We Wash Feet

I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

Archive for the category “parenting”

Where Are All the Heroes?

I enjoy reading and posting updates on Facebook.  With a modest number of friends most of my posts receive a few likes by friends and a comment or two now and then. My more popular posts having 20-30 likes, so when I have a post that skyrockets over that 30 ceiling, I tend to take a second look.

I recently posted this:

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Why did this post about my husband repairing our central heat and air receive 124 likes or reactions?  I didn’t attach a picture or meme. I didn’t tag anyone.  What was it about cheering on my husband that resonated with my FB friends more than the things I normally share? Why don’t I see more of “I have an awesome man for a husband” type posts in my newsfeed? Men have taken a tough blow over this last decade or two. Just think about it, you can honestly not watch a single commercial or television show without a man being portrayed as weak, ignorant, deadbeat, or unable to control their thoughts or actions. Why am I, like so many others, silent at this onslaught of negative and demeaning characterizations of today’s man? There is something wrong happening here. The men I know are not like this. My husband, sons, dad, uncles, nephews, and various male friends are none of those things. They are strong, intelligent, involved, and self-controlled. So why are men generalized to be less than? What has happened to our heroes, brave warriors, our white hats who ride in and save the day?

Before I go a step forward with these thoughts, you need to know I am a self-confident, educated, and driven Christian woman. I know who I am and where I am going. I make my own choices and live with the consequences, successes and failures.  I’m all for equality and women’s rights and it breaks my heart when I hear of the mistreatment of my sisters.  It turns my stomach when I read about women and children forced into slave sex trafficking. I get angry when I hear about the victims of female genital mutilation, domestic abuse, rape and worse. These things are evil.  These things are not part of God’s plan for His girls.  God has a beautiful plan and design for His girls, just read Proverbs 31 if you doubt God doesn’t want His girls to be self-confident, driven and successful.

I hear so much about breaking through the infamous glass ceiling, rising above past discriminations, and propelling forward for our sisterhood everywhere. I read about women’s rights, equality and liberation. I was born in the seventies so women’s liberation was noticeable, part of classroom discussions, common. As a young women in my junior year at university, I took a class entitled “Spirituality for Women.” Naively, I was expecting a class focused on our Christian walk, after all I was at a private Catholic university, but instead the agenda was more of a recruitment to embrace feminism.  A blessed sister of the Catholic church, hell bent on proving that the female was superior to the male, not to mention her right to enter the priesthood, gave me my first sampling of feminism. It was bitter water. It didn’t take long to realize the misguided direction of her anger. Please don’t misunderstand me here, I believe women should have every opportunity afforded to men but here is where I differ. I do not need to climb over, step on or dismember manhood because I was born female.  Trust me!  I sing my own version of the old commercial’s jingle just fine! I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan!  And I make sure, my husband doesn’t forget he’s a man!

For the sake of saving my husband from embarrassment, let’s get back to the point:

In our pursuit of women’s liberation, we began to shout, “I don’t need to be rescued, I’m not a damsel in distress, I’ve got this.” We empowered little girls everywhere to dress up like princesses and save themselves, their kingdoms, and their subjects! Go Girls!  And that isn’t a bad thing in itself but with those same cries we began to hush the boisterous, loud excitement of competitive games of tag, kickball and foot races, we broke apart the friendly wrestling matches on the school playground and in our backyards. We began to strip away the toy weapons, tiny soldiers and masked heroes from our sons. We awarded participation ribbons and declared them all winners! When our young boys didn’t comply, we diagnosed them, medicated them and wondered why our sons are so, so, so…… them.

Why is it so difficult to embrace the beauty in both the feminine and the masculine?  We are made to be different. To look different, to feel different, to react different. Differences that should be celebrated and nurtured.  Let the little girl dream of her hero rescuing her from the clutches of the vile villain. Let the little boy dream of defending his princess with his sword and shield.  That doesn’t mean she can’t dream of saving the day too or that he can’t dream about being rescued. We do not have to rip one gender apart, stripping it of any fragment of decency to promote another.

