Jul 06

Introverts on the Vegas Strip

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Last week at this time, my whole family was in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The kids and I tagged along on a business trip, with big plans to enjoy the pool, the free breakfast every morning, and the free happy hour every night (the bartenders were lovely and wonderful too… recognizing all six of us and remembering all of our chosen drinks after the very first night)

We were able to catch up with my cousins, one of whom was like another member of the family to us when we used to babysit her several days a week up until she was one.  She’s four now, and beautiful, and Tegan’s new BFF and honorary little sister.  We had a great time getting reacquainted, and spent several hours playing at the Children’s Discovery Museum, which turned out to be the best children’s museum I’ve ever gone to in my life.  We had a wonderful late lunch at a little family owned Mexican restaurant, where Tegan and Luna entertained us by dancing to the music.

In the evenings though, we did the whole Vegas tourist thing, and checked out the strip.  We’ve been to Vegas once before, but we mostly spent it going to shows and checking out the hotels and casinos during daylight. Seeing it all at night was a whole different proposition.  We’d park in one of those giant, ten-story parking garages, and just walk and walk, taking it all in.

We watched the fountain show outside the Bellagio.  We saw a light show set to rock music over Fremont street. We walked around an indoor mall/market thing with a high ceiling that was painted like the sky and made you feel like you were outside.  We saw about a zillion street performers doing everything from mime to playing music to making spin art to impersonating long-deceased celebrities.  We politely declined the dozens of people trying to hand us their business cards with the naked girls on them.  We stopped into a White Castle attached to a casino (because everything’s attached to a casino), and had our very first infamous in-person White Castle sliders, which as it turns out taste exactly like the frozen version you can get at the grocery store.

As an aside, our choice of dinner made me want to watch the cult stoner movie, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle – I adore Kal Penn –  so we rented it the following night.  But the video had an error and quit during the last 20 minutes, so we never did find out if Harold and Kumar ever made it to White Castle!

But I digress.  The Vegas strip.  There were a lot of smells, and sounds, and colors, and lights. My first realization was that the very thing that made it all interesting and entertaining was the same thing that made it so very overwhelming.  It was the exact opposite of everything we embody.  And I don’t mean that from a perspective of judgment;  it’s just that we (well, at least the guys and I) are big introverts.  We’re homebodies.  We’re quiet.  We don’t like to draw attention to ourselves.  We’re…… basic.  What we saw over those couple of nights was very very much NOT basic.  It was flashy.  It was attention-grabbing.  It was loud.  

Tegan, who’s seven and all about the sparkle and the only real extrovert in the family, absolutely loved it, right up until the point her feet got tired and she was ready to get back to the hotel. Loved it. Loved the glitz and the glamour and the costumes and the lights.  Loved the limos and the expensive cars.  Loved the ornate hotels and the fountains and the twinkling casinos.  Loved the pretty girls in the sparkly outfits (on a not unrelated note, this will forever be the trip in which she learned what a “pasty” is.)  She did not however love those guys with the metallic body paint who were statues one minute, and moving around the next.  They freaked her out.  I found them sort of strangely fascinating.

I found it all sort of strangely fascinating.

It was fun, and It. Was. Exhausting.  On the way home, we stopped to tour Hoover Dam, but otherwise made a beeline back to “basic.”  We’ve been home since Wednesday evening, and I’ve barely gotten out of my sweatpants.  I’ve been puttering around home, enjoying sleeping in my own bed, getting reacquainted with Netflix, and catching up on normal, quiet, wonderfully mundane things like emails.

Going away is always fun, but returning home is glorious.

P.S.  Seriously though, did Harold and Kumar ever make it to White Castle??


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Jul 03

40 Answers For Christians Now Worried About Rainbow Flags

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Several people have sent me this list entitled 40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.  It was written by a pastor by the name of Kevin DeYoung, in a post in which he expresses his sadness about the new Supreme Court decision.  His questions were aimed at people like myself who are Christ-followers who are affirming of same-sex relationships.  I think it’s always a good idea to question… well, everything… and to take a step back and examine and re-examine why you hold the beliefs you hold.  So I decided to answer them.

It was pointed out to me that I was rude and unkind in my last post, so I did my best to answer the questions with care and consideration.  I don’t know Mr DeYoung, so my answers are not aimed at him, but at the thoughts/ideas/beliefs he’s presented here.

And finally, I’m leaving comments turned off on this post right from the start.  I don’t want to host unkindness and attacks aimed at each other on my page again.

Here then are his 40 questions, along with my response.

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated? 

Twenty years ago I would have (emphatically, I might add) agreed with this author.  Sometime between then and now God worked on my heart and something changed… first to, “Okay, it’s a sin, but if they’re not hurting anybody, why all the fuss?”;  and eventually, “Why shouldn’t a committed gay couple be afforded all the same rights and recognition as its heterosexual counterpart?”

2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?  

If anything, it was a lack of scripture supporting the church’s stance on homosexuality that first prompted me to look deeper.  Despite the divisive, grandstanding issue this has become, the Bible barely mentions it, and Jesus himself didn’t mention it even once.

3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?

The issue at hand is marriage, not sex.  It’s disingenuous (and quite honestly, a little creepy) to spin it into “celebrating sexual activity”.  Marriage is about love and commitment.  It’s about companionship and friendship. Making decisions together, building a home together, going through life together, raising children together if you so choose.  When you look at the years and days and hours that go into a marriage, sexual activity makes up such a minuscule portion that it’s insulting to use it as a defining factor.  So, to answer the question, I’m not celebrating anyone’s sexual activity, gay or straight.

4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?

The Bible is full of scriptures on how to conduct yourself as a Christian (therefore depicting Christ and the church) including but obviously not limited to John 13:34 – “Love one another as I have loved you.”   There are no qualifiers or disclaimers that tell us it’s only possible if we’re not gay.

5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?

Yes

6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?

Because he was speaking to heterosexual Jewish men and rebuking them for their divorce practices.  Context matters. If his statements were meant to pronounce one man/one women as the only acceptable marriage combination at that time, why would polygamy be permitted and blessed by the Jewish people (and by God) throughout the Old Testament and into the first century AD?

