Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Today is a day for sober reflection. No matter how often I interact with people from all walks of life who are suffering through various challenges in life, the question invariably crops up:  Why? and just as often, Why, God?

It’s an understandable question, almost as natural to our humanity as breathing. In some respects (no matter our age), we are like three-year-olds investigating a complex world we’d like to understand. Asking Why? is our common standard that (hopefully) leads us to understanding.Ask Why

Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs let their tongues hang? Why do I need cash when you have a credit card? These are the kinds of questions children tend to ask, but in our own way, we adults express an identical inquisitiveness, though we often do so with guarded sophistication … for fear of being perceived as ignorant.

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Best Interests of the Children

Nearly thirty years ago, we began educating our children in the home. This was an era when home-education was mostly embraced by people at the margin and those tended to be unconventional types. Our motivation related primarily to our eldest daughter who was about to begin junior high. We had reservations about the social aspects of junior high (and the prevailingly negative, precocious atmosphere we’d observed among her peers).

3RsOnce we’d made the decision to keep our oldest child home, the decision snowballed from there. When all was said and done, we launched our home school experience with all four children receiving their education at home. (I’ve posted here with more specifics about those days.)

Because that time was very different from today, we initially tried to keep a low profile. Although home education was legal in our state, many people (among them most professional educators) held a dim view of the nascent home-school movement, overall. When I informed the local principal (our neighborhood school was two blocks from our house), he told me sternly (rudely?):  You’d better do a good job because if you mess up, I’ll have to pick up the pieces! Continue reading “Best Interests of the Children”

Granny Style

When we woke up this morning, it was not to the sounds of an alarm clock. Three-year old V. opened our bedroom door and announced, “It’s seven o’clock. Time to get up!” (I have to admit, it was actually seven thirty. All this recent focus on the cuckoo clock has provided her with a sense of time, but no accuracy yet.)

HogsGameAs to timing and accuracy, the Razorbacks enjoyed both last night in their win at the Texas Bowl. While some sports columnists seemed blasé about Razorback Nation’s 31-7 win, others described it as a “beatdown” with Arkansas clearly dominating Texas. My daughter and her husband enjoyed the festivities and (as always) calling the Hogs. #WPS Continue reading “Granny Style”

Secondhand Mom

Last week, my daughter-in-law (DIL) scoffed at me. She suggested I had a monumental challenge ahead of me this week:  watching three of my grandchildren while their parents traveled to Houston to attend the Texas Bowl. (The game takes place this evening, beginning at 8 p.m.) With her usual candor, DIL asked, “How are you going to handle three little ones?

2014-12-29 17.06.00When my DIL threw down this gauntlet (as it were), of course I defiantly scoffed back. I reminded her I mothered four children under the age of eight. These three children, ages 9, 7 and 3, could hardly be as difficult, I assured her. (Naturally, I’d never admit to her my high level of anticipatory stress – she doesn’t read my blog! – but I won’t deny it here. I was concerned. One never knows how even the most relaxed children might panic at ten p.m. when it’s finally apparent they’re not going home!)

Continue reading “Secondhand Mom”

Absent “A”

A message in this morning’s Inbox caught my eye. (The email is actually dated yesterday, but I hadn’t read it until today.) I didn’t immediately recognize the author’s name, but the title, Stop Sending Cheery Christmas Cards, definitely piqued my interest. I clicked the link.

WarrenThe post is written by Kay Warren, wife of evangelical pastor Rick Warren, author of (among others) the 2002 book The Purpose-Driven Life. In April 2013, their family was rocked by the suicide of their youngest son Matthew, age 27. The young man struggled with mental illness.

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Immolation Play

Nothing left.” That’s how St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar described the situation after a night of looting and burning and misconduct in Ferguson MO. He gets more specific when he explains between Solway Avenue (on the south) and Chambers Road (north), all along West Florissant Avenue, the destruction is so substantial, there is virtually nothing left.