Why must we exchange our knights in shining armor for court jesters?
Contrary to what today’s television programming may portray, men are not morons, nitwits, imbeciles or any other expletive.  I am not married to nor am I raising bumbling idiots. My boys, my three incredible sons are being raised as the royalty they are.  Yes all three of my boys are being groomed to be Knights in Shining Armor, White Hat Wearing, door opening, yes ma’am and no ma’am addressing young men.  They are prayed over continuously. They know Mama is their greatest cheerleader and a ready advocate when necessary. They know how to say I’m sorry, excuse me, and use proper table manners.  They can change a tire, check the oil, and move heavy furniture when requested. They can cook, clean, and do laundry.  They are being trained to be strong and fierce, to be gentle and kind. To work hard and provide for their families, to love their wives like Jesus loves them and to raise their children to know God and make Him known. They are becoming mighty men of God. Men who won’t hesitate to defend your honor, stand up for you, fight for you, rescue you, carry you, protect you, provide for you and love you. They are preparing to serve you in the humblest of ways. They are becoming heroes.

I’m for sure playing my part in seeing this happen but in actuality, my role, although significant, pales next to the example they see in their Daddy.  All this day to day training is alongside a father who also lifts them up in prayer, rivals my cheerleading and advocacy and holds them accountable for their actions and words. I didn’t teach them to check my oil or fill my gas or even help me to carry in the groceries. Daddy did that.  They can cook, clean and do laundry because they had a dad to show them through his example and teaching.  This fierceness, strength, gentleness and kindness I’m referring to, they get a front row seat. All this chivalry mentioned, it’s played out before their very eyes every single day. My hero, their daddy, makes me swoon. He’s the hero Bonnie Tyler sang about!  I need him and he needs me.  We are partners, lovers, best friends. He is my husband and I am his wife. We are living the dream.

I want my sons, my grandsons, even my great grandsons to live in and pass down this legacy.  Is it too much to ask for men to be portrayed accurately? Our boys need heroes and examples to follow.  They deserve to see honorable, respected leaders who are motivated and empowered to live life with integrity and courage. They need to see men who are willing to weather the storms of life and take on the difficult responsibilities that come their way. Let’s stop elevating the men who neglect their responsibilities, shirk their duties, and abandon their families.  That kind of man isn’t a man at all and he is definitely no hero.

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Summer Begins

School ended Friday with an early dismissal.  Tim practically drug his teacher’s end of year gift into the school.  It was a little bit heavy for a first grader but he was insistent in being the one to bring it to her. His class enjoyed a movie and playtime and a breakfast treat of donut holes, fresh fruit, boiled eggs and co-jack cheese squares. Then we washed it all down with juice boxes. Tim’s class enjoyed one last carpet discussion with their teacher, discussing their favorites memories from the year and piping up to list vocabulary words and their meanings, which seemed more difficult than your average first grade.  It was impressive hearing them add words like infer, sincerely, contrast, and compare to their list, and even more impressive when different kids would pipe up with the correct definition.  I thoroughly enjoyed my “fly on the wall” moment, soaking it all in, especially since these Mommy moments are few since I teach at my child’s school.

 

Tim and I chose a bag of sunshine to give his teacher as a departing gift.  It doubled as a teacher 119appreciation gift because I never managed to do anything during that week long celebration.  I really wanted to shower her with our appreciation for a dream experience in the first grade.

I chose a bright green cooler bag to stuff full of bright yellow, summery items for her to enjoy.  A beach towel, candies, seeds, lotion and body wash, gum, candle, chap stick, and other goodies filled the inside. I didn’t take a picture of the tag I attached but it was a bright yellow sunshine saying thank you for helping us to shine this year.

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After school ended, Jeff picked Tim up from school and took him home.  I stayed for the end of the school year teacher’s luncheon and then headed home to begin our summer vacation!