7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?

Porneia is a broad term that can refer to many types of sexual immorality:  adultery, incest, rape, bestiality….

8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?

The societal climate at the time Paul made the address in question was one in which there was rampant abhorrent and deviant sexual behavior, including predatory, coercive, non-consenting sex between men and prostitutes and slaves, and grown men and boys.  That was the behavior that Paul was addressing.  It isn’t at all applicable to a committed, consensual relationship between two adults.

9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?

I believe Ephesians 2:8 when it says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God”.  But okay.  A word for “homosexuality” as we know it did not exist in that time. Where that translation is made in 1 Corinthians 6:9 it refers specifically to two words:  malakos, and arsenokoites. When taken in context, they most likely refer to the victim and the perpetrator of sexual violence… again, rape, pedophilia, forced prostitution, etc.  I’m pretty sure we can all agree those are wrong. Revelation 21:8 deals with “the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars”…. any of which are forgiven of repentant people who choose to accept the free gift of salvation by grace through faith.

10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?

See question nine.

11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?

That’s a pretty loaded question.  I certainly don’t claim to understand things that those people failed to grasp.

12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?

Another loaded question.  I wouldn’t.  I believe my job as a follower of Christ is to 1) continually seek out who He was and what he wanted from me here on this earth, and 2) live out that faith to the best of my ability… not to argue and explain to others why my understanding is more “correct” than theirs.

13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?

I wouldn’t even begin to make assumptions about someone else’s motivations.

14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?

I think children do best with loving, committed, attentive parents… no matter what gender they may be.

15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?

I think an answer here is kind of pointless, because a quick Google search will yield you articles that cite research to support any side of any argument.  Here’s a study that says that children of gay parents are happier and healthier than their peers.   But I don’t need research to tell me that healthy, happy parents raise healthy, happy kids.

16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?

n/a

17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?

Of course.

18. How would you define marriage?

Legally, as a recognized contract between consenting adults that affords them certain rights and benefits as stated by the government (I’m the first one to admit that it’s complicated, and that I don’t know how it all works) From a non-legal standpoint, and in super-simplistic terms:  It’s a deep commitment, and a partnership, and a daily choice to “have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death parts us.”

19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?

I think there are lots of reasons why close family members shouldn’t get married.

20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?

To be honest, I’ve never spent any time thinking about it.  I generally tend to feel though that what sorts of relationships consenting (non-related) adults choose to enter into are their business, and their business alone.

21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?

It’s not my job to prevent consenting adults from getting married.

22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?

Yes

23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?

Anyone?  No.  Consenting adults?  Yes.

24. If not, why not?

n/a

25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?

Yes, but…. I really believe this is the other side of the “slippery slope” that those who oppose gay marriage like to cite.  People should be able to exercise religious beliefs, yes.  Absolutely. But if those religious beliefs are being used to discriminate and be unkind, what’s to stop them from picking and choosing who they want to discriminate against, and just citing their religious beliefs as the reason?  Stores proudly display their signs that say that they won’t serve gay people for instance, because it’s against their religion.  I think it’s an incredibly discriminatory and unkind thing to do, but they have the right to do it.  Why stop there though?  Why that one issue?  Why not put up signs that say you won’t serve people who are arrogant, or liars, or gossips, or gluttons, or people who cheat on their wives, or cheat on their taxes, or drink too much, or steal internet from their neighbors, or watch porn?  If you believe it’s a sin, and all sins are equal, I don’t understand how you can use religious beliefs as an excuse to marginalize this one segment of society.  We all sin.   To just answer the question as it’s written though:  Yes, people who disagree with homosexual practice should be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution or coercion.  Even if one believes their actions to be wrong, two wrongs never make a right.

26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue? 

This is pretty much the same as #25, just re-framed.

27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?

I speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, yes.

28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?

I don’t think it’s  my job to ensure that *anyone’s* marriage is healthy & in accord with scriptural principles.  My job is to to focus on my own marriage.

29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?

It’s hard to answer this question without bias, but I think that churches have done enough damage by focusing on discipline, and on guilt, and on shame.  I believe that the best thing a church could do right now (for all their members, of any orientation) is focus on love and healing.

30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?

I’m not sure.  But I’ll say that I believe that the same standard should apply to both heterosexual and LGBT relationships.

31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?

I really can’t speak for what churches are going to do, since I’m not a church.  As for what I think they should do, see #29.

32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?

“Love is patient.  Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?  

God IS love.  I think whatever else being a Christ-follower means, it should always start with 1) Loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and 2) Loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22-37-38)

35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?

Of course

36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?

I think faith is, and should be, a constantly evolving, growing, deepening, living organism.  A stagnant faith is a dead faith.  So yes, absolutely, my understanding of faith is always changing.

37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctive like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?  

It hasn’t helped me become more passionate about those things.  It has however helped me become more passionate about loving my brother as myself.  About reaching out to my fellow man.  About extending compassion for those who the world wants to marginalize.  About removing the rather large plank from my own eye before worrying about my brother’s sliver.

38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples? 

I haven’t looked for any churches like that.

39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?

Yes.

40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?

The final paragraph in Romans 1 talks about a “depraved mind” and specifically mentions things like envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, arrogance, boastfulness… people being senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.  We don’t have to guess what sins he has in mind. He’s spelled them out for us.  But you can’t stop reading at the end of chapter one, because the entire message (and Paul’s whole point) is tied together in what immediately follows your “those who give approval to those who practice them” quote.

Chapter Two:

You therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.  So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

It’s God job to judge, not ours.  It’s our job to love.  Fully, radically, and unconditionally.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

 


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Jun 28

To My Fellow Christians, After the Supreme Court Ruling

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To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

I write this with a humble, heavy, and somewhat broken heart.

As you know, the Supreme Court ruling that was announced this Friday made same-sex marriage a right nationwide. Now, this letter really isn’t about legalities, or whether or not the government has any business being involved in marriages in the first place.  That’s clearly another conversation altogether.

