Friday, October 23, 2009

Beyond Reach and Beyond Caring...

Previously, I have expressed some concern over the condition of today's youth in society...if I haven't done it here, I know I have had several conversations on the topic in real life and, in my opinion, this is a subject that should be burdensome to all of us, with or without children.

Before you read on...consider the following...I am not attacking children, teens, or parents, nor do I think that all is lost, but I am....well to be honest...I am searching for something and at this point anything that will allow me to positively influence the youth that I am in contact with (mine and yours).

My concerns are multi-faceted because I interact daily with youth of varying ages and in differing roles. Recently a string of events has taken place that have left me asking myself is it too late...are they beyond reach... or worse, are they beyond caring??

Listed in order of my time spent in that role, my interactions with youth are as a Mother, Teacher (7th - 12th grades), Youth Ministry Leader (2nd - 6th grades), and Friend.

Here are my major concerns...
  1. Why do most youth feel that they have the right to lie, manipulate, falsely accuse, cheat, and destroy???
  2. Why do most youth feel no remorse nor feel that they owe those that they wrong any kind of explanation or apology???
  3. Why do most youth feel that they are entitled and innately deserve to be handed anything that they desire???
  4. Why do most youth not fear....anything???

I have found that the easiest and most common answer to any of these questions is that they just don't have a good homes, parents, families, etc....I'm sorry, but that is a copout.

Before I began working consistently with youth I completely agreed with that generalized statement and as a parent I thought, well that exempts my kids because we love, care for, help, and raise our kids right....WHATEVER!!!

Now, as I continue to interact with youth from several variations of home life, social class, and in a professional or personal environment, I have come to the conclusion that while a poor home life and the separation of social class does have some effect on youth's moral development I do NOT believe for an instant that it is the main contributor. Why you ask...let me tell you...and yes, I'll put it in a list for you...I though you'd never ask.

  1. I have seen a person from a loving home with rules and expectations that equally offer praise and encouragement, and who do teach their kids the right things accuse they're parent/s of abuse because...well I guess they just felt like it.
  2. I have seen a person from a poverty stricken home offer they're lunch to a person who was hungry but forgot their lunch and had no money to get anything.
  3. I have seen a person from a prosperous home put on a mask of strength to get through the days of people accusing her of thinking she is "better" than them because she won't participate in their "extra curricular" activities only to go home and try to pick up the pieces from a parent who is less than stable and very volatile...then wake up the next day and do it all over again.
  4. I have seen a person from a prosperous home give the coat from their back to a person from a povertous home who was shivering from cold and have that person refuse it because it wasn't from a certain store and a person from a povertous home offer their coat to another and the other not take it because it was dirty.
  5. I have seen a person from an obviously abusive home lie to protect the very person that is abusing them.
  6. I have seen a person work so hard to achieve a goal, to be a leader, to go above and beyond for the betterment of their team only to be cast aside and the credit for their work given to a person or persons with little or no involvement at all.
  7. I have seen siblings grow up in the same loving home with the same rules and the same expectations and be two people who could not be more opposite in their views, morals, and lifestyles.

Some of these things are personal and some of these things are observed...but no is from these examples and others that I am able to draw the conclusion that home life and social class do have an impact but are clearly not the sole factor in the degradation of the morals of our youth. By these examples it is clear that manipulation, lieing, hatred, jealousy, judgement, and love occur across all lines of home life and social class, so if those aren't the causes...what are???

I know that I don't have all of the answers, even if I like to think that I do...I don't and in this arena I am certainly at a loss. So after the onset of the afore mentioned string of events, I was having a conversation with one of my close friends on this very topic...imagine that. Her husband, just happens to be our pastor, interjected and said that he had just been reading an article or something about the differences in youth a while back and now. The excerpt that he read went something like this:

In the distant past children were often treated as slaves to their
parents and parents were like slave drivers...children were
considered contributors to the family's household and
were made to work, work, work for their parents. Now, the tables are completely
turned and the parents are the slaves to their children and are made to work,
work, work for their children. Children direct the parents where to go, where to
take them, when to do it, what to buy them, tell their parents what they will
and will not do, and how or even if they will allow their parents to discipline

As I was hearing this, I realized the truthfulness of the statement. I do not feel that it would be appropriate fro my child to be a slave to me, nor do I feel that it is appropriate for me to be a slave to my child. Both statements are extreme and both are where is the middle ground where parents hold the authority but love their children and teach them limits expectations, and love; and where children challenge but respect authority, learn their limits, have expectations of themselves, and love their parents? Is it beyond reach? Are both parents and children beyond caring? Where is the breakdown and is reconstruction even possible??

Come back for part two...but in the meantime I'd love to hear your take on this.

Have a Blessed Day!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nothing Like a Baby to Bring A Family Together

Yes, I said a baby...

Meet Sasha, our new baby girl...she is sooooo sweet and it's about time that I get to post some super cute, happy stuff here.

So here is how it went down...Rick has been hinting, well more like placing large signs everywhere, letting me know that he really wanted a lab puppy for about the last 6 to 8 months...while I, the realistic and logical one was thinking "hey I know who's gonna end up taking care of the puppy after the newness wears that's who and I so don't have time for that" and employed the avoidance method. If I ignore it, maybe it'll go away and it worked...until last night.

I called my BF to let her know that I had a few things for her to pick up and she told me that she'd swing by on her way home from taking her son to look at puppies. A few weeks ago, their St. Bernard who was a bazillion years old, passed away. I was a bit surprised, but thought hey this could work for her son's birthday present as well...althoug I don't think she was intending to bring one home that night.

Later on she dropped by to pick up the items I had for her, so Rick was talking to her while I was showing the photo video that I created for the wedding reception this weekend to the bride when I hear ..."April, come down here...hurry...hurry". So I am rushing downstairs thinking that something bad had happened...and there it was...the new puppy and Trystan was holding her. Rick continues to excitedly tell me that the puppy is 1/2 Lab and 1/2 amazing mix of the two best kinds of dogs he assured me. Then as they are handing me the puppy and we are all cooing at it and loving the new puppy smell (seriously, I really do love the way puppies smell) he says..."AND their free!!!"

I had been pushed into the corner with the soft, fluffy, puppy and was being attacked with the pleads of the most important people in my life...what was I to, I caved. An excited and victorious "Yes!" from both boys filled the air.

We got the number to the puppy person, called, they told us to come on out, and off we went...and here she is.

We're all having a great time with her, and the best part is that she hasn't had an accident yet!!! WooHoo...more good times ahead...praise God!
Have a Blessed Day!