Life is like a three-ring circus.
Well, at least mine is. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just part of living a full life. This week, in the center ring we had a new grandson born. All eyes were fixed upon his beautiful little face. We marveled at the goodness of God. Like any grandmother would do, I traveled across a couple states just to kiss his cheek and give him my personal welcome. The front ring filled with anticipation and excitement as the new school year began for our last child at home. She’s inching closer to the high school finish line. Then there’s the ring in the back, behind us, where the light is dim and hidden from everyone’s view — it stood empty with only shadows of a 19th birthday party that would have been.
Over it all we walk the tightrope of a precarious financial state. We are attempting to balance health needs, an ever-tightening budget, and current obligations, all without dropping off that red line into the abyss of default.
I stumbled a little this week, but I didn’t fall. What I did do is learn a valuable lesson and make a firm new resolution. There will be no safety nets. A “safety net” is a false sense of security.
Allow me to explain.
Would you imagine with me for just a moment?
Since we both love wild, exotic animals, let’s pretend we just bought a zoo together. With hundreds of different species now in our trust, we get to build a habitat for each one.
Let’s start with our lions. I think the perfect home for a big cat is a large room with a cement floor. We can paint it dark brown so it would feel like it has dirt and rock under his paws. He needs a beautiful smokey gray ceiling with florescent lights in the center imitating the sun. The lights would also help the plants grow and make the lion feel at home.
Of course it’s unconscionable to sacrifice smaller, helpless animals just to feed lions. There’s no need for that. These cats will eat only “stuffed animals” of our own creation, specially-designed so they will love it. We’ll serve a perfectly-sculpted soy gazelle for breakfast. At lunch, a stuffed-wheat antelope on a platter. We can have a life-size zebra laced with chocolate stripes — extra fortified, of course, with all the essential vitamins a growing lion needs.
Absurd you say?
Of course it is. Not in our wildest imagination would we consider taking a lion out of its natural habitat and creating a completely artificial one and feeding it manufactured (yet vitamin-fortified) food and expect it to thrive on any level. In fact, we pity the poor creature that’s born into captivity. And yet, this is precisely what we have done to ourselves.
Let’s face it: we were raised in industrial captivity with fake food. Like our imaginary lion born into captivity, we don’t know anything different. But what we do know, deep down is this just isn’t right. But how do we change it?
When my oldest son moved out of the house, he called to brag about his newfound freedom. ”Hey, mom, I’m just standing here with the refrigerator door wide open. This morning I got up, with all the lights still on, and ran down the hall with scissors in my hand yelling — it was awesome.”
To this day, I can only assume that he just wanted to give me a laugh — which he did. But the truth is he could have done all those things. He lived under his own roof, not mine. He could have, but I don’t believe he did. Although he still loved to push his mother’s buttons, he knew the wisdom behind those house rules. He no longer followed them because I made him; he willingly acted accordingly because he understood it prudent and beneficial.
In reading the New Testament and attempting to see it through author Rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s eyes in Kosher Jesus, I’m trying to discern whether Jesus really was a Jewish rebel who dismissed dietary laws, or if that is merely an uninformed perception of the Christian church.
If in fact our God is a good Father, and I believe He is, and He gave His people laws to live by including dietary laws for their benefit, not His — why would Jesus rescind them?
My grandfather used to tell the story of an abusive bill collector.
The faceless man on the other end of the phone seemed harsh and demanding. My grandfather’s struggling friend listened. When the caller finished his rant, the poor man replied,”That’s it. You’re out of the hat.”
Confused, the caller asked what he meant. He answered: ”There’s just not enough money to go around. So each week I put all my bills in a hat. Then I pull out one and pay it in full. But if you’re going to call me and be so nasty and rude, next month I’m not even going to put you in the hat!”
Grandpa would always chuckle and say that the young man became a bit more polite from then on — and his name remained in the hat.
In last week’s installment of this series,”Poor in Kenya Is a Lot Different Than Poor in American, Isn’t it?” many of my commenters brought up the point that dignity and contentment are key factors for a full life — no matter what your income status.
