Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Forgive As My Father Forgives

The culprits, eating carrots & licking frosting off mixers.
It started with silence around 6:15pm. Silence is never good in a house of toddlers. Silence = trouble. They weren't in the play room, so I went searching. Liam had to go potty so he went to my parents' bathroom and Graham followed behind with a pitcher full of poker chips and fake money. Don't ask.

I found Graham sitting in my parents' shower with the coins spread out around him. Liam was going potty. I said, "Dinner is ready and you shouldn't be in here. Pick it up and come out now." And I walked away. Mistake. 

A few minutes later I heard my name and went looking to see what was the matter. Both boys were now in the shower with the glass doors slid shut - and stuck. I got my dad. Long story short. He was getting quite frustrated trying to open the doors which must have come off the track. He was angry with the boys, asking them why they were in the shower in the first place (my fault). And as I was asking... "Can I help?"  *Shatter!!*  I heard Graham start crying and then he got handed to me around the door. Next came Liam, handed off. I saw blood on the ground and hoped it hadn't come from either of them. Liam started crying. I started crying. Everyone was crying! There was glass everywhere. 

I dealt with the kids and my parents cleaned up the mess. Side note - after dinner they went in to try to slide the other door into place and it broke too. Ugh.

I was so angry at those boys. No dessert. No Curious George. Eat dinner and get in bed. I reminded them that I told them to get out of the shower and they didn't listen. At dinner Liam apologized to my dad for breaking the door and my dad pointed out that they didn't break it. He did. I jumped in to say, but you WERE disobeying. I didn't want to let them off the hook. When it came time for tucking in, I was cold to them, but tried to make sure the night ended on a loving note. 

Meanwhile in Adult Land, I was crying. Telling my dad I was so sorry. He said - don't worry about it. It's okay. He was frustrated, but he didn't lose his temper with me. 

I couldn't help but think about the story of the Unmerciful Servant from the gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18. The king forgave his huge debt but then when someone owed HIM a smaller one he was unmerciful and threw him in prison. I was the middle-man debtor in this story-turned-real-life. My dad forgave me before I even asked yet I was so angry that I couldn't properly tuck my kids into bed.

But here's the tough part: When it comes to parenting, if you are too quick to forgive do you miss out on the opportunity to teach a lesson? Of course there is a lesson there on forgiveness and mercy, but where's the dividing line between holding on too long and reinforcing the message? 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What It Means to Be a Woman

newborn-nelly, by rotorhead 2003 via freeimages.com
Have you seen this article by Ruben Navarrette Jr. from The Daily Beast? I said on The Big Big House Morning Show that the headline is the most powerful wishy-washy statement I've ever read. It read: I Don't Know If I'm Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos. Wow. Even though it is not even close to being a firm declaration, that took courage and I think it is what a lot of people are thinking or at least feeling in their hearts.

The part of Mr. Navarrette's article that resonated deepest with me is his reasoning for why he has been pro-choice for 30 years. Consequently, it is the same reason that he is "on the bubble" of being pro-life. He says it's because he is a man. For so long he stood on the sidelines because, as a man he didn't feel like it was his right to decide what a woman did with her own body. He has come to realize with the loving nudge of his pro-life wife that declaring neutrality is "wimping out" and what it means to be a man is to use your voice to protect a child - your own or someone else's, even if their own parent is the one from whom they need to be protected.

Wow again.

My initial response was, "Good for you, 'man'". And then I thought, if that's what it means to be a man, then what does it mean to be a woman? I think to be a woman is to nurture, love, create life. And I'm not just talking about getting pregnant and rearing children. We are nurturing, loving & creating when we plant a garden, listen to a friend's story, help organize a bake sale at school or drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic to make money to put dinner on the table (often all within 24 hours).

In response to the abortion debate, if to be a man is to protect a child then I think to be a woman is to nurture a child. But how do we do that if the child hasn't even been born yet? We do that by supporting our local pregnancy centers. We do that by encouraging couples struggling with infertility to consider adoption. We do that by teaching our kids how to be compassionate towards the girl in school who (rumor has it) is newly pregnant. Our teenage children (or the kids in our church's youth group) are on the front lines. They are our eyes and ears on the battle ground. Take your teenager to a pregnancy center and ask for a tour or attend a fundraising dinner and let them hear a story of a life saved. And most importantly, we pray.

The worst thing we can do is nothing. That's not the kind of woman I am. Come to think of it, I don't know many women who ever sit around and do nothing, especially when a life is on the line.

What else WILL YOU DO to help nurture, love & create life this week?