 

Snow Dazed

This self proclaimed North Dakota Girl (15 influential years), transplanted back to her hometown, TN,  has been experiencing true snow days! In all the years of bitterly cold winters, snowball fights, sledding, snow forts and tunnels, would you believe I never experienced a snow day? That’s right, I went to school in the coldest parts of our nation. (Alaska’s tundra – the exception) Never once did I experience a snow day until Tennessee public school days!

Snow days here are extraordinary. I totally understand why schools are closed and why my northern buddies poke fun at me on Facebook. We were out four days last week and four days this week.  Oh and we actually got snow today! We went to bed with an inch but woke up to about 6 inches everywhere.  My youngest son was up and out bright and early, tracking through the snow.  Bowls of snow cream were made for breakfast for us from the buckets he placed on the deck the night before.

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Then the hunt began.  Even though we claim ND as home we do not own a sled, not a single one.  Of course every store in our county received a phone call, to no avail.  So what’s a dad to do?  No sleds but kids with wishful faces can cause you to do some strange things.  Today it was homemade sleds made out of an old plastic garbage can.  Yep he split that puppy right down the middle and tied rope to the front.

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As soon as the teenagers were up it was off to the sledding hill with their friends, thankfully they let their little brother tag along.  They trudged home through the melting slush an hour or two later with reports that the garbage can sleds were a bust. Dad’s heart was in the best of places, and hey, you never know until you try.   Thankfully they knew some of the neighbors sledding and shared their sleds.  “Thank you Neighbors!”

Tomorrow is yet another snow day and by Monday we will be in March and that should take us into next year without anymore snow!  Oh and I’ve heard, sleds can be purchased online fairly reasonable so maybe next year we can be prepared and share our sleds with the friends who need a ride.

Kid Size Guests

As I tuck the covers up around my seven year old son, hugging him good night, I pray for the children that do not have a mother to tuck them in at night. There are too many, in fact according to World Hope Organization 1 in 13 kids in developing countries are orphans.

Last night the World Hope International Children’s Choir performed at church. It was energetic and such a blessing to hear and see these kids sing and dance as part of the Rescue Tour. They talked of the babies they were rescuing on the brink of death from starvation and contaminated water. Heart wrenching stories, but hope shown bright in the eyes of everyone of those energetic worshipers on stage.

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Bikash and Ramzel from Nepal and Philippines came home with us. They fit right in and made themselves at home. Although I’m kicking myself for not taking pictures, Tim had a blast playing with his new friends. We all ate pizza, played with toys, got ready for bed and said our prayers. Silently I prayed over each of my visitors and for their families back home.

So since last night our names have fondly been “Auntie and Uncle.” We have made the favorite American foods of these 8 and 9 year old boys: Chicken Fingers, french fries, bacon, boiled eggs, cinnamon rolls, and spaghetti. Not necessarily in that order but an interesting combination none the less.

There were some rules we had to follow. Rules that did our family good. The children were not allowed candy or gum. had strict bedtimes (9pm), were not suppose to play with any type of weapon and no electronics. A G-rated Movie was acceptable though. So on this Monday, we stayed home from school, we played outside and inside. We took breaks to eat. We played ball and rode bikes with helmets. We laughed and giggled. This mom learned that boys from America and boys from Nepal and boys from the Philippines are basically all the same. They play hard, act rough and tough, and still need to hugged.

This opportunity was rich in learning and was well worth missing a day of school. We will miss our new friends.

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Thanksgiving Classroom Treats 

I had the privilege of providing thanksgiving treats for Tim’s first grade classroom. They chose pumpkin pie of all things, but I can definitely accommodate!   

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These turned out so nice using a muffin tin, store bought pie crust, and a miniature leaf cookie cutter to decorate the tops. I had whipped cream ready for anyone who wants it.  I also wanted to try my hand at making acorn cookies so, using nutter butter bites, chocolate kisses, chocolate chips and some frosting  I assembled a second treat!  

Acorn Cookies for Fall

The treats were a great success and his class enjoyed them! We will repeat this next year unless Pinterest shows me a different treat to try.

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