They were right. My grandparents modeled dignity, hard work, and contentment in the face of real poverty. I had all but forgotten the lessons learned a few years back when a debt collector began calling me.
In recent posts I revealed a few personal pieces of our lives, mostly focusing on the economic impact of a health crisis. However, life-changing events such as these seldom come in isolation. This perfect storm arose out of our lifestyle and diet, devastating my husband’s health and testing our faith.
In the span of a weekend my hard-working husband Mike went from a “Top Gun” insurance-fraud investigator to a bedridden patient, while I morphed into little more than a trembling caregiver. Without our realizing it, his lifestyle of constant traveling and eating on the road along with my budget-conscious (rather than health-conscious) efforts at home created unthinkable consequences.
Without any real symptoms, over a period of years he quietly developed chronic deep vein thrombosis. After a stint in critical care, surgery, and high-power medications, we exhausted all medical avenues to dissolve the clot.
The surgeon came in sporting a “you-did-this-to-yourself-big-guy” attitude and handed us a one-way ticket into a nursing facility. He declared that nothing more, medically, could be done. He explained, in a clear “good-luck-with-that” tone, that Mike’s body had to heal itself. He needed to “forge new veins.”
The finest health-care system in the world could only stop the progression of the clotting — which, arguably, is profound. Nonetheless, medicine had nothing further to offer us other than opiates, Warfarin, insulin, and around-the-clock, skilled care.
No cure, not even an injection of hope.
The fluid in his legs wasn’t going away “any time soon.” Which translated to him not getting out of bed any time soon. What fluid remained in six months, they said, would become permanent — an inconceivable thought.
My oldest daughter developed a theory and a plan. In the process we discovered these simple principles that had a profound impact on Mike’s recovery and my life.
Turns out he was both.
In Rabbi Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, the author points to the fact that Jesus was a carpenter by trade, which only adds to the evidence that he was indeed a classically trained scholar — a Pharisaic rabbi.
Boteach goes on to explain that the title of rabbi, in those days, was a form of respect, not a formal ordination as we understand it today. Jesus working as a humble carpenter was in direct keeping with the custom of the time. Teaching was considered a sacred duty. Jews thought it exploitive to profit from people’s desire to hear and understand God’s instructions for living a prosperous, peaceful life.
It’s my experience that the fundamentals of Sunday school teach Christian children early on that the Pharisees and Sadducees are equally bad. They are two sides of the same coin — a spiritual wooden nickel. Two faces representing an imitation of the real goodness of God. So much so, that when Jesus came on the scene teaching with his parables, he stood in direct contrast to their teaching. Which, in turn, provoked them to hate him.
Boteach claims that everything from Jesus’s teaching style to his vocation points to indisputable evidence that he was indeed a Pharisaic rabbi.
But isn’t that a bad thing?
Every Saturday morning at PJ Lifestyle, join parenting writer Rhonda Robinson as she documents her strategies for getting her family’s finances back into shape. Check out the previous installments in her ongoing series:
Week 3: Keeping Afloat With A Budget
This week was rough.
I had to remind myself of a conversation I had a couple years ago with a young man from Kenya.
He had a basketball scholarship at Vanderbilt University. His girlfriend was a good friend of my daughter. The couple came to our home to visit for the first time. He was extremely tall, a mild mannered guy with a huge smile. Teasingly I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up.
He explained he was getting his degree in social work. “Not a lot of money in that,” I chuckled.
He just flashed a blindingly bright smile and looked down shaking his head. “That’s ok,” he said. “I’m not really in it for the money. I just really want to help people.”
At that moment I realized something and asked, “Poor in Kenya is a lot different than poor in America, isn’t it?”
He laughed, then said with a more somber tone, “Poor in Kenya means you have a dirt floor if you’re lucky enough to have a house.” He described the conditions that people in his home town live in.
It was then I realized that my idea of poor meant I don’t get to have what I want when I want it. I have to wait, maybe even save for it. That’s not really poor. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Even when we were our “poorest,” we still owned a home. I’ve never looked into my children’s eyes and saw hunger that I couldn’t feed. During that time, we also owned and maintained a vehicle. My family had everything we needed, but not everything we wanted.
