has been for girls.

The late Bob Schultz was a home school dad, loving husband and a carpenter by trade.  He has a friendly writing style and the heart of a mentor. His story illustrations will help your boys glean wisdom and common sense from each of the short chapters. Topics such as: authority, inventiveness, and honesty are covered along with meaty issues such as overcoming fear, laziness, and temptation. He even teaches boys how to love and protect their sisters!

Boys will benefit from this fatherly advice that encourages them to become the men God wants them to be: men of honor, courage and faith. I read this book to my son, Nigel, in his boyhood, and used the questions at the end of each chapter for discussion. Consider it a faithful companion for boys on the road to true manhood.  (For ages 10 -17, illustrated.) 

How fast are you growing? - grandsons.

Dean also Writes:

The late Bob Schultz hit another home run with his “Wisdom from the Woodshop” in Practical Happiness. This book is for teens to young adults. I was sent the manuscript prior to publication and was asked to share some thoughts for the back cover. Here are some of those thoughts:

Modern media teaches young men to think they will obtain happiness when they find the ever-fleeting pot of gold. What they often find instead is a life of filled with disappointment. Rare indeed is the young man who learns early in life how to mine the heart of God for true happiness.

In Practical Happiness Bob once again employs short captivating stories crafted to guide young men toward a life of contentment, even in our pressure cooker world. Your sons will learn that happiness is not found merely in what they have, where they go, or what exciting thing they can afford to do next, but rather in their attitude and response to life especially when “things aren't going their way”.

Behind their brave independent exteriors young men are searching for answers. Without a guide how will they find the path that leads to inner joy and lasting contentment?

Bob Schultz addresses:

What is success?

Will I be able to provide for myself (and my own family) when I leave the protection of my parents and strike out on my own? 

How do I handle personal failure?

How should I respond when others let me down?

Can I find happiness in a world full of sorrow and uncertainty?

True happiness is a precious gift from God available to all who learn to hear His voice and obey His calling. Practical Happiness will light a fire in the hearts of young men drawing them closer to a life of personal fulfillment as they draw closer to God.

Are you interested in Boyhood and Beyond or Practical Happiness?
A click on a book title will take you to Amazon.

Created for Work is another highly recommended title by Bob Schultz

The Lavender Strawberry Kit &
The Parents' Review are now available via PayPal shopping cart.

See my products page.

Thank you for visiting,

Karen Andreola


  1. Your grandsons are so sweet in their matching outfits.

    Do you and your daughters use Goggle Hangout, FaceTime, or Skype? The three of you can be on one "conference" call together using free video.

    Thank you for sharing your reviews, Dean. I've read "Created for Work" but not the others. Unfortunately my son is nearly grown and out of the house.

  2. Hi Karen, your new blog look is wonderful. So many beautiful fall colors in it. I find myself wishing at times I could have another try at raising my kiddos. Is that normal? Your truths and ideas sounds so wonderful. I would have liked to have applied some of your ideas and those of Miss Mason's to their upbringing. Not that my children turned out less than I wish them to be, they're good children and I'm very proud of each of them , but they have and do struggle much in life. Circumstances were not always favorable in our home when they were children.....there were struggles there as well. Even so , struggles are a reality in life as I still face them almost daily, but I have also learned in my life that those very hard struggles is what has made me stronger. And God always make those times work out for our good somehow! For that ....I'm so thankful to him. I guess I find it easy to share my heart here, I'm afraid I'm gone on to much :) Blessings friend

  3. I find myself more and more in a boys world as Kyle gets older. I am thankful for my husband who works with him and encourages him to work hard, to think of others, to care for his sisters, to be a gentleman in behavior.

    I am thankful for a few girls still in the house, and a weekly visit from my married daughter.

    I love your new blog look!


  4. Karen,

    Patchwork is one of my favorite things, so I think the new look is wonderful. I loved the previous look, also. Your blog gives such a sense of calm and comfort - the way you write, the photographs, the pictures. I just LOVE it all.

