They were someones kid too

Suggestions for Parents

Last night an acquaintance told me how he was driving home from work. Another day, much like any other. This one, someone jumped in front of his car. He missed them thank Goodness, but only to look in the rear view mirror and see to his horror that person jump in front of another car and get hit. Later that night he cared enough to call the police a second time to find out how the person was.

They died on impact. Drugs were likely involved.

So many souls lost to this world. So many lives wrecked by other peoples focus only on themselves. Life is hard – we all know it. It is no secret why kids turn to drugs. We understand it, we have studied it. It comes down to life’s pressures and not enough support from the people around them.

So why do so many parents make it harder on their kids?

Ive got three kids myself. One wants to be a nurse at least, maybe a doctor, so they can help people. Another has an engineer, analytical, mindset.

And one wants to work at Chili’s restaurant.

Every one of them I am proud of, and I tell them that. They are not super human somehow, though one of them might be. But they are all in this world together, a world that often doesn’t care, but sometimes does.

A seemingly modern problem is how all these kids want to identify themselves as a different gender than they were born with. Girls want muscle car toys, boys want to play with dolls. Everyone wants to act like a cat or dog, since they see them in all the kids books, teaching us lessons on life.

Who does this hurt? The relationship between parent and child. That is it. And completely unnecessary. Parents tell their kids that’s just not what a girl does. Yes it is. If you want to whine about equality in pay, you first better check the fact that you are limiting them from the day they are born. Not the world, but you, parent.

Even with drugs we get the message wrong. Say no to drugs, but then tell them to take aspirin when they feel sick.

A clearer message is be careful what you put in your body. Some drugs help, but only if you take the right amount. Some drugs can get you addicted with a single try. Some drugs, like alcohol, can be moderated. And yet some of those drugs that are perfectly fine for one person (alcohol again) will addict and destroy the next person.

Parents have high hopes for their kids. Its understandable, we hope they will be better than us. But survival expects a lot to begin with. Warn them, prepare them. Do not make the bar higher than it has to be.

The beginning of Wisdom

Congratulations! You’ve just realized that God has a power over both your life and the world at large. You’ve seen glimmers of hope that can only be explained by a God who cares about you and has power in the world. It feels like a tenuous grasp, difficult to notice on a daily basis, but it is there. What do you do with this knowledge?

You learn more.

God is all around you, and his touches are all around as well. But our lives have hidden Him in so many ways. Pain, suffering are everywhere. Love of any kind is scarce, evil rules the land. That is, until you look at the world from God’s eyes. Then you see people who care, beauty in simple things, and the realization that largely it is up to us to make things better.

The Bible is what God gave us to understand Him better. Instructions for life, a history of where we come from, a guidebook for where we should go. But it also understandibly daunting. It can be scary to approach it alone. It is much more approachable with a friend. I don’t claim to know all, but I do have experience. Questions are good. The more questions you ask, the more you can learn. You know how to reach me: throw a rock in the east river and I’ll get back to you.

The book we will learn from is the “starting place” for anyone who wants to understand what it is to be a modern God-follower. It is a letter sent to the Romans in Italy. They are not of Jewish descent; they are “grafted into the tree,” as God truly loves all, not just the chosen people.

I hope you will join me as I walk through God’s word and unpack it as best I can.

Never have I ever…

Is this you: you’re on your couch, scanning through facebook, looking at posts by people who are cooler than you because they got off the couch and did something? Have you realized yet that the people you follow are people who remind you of the version of yourself that you want to be?

Have you ever met someone who is different from you? Actually had a conversation about who they are, what life is like for them, how they got to be where they are in life?

It’s natural for us to gravitate towards others who are similar to us. There is nothing wrong with that, on the surface. The trap that so many have fallen into is to see that border and to stop looking beyond it.

Parenting in this age for some is a very different experience from what we grew up with. A century ago, children were not expected to survive to adulthood. Emotionally, it was simply easier to not get too attached, because you never knew if they would be there in the spring. Life was hard for most everyone, just trying to get by. This hardened most people’s hearts to the plights of others, as the “self” had to be paramount.

With our increasingly expensive modern science and healthcare, things have shifted drastically. There is finanancial support for those who are poor; most of the basic needs can be purchased at mass produced, at relatively little cost. Children in rural areas of the United States have a very good chance of surviving. Even in the cities, the most likely causes of death involve each other, not starvation.