By most standards around the world, I’m rich. In fact, I’m so rich that I can drive my car into a separate room of my house. Clean water is at my fingertips, and fresh food grows in my yard.
For most of us, being poor in America is more a frame of mind than real poverty.
Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett, authors of Trim Healthy Mama aren’t PhDs or talk show hosts. They are two sisters on a mission to nourish their own families– and now yours. In the process, they just may have written the Bible for a Kosher-Christian diet.
Currently ranking #4 on Amazon, Trim Healthy Mama is a 600-plus-page treasure trove for anyone wanting to get off the dieting-trend mill, and gain their health back at the same time. In their chit-chatty style, the authors write as though you are sitting at their kitchen table together as they walk you through dieting fads, and explain how to eat healthy and heartily while losing weight.
Serene and Pearl write:
We do not claim to know it all, and still have much to learn ourselves, but hopefully you’ll soon discover that much of our culture’s current, dietary beliefs are actually in direct contradiction to the Bible.
These current nutrition beliefs block progress to stable weight because they hold people captive to defeat. It’s impossible to find an ease in life while trying to do as most modern food advisors tell us. If you think that having to constantly worry about counting calories, or stripping the fat and a large quota of animal foods like butter and red meat from most of your meals, is simply too hard to do– that’s because it is. This sort of advice is bondage, and with God’s help, you can shed the weight of it from your life.
Welcome to a new world, where the principles behind the words, Satisfying and Energizing can change your life.
A lot of diets promise the world. Here’s why this one delivers.
Walking into this guy’s office, I just knew I owed him money.
The floor was bare concrete. He stood behind a large, old metal desk. A sinking feeling of guilt mingled with dread dropped into my chest. A bit apprehensive, I approached him pretending I could pay it, without an inkling how much the bill would be.
He slid the small piece of recycled paper across the desk. The amount seemed to transform before my eyes, first $220.00 then the blurry scribbles became clear– $420.00.
How could this be? The image of my check register with a balance of only $220.00 flashed before my eyes.
“Can I see it?” I asked. Trying to reconcile the guilt of sinking my bank account. I secretly thought. ”Hopefully it’s wonderful, and worth the havoc I just brought on myself.”
“Sure,” he answered quickly, “It all came together really nice. You’re really getting a bargain.”
I followed him into a back room where he proudly pointed to the contraption fashioned into sort of a cage. An open top and sides revealed a duck sitting on a perch. Under it was several colorful flat glass ovals: one blue, one red and the third a dull yellow. They were all staggered in hight and lit up when the duck pecked at it–which he was doing quite musically. The sounds reminded me of a large deep toned wind chimes.
Flowing out of his cage was a large waterside, with water that ran like a stream along the span of the wall. Obviously, for the duck to float down for his pleasure.
“A duck?” I just spent $420.00, and sunk my bank account for a duck?
“Is he as smart as a parrot?” I asked. Remembering how much we loved Demetri, our African Grey.
Mercifully, I woke up. Resisting the urge to psychoanalyze myself, I started hunting for new budgeting software.
Although you’re probably wanting to launch into disturbing interpretations of that dream, as tempting as it is… first help me sort through a couple of the programs I found.
I had no intention of burning down the church.
It was an accident — pure and simple. The fire was small, and Sister Mary-Mark, my teacher, quickly stomped it out. Not to imply she snuck up on me, but nuns are inherently quiet. She startled me and I dropped the match. That’s it. End of story. No real harm done, except perhaps to my reputation.
Although it’s doubtful many of the nuns were saddened when my parents pulled me out and placed me in the public system, I’m thankful for my time with them. In spite of all the traditions and trappings of a Catholic school, they managed to instill in me more faith than religion.
Half-jokingly, I refer to myself as sort of a Christian mutt: raised Catholic, saved as a teenager in the “Jesus movement” of the seventies, walked an aisle in the Lutheran church, then baptized years later in a house-church bathtub somewhere in Berlin, Germany. My gypsy past taught me to seek Christ and love people rather than doctrines.