But I can’t keep silent about some of what I’m seeing come out of the Christian community right now, at a time when individuals are simply trying to celebrate that they are finally able to legally marry the people that they love.

Thankfully, I’m not personally seeing any Westboro Baptist-style hatred (I seem to have done a pretty efficient job of culling my Facebook friends list since the Duggar  scandal broke).  What I’m seeing is just as upsetting though, if not even more so, because it’s really the same message of judgment and intolerance;  It’s just couched in “Christian-speak.”

First, I need you to understand that this is not about disagreement.  Disagreements are a normal and healthy part of life, of society, and of relationships.  I disagree very strongly about some pretty big issues with some of my dearest loved ones.  This is not about disagreement.  I keep seeing that syrupy little Rick Warren quote passed around that says,  ”Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”  It frustrates me every time.  I’ve never heard anyone, ever,  insinuate that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do.  So to say it’s a “huge lie” that’s been accepted is pretty much just ridiculous.  And as for the first part: Absolutely, yes. Simply disagreeing with someone does not mean you fear or hate them.  That’s correct.  But can your resulting words and actions, even if you intend them to be “loving”, still convey fear or hatred?  YES! Can they still contribute to feelings of persecution, of personal affront, of judgement?  YES!  Can they still push a person (or many persons) further AWAY from God, and Christians, and the church (which I think is probably the complete opposite of your intent)?  YES!

I don’t believe that homosexuality in and of itself is a sin.  I do believe that consenting adults, of any gender or sexual orientation, should be able to marry their loved one, no matter what that may look like.  I absolutely respect your right to disagree with me – I truly do – just as I’d hope you’d respect mine.  But when you make sweeping comments such as, “I believe the Bible, so homosexuality is wrong,”  or, “Well I’m a Christian first, so homosexuality is wrong,” then we have a problem.   Please do not mistake your beliefs as being synonymous with “Christianity” as a whole or with “The Bible” as a whole.  Please do not speak for me.  Please do not speak for the thousands of other Christians who have different interpretations, and different philosophies than your own. Please do not perpetuate the idea that because a person happens to have a relationship with God, that he or she needs to live out that relationship in the same way in order to be “right.”

There are LOTS of different ways to live out a Christian faith, and from where I’m standing, the only one we need to consistently meet on is this:  ”Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets”. —Matthew 22:35-40.

Which brings me to the point of this letter.  And believe me, I ask this with complete sincerity and genuine sadness and confusion:

Do you honestly think it is loving to continually browbeat this one segment of society by telling them over and over and over how sinful you think they are?  Yes, even if you preface it with, “I still love you!  I still pray for you!  I don’t judge you!”  Do you really think that that love and those prayers are going to come across when you’re reminding them, AGAIN, that you think that by virtue of who they happen to love, that they are sinning?

Because guess what.  They already know you think they’re sinning.  We already know you think they’re sinning. So until or unless you are giving continual updates on ALL the things you think are sinful, it’s just not fair.  And I’m sorry, but it isn’t loving either.  It’s not.  Why them?  Why this one issue?

A real-life, actual threat to marriage in this country is infidelity and divorce.  But no one ever talks about that, unless it’s to cover it with words of, “Oh, well, you know, we all make mistakes… we shouldn’t judge another person… everyone sins.”

You shouldn’t judge another person because they sin differently than you;  this much is true. Well you know what?  You shouldn’t judge a person because they love differently than you either.

I’m so tired.  I’m so tired of saying the same thing over and over again.  I’m so tired of this one segment of society getting so much negative attention from Christians, at the exclusion of anything else.  I’m so tired of the back-handed, “I love you and pray for you and don’t judge you, but I need to keep reminding you that I disagree with your “lifestyle”" rhetoric of disgust.

Please stop.

Please, please stop.  They know you disagree already.  They really do.  They will always know. It has been well-established.  

Isn’t it about time that we reached out to the LGBT community, a community by the way whose teens are three times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers, and just offer love?  Real, actual love, with no disclaimers?

Let’s bring a little more “loving thy neighbor” back to Christianity.  Thy straight neighbor, thy gay neighbor, thy transgender neighbor, thy black neighbor, thy white neighbor, thy Democrat neighbor, thy Republican neighbor, thy Atheist neighbor, thy Jewish neighbor, thy Muslim neighbor….

and yes, thy Christian neighbor like you, and me, who deep down inside really do want to love, and are still learning how to get it right.

** Comments have now been closed.  Thank you to everyone who provided respectful discourse.**


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Jun 25

Twelve Ways to Raise Children That Are Generous and Kind

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I read an article this morning that outlined the many ways the author felt that parents were creating “entitled and rude” children.  This isn’t about one specific article though (such articles are a dime a dozen.  If you Googled, “entitled children” you’d have no shortage of results).  It’s not even about dozens, or hundreds, or thousands of articles.  It’s about this pernicious and widespread belief that children need to be FORCED into being grateful, and generous, and kind…. as if such a thing were even possible.

Is there a problem with entitlement in our society today?  Sure, although I’d argue that it’s more prevalent among adults than children.  But the answer to the problem isn’t more rules;  it’s more connection.

Less coercion;  more compassion.

Less demanding;  more listening.

Less requiring; more modeling.

If mainstream media is to be believed, the key to raising “good” kids lies in things like strict bedtimes, prompted “please” and “thank you’s”, forced household chores, and making darn sure you don’t buy them everything they want.   Many of these articles would be more appropriate advice for an employer/employee  relationship than that of parent and child.

What I believe is a little bit a lot different.  And while I can’t speak for any other kids out there, I can speak for my own, who are pretty much the opposite of entitled and rude.

Here then are twelve parental strategies that I do stand behind, every one of which I believe contributes to raising children who are gracious, generous and kind.

