Decisions, Relationships

I Don’t Want to Change the World

While prowling the internet for great children’s books, I noticed a trend. Our youngest are being encouraged to become “world changers.” I immediately became sad. I don’t want to change the world so why put that burden on our youngest?

I may want to change my husband or children or others who regularly cross my path. I just can’t be in charge of the world. I have a poor success rate with my small sphere—I can’t even change myself—so expanding my vision would not be helpful.

True world changers—Jesus being the best example—worked in increments. Situation by situation. Person by person. True world changers followed their interests and passions. Changing the world was a byproduct.

Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.

Mother Teresa

Please don’t ask the world of me. It’s too much.

Book Recommendations, Lies I Believed, Parenting

Lies I Believed: Parents Can Fix Their Children

Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

Matthew 6:9

One son held a grudge against a teacher. “Had I prayed with my son?” asked another teacher.

“Yes.”

“Had I prayed for him?”

“Yes.”

“Why wasn’t his attitude ‘fixed?'” she wondered. Maybe I hadn’t prayed enough.

“Had I encouraged another son who was shy?” asked a friend.

“Yes.”

“Perhaps he needs an incentive.”

“One morning, I offered a dime for every time he said ‘Hello.’ He declined.”

My friend wondered if there was another way to “fix” him.

I learned quickly I could not “fix” my sons. However, I felt guilty when I couldn’t, which probably meant deep down I thought I should.

It was decades later that I read The Lord’s Prayer by Thomas Watson. He begins by examining what it means for God to be our father.

God is the best Father in terms of Wisdom. He knows the fittest means to bring about his own design. … God is the best Father because he can Reform his children. God knows how to make his elect children better—he can change their hearts.

Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer

Have you been expected to fix someone?

Parenting

A Kid Needs A Break

One thing I know for sure about raising children is that every single day a kid needs discipline…. But also every single day a kid needs a break.

Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird

I agree with Lamott, but I’ve seen the unfortunate consequences of parents regularly giving their children breaks. Who should?

My favorite answer is grandparents, but what if they aren’t available? Or best suited for the situation?

One night, my teen-aged nephew was speeding and was pulled by a police officer—who gave him a break.

I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.

A compassionate police officer

My nephew called my brother, who confiscated his keys and grounded him.

Years later, my nephew pulled a speeder. The driver was shaking and about to cry. My nephew said, “I’m going to do for you what someone did for me. I can give you a ticket, or you can call a parent to come here so we can talk.” She made the call.

I didn’t think to pray for people to give my sons breaks, but they received some crucial ones.

Do know children who need a break?

Relationships

Tell Me Somthing Worthy of Praise

What I really, really wish I had known, and what I learned along the way—too late in some respects—was how detrimental certain conversations were. They stole time and emotions and strength that belonged to others, especially my husband and sons.

I felt obliged to listen to complainers, especially when the offenders were older relatives whom I sought to respect and naively thought I could help. Listening made it worse.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV)

To protect my mental health and emotional energy, I now limit my time with whiners and grumblers. There is a difference between the two. You know.

I have no guilt about ignoring texts, not returning calls, and skimming emails. I am not the thief.

I embrace those whose lives—like mine—are filled with tears and regrets and struggles and stories that need to be heard. They carry the hope of moving beyond their pain. Listening ears, understanding words, and available hands can help these.

Has your listening ear been abused?

Relationships

My Best, Not Yours

To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. … But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. … “so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, have what is yours.”

Matthew 25:15,18-19, 25 (ESV)

In the Parable of the Talents, the servant claims he hid his talent because he feared his master. That motive always puzzled me. Comparing my talent to another’s would stymie me.

It’s hard to admit my best does not look like another’s best, especially when five-talent people claim they are the standard. However, the master tells the first two servants, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Surely he would have said the same if the servant with one talent had earned one talent.

If God doesn’t give identical talents or expect identical returns, why should I expect my best to equal another’s? Why do others expect my best to equal theirs?

Are comparisons hurting or hindering you?