In reading Shmuley Boteach’s Kosher Jesus, I’m downright embarrassed to admit that I’ve just now realized how oblivious to the history of Christian antisemitism I’ve been. Likewise, it’s becoming more clear just why so many Jews have a disdain for the very name of Jesus. Which has led me to another realization.
If American culture is founded on Judeo-Christian values, and that culture is crumbling around us, it’s time we understand the true genesis of those values.
Now’s the time to take a good look at our foundation.
It wasn’t until the last perfect storm hit, and our financial ship began to take on water, that I started looking for leaks.
In general, I consider myself a fairly frugal woman. So you can imagine my surprise this week, when I discovered how much money has trickled out with little notice or concern.
With a critical eye, I began to go over all our expenses using online banking. When I did, it became clear that many seemingly small amounts of automatic debits were draining us a few dollars at a time. The amount of those little debits here and there was significant enough that I really should have done this a long time ago.
At first, I thought I needed to create my new budget. However, it quickly became obvious that cutting costs had to come first if the new budget would be realistic.
So, I spent the week plugging dollar-size holes.
There’s good news and bad news.
The bad news? Once again, our life and livelihood have taken a mortal blow.
The good news? We’ve traveled this road before. What once devastated me, I now consider a gauntlet at my feet.
I’ll explain, but first you need a bit of backstory: We didn’t realize my husband Mike had blood clotting issues until about eight years ago when he suffered a massive pulmonary embolism. He dismissed his difficulty breathing as nothing more than a chest cold.
His plan: Work the night shift, rest over the weekend. If, by Monday, he didn’t feel better he would see a doctor. After watching him struggle to catch his breath walking from one room to the other, I changed the plan.
We went to the emergency room.
Mike never returned to law enforcement. His doctor could not, in clear conscience he said, release him back to active duty on blood thinners. It took two long years without an income before he could change careers and enter the private sector as an investigator. The fear of poverty continuously haunted me.
My handsome knight’s work ethic and character always propelled him, and his new field of insurance fraud investigation was no exception. He could still fight evil, but at least now he didn’t have to wear a bulletproof vest to do it. We enjoyed a new home and began to rebuild our lives — that is, until last September.
Once again, I found myself arguing with him over whether or not he would go to the hospital. This time it would change our lives forever. A massive clot had formed under his heart, then extended down into both ankles. He has not worked since. Currently his full-time job is recovery, at which he is doing quite well.
Thanks to the company he worked for, we have excellent medical insurance that has kept us from financial ruin. We also have private, long-term disability insurance which has kept us out of the welfare line. For this, I am truly grateful.
Which brings us to today. Our income is down 40% and temporary. However, as I said earlier, we’ve been here before. The terrain is hard, but this time, there is no fear — just our faith and a plan.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families
So here’s the plan. I’ve come up with 5 Rules that I’m going to follow over the next 13 Weeks.
My daughter just got back from Moore, Oklahoma. Along with a team from our church, she spent the last few days helping families sift through the rubble that was once their homes. They spent hours searching for the smallest pieces of their lives.
When I asked her what struck her the hardest, she told me,
Watching the families look at the debris, or the crosses in memory of the children that died. The blank look of disbelief on their faces — they’re not in there. Then when you hug them, they just drop into your arms and cry. I remember that feeling. I remembered when that was us.
So do I.
In the midst of tornado sirens five summers ago, we were summoned to a small room in the basement of a hospital. Behind closed doors, two strangers, doing their best to be kind, said to us the most horrific words I ever heard. They told us our youngest son died at the scene.
What I once knew as my home, my family, and my children — even myself — all changed. There was no going back.
An June 2008 entry from my journal:
It is as though my life has exploded into thousands of little pieces. Daily I strive to carefully pick up another piece. What I am finding is that each piece is part of a puzzle. And I have to ask God where each piece fits.
To my surprise, the picture of my life that the pieces are forming is a much different picture than the one I knew before.
You can’t stop the storms of life from rolling in. You can, however, allow them to deepen your relationships rather than destroy them.
Blame it on advertising. Blame it on the industry. It really doesn’t matter who or what you point to. The evidence is everywhere: the vast majority of Americans have a fantasy relationship with food.
