Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Conversations with the almost 4 year old

I used to honestly think that preschoolers were some of the scariest creatures on earth. I'm not sure why really. But, over the past year I have learned that preschoolers are some of the most amazing little people on earth. If you've ever taken the time to sit down and have a real grown up conversation with one, you would instantly understand.

Of course you've got the terrible 3's (trust me, 2's are nothing compared to 3's) and you've got the why? question after every thing you say (literally)... but I think I'm starting to get it.

The terrible comes from them just trying to understand. They are trying to grasp the boundaries that exist in every day life. They are trying to wrap their brains around why they should do what we say. At 3 they are starting to battle this inner struggle to be their own person, but respect authority at the same time. Yikes! That's a lot of work for a little person... and since I still struggle with daily it's no wonder they are frustrated easily and often!

The why? is all about their brain developing every time they ask. As my pediatrician confirmed I should be worried the minute they STOP asking why. So as annoying as it can be (and trust me, it is) here is the really cool part... I am having amazing conversations! I'm learning that I don't have all the answers and that sometimes it's just plain hard to translate the answer into 3 year old language. But, I can be ok with that!

Spiritual questions are my favorite. Concrete thinking and logic quite often don't work when trying to understand the spiritual world. Which is why Shane cannot understand why we can't simply take a spaceship to go visit Jesus. He lives in the sky, right? And why is it that we can't just call him up on the telephone, we talk to everyone else that way. Jesus is my friend right and I visit my friend's at their house to play with them. So, can I go play with Jesus at His house?

Whether it's just the 3 year old mind or a deeper spiritual tug to know and understand our creator, I have officially decided I love knowing a preschooler. Have you talked to one lately?

Stay tuned for more conversations with a preschooler...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ok, so some of you know that I am the kids' community developer for my faith community. This means I cast the vision, equip and encourage the volunteers that care for our infants through 5th grade. As well as organize, plan, and uncover the actual events and curriculum used during our kiddo gatherings.

What some of you might not know is that I also serve the team of volunteers that care for our students. If I have learned anything over the past year working with these adults and our students, it's that students are people too. They may look funny, act funny and even smell funny... but they play, hurt and laugh just like the rest of us.

I was doing some web serving (not a huge hobby of mine) looking for some pool game with a greasy watermelon (???) and came across a blog to help youth ministry leaders. Inside this blog was a link to the following article:

‘Needless hugging?’ What will teens think of next?

Now, I've posted the entire article below so you can take a look, but let me quote a section of the article that implies that hugging is the "latest form of teenage rebellion."

Let me tell you something else I have learned over the past year. Students are trying to survive in world that is even more upside down that when I was teen (just 10 years ago). Students are facing a world with no absolutes, an unstable economy and the threat of terrorism...They are losing friends to drugs, car accidents, suicides and gang fights. Students have started to cling to the one thing they can, each other. They are grabbing on to a way of life that's foreign to our culture... Community. Caring for each other. Non-judgmental, straight up love exploding for anyone and everyone.

So, here's what I have to say about "latest form of teenage rebellion." REBEL HARDER! ...maybe it'll start a revolution.


By D.L. Stewart, Contributing Writer
Updated 1:46 PM Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In their endless campaign and their inherited duty to confound their elders, this latest generation of teenagers has adopted a new weapon:


As detailed by a recent front-page story in The New York Times, teenage hugging has become an epidemic stretching from one coast to the other. Girls are hugging girls. Boys are hugging boys. Boys are hugging girls and vice-versa, which is not really a new development, except that now the inter-gender embraces do not necessarily have ulterior motives.

“For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?” according to the story’s headline.

“We’re not afraid, we just get in and hug,” a male high school junior is quoted as saying. “The guy friends, we don’t care. You just get right in there and jump in.”

“We like to get cozy,” an eighth-grade girl in San Francisco explains. “The high-five is, like, boring,”

One might think that the practice of kids exchanging hugs, not drugs — or slugs — would be welcomed without reservation and even with open arms by parents and educators. One might be wrong.

• A parenting columnist for the Associated Press admits that she is baffled.