1.  DO be generous with them.  There is much ado made about not buying your children the latest and greatest gadgets, toys, and electronics, lest they become too spoiled.  And yes, absolutely, buying “things” in place of your time and attention is problematic.  But if we want our children to grow up to be giving and generous to those around them, wouldn’t it only make sense that we are first giving and generous towards them?   It’s human nature to want to give to those we love.  As parents, we’re in the unique position of being able to give through our time, our presence, our love, and, when circumstances permit it, through the various material things that make life more fun, interesting, and enriching.  I love being able to give to my children, whether it’s picking up their favorite kind of juice at the grocery store, or surprising them with a wished-for video game snuck into their Christmas stocking.  I couldn’t imagine actually withholding something from my children – or from anyone for that matter – just to teach them some kind of lesson.

2.  DO let them see you being generous to others.  A popular blogger recently posted a video of herself leaving food for a homeless person.  While I definitely don’t think that those sorts of things are meant to be made public, I do think that it’s wonderful – and important – to involve your children in the giving you do to others.  Let them see how it’s a part of your day-to-day life.  Take them with you when you volunteer. Talk to them about what it means to truly share with the people around you.  Show them ways you can bless other people.  I am a huge, huge fan of Christmas, and exchanging gifts with loved ones.  But for the past several years, my favorite part of the holidays has been deciding who to gift outside of our own little circle, and it is a family decision every time.  Kids don’t need to be told, or coerced, or forced into giving to others.  They just need to see it.

3.  DO treat them how you want to be treated.  Sometimes I fear I will sound like a broken record, because it’s something I repeat so often.  But mindful and gentle parenting can be summed up in this one little point. If you want your kids to be kind, show them kindness.  If you want your kids to be respectful, show them respect.  If you want your kids to be polite, show them what it means to be polite.   If you want your kids to be generous, show them generosity. So often parents want to demand respect from their kids, without stopping and asking themselves if they’ve even showed them what true respect looks like.  As parents, we are the first and biggest influence on how our children treat others.   Be nice to your kids, especially if you’re going to expect them to be nice to others.

4.  DO be their soft place to fall.   Life is sometimes full of foibles and disappointments… from the small (the movie you desperately wanted to see is sold out;  you failed your math test), to the major (your long-term relationship ends;  you get laid off at work), to the vast chasm in between (you get cut from the basketball team; you drop and break your $600 phone).  Over and over I see parents cautioned against trying to “fix” their child’s problems or disappointments. We should let them fail, we’re told, because it builds character. Because they’ll be better for it in the long run.  Because they need to learn life isn’t always fair.  Well, life isn’t always fair;  this much is true.   And we can’t always fix everything for our kids.  What we can do?  We can be there for them, every time.   We can be that soft place to land.  We can be that shoulder to cry on.  We can be the one to give them the time and space they need to process.  We can be the one, when the situation lends itself, to help them figure out what to do next.  And they, in turn, will become the ones who will be that person for someone else.

5.  DO be their friend.   Oh what a bad rap that word gets when it comes to parenting!  But a friend is simply someone who is there for you.  Someone you can trust.  Someone who listens. Someone who encourages you, cheers you on, and holds your hand.  Someone who gives honest advice.  Someone who has seen you at your best, and your worst. Someone who lets you be you, and loves you unconditionally.   I will always, always be that person for my kids, with no disclaimers and no apologies.

6.  DO let them have a voice.  I think that one of the most important things we can do for our kids is to empower them to form their own opinions, forge their own paths, and make as many of their own decisions as possible, so that – among so many other reasons – they know they are valued, they can gain confidence in themselves, and they will have the ability to stand up for what is right.  To that end, my kids are always free to say anything to me.   They have a voice in this house, and everyone’s voice matters.  We don’t operate our home as a dictatorship, but as a TEAM.   If my kids are sad or scared or frustrated or angry, I want to know about it!  I want to honor it, and I want them to know that we will always provide that safe place for them to express themselves…. no matter what it is they may be in need of expressing.

7.  DO listen to them.   Let them know that what’s important to them is important to you, whether they’re talking about Barbies or a TV show or a special rock they found outside.  Kids generally desperately want to invite you into their world.  Accept their invitation!  It’s not just important for your relationship right now, it’s also an investment into the relationship that you want to continue to grow stronger and closer into the future as your children mature.  “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”  ~ Catherine M Wallace

8.  DO spend time with them.   At the time of this writing, my children are 18, nearly 15, 11, and 7.  I’ve lately been going through the profoundly bittersweet realization that my role in their lives is changing.  We still spend time together (one of my very favorite things to do is to go watch arena football games, and it recently occurred to me that one of the big reasons why is that it is something all six of us still do together as a family)  We still enjoy spending time together.  But it is in a wholly different way than during the toddler years, when I was largely their main companion.  It’s a cliche, but those years really do go by so fast.  So, so fast!   If I could give just one piece of advice to new parents, it would often be:  Have the tea parties.  Play dress-up.  Jump on the trampoline. Get on the floor with the legos and the ponies and the Matchbox cars.  Spend hours coloring in the sheet fort in the living room.   Play with your kids.   Show up, and really be there.  One day you’ll blink and they’ll be teenagers, opting to stay home to hold down the fort and take care of the pets while you take the two little ones camping. They’ll start spreading their wings – and it’ll be good!  But oh, so bittersweet.

9.  DO let them know that extrinsic rewards such as grades, fancy degrees, and big paychecks are not how they should define their worth.   We have homeschooled since day one.   My children have never been to school, and I have never bought into the system that says that you can measure progress or intelligence or knowledge by a letter grade on a test.  My kids – and yours! – are so much more than that.  They’re more than a GPA.  They’re more than an ivy league school. They’re more than a BMW parked in the driveway.  I don’t ever want my children to use any of the above as a yardstick to measure other people, so I’m not going to start by using it as yardstick to measure them.  I want them to see the people beneath the fluff. I want them to see the things that you can’t put down on paper.  The things that aren’t listed on report cards. The things that matter.  I want them to see hearts.  Kindness.  Generosity. Determination. Strength. Resiliency.   Joy.  I don’t want them to aspire to be what the world defines as “successful”, but to what they define as successful.  They have their own paths, and the best thing I can do as their mother is honor it. Encourage it.  Support it.  NOT stifle it by trying to manipulate or force them into a box of my own choosing.

To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.