What we eat is an extremely intimate, personal relationship with ourselves. It is precisely how we maintain the partnership between the soul that we are, and the body we live in.
It took half a century for me to grasp the fact that the stability of my mind, vitality, and longevity all depend heavily on what I eat.
It’s the same for you. Although our diets vary vastly, that statement still holds true.
However, like most people, I always thought of my diet, only in the narrow terms of “dieting.” Rather than the food we routinely eat, let alone its nutritional value.
Our weight and overall health is, more often than not, a direct reflection of our high expectations and extremely low standards of the food we eat.
Without realizing it, the manufactured food we crave, even desire, is carefully designed to reach our “bliss spot.”
The “Beauty and the Beat” singer was accepting the Milestone Award when the crowd seemed to erupt in boos. Looking a bit confused, Bieber went on to assert that he thinks only the “craft” and his music should be considered, arguing that “none of the other bull” mattered. While it’s unclear what Bieber was referencing, he has had a number of bad public relations moments as of late, having lost his temper with the paparazzi in London and being caught smoking marijuana.
“This is not a gimmick,” Bieber said. “I’m an artist and I should be taken seriously.”
He may be an “artist” but if he wants to be taken seriously, he’s got some growing up to do.
In the absence of large banners that read “Bieber can’t sing” there is only one logical conclusion as to why the crowd booed. He betrayed his “Beliebers” by violating his brand and their trust.
What the wonder-boy of marketing apparently doesn’t get, is that his most avid fans are children — young enough to buy his dolls. He’s done an excellent job of branding himself as a clean-cut, all-American boy and enjoyed the parental stamp of approval. Who, I might add, are the actual consumers of the vast array of toys and products bearing his image, all of which propel his “craft.”
The “other bull” as he so eloquently put it, is not just bad press.
Sorry Justin, but your music is not so wonderful that parents of your young fans will take them by the hand and follow a tatted-up pot-head down the Britney Spears path of destruction.
One by one, they all filed into the kitchen for the family meeting. My oldest hopped onto the counter. His gangly legs dangled past the knobs on the cabinet doors below. Bouncing on his toes, the youngest stretched his arms as high as he could — the universal baby language for “pick-me-up.” I automatically lifted him. He felt twice as heavy the day before. At least, it seemed like yesterday. All of a sudden, his face didn’t look like my pudgy baby with the button nose. Instead, a full-blown toddler had taken his place. As he settled into my lap, wrapped in my arms, I looked around the room at all the faces. Curiosity framed eight pairs of big, Robinson-blue eyes. We filled the entire kitchen of that old farmhouse.
“It’s time to take a vote,” I announced.
Before I could say what we were actually voting on, squeals of delight slipped out of the girls. It’s always fun when you’re little and someone counts your vote — on anything.
“Okay,” I continued. “Daddy and I want to know… who wants Mommy to have another baby?”
All hands immediately shot into the air. The little guy on my lap raised both of his, and now all the girls were giggling.
“Well then, it’s settled. Mommy’s going to have a baby.”
“At the end of the summer.”
The entire room erupted with cheers. The big girls hugged each other, and the two boys started jumping up and down making boy-noises. The older kids narrowed their eyes and studied us. Their suspicion was plainly written all over their faces– “Wait a minute, I don’t think that’s how it works…”
Their dad shot a smile and a wink their way.
Our children were always excited about welcoming a new member. To them growing a family took nothing more than an announcement.
However, building a strong family takes more than simply adding children. It takes these three vital elements.
Subjected to criminal prosecution for homeschooling their six children, Uwe and Hannelore Romeike fled Germany in 2008. U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the family asylum in 2010, only to see his decision overturned in 2012 after it was targeted directly by the Obama administration.
On Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family.
“The Obama administration is basically saying there is no right to home school anywhere,” said Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “It’s an utter repudiation of parental liberty and religious liberty.”
The Justice Dept. is arguing that German law banning home schooling does not violate the family’s human rights.
“They are trying to send a family back to Germany where they would certainly lose custody of their children,” Farris told Fox News. “Our government is siding with Germany.”