“It’s a wordless custom, from what I’ve observed,” she writes in her book, “13 is the new 18.” “And there doesn’t seem to be any other overt way in which they acknowledge each other. No hi, no smile, no wave, no high-five — just the hug.”

• Experts have been consulted to delve into what this threat of teenage hugging is all about.

“Without question, the boundaries of touch have changed in American culture,” declares a Virginia sociologist. “We display bodies more readily, there are fewer rules governing body touch and a lot more permissible access to other people’s bodies.”

• Attorneys are standing by to fight for the constitutional rights of students who might feel pressured by their peers into hugging. The day after the Times story was published, a legal Web site in Michigan warned that parents “should be alert to the potential downsides” of hugging.

• And school officials, naturally, are having trouble getting their arms around this latest form of teenage rebellion. Some have instituted a “three-second rule” to limit the length of a hug. A few years ago, in Bend, Ore, a middle school girl received detention for illegal hugging.

“Touching and physical contact is very dangerous territory,” notes the principal of a high school in New Jersey, where student — and, presumably, faculty — hugging was banned two years ago. “It was needless hugging — they are in the hallways before they go to class. It wasn’t a greeting. It was happening all day.”

As a parent and a lifelong nonhugger, I understand that principal’s concern. There’s always the risk that, at some point, a hug may become something more serious than just a hug.

But, I’ve lived through several generations of teenagers for which we fretted mostly about sex, drugs and lock-and-load. I guess that’s why the phrase “needless hugging” seems like it should be the least of our worries.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Loosening my Grip

In a previous post, I confessed that I had recently hit a road block in my ability to move forward with God. One of the biggest things I was struggling with was "death." I know, it's a not like it's a really heavy subject or anything... but really, this was becoming a big deal to me.

I've never really been fond of the idea of leaving earth. I have a great family, always had great jobs and as I became a wife and a mother I found even more reasons why I didn't really want any of these to end. For some reason I figured if I could just keep God at a distance I wouldn't have to face the reality that this isn't all there is.

Don't be mislead... death still isn't exactly the easiest thing to talk about, for anybody I'm sure. But, here's what I have been able to understand through sharing life with a few close friends.

We were created to get to know God. We came to exist because God wanted to have a love affair with a race that was created in His image. I exist on this earth to pursue him and to pursue his kingdom here on earth.

See what I failed to realize was that all of this other great stuff was just a bonus. I developed the idea that I deserved or was somehow entitled to these relationships... my husband, my son, my friends and family. Where did I become so mislead.

The faith community that I'm connected with recently explored the practice of simplicity. For me it wasn't about getting more simple with stuff or even my time. It was about being willing to let go of the people that I value most in my life. It was about loosening the grip and acknowledging that I'm dependent on their existance nor are they one mine.

It's hard, it's really hard... but as I feel the grip loosening I'm already realizing that there is a deep sense of peace and trust that comes with surrending over those around me into His care. I begin to understand that God cares more about me than any of these people ever would and while I will never understand and know in this lifetime what Heaven is like, I know in my soul that he's promised it will be even better than this.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Deposit #1 - Value TBD

It's amazing to me how the 2nd Trimester of a pregnancy can feel like the oasis in the middle of a desert. After spending the first 16 weeks or so just trying to maintain some sort of acceptable living standard, I feel live I've been given a fresh start. I can clean again, plan again, cook again, socialize again.

With the new year I find myself renewed to do many things. For the first time, maybe ever, the start of the new year brought about a desire for growth, change and impact. With these new desires came an awareness of the need to acknowledge where the ability to do all of this comes from. I spent the past 6 months or so facing an unwillingness to go any further in my journey with God. I was afraid of what might be next and wanted things to just exist as they way, well pretty much forever.

I believe God continues to pursue us even when we're not pursuing him and as result this new year spurred on a desire to take the risk and go further. I'll write about the specifics of this moving forward later... but what I've learned so far is that pursuing God can be very safe. He's not afraid of my questions or even my fears... but rather lovingly reaches out to help me keep moving.

I'm hopefully and excited. Ready for what's next. Which doesn't mean there's no fear, but it does mean that I'm continually understanding what it means to trust in a God who loves me and who's not afraid of anything.