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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Teachable Moments

An evening a few years ago our family was winding down a long day of school, work and play. I was preparing and packing for being away for a few days on a Staff Retreat with the people who I have the honor of sharing in ministry with at the church that I am employed. I was looking forward to the opportunity to reflect, grow in relationships and listen to where God may be leading us for the next year. The pace of the evening changed dramatically when that familiar crackling sound of Velcro being separated was heard coming from Matt’s bedroom. Now, for most folks that is not a dreaded sound. In our household it holds a very distinct meaning, or action. The sound is of a releasing of diaper tags and a flung diaper. Until it is investigated we have no way of knowing if it is just a wet diaper or the dreaded “soiled” diaper. This one was a soiled one of epic proportion. We commonly refer to this incident as a Poo Sling. Not all poo slings are the same…some are compact and hard, some are really wet and pasty. This one was the latter and had no regard for the boundaries of the diaper.

There is a protocol that is followed when this kind of event happens. In typical CSI fashion (Theresa’s favorite kind of television show, Crime Scene Investigators) an assessment of the scene is taken; ceiling (yes, I said ceiling), walls, flooring and then innocent victims such as books, toys, etc. Cleaning is then commenced and the entire scene is sanitized.

I was happy with the results and was ready to crawl into bed until Theresa informed me that I needed to steam clean the carpet. Needless to say, I was not thrilled with having to do this task when it was nearing 11:30 P.M. and I was scheduled to leave in 7 hours. I grudgingly agreed that it needed to be done and embarked on gathering the needed equipment. There I was at nearly mid-night cleaning the carpet, mumbling under my breath as my other children and wife were already asleep. There was Matthew, sound asleep with a carpet machine passing back and forth only inches away from his head…being hearing impaired can have advantages. I couldn’t believe that he could just lay there and sleep through this. Then it hit me like a rock to the head…I do the same thing he is doing. I thought to myself, how often have I been the one who has “slung poo”? Maybe not literally, but how about words or actions? Poo can be in many forms…slander, gossip, pride, selfishness, many things. How often does God stay awake after I am fast asleep running the carpet cleaner across my relationships repairing the damage I have done to the self-image of other people, healing the hurts that I have inflicted? The next few days of retreat were very reflective and full of insight. I found it true once again that in most cases, brilliant reflection and growth appear just after tragedy or a tough time strikes.

We have been trained to “check the trunk” more often and respond quicker. Even though Matthew has grown and these episodes are fewer, nothing makes our family move faster than the sound of Velcro.


  1. Joe DeGennaro

    I am always amazed at how God can point out such poignant teaching. As I read your blog about Poo slinging I was struck at how much I sling and how forgiving our Father is even when we sling it at Him! Thank you so very much for sharing your families life with all of us.

  2. Lee content

    very poignant, you and your family are amazing!!

  3. Marge Jones

    Ah, yes! Cody is quite proficient at that sport. So thankful for Miss Joyce and her pjs with the back zipper! We have to add 3 diaper pins to keep Cody from unzipping and doing a “poo sling”! In fact, he is never in his room alone in regular clothes!! Big smiles–loved the application to our lives, too!

  4. Jim Wilkinson


    Thank you for sharing your insights. This is really excellent writing too. Expressive, insightful, and powerful.


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