“Germany continues to persecute homeschoolers,” said Mike Donnelly, HSLDA Director of International Affairs. “The court ignored mountains of evidence that homeschoolers are harshly fined and that custody of their children is gravely threatened—something most people would call persecution. This is what the Romeikes will suffer if they are sent back to Germany.”
Although it was many years ago, the image of a young woman with a tear-streaked face and blank stare is forever etched into my memory. She sat in front of the television cameras, shredding a soaked tissue, telling her story. Once a happy new mother, now distraught and on trial for the death of her baby — the infant died in her arms. The cause of death was starvation and malnutrition.
The first-time mother said she loved her baby and breastfed her regularly. She cared for the child to the best of her ability. She claimed that she had no idea the newborn failed to get the nourishment she needed. Nevertheless, the baby languished in her arms until she became too weak to suckle. It was only then that help was sought.
Of course the outrage came quickly. Bony fingers of blame pointed in all directions. Some held the hospital responsible, believing the first-time mother got released too soon. No doubt a direct result, others moralized, of the cold, cost-calculating insurance companies. Always pressuring hospitals for earlier discharge of maternity patients. Others cast the blame on social services. The government let this poor young woman slip through the cracks. Over and over, the resounding cries filled the airways.
Their haughty laments over that young mother’s fate still echo in my mind: “Where were the pediatricians? Where were the lactation experts?”
The answers were never found. Perhaps because no one asked the right question.
Where was her mother?
Before she could walk on her own or speak a complete sentence, her tenacious personality glistened through her dark blue eyes.
Like most toddlers, Chelsea learned to pull herself up to practice walking around the furniture. At the time we had a large, heavy octagon coffee table, which quickly became the favorite gathering place for the wobbly-leg crowd.
Our tiny house made it easy to watch Chelsea crawl and explore the living room while I worked in the kitchen. As small as it was, I still couldn’t get to her in time.
She stood up next to the table. With every open-palm smack of the surface came squeals of delight — until she missed the tabletop and lost her balance. She fell face first, catching her chin on the way down.
The dull thud sent me darting into the living room. I arrived just in time to witness an omen.
With tears streaming down her face, her eyes narrowed as she grabbed the table’s edge with both hands and bit into it with all her might, as if she wanted to be sure to imprint each new tooth. Then, she pulled away, with a self-satisfied “That’ll teach you to hurt me” look washing over her face.
I dropped onto the couch as she turned and grinned at me with total satisfaction. The teeth marks in the table were a clear sign that this child had a spirit that could conquer her world.
The personalities of individual children along with unique family dynamics make any theory on raising children subjective and controversial. All children should not be disciplined the same, but rather in accordance to their own temperament and personality — in short, whatever works for your family.
There are children that test their boundaries, push their limits, and question the rules — on a daily basis. Their philosophy of life is “Edges are made to make life exciting.” Then, there’s the child whose doctrine is “Edges are boundaries — they are in place to make life safe. Rules are our friends.”
If this is your child, congratulations — you’ve hit the parental lottery. There’s no need to read any further. Enjoy your peace, and try not to judge the rest of us.
The following rules are for parents who believe in using the politically incorrect parenting method of corporal punishment — who are raising the table biters of today to grow into the movers and shakers of tomorrow.
His wasn’t the first brilliant plan to end in the emergency room.
The two boys had a problem they needed to solve. You see, there was an opossum on their farm and the boys had to capture it.
I’m not real clear just why, other than that’s just the way of things in a boy’s mind — opossums were made for trapping.
Nonetheless, the two set about their adventure by Googling “how to make a opossum trap.”
The contraption that inspired them consisted of a heavy rock, a rope, and a high tree branch — constructed and powered solely by two 11-year-old boys. It’s really not hard to see how this plan landed one of them in the emergency room to have his collar bone X-rayed.
Just as the mother of the chief architect was about to remind him that this was exactly why boys should put on clean underwear and socks every day, the triage nurse walked in.
“What brings you in today?”
“Well, you see, there’s this opossum on our farm.…”
For the next ten minutes the hospital air filled with the dreams and designs that ultimately knocked the starch right out of the young trapper.
