Quote of the Week:

"He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." (Jim Elliot)

Drop me a line if you want to be notified of new posts to SiTG:

My site was nominated for Best Parenting Blog!
My site was nominated for Hottest Daddy Blogger!

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Woodlief. Make your own badge here.

The Best of Sand:

The Blog
Greatest Hits
DVD Reviews
Faith and Life
Judo Chops
The Literate Life
News by Osmosis
The Problem with Libertarians
Snapshots of Life
The Sermons

Creative Commons License
All work on this site and its subdirectories is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Search the Site:

Me Out There:

Free Christmas
Don't Suffer the Little Children
Boys to Men
A Father's Dream
WORLD webzine posts

Not Non-Fiction
The Grace I Know
Coming Apart
My Christmas Story

The Craft:

CCM Magazine
Charis Connection
Faith in Fiction
Grassroots Music

Favorite Journals:

Atlantic Monthly
Doorknobs & Bodypaint
Image Journal
Infuze Magazine
Missouri Review
New Pantagruel
Southern Review

Blogs I Dig:

Education & Edification:

Arts & Letters Daily
Bill of Rights Institute
Junk Science
U.S. Constitution

It's good to be open-minded. It's better to be right:

Stand Athwart History
WSJ Opinion


Home School Legal Defense
Institute for Justice
Local Pregnancy Crisis
Mission Aviation
Prison Ministries
Russian Seminary
Unmet Needs


Cox & Forkum
Day by Day

Donors Hall of Fame

Susanna Cornett
Joe Drbohlav
Anthony Farella
Amanda Frazier
Michael Heaney
Don Howard
Laurence Simon
The Timekeeper
Rob Long
Paul Seyferth

My Amazon.com Wish List

Add to Technorati Favorites

October 16, 2007
Gentle Monster-Killer

As I step out the door with Eli Saturday for our weekly trip to his violin instructor, he has his little violin case slung over one shoulder, and his sighted underlever cocking cowboy rifle over the other. In his hands he clutches an apple and a granola bar. He sits directly behind me in my truck. He crunches his apple and his granola bar.

We are comfortable with each other, Eli and me. Sometimes on these drives he has a lot to say, other times he is quiet. Today he is content to crunch and swallow, crunch and swallow. I am content to listen to him. I don't understand the feeling of completeness that washes over me when I hear my children eat, or when I lean over them in their sleep and listen to them breathe.

We are waiting at a stoplight now, at a busy intersection, and suddenly Eli stops crunching. I hear him pick up his rifle, cock it, and fire. One shot: clack. He puts the rifle down. He resumes crunching.

"What did you shoot, little man?"


"Oh." I look to our right and see an advertisement for the Halloween stores that are ubiquitous in low-rent storefront space this time of year. He just took out their giant poster of a mournful Frankenstein's monster. I think the monster probably appreciated it.

"You just needed the one shot?"

"Yep." crunch crunch crunch

We drive on our way. Eli is an observant boy. I suspect he saw that poster the last time we drove this way, and made a mental note to bring his shooting iron next time. And that's the thing about Eli — there's no bluster beforehand, no bragging afterward; he just brings his rifle, takes one shot to get the job done, and goes back to his apple, gentle as ever.

As I drive, I think about how I want to be like Eli when I grow up. I pray that I don't undo whatever it is that has knit him together so tenderhearted and relentless all at once. I wonder what the world would be like, were more men like that.

Posted by Woodlief on October 16, 2007 at 07:36 AM


You hit the nail on the head - men who can handle the violin or the rifle, a la Jack Aubrey in Master and Commander (I guess that would be cello and saber, but close enough). As a father to two daughters, I wrestle with how to raise them in a world facing a shortage of young Eli's.

Posted by: TWilson at October 16, 2007 8:08 AM

Our children are effective teachers if we will just listen.

Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by: Jody Scott at October 16, 2007 8:36 AM

Tell Eli the following:
That's right fine shootin' pardner. Reckon I could use a man like you. I'll bring my sam-yew-rye sword, and you and me will do a little gentlin' of the goblins. ;)

Posted by: MMM at October 16, 2007 8:45 AM

TWilson, I'm a father of two daughters also, but also a father-in-law to two Eli's. Two suggestions: First, love your wife the way you'd want an Eli to love your daughter. Your daughters will learn far more from watching you and your mom than from anything either of you say. Second, love your daughters so much that they refuse to settle for less than someone who will spend their entire life trying to love them as much as you do. You know that no other man will never get there. But a man who will never stop trying is as close as you can get.

Posted by: Mark at October 16, 2007 10:38 AM

I wonder what the world would be like, were more men like that.

One helluva lot better off.

Posted by: Rick at October 16, 2007 12:16 PM

Most poignant. Reminds me of a lot of folks I knew from the back-woods of Minnesota: Say what you mean, mean what you say; Do what you say you are going to do, speak only of what you have done.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 16, 2007 12:21 PM

The long awaited sequel to Christmas Armaments.

Well Done!

Posted by: Jim Ratajski at October 16, 2007 3:23 PM

Thinking of you and Celeste today, Tony. I have no words, but she is remembered.

Posted by: Danielle at October 19, 2007 10:52 AM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)