In the midst of holiday celebrations and preparations, a round of the stomach virus, A studying for her upcoming finals and the day-to-day parenting mayhem this week I stumbled on this article on what a four-year-old should know and it has stopped me in my tracks. I can get very impatient with my kids, often about getting things done and behaving well, but also about what they do or don’t know or what they will or won’t try. Why hasn’t she learned yet that she always needs to… Why won’t he just sit down and do this… It is hard in my often hectic-feeling life and our competitive culture not to feel behind, and not to look at my kids sometimes and think of them as behind, when what is really important is a different set of things entirely.
1. She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
2. He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
3. She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
This advice for parents is gold too:
That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
I have no further comments. I am still digesting.
I am lonely at my job. That is not my job’s fault. I want more out of life, that is the problem. What I want out of life is not the big, life-dream, I-was-made-for-this-moment event. I want connection. And reality. Something meaningful to someone else, or several someone elses. This week I thought I would probably feel pretty fulfilled as a stay at home dad. Not because I got to stay at home but because I would be investing my days in something that really matters to me.
Alas, that’s not an option. But a nice thought.
Conversation is key to my spiritual experience. Like the life dream, connecting with God is not the big calling, leave thy home and go forth to a land I will show you connecting. It is every day. Like a friend of mine put it this morning, it is another relationship I make time for and maintain. It is the accumulaion of a lot of little things over time, not a big one-off Word From God that changes the world. He never does that, I think, Jesus included. He wants relationship before obedience. Am I writing theology here? I better move on.
Life is crazy when no one is home in time to make dinner. Not that dinner is the point, but it is the last stop on the road of mantaining the house during the day. And lately we have had popcorn and corn chips for dinner about once a week. Which actually has been strangely freeing. Family movie nights are becoming a regular event, mostly because there are precious few other family events in our week. So tonight we are eating Dominos in the living room and watching Snow White. And maybe Toy Story 3 after that.
My five-year-old niece sang this one to me this evening, complete with fist-pumping choreography:
You shake me
You break me
You make me again
And while my first reaction of course was to say something like, “Wow, good job, what a fun song” or some other affirming sort of schlock, my inner reaction was – Does she have any idea what she’s singing?? Do kids this age really get explained to them the humiliation and utter destruction that God brings into the lives of people who are serious about following him? Did her Vacation Bible School teachers really get into the personal cost of believing in someone who is powerful and unshakable, and who has an intentional hand in our lives? How if this is really what we believe, and not just something we say to certain people at certain times when it’s safe or socially acceptable, our lives are for all other purposes forfeit?
“OK children, once we’ve all affixed our flies and boils onto our felt Job figures, let’s recite our memory verse for the day. Repeat after me: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”
I don’t think I would have been any more appalled had she dropped an F-bomb and pumped her hips.
I’m running out of time to waste putzing around and not looking for my passion. It won’t be very long before the kids start to notice. Either there is more to the world than a bunch of carbon-based life forms swarming around a ball of dirt hurtling through space, or there is not. Lately in my life I have lived as though there is not. Wake up, go to work, make some money, pay some bills, spend time with my family and my friends, go to sleep. Repeat. Subsist. Not unlike a virus on a host organism, although a socially oriented virus. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy my days, all in all. And on these terms that might be difficult enough for most folks.
There is a part of me that is aware though that life is not as bleak as all this. That life is pretty darn good, regardless of whether or not people around me agree with that or live like it’s so. Perhaps it is the tendency of someone in the habit of hearing and understanding other people’s worldviews to take on the burdens inherent in those philosophies as well, stubbornly believing that everything is explainable, redeemable, if not mutually inclusive or compatible. The end effect though is I end up more burdened than I began. Not to mention still passionless.
I often find myself stuck on the first step back to life. Or rather, stuck looking for it. Show me the stair and I’ll take it; at least that is what I say to myself. I am the dead ready to be wakened at the first sound of the call. And perhaps I already know the stair or have heard the call but have discredited it on a failure or two of my own and the testimony of others. And perhaps my mental calisthenics are all a careful ruse to keep myself from risking too much, from caring too deeply or living too passionately.
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
It is safer that way, though I will be the first to tell you it is not better. But my words in the end will be buried with me. So again: show me the actions and I will take them. Or perhaps what I am saying is show me the actions that I can accept as the correct ones and I will take them. This part of me pushes me up when I sink too low; that part of me stuffs me down if I threaten to rise too high. I am the wrong person to ask to save myself.
The other night as I was tucking him in God came up in conversation again after reading the extraordinarily underwhelming and bland Berenstain Bears book on the subject of “Big Questions”.
“When can I see God?” he asked.
“Well, when you get to heaven,” I replied.
“When do I get to heaven?”
“After you die.” I was starting to wonder how much of this he was going to want to have explained. “But you’re young. People usually don’t die until they’re old.”
He sat up looking just a little frightened. “Will I go to the same heaven as you?” It made me smile.
“Yes, of course,” I consoled. “There’s only one heaven.”
“And then can I come right back home?”
That one stumped me. I gave him some answer about how great it is in heaven because no one is sad or sick, but when your whole world consists of playing and eating and getting snuggled (and sometimes going to time out) what could possibly be better about heaven?
It’s not that I haven’t been thinking. I just haven’t been writing it down and sharing it with you. Of course of the two it’s the first part that’s more difficult.
I had several paragraphs following that one just now, which WordPress and Chrome swallowed whole with no remorse as soon as I hit “publish”. WTF. Note to self: don’t blog in Chrome.
So now all you have to read is this, because I am going home from work. It’s raining and cold.
I just haven’t felt like writing much lately. Ever get that feeling, the one where you know you probably have things to say if you could just get your mind up in your brain for long enough to sort them out and write them down? And so once again I am stealing time to say that I must have something to say, somewhere.
One reason I don’t write is I just dont’ feel like it. It’s not a laziness thing, or that I have more meaningful things to be doing with my time. It’s a feeling thing. A worn-out, grumpy, frazzled, or other mind-zapping feeling that just makes me think, ugh. I suppose you could call that laziness at times. And I suppose writing isn’t the only aspect of my life that suffers from periods of time like this.
This period of time has included a week full of barfing, thankfully not by me, but unfortunately the barfing pretty much all occurred between the hours of 11pm and 4am on various nights throughout the week as some sort of icky-poo virus made its way through my progeny. And out the other end too in colorful and glorious fashion. At least it didn’t all hit while I was at work, leaving Amber on her own to hold bowls, wipe mouths and change barf clothes. Bleh. At one point I simply undid the four corners of Zeke’s fitted sheet and pulled everything on his bed up in one oversized bundle, including his pillow, and carried it down to the wash.
Ick. Enough thinking about that.
We went to the informational/get plugged in meeting for new attenders today at the church we’ve been attending for the last few months. It was, um, informational. We’ve been going to a small group for a little while now, which has been great, but have been looking for ways to get involved a little further as well as address some of our own nagging questions and frustrations, some of which I’ve recounted elsewhere on this blog. It’s a large church, so much so that we’re lucky if we see anyone we know on any given week who isn’t on stage. So figuring out the scope of what’s happening there, and which sorts of things would interest us or be relevant to our spiritual journey has been overwhelming. Not so much now I think. At the meeting various folks broke it down into categories corresponding with different points on a spiritual journey, and then gave us events to try out, or names of folks to contact to make a shot at a next step. Which was nice. And actually pretty darn helpful. We will see how these next steps pan out for us, but hey – it’s a start.
Twelve minutes until Max & Ruby is over and I get to wrestle the baby alligators into their PJ’s. Time to go do something productive like surf the web.