Trying to keep a straight face, the nurse simply smiled and said the doctor would be in soon.
Apparently the boy’s adventure made the rounds ahead of the doctor. It wasn’t long before a stream of hospital staff including the janitor “needed” to hear the story.
At last the doctor entered the room. The gray-haired gentlemen pulled up a stool, leaned forward, and began listening intently.
“So tell me what happened.”
Once again the tale began:
Well, you see, there’s this opossum….
The doctor asked many questions; he seemed mostly interested in the construction of the trap. Shaking his head with a grin, he ordered the X-rays.
When the results came in, he returned with an announcement:
Well, boys, it looks like it’s back to the drawing board.
Your collar bone isn’t broken, just bruised. But I want you to know you made my day just to know that there are still boys that act like boys.
What do you think he meant when he said he was glad there are still boys that act like boys?
I think his idea of a boy is a bit old-fashioned. He remembers when boys were allowed to be a bit dangerous, adventurous, and industrious — before they were feminized.
Here are five ways parents can capture their boy’s heart, douse it with character, and send a real man out to conquer his own world.
From Rielle Hunter’s interview with George Stephanopoulos:
GS:You would still walk up into that room six years later, knowing everything you know now?
RH: Would I do that again? No way.
RH: Absolutely not.
GS: So in the end, even though you got this lovely gift, of Quinn. The relationship was a mistake.
RH: I don’t, many things in the relationship was a mistake, but I don’t regret loving him.
GS: And you still love him.
RH: I do.
GS: And he still loves you?
RH: You’d have to ask him that, but I think he does. I mean that I feel that he does.
GS: So how does that work going forward? You have a daughter together. You are a family.
RH: We are a family but as last, the end of last week, John Edwards and I are no longer a couple.
Watching this interview, it’s hard not to notice Hunter’s vivid, immature fantasy life.
As she talks about her relationship with former presidential contender John Edwards, you can practically get whiplash as she swings between reality and make believe, going from giddy girl and back again to sensible woman.
David Swindle recently pointed out how sad it is when a 50 year-old man hasn’t grown up sexually since he was 13. Hunter demonstrates the female version of this aberration. Like most adolescent girls, she embraces idealized definitions of love, marriage and family.
Hunter says, “We are a family” but admits they are “no longer a couple.” This “family” only exists in her imagination. Just because her fantasy life produced offspring it doesn’t mean she’s built a family.
A mature woman knows that it takes an immense amount of self-sacrifice to create a family. You can’t just wave a magic wand and conjure up one.
Has Hunter inadvertently exposed the underdeveloped mental anatomy of a mistress?
Her voice was low, steady, and unfamiliar:
“We haven’t met. I know you just moved in not too long ago. You have a boy about ten, is that right?”
With a rapidly growing concern swelling in the base of my throat, a hesitant “yes” was all I could muster.
“He’s made friends with [the boy that lived behind us]. I’m not going to say too much. But please don’t let him play inside their house.”
With little else said, she hung up. There really wasn’t much more to say. She articulated the unspoken message quite well. I took her advice without any further questions.
Our kids learned about “stranger danger” beginning in grade school. We followed up at home by making it a point to tell them that we would never send someone they didn’t know to pick them up — for any reason.
We also took the experts’ advice and established a secret code word for safety. I worried about, and took many deliberate precautions against, abduction.
Like most parents, I didn’t have to read these statistics. I could practically feel them:
US Department of Justice reports, nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year, or an average of 2,185 children reported missing each day.
Abductions happen. We see the children’s faces on the walls at the store, and cringe with every Amber alert. But we don’t mentally subtract the fact that of those 800,000, only 115 children were victims of the “stereotypical” kidnapping of a stranger snatching them — what we fear most. With all of the attention drawn to it, we tend to think sexual assaults are more likely to come with abduction.
In all my precautions, it never occurred to me to tell my son that not all moms and dads were good. And I certainly wasn’t prepared to explain to our ten year old that I suspected his new best friend’s dad was deeply disturbed.