    We have been reading Boyhood and Beyond in our family and find it a treasure. May I add that our young teen girls are listening as their dad reads each evening. We believe the godly character traits presented in the book will make an impression on them as they wait on the Lord and pray for their future spouse. My girls read Beautiful Girlhood and their Sunday School class used it for a Bible study, also. It is a lovely book for girls.

    I want to thank you again for answering the e-mails I sent you regarding literature and writing in high school. We have taken your suggestions, put them into practice, and we are seeing wonderful results.

    Enjoy your autumn days,


  5. I'm glad you feel comfortable to share here, personally. Since you do, I'll share, too.

    I was reading through a copy of the boy scout manual (1966) and the girl scout manual (1933) recently from our home library. Each has a flavor and an aim to the writing that has supplied me with points of interest for my Sunday school class (on child training for moms.) As I was reading I felt a pang. I thought, "Why didn't I teach my children this and that? Why didn't I read some of these excellent pages aloud? These things are good to know." My plate was full and our lives were full, during those growing years. I was teaching my children other things good to know.

    We parents work diligently to knit a kind of "net" of knowledge. The net is a tough rope - although it does have holes. Like a hammock supports a resting person, the net is strong enough to support our children in adult life. They must fill in the holes themselves as they go forth and live their lives. This is how I see it. Perhaps I'll round this out for a post.

    Thank you tenderhearted blog friends.

    Karen A.

  6. Karen, I really agree with your analogy that our homeschooling years knit a "net" of knowledge for our kids. It should be a reassuring picture to all ages of homeschooling parents.
    blessings on you and yours.
    Sue R.

  7. Hi Karen, thanks so much for these recommendations! I am the only woman in my house, too, and I can't quite get inside the mind of my 3 little boys...or my husband, however much I might try:) I'll tag these books for future purchase.

  8. Hello, Karen! Isn't it fun to watch them grow? A favorite conversation that has been repeated many times over the years with all the children in my life goes something like this: "Look, Mom (or Aunt Sue)," they say as the sidle up to me and measure their height against mine. "I'm almost taller than you!" they say as they slide their hand over to the tip of my sternum, or to my shoulder, or to the tip of my chin, or to my eyebrows..... "Oh, look how much you've grown!" I say. Recently, my 12 year old niece and I repeated this very conversation. She is now up to my eyes. Her optimism is more realistic at this point than ever before!


  9. So - are you getting ready to paint? :) In my painting this summer I painted my laundry room a shade of green and the hall/room outside it a complimentary green. I LOVE them. I was painting my dining room a shade of Williamsburg blue when I listened to "Mother Culture" repeatedly. :)

  10. I am the only womanly presence in my home as well! My mother lives many hours away and we 'save up' domestic issues to discuss over the phone or web chat. I was the only daughter (and oldest child) so my mom and I have a unique sort of bond that comes from being female in a sea of mannish glory... I wouldn't have it any other way! It makes those 'trivialities' that much more precious. And I dare say I learned to appreciate a gentlemen's view of things as well, which has been a wonderful blessing in marriage.
    Thank you for sharing!

  11. Good morning Karen! Your post made me smile! I tend to want to chatter away about home making details. Thankfully, Elissa is still at home. :-)

    Did you decide on a green color? We need to get together before winter hits!

    Your grandsons are adorable! :-)

  12. Love your new bloggy look, Karen! You had me chuckling when you referred to the cackle of geese... :P HAHA! :)

  13. Thank you for your post about boys. As a mother of four young boys I greatly appreciate all the help I can get! My husband has been reading the Created for Work book with our oldest son. It has greatly helped him with his attitude when asked to help around the house. I will be looking into Mr. Schultz' other books soon! At times I wish there was another female around who could delight with me when I find a new variety of tea. ;) But for now I will enjoy the conversations with my sons that wrap around legos and dinosaurs.