~Emerson

10.  DON’T punish them for being kids.   Better yet, don’t punish them at all.  A writer friend of mine has likened young children to aliens.  The first time I saw that comparison, I’ll admit it caused a bonafide head tilt.  But the analogy is actually pretty spot-on.  Children are brand-new to this planet.  They’re learning how to navigate the world.  They’re learning how to get what they want. They’re learning how polite society works.  They’re learning how to communicate. They’re learning how to handle frustration.  They’re learning how to treat others.   Our job as parents is to patiently and lovingly stand beside them and guide them and be their partner in learning. Punishing a child who’s still learning (and we’re all still learning) is unkind at best, and incredibly damaging at worst.  Instead, work with your child, not against him.  Help him problem-solve.  A child who is having a tantrum, for example, is trying to tell you something. Lean into the moment and truly listen.

By the always wonderful L.R. Knost:

Discipline is helping a child solve a Problem. Punishment is making a child suffer for having a problem. To raise problem solvers, focus on solution not retribution.

11.  DON’T try to force them to be kind or have good manners.  I always cringe a little bit when I hear a well-meaning parent chirping at their child with, “What do you say??”  when they think a “thank you” is warranted.  It feels awkward and embarrassing and – ironically – not particularly polite.  If you want your child to use “please” and “thank you”… use “please” and “thank you” with your child.  If you want your child to interact respectfully with family members and strangers and waiters and bus drivers and mailmen and doctors, interact respectfully yourself.  If you want your children to be generous and kind and patient… if you want them to listen to others, to respect each other’s differences, to be caring and thoughtful in their interactions… show them what that looks like. There is no greater influence in a child’s life (or at least there shouldn’t be!) than the one he experiences in his own home.  That’s where it all starts.  Let him live it.  Let him experience it.  The only way a child can pass on loving kindness to someone else is if he first knows what it feels like to receive it.

12.  DON’T treat them like second-class citizens.  I saved this one for last because it’s at once the most important concept to understand, and for many people the most difficult.   Our society has been so ingrained to think that it is normal and okay that most people never even question it.  Most people never even see it.  Our children are not ours to micromanage, control, or manipulate.   They’re not house pets that need to be trained, nor robots that need to be programmed.  I always find it so ironic that articles proclaiming to show you how to raise respectful kids often prescribe such blatantly disrespectful behavior on the parents’ part.   Children are human beings that we have invited into our lives.   They didn’t ask to be here.  They are our invited guests.  Our job as parents isn’t to shape them or mold them but to love them.  Honor them.  Respect them.  Listen to them. SHOW them what it means to walk in kindness and love.  SHOW them what it means to navigate the world with respect for self, and respect for others.  SHOW them what it means to be a person of value (hint: they’re a person of value right now.  So am I.  So are you.)

Parenting well is about love.  It’s always been about love.   Somewhere along the way the love got lost amongst the rules.  The requirements.  The rigidity.  The idea that our kids are somehow our property, instead of what they actually are:  living, breathing, heart beats and souls walking around the earth, deserving of as much respect as anyone else.  Except, more respect actually, because they are our children.

Want to raise kids that are loving and kind?  Immerse them in love and kindness.


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Jun 23

Racism in America: Less Talking, More Listening

Photo Credit: Cal Sr

Photo Credit: Cal Sr

Last Wednesday, a young white supremacist by the name of Dylann Roof entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.  He sat with (and was welcomed by) its members for a Bible study, after which he committed a horrific act of hatred and racism by shooting 10 of its members.  Nine of those members were killed.

And as the country mourns and the national conversation once again turns to larger issue of systemic racism, I struggle to find the words.

I don’t understand.

I want to, but I don’t.  I can’t.

I’ve learned something in trying to talk about this since Ferguson and Baltimore.  I’ve learned that while the conversation is indeed a vital one to be had, that if I’m going to understand – even begin to understand – that I need to do less talking, and more listening… particularly as a white woman.

So much more listening.

I’ve learned that saying things like, “I just don’t see people as black and white”, while well intentioned, doesn’t help,  because it disregards the very people who have experienced, and are experiencing, the very real effects of racism in our country based on the color of their skin.  It disregards people, and it disregards history.

I’ve learned that having good intentions doesn’t abdicate my responsibility to learn more, and to do better.

I am disgusted and saddened, not just by the violence in Charleston, but by the overall state of racial injustice in our country, injustice that some people still fail to recognize.  It’s real, and it’s hurting people.  In my frustration, I know I haven’t always gotten the words right.  For that, I am deeply sorry.

I’m trying.  I’m learning.

My heart and prayers go out to everyone who lost loved ones in Charleston, and to the community, and the country, that is rallying behind them.


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Jun 15

Sleepless Nights and Murderous Cats

A little irony for your Monday morning.

I’ve had insomnia off and on (mostly on) for my entire adult life.  The ironic part is that even on the nights that all the stars are aligned and I can actually stay asleep, some outside random force prevents me from doing so… a sickness, a car alarm, a snoring spouse, a thunderstorm, a meteor.  There’s always something.

Last night, it was my cat.

skylar

She looks innocent, doesn’t she?

I actually started out the evening really worried about her.  I tried not to let on just how I worried I was, so I didn’t pass it along to the kids…. in particular Tegan (who was already asking, “Is she going to die?”)  and Everett, who has a stronger bond with her than I think I’ve ever seen between a boy and a cat in my lifetime.

She was just acting really weird, even for a cat.  She kept running and hiding, first under our covers, and then squeezed under our bed, which isn’t normal for her.   She wasn’t playing, wasn’t eating, wasn’t purring, and was just acting…. well, weird.  When Everett tried to bring her to the other side of the house for bed, and shut the dividing door – their usual nighttime routine – she FREAKED OUT, hurtling herself against the door and meowing a demon inspired yell.

At some point, it finally occurred to us to wonder if she was having a reaction to the flea treatment we’d given her the day before.  It was the only thing that had changed in her environment, and it seemed a likely culprit, particularly when Everett said she’d been frantically trying to scratch at the back of her head (it was a liquid that was applied at the back of the neck).  So we found the box, read the warnings, and were basically advised that if our cat seemed to have a problem with it, or was sensitive to it, to simply wash it off.