Most children can’t begin to comprehend the depraved acts a person with a friendly face can do. They’re still looking for bad guys with black hats and a sinister laugh. How do you protect a child’s innocence physically without devastating him mentally?
The FBI tells us that predatory pedophiles, like the obscure man behind us and Jerry Sandusky, the Penn State assistant coach just convicted of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, have a pattern of seduction.
It sickens me to admit that, had I not gotten that call, I don’t know that I would have recognized the signs.
Ask yourself these questions…
In my last article, “6 Lies You Should Tell Your Kids,” I explained my definition of a “legal” fib:
One day, with a little more age and maturity, he will not only realize I lied, but also understand why — all in the span of one epiphany.
As a child’s logic and understanding of the world develop, the fable’s truth materializes. Maturity comes with his newly acquired wisdom and understanding, not devastation at the loss of a perceived reality.
By breaking this one simple rule, you risk delivering a major blow to his ability to trust.
Disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist — I don’t even play one on TV — but even I know the following lies, from the most common to the unbelievable, can deliver lifelong problems.
5.”Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus.”
I’m amazed by the complaints of former children who still resent their parents’ attempts to create a magical Christmas. The lie (obviously a family tradition) once exposed casts a round, but dark, shadow over their relationship with their parents. For some, this experience shaped their parenting philosophy. This single fabrication has produced enough backlashes to merit a place on this list.
In a powerful blog post titled “The Devastating Power of Lies in a Relationship,” Donald Miller shares his experience of being lied to by two friends. Within his analysis of his own feelings, he articulates some universal truths about deception and its impact on our relationships. Although he writes of lies between friends, they still hold true for children.
When my friends lied, I felt disrespected and unimportant. They didn’t seem to care about me or trust me enough to tell the truth. This made me feel bad about myself, as though I were not important or trustworthy enough to be told the truth.
When I found out the extent of one of the lies, I felt like a fool. … I felt tricked and deceived. Again, without meaning to, she’d made me feel bad about myself because I felt like somebody who could be conned.
The extent that some children experience these feelings relates to both the depth they believed in the story and the degree parents fought to preserve the illusion. There always comes a time for truth to replace childhood fantasy. Parents cross the line of trust when the child believed the parent over his own better judgment.
I do not believe in telling lies to children or to anyone else. The sole exception would be lies told to save innocent human life: telling the Gestapo (or the lynch mob) that you don’t know where their intended victim is.
For instance, tell your children the truth about “Santa Claus.” The life of Saint Nikola of Myra is a far more inspiring story than any folk legend about “Santa Claus” could ever be. “Saint Nick” is a man that you and your children should try to emulate! The real “Saint Nick” was a HERO who fought against tyranny and injustice.
This is also the path my children have taken for their families as well– so far with no known harmful side effects.
However, a truth told in exaggeration is still a lie that can hurt…
Honesty isn’t always the best policy when it comes to reasoning with small children. Being totally honest with your children is a noble thought and in a perfect world it would certainly be considered the best practice.
However, the world isn’t perfect, and young children are not compact adults. In fact, the world is too complex and dangerous to expect the under-seven crowd to grasp the total truth on most issues. It’s hard enough trying to get them to grasp personal hygiene, let alone an ugly reality.
Young children possess limited reasoning and coping skills. Just because a child is old enough to ask if his military dad might die in Afghanistan doesn’t mean he should carry the burden of worry every day that his father could be killed.
Lies come in all shades, sizes, and colors. My rules for what constitutes a legal parental lie have more to do with childhood fantasy, health, hygiene, and safety.
If you’re not sure about what constitutes what I call a permissible lie, here is my basic rule of thumb. One day, with a little more age and maturity, my child will not only realize I lied, but also understand why — all in the span of one epiphany.
Establishing truth and trust is important for a healthy, happy childhood. You tell stories to your children and keep them safe, and build trust in your relationship as they grow. Wise parents will do so without destroying their innocence.
A few well-placed lies, or crafted stories handed down from generation to generation, can color a childhood with imagination, protect children from their immaturity, and shield children from the adult burden of understanding the truth of real evil.
From the most harmless fibs to verbal shields of protection, here are six lies we tell our children.