This has given rise to a sea of people who have every reason to believe that this is the best we will ever have, as it truly is the best we’ve ever had it. We are comfortable. We can survive almost effortlessly. The “self” has been taken care of. Even the ever present threat of world destruction of the Cold War has been largely forgotten.

Except that’s not actually true for everyone. If you’re one of the ‘majority,’ it is true. People are so very good at divisions, aren’t they? Always “us” and “them,” not “all.” There is an entire world of people who are not actually taken care of. In fact, they are being crushed by the very comfort that you are taking for granted.

In this new comfort of many decades, parenting has shifted considerably. Each child is cherished. We each want to make things better for our kids than we had it. We love on them with all our might, sometimes even in misguided ways. This is good.

But consider how a child who has little adversity in their life grows up. Never having faced the hard truths that life starts with survival. That the best way to survive is to band together as teams, groups, friends, families. That a day may come that you must rely on the person next door who you’ve never met before because you didn’t need to. Or your life might depend on whether the person on the other side of town who is at your grocery store is wearing a mask.

As parents we have made life comfortable for our kids. The lesson here is that we need to look for ways to get our kids out of their comfort zone so that they understand the importance of “us together,” not just the “self.” The earlier, the better. We don’t need to harm our kids. But we do need to show them what happens outside of the bubbles we created for them.

You better check yourself, people.

This is whats wrong with our country.

My wife is sitting in the information booth for the soccer league, crocheting and waiting for people who have questions.

Up walks a father and daughter. The father begins asking all kinds of questions about the length of a game, and various rules of soccer.

While answering the questions, he frequently interrupts with “that ref didnt know what she was doing, completely useless” and other degrading statements.

He was then informed at length that the referee he was talking about was our daughter who had just turned fifteen this week. He quickly backpedals on every belligerent thing he has just said with an air of superiority, while his daughter literally stands next to him with her head hung in shame.

“I thought she was 22!” Why should that matter? Being an adult means you get to be yelled about by random people?!? No.

Why is it this society is so easily willing to take someone else down? If youre going to badmouth someone, stand behind your words. But no, we would rather apologize, which does nothing for the person youve hurt, and only makes yourself feel better.

The few of society who act completely selfish need to take a step back and begin to think about others. This is what needs to change if we are going to survive.

You are not part of the control group

You work from your house. Money is coming in. So far nobody you know has fallen ill from the pandemic, or even a common cold. Your wife still loves you, despite being in the same house with you for the last four months. Your life is under control.

How much of that control is actually created by you?

You have worked diligently for years. You’ve built trust with your peers at work and your bosses. Whenever you’re out of the house, you wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. You care deeply for your wife, and you realize she’s just as stressed out as you are, so you give her as much space and let it go when she’s rightfully annoyed with you.

Your company hasn’t shut down. Your peers and bosses have computers connections to the Internet that let them continue to have work for you, and the willingness to allow business to continue. While you’re out of the house, nobody sneezes on you and gets stuff in your eyes. Your wife is holding onto her sanity.

How much of that is actually under your control? None of it.

Notice how there were two separate parts to each of the things in your life “going right.” The part where you do what you know is moral and appropriate, and also the part where anything that goes wrong with it is completely out of your control.

A lot of people call that other part “luck.” Do you really think that the hundreds, nay, thousands of things that had to line up just right for you to be born and manage to survive to your current age are based on a game of chance?

Being “right” isn’t enough. Try doing your income taxes. You answer every question with the true information as you’re capable of giving. It doesn’t stop the government from sending you letters that your taxes were done wrong. You finally discover that the tax software made the mistake – but you’re still on the hook for it. So you fix it and send it in again. Only to read the mail six months later that they are going to take some of your paycheck to cover the taxes and fees they are charging you, ignoring the fixed taxes you sent in.

Only one has control, and that’s God. Only God can make everything line up in just the right way so that when you do the right thing, good Godly things can happen. Even in our mundane daily lives are those touches of God, smoothing out and making your paths straight.

God doesn’t have to do this. God is not made smaller when we stumble or fail. Some may even argue that He is magnified when we suffer, for that shows the willingness we have to follow Him even in times of struggle. We are not here simply to accept God’s blessing. He asked us to worship Him. Not required it, but asked us. But He made it very clear that whether we worship Him or not, life will be difficult. But He does say it will be possible: that each of us will make it through life.

So why does He smooth out so many paths before us? The same reason that we bring worth to Him in our thoughts and our actions: Love. We praise Him out of love for Him; He smooths out the rough edges of life out of love for us. It is not because of one love that the other happens; they are independent. But it doesn’t change the need to recognize all that He does for us.