With water.

So, 11:30 at night found Mike, myself, and the two youngest kids circled around the kitchen sink. Everett was there out of concern and moral support;  Tegan was there largely for the entertainment value.  The cat was hugged firmly in my arms (they have the scratches to prove it) while Mike tried to rinse off her neck with the sprayer as quickly and efficiently as he could while she struggled.  We rubbed her dry the best we could with a towel, and then brought her back to bed with us.  She crawled partially under the covers right next to me, gave herself an exhaustive bath to try to erase the indignity of her shower, and went to sleep.  I didn’t take my eyes off her;  afraid to stop watching.  I kept one hand near her side to make sure she was still breathing.  (I do the same thing when my kids are sick.  I don’t know if it’s weird) I felt like I had to stay awake with her, at least until I got some sort of sign that she was okay.  I know it’s something that non-pet people can’t understand, but in the base level of my heart, there’s little distinction between the care and concern I have for my human children, and for my fur children. They’re treasured members of the family too.

So I stayed awake and just watched her.  She mostly slept, she never stopped breathing, and every now and then she’d wake up just enough to clean her feet and legs again.

And then at some point I must have finally dozed off despite my best intentions, because I was awoken by a very loud purr that instantly told me two important things:   1)  She was feeling much better, and 2) I needed to protect my sensitive areas.

I think most cats purr when they’re happy…. but mine purrs 10% for happy, and 90% for “I want to murder you in your sleep.”  One minute she was sleeping innocently by my side, and the next there was a claw-shaped hole in my armpit.  Then my ankle, then my hand.  Clearly making up for lost time, she proceeded to lodge an all-out assault on any body part that dared move under the covers (or look like it was going to move.  Or exist)  She stepped on my face.  She sat down.  She pounced on my feet.  She pounced on my stomach.  She attacked the little bit of string that was hanging from the corner of my pillow case.  She purred louder and roughly rubbed her face against my forehead.

And… repeat, for the next few hours.

Face.

Sit.

Pounce.

Feet.

String.

Forehead.

She’s not usually allowed in our bed at night.  This is one of the reasons why.

It was after 3:30 when I finally let my guard down a little bit.  She wasn’t sleeping, but she was lazing peacefully (and deceptively innocently) all sprawled out by my side.  She was still purring, the picture of sweetness.  I closed my eyes, silly enough to think I could actually get some sleep, but they flew open in pain about 8.2 seconds later when a set of tiny razors punctured my neck. I’d accidentally left my little cross necklace exposed…. and necklaces are, of course, harbingers of evil that must be immediately chewed off any unsuspectlng soul who dares wear one. After that, I declared her observation period over, scooped her up, and carried her across the house to Everett.

By the time I got back to bed, I realized I had a stomach ache – whether from worrying that my cat was going to die or the sausage I had for dinner or the fact that it was almost 4 AM I didn’t know.  I was afraid it was going to prevent me from sleeping even the few remaining potential hours, but just before 5:00, I finally relaxed and started to drift off to sleep.

And then I had to pee.

The end.

PS The cat is 100% her normal self this morning, currently happily looking out her favorite window.  Stinker.


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Jun 13

Kids, Profanity, and The Real Bad Words

ralphiesoap

I have two childhood memories related to swearing.  To set it up, I have to say first that I was a GOOD kid.  And when I say, “good kid”, I don’t particularly mean that in a positive way.  I was a perfectionist.  I was a people pleaser, often to a fault.  I cared too much what others thought of me.  I didn’t want to cause any problems, didn’t want anyone to be mad at me.  Swearing in any capacity was so far outside of my realm of consciousness that it was almost inconceivable.  Nice girls didn’t do that.

And then one day I got really mad at a tree.  I have zero recollection about why I was mad at a tree (knowing me I’d probably just accidentally walked face first into its trunk) but I was mad. Like, really really mad.    So I swore – or at least, what I considered a swear at the time – for what I believe was the first time in my life.   What I said didn’t even make sense, as inexperienced as I was with the practice.  I knew I wanted something stronger than, “Stupid tree!” , and probably meant to say, “Damn tree.”  But, no…. what I said, with great gusto I might add, was “This hell tree!”  Thirty something years later, the writer in me cringes.  Anyway, my sister, who was clearly in a “let’s make each other’s lives miserable” instead of a “let’s be best friends” phase, immediately reacted with shock, followed rapidly with an “I’m telling Mom!!!”   Feeling instant remorse, and wanting to beat my sister to the punch, I immediately ran to my mother, almost in tears.   “Mom……”  Sad face.  Ugly cry.  Self flagellation.   “I said a bad word… ”  She responded with something along the lines of, “Well, as long you’re sorry, and you know not to do it again…..”   and then it was over.  The lesson learned?  Profanity – even the most awkwardly and incorrectly used mild profanity – was indeed highly shameful, and was not to be repeated.

A few years later, I read a book by Judy Blume called Forever.  I don’t know if anyone remembers that book, but it was a big. deal. when I was a tween.  It was a coming of age story, an account of a girl’s first sexual experience, and the kind of book that we whispered and giggled about in the hallways.  I hid my copy in my book bag. There’s a scene in the book where the main girl’s younger sister says the word, “fuck”, and her sister responds like a big sister and scolds her, and the younger girl basically says, “That’s not a bad word. Hate and war are bad words, but fuck isn’t.”   It seems silly now, but that simple quote pretty much blew my naive little 12 year old mind, and forever colored the way I viewed profanity.  Hate and war are bad words. Fuck isn’t.  What if it really wasn’t a bad word?  IS there such a thing as bad words? (I’ll get back to that question later.)   I basically decided then and there that I agreed with this fictional character:  They’re just words.   But because I was still such a people pleaser, it would be many more years before I would experiment with using any of them myself.

These days, though my blog generally stays by-and-large profanity free (for no other reason than I just don’t usually feel like I need to use them)  I do use stronger language in “real life”;  at least when I’m around trusted friends, and/or in the safety of my kitchen.  I’m not so much a fan of the F word as I am of variations of the word, “ass.”  Ass waffle is a current favorite.  I realize that it sounds juvenile, but perhaps it’s in homage to the poor girl who couldn’t bring herself to say the word “hell” without bursting into tears.

