Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hypocrisy

What is hypocrisy?
The hypocrites were originally the theatrical performers who played various parts in a play. They were actors. Pretenders.

So, hypocrisy, then, is pretending, even lying.

I was thinking the other day about that case in another state (North Carolina, i believe) where a teacher forced a child to buy school lunch because the parent had packed a lunch for the child that was not nutritionally sound, meaning "covering all the government's basic food groups for a sound lunch."

Now, i used to work for the government, even had to know those regulations so i could decide if a child's meal 'measured up.' And i always had a problem with it because my children are unable to have dairy, but the government says they need milk at every meal. Before you jump in with "there are alternative milks," let me assure you, that is how we played the game. But where in the food pyramid is soy milk? Rice milk? Almond milk? So at what point are we just following a rule because it is a rule rather than because it is nutritionally sound?

Then, i heard about a case in which a teenager was given 3 years in juvenile detention for murdering a teacher. Huh?

Does this not strike you as hypocrisy? According to the government regulations, this child's parent didn't pack a nutritious-enough lunch for her child and was forced to purchase school lunch (not to mention the message that sends to the child, who had a turkey sandwich, by the way, and was forced to buy chicken nuggets...hypocrisy) but a teenager who takes another human's life is fit for society after 3 years in juvie?

Who's making these rules? And where is their focus? When did milk with lunch become more important than public safety from violent offenders?

Dang, i hate hypocrisy.....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I AM...

I was thinking about my life the other day. About who i am. Here's what i was thinking.

I am...

...a past victim of child molestation.
...a survivor of abuse.
...the adult child of alcoholic parents.
...the mother of a child with learning disabilities.
...the wife of an unfaithful husband.

...strong.
...weak.
...helpless.
...capable.
...sad.
...happy.
...angry.
...joyful.

If you flip your "i am" around, with the help of Jesus Christ, you can find:
M y
A uthentic
I dentity

I AM (My Authentic Identity)...

...an adopted daughter of The King.
...a cherished child of The Savior.
...the exact parent my children need.
...the perfect match for my husband.
...the only ME i can be.

I read something this month that has really stuck with me. In the book, Not a Fan (by Kyle Idleman), the author points out when Jesus is telling the people not to be like the religious leaders because "they don't practice what they preach," [Matthew 23:3] this amazing tidbit: "Jesus doesn't expect followers to be perfect... he just expects them to be authentic." (phrasing likely not exact, emphasis mine)

My pastor also taught something this month that i have learned at the feet of Christ these past few years: every experience, every hurt, every relationship, every trauma, everything... has prepared me for the work God has for me. I AM to be authentic.

I may not be the perfect parent who never feeds her child fast food, the perfect wife who never says a not-very-nice-thing to her spouse, or the perfect adult child who never has a negative/hurtful attitude toward my parents, but i am this one thing: authentically me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A-Men's

We began teaching a concept to our children a few months ago called "Making Amends." Basically, this is the essence of honest repentance and a healthy foundation for true forgiveness. We have taught the kids that when they hurt someone else, it is their responsibility to take the apology to The Next Level: Making Amends.

Making Amends means that the perpetrator of the crime/offense has to do something for the victim of the crime/offense that is directly in line with the seriousness/nature of said crime/offense. For example, if disrespect of Mom is the offense, the child might open Mom's car door for a week to show respect. You tracking??

Now, in the end, it is up to the victim of the crime/offense to determine if the perpetrator of said crime/offense has made appropriate Amends. In other words, if Suzie pulls Katie's hair and later makes Katie's bed to Make Amends, Katie can decide if she feels the Amends-Making was sufficient to cover the offense. The responsibility of the perpetrator to really develop empathy during this process is huge. No quick fix, no If-Then statements, just true repentance and honest effort to restore relationship.

Of course, for many of you, there is a light-bulb moment that just happened. I know. Me, too, when i first heard about this from our family's counselor. Go ahead, take a moment to digest....

[insert soft elevator music]

Okay, ready for the funny part? (This is my blog; surely you expected a funny part...?)
The first time we told The Littlest Princess that she needed to Make Amends, she said, in all seriousness, "Mom, don't you mean A-Woman's? I'm not a men!"

{giggle}

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Attitude is Everything

Lately, i have been riding an emotional roller coaster. Situations in my life, coupled with a handful of health issues, have really wrung me out. As a parent, i remind my children at least weekly how important attitude is. In schoolwork, a positive attitude can make the work seem easier. In chores, attitude can make the job get done faster. In playtime, attitude can bring friends together - or push them away.

Time to take my own advice.
I need to spend the day with a positive attitude, thankful of all God has entrusted in me.
I need to do my chores with a positive attitude, thankful of all God has blessed me with.
I need to teach my kids with a positive attitude, thankful that God blessed me and trusted me with these special little people.

I remember being a 17-year-old senior in high school, scrubbing dozens of toilets in the largest homeless shelter the Washington, DC Area has, and i was happy to be there, thankful to have some small way to help, and grateful those men had somewhere to take a shower, shave, use the bathroom, brush their teeth....

Attitude really is everything.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Unseen

We are constantly being bombarded with the Unseen in our lives: the unseen carcinogens in our air, the unseen pedophiles in our neighborhood, the unseen bugs in our mattresses, the unseen stalker on the internet, the unseen germs in the schools.

There are other Unseen things you may not be aware of: the unseen abuse taking place in a home you pass every day, the unseen brokenness in the heart of someone you work with, the unseen pain of someone sitting beside you at church, the unseen financial harships experienced by a close friend or family member.... and the Unseen victims of our own thoughtlessness.

This time of year, many of us take extra precautions to prevent picking up the latest 'bug' from the grocery store cart or the play equipment at the mall. I even carry hand sanitizer on my purse for ease of use in all circumstances.

But i am always amazed at the level of ignorance (and i mean just that - ignorance, not knowing better) of my fellow moms when dealing with germs. We panic about using a gas station potty with a toddler (aak! the germs!), but we bring a sick child to the grocery store to pick up their meds for strep throat. We freak out about handwashing after school, but we let our kids push the 'little basket' without wiping it down when we're done (right - not before we use it, but before we pass it on to the next person's child).

What i know now that i didn't realize 5 years ago is what i hope to share with all of you. There is a little girl with a heart condition who has to keep her immune system suppressed for the rest of her life. This little girl is one face among many Unseen. She is, for me, a reason i carry hand sanitizer on my purse, wipe buggies down at the store, avoid bringing my children to 'germy' places during flu season, and pay attention to every sniffle, cough, and tummyache in our home. This little girl cannot get some of the vaccines the rest of us argue about. This little girl has to be hospitalized if she contracts the chicken pox. This little girl spends 3 weeks with a slight cold instead of a few days.

She is one of the Unseen. You never know that one of the people at the doctor's office, or the next person to use your shopping cart, or the next child on the slide is on immunosuppressants. You may never meet one of these people face-to-face. But they are out there. And our thoughtlessness over something like medicating a sick child to send him to school or church is a lot more to them than it would seem to us.

Just because you can't see something, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
air...
God...
stress...
pain...
love...
...and the Unseen.