My kids, who I swore would not be brought up to be ashamed of everything like I was, all generally choose not to swear. Sure, they’ve experimented here and there, and they’re always free to ask questions, but we’ve just never made it a big deal…. so it never became a big deal.

They’re just words.

Sometimes I use them.  Sometimes their dad uses them.  We’ve had an open and honest dialogue about language their entire lives, just like we have about everything else.  Here are a few things I want my kids to know about swearing (besides the number one rule:  If you’re going to use one, at least use it correctly.)

In no particular order:

1. It’s always kind and respectful to think about the people around you.

(AKA Don’t swear around grandma) The language you choose should be a way to express yourself, not a way to hurt or horrify other people.  Being aware of your surroundings matters. Time and place matters.  How you treat people matters.  Don’t use your words to hurt others, and don’t be so inflexible with your language that you fail to be polite when the situation calls for it.  Having said that…… :

2.  The person who’s ultimately in charge of what you say and how you say it is YOU.

I spent a lot of years letting other people make my decisions.  As an adult, I won’t do it anymore. The thing you need to understand is that there is a BIG DIFFERENCE between being kind and mindful of the people around you, and living your life for someone else.  The first is always a good idea.  The second is never a good idea. The words you choose to use… whether you’re angry and frustrated or happy and excited… are yours. You get to choose how you want to express yourself, and how you want to represent yourself in any given moment.

3.  Not swearing doesn’t automatically make you virtuous.  Swearing doesn’t automatically make you cool.  

Being yourself makes you cool, wherever you may fall on the continuum.  I know kids and adults alike who like to use certain language just for shock value, just as a part of a put-upon persona. And yes, everyone’s choices are their own, but in my humble opinion, swearing when it’s not authentic to you doesn’t make you sound cooler or tougher or more badass.  It just sounds silly and disingenuous.   Likewise, saying something benign like “oh darn” when you really want to yell, “shit!”?  You’re not fooling anyone.  Be yourself, and be REAL…. in word, thought, and action.  To do otherwise is like using big words just to sound smarter.  It doesn’t work that way.

4.  You can’t judge a person’s worth/intelligence/moral standing based on whether or not they swear.

I have heard people say that profanity makes a person sound less intelligent, and/or like a “bad” person in some way.  Both are nonsense.  Making that kind of snap decision about someone you don’t know is a reflection on you, not them.  Some of the kindest, biggest hearted, most intelligent people I know have mouths like sailors, and if I’d written them off based on their language choices I would have been missing out!   I want my kids to judge people on their HEARTS, not on how proficient they are with the F word.  I want my kids to know that a good and loving message peppered with profanity is still a good and loving message.  I want my kids to realize that most words are actually neutral, and that it’s how you use them that may make them good or bad.

Which brings me to:

5.  If you must categorize words as good and bad, place the blame where the blame is due.

The real bad words are words that are unkind and hurtful.  Words that make fun of someone else.  Words that aim to cut someone else down.  Words that disparage a person’s intelligence, appearance, worth.  Words that are racist.  Sexist.  Misogynistic.  Homophobic.  Words that are hateful.  Those are the bad words.

I think of this a lot when I think of the people who’ve been unkind to me because of something I’ve written on my blog.  I’ve been sworn at.  I’ve been called disgusting things.  People have used all different levels of profanity to express their displeasure at my existence.  But the one that stands out the most, the person who expressed the most hatred towards me…. was someone who would NEVER use profanity of any kind.  She actually liked to use bible verses, and lots of emoticons, and flowery, “good” language.  And yet she was more hurtful towards me than I think anyone’s ever been, right up through her parting shot of, “I feel sorry for your husband and kids for having to live with someone as awful as you” before I finally decided I’d had enough and blocked her.   Her words dripped with hatred.

You don’t have to use “bad words” to use bad words.

And absolutely, the two things are not mutually exclusive by any means.  I have some lovely, dear friends who would never speak unkindly to someone, AND who’d never use profanity. Friends who likely cringed through some of the words in this post.  (Sorry.)  I respect and so admire you for being true to yourself…. and also for your ability to be able to tell a whole complete story without having to punctuate it with a four letter word.  I love you, and I love who you are.

But.

if I had to choose between spending time with a person who was unkind and used “clean” words,  and a person who was loving and happened to use salty language?

I’d choose the latter.  Every.  Damn.  Time.


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Jun 08

Christian Support for Caitlyn Jenner

caitlynjenner

Ever since the Vanity Fair cover featuring Caitlyn Jenner was released, my newsfeed has been awash with talk of little else. People are posting their opinions, and sharing their praise, their confusion, or their disgust. Articles are getting shared from the perspective of support and celebration, to the debate over the words “brave” and “hero”, to outright disparagement.

Not surprisingly, the Christian community is not being particularly silent on the issue.

Some of what I’ve seen has been horrific, while others have been a bit “softer”… thinly veiled transphobia behind a veneer of, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I think the articles that bother me the most are the ones that purport to offer prayers and compassion to Jenner, while at the same time patting themselves on the back for making different (ie: more correct) decisions in their own lives. At least people like Matt Walsh are transparent about their bigotry.

Thankfully, there are other voices out there as well… Voices of loving, compassionate reason. These voices have been the balm to my weary and disenchanted soul. These voices have lifted me up over the past week, restored my faith in my fellow believer, and reminded me that I’m not alone in my plight or in my frustration. There are lots of Christians out there who are standing up for Jenner, and standing against unkindness.

I started this post as a way to gather some of these positive articles into one place (and will add to it as I find more)… as much for myself as for others.

Read these, and be encouraged.

Dear Bruce Jenner:  Jesus Loves You and Cares for You, by Jarrid Wilson

Four Reasons Jesus Would Invite Caitlyn Jenner Over for Dinner, by Jarrid Wilson

I Went to Church With Bruce Jenner and Here’s What Caitlyn Taught Me About Jesus, by Josh Cobia

Christians, Be Careful What You Say on Facebook, by Zack Locklear

Done., by Motherhood Unscripted

Neither Male Nor Female:  A Christian Response to Caitlyn Jenner, by The Imperfect Pastor

If You Love The Duggars But Not Caitlyn Jenner, What Credit Is That To You?, by Zack Hunt

Thank you.  Thank you for walking the walk, thank you for putting love and humanity back into Christianity, and thank you for being brave enough to stand up for what is right.


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Jun 03

Mom, According to the Kids

famatdukes

Us, last weekend

This cracked me up.  I did a similar one once before, a few years ago, and when I recently saw this come through my Facebook feed I thought it’d be fun to do it again.  This is a series of questions I asked the kids, and their uncensored answers…. along with some commentary along the way. I asked them in the order their names appear.

Sometimes – particularly now that the kids are getting older and everything’s extra bittersweet – I find myself wanting to freeze time.  Interestingly, it’s not usually the most exciting or flashiest moments, but the most simple. Times like this:  hanging out, being real, and making each other laugh.  I kinda like these humans.

 

1. What is something mom always says to you?

Tegan (7 yrs) –  I love you

Paxton (14 yrs) –   I hate people.

Everett (11 yrs)  - H-h-h-hiiiiii (It’s this weird, drawn-out “hi” thing we do every time we cross paths.  I don’t know where it came from;  probably a TV show)

Spencer (18 yrs)  - Change your clothes  (E: “Spencer, this is going on Mom’s blog you know. Too late! Can’t change your answer”)

 

2. What makes mom happy? 

T –  Me

P  - Not people

E – Animals

S  - Caramels

 

3. What makes mom sad?

T –  When I’m not there

P –  People

E – Things that make you sad

S  - When you see a pet that needs to be adopted

 

4. How does your mom make you laugh? 

T – I don’t know.

P – Sarcasm

E – I want to steal Paxton’s answer (P – “Hey, this isn’t a game show where you can just steal people’s answers”)

S  - Jokes

 

5. What was your mom like as a child?

T – REALLY.  PUFFY.  HAIR.

P – Rebellious

E – Young

S  - You’ve said it before.  You got hurt a lot.

 

6. How old is your mom? 

T – 41

P – 41?

E – 41

S – 41

7. How tall is your mom? 

T – Oh my gosh.  I don’t know.

P  - 5 8 ½?  Something like that?

E – I don’t know… 5 10?

S – I’m about two inches taller than you.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
T – Play with me

P – Hold me hostage

E – Be with us

S  - Blog and read and write

 

9. What does your mom do when you’re not around? 

T – Do stuff on the computer and drink coffee

P – I’m not around.  How would I know?

E – Things

S  - Yoga

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? 

T – Actress

P – Writing

E – Blogging

S – Blogging

11. What is your mom really good at? 

T – Making me feel good.

P – Writing

E  - Holding people hostage (T:  ”STOP COPYING!!”)

S  - Being a mom

12. What is your mom not very good at?

T – Not drinking coffee

P – Mind puzzles

E – Things she’s not good at (P:  ”Oh come on.  I at least TRIED to come up with answers”)

S – Nothing

13. What does your mom do for a job?

T – You don’t have a job!

P – Blog slash parent

E  - Stay at home mom

S – Stay at home mom

14.What is your mom’s favorite food? 

T – What is it called?  The thing with the cheese and the tomato and the lettuce…

P – Well, I don’t want to take Tegan’s answer, but I’m going to have to go with caprese.  Final answer.

E – How am I supposed to know?

S – Milk Duds.  Oh, that’s candy. Ummm… (P: “Candy’s still a food.  Acceptable answer”)

15.What makes you proud of your mom? 

T – When you don’t drink coffee

P – Your ability to raise four children.

E  - A lot of things

S  - When you help with my schooling (he’s taking an online course for small engine repair. I help him study for his tests.)

 

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?

T  - Carly, from iCarly.

P – Coffee drinker #2

E – (T:  ”Don’t you dare copy”)  You would be Monica.  (P:  “Could you BE any more like Monica?”  E:  “Actually, you *are* kind of like Monica”.  Me:  “Neurotic?”  E & P – “Yes!!”)

S  - Rachel from Friends.

17. What do you and your mom do together? 

T – Have fun

P  - Bond over trips to guitar lessons

E – Talk.  We talk.

S – School work

 

18. How are you and your mom the same? 

T – We both love animals

P  - Sarcastic sense of humor

E – We both love animals.  (T:  ”That’s what I said!  You copier!”)

S - …..

Me: “You look really pained by these questions.”   P:  “We were ALL pained by these questions.”

S  Okay fine, we both have TMJ

 

19. How are you and your mom different?

T – Mom likes coffee and I hate it

P – I’m not a mother

E – I don’t blog

S – Can’t think of anything

20. How do you know your mom loves you?

T – She says it to me nine billion jillion times.

P – It’s something you just know

E – Because she says it a lot

S – (thinking) (E:  “Ten seconds on the clock!”  S:  “There’s no timer”.  E: “Yes there is, and you have to answer in ten seconds”. T:  “No he doesn’t!”  E:  “Time’s up!”)

S – When you go to the store, you know what kind of candy I like, and you bring some home.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?

T – He farts a lot

P – This is too hard.

E – I don’t know

S  - He’s funny

22. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?

T – To meet Taylor Kinney

P – Rattlers games

E – These are hard questions!  Your favorite place to go?  Well you don’t go anywhere very often.

S –  I was going to say the Elephant Bar, but they closed.

 

23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 

T – 30?  No.  No no no.  Not 30.  37.

P – 26

E – 30

S – Around 20

 

Me, to Everett:  Was that so horrible?

Everett:  Yes, yes it was horrible.  (To Spencer)  Mom wants to ask you tons of questions and interrogate you!

Paxton:   She’s going to hold you hostage, don’t do it!

 

Thanks guys, as always, for keeping it real.  :)

 

 


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Jun 01

Unschooling Q & A

I’m back with another video today, answering the question, “What has been the most unexpected joy of unschooling? The most unexpected challenge?”

 


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