Walking distance from Chambers to Solway is slightly more than a mile. Imagine, if you will, walking that distance down a four-lane wide main city artery where the businesses and buildings on either side have been reduced to piles of rubble and ash.NorthlandShoppingCtr

Once upon a time, I worked in the Northland Shopping Center (pictured above) at the southernmost point of this destruction. This particular shopping center was opened in 1955 when suburban St. Louis shoppers shed their interest in shopping downtown and shifted to regional shopping malls. During the period of time when I worked at this mall, I drove (from my home further west) into the area along I-270 and exited south at West Florissant Avenue (where there were also reports of looting at the Toys R Us). I followed West Florissant south for three miles to the above parking lot. Continue reading “Immolation Play”

Two-Minute Manners

A thirty-second radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) caught my attention recently. In the audio version, a dad is talking with his son about the importance of good manners … though the actual intent of the ad is to encourage children to develop good oral health care habits. The website (2min2x.org) provides entertaining videos to encourage children about brushing their teeth for two minutes twice daily. The radio PSA differs just slightly from the video below.

In both audio and video versions, Dad gives his son a run-down of all the mannerly qualities he wants his son to emulate in anticipation of becoming a grown-up gentleman. Essentially, the list goes:

 1.  Say yes, please.
 2.  Always say:  please, thank you, you’re welcome and excuse me.
 3.  Sit up straight; hold doors open for ladies.
 4.  If a door is shut, knock first.
 5.  Don’t:  burp, swear, stare, use foul language, reach across people’s plates.
 6.  Do:  keep your elbows off the table, share your toys, play nice.
 7.  Don’t:  speak with your mouth full, interrupt, call people names.
 8.  Do:  remember people’s names, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
 9.  On the bus, give up your seat to anyone who has trouble standing.
10.  Summary:  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

There’s one final admonition the audio covers but the video omits, for obvious reasons:  Stop picking your nose. It’s a cute ad, possibly because it has such universal identification. Hasn’t every parent (at one time or another) verbally tossed out a list of dos and don’ts to remind a kid what’s acceptable behavior? Continue reading “Two-Minute Manners”

Rebranding Despicable

Lately, I’ve been wondering, when did it become okay to kill children? Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, I know at least 50 million legal abortions have been performed in the United States. Yes, they were “legal” based on the standard instituted through the Supreme Court’s Roe decision. Nevertheless, women who sought abortions used to drive to neighboring towns to obtain abortions; they didn’t stand on Main Street with signs and brag about having killed their unborn children.

4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram
4D Sonogram, from http://pregnancy.healthguru.com/video/advantages-of-the-4d-sonogram

A woman who had an abortion acknowledged there was a natural stigma about it, supposedly an admission that the procedure was the “only” choice rather than the “preferred” choice. Even politicians adopted the “safe, legal and rare” mantra. Why rare? Because of its moral component! Because having an abortion was thought to be a BAD choice (albeit in their minds a necessary choice, nonetheless)!

I haven’t heard the “safe, legal and rare” (SL&R) mantra in a long time. I think, in part, the phrase fell out of favor because there were those who recognized this specific phraseology carried a negative inference (specifically, the moral component) … and God forbid, any woman who has an abortion should feel shame (or moral condemnation) for taking the life of her unborn babe! Continue reading “Rebranding Despicable”

Bio-Diversity

The title of this post is courtesy of my younger daughter who told me today about a comment she fielded from someone who was observing my grandchildren (my younger daughter’s offspring). The commenter noted how my daughter’s middle child looked markedly different than his two blonde siblings. (Though their hair color is slightly obscured, pictures of these delightful children are here.)

happy-children-holding-hand

One never quite knows how to respond to such comments. Is the person innocently observing how unique all of God’s creatures are or is the person intimating something questionable and problematic related to parentage? (I suppose a third alternative is also possible:  the commenter is dumb as a rock and has failed to think before delivering unsolicited opinions.) Continue reading “Bio-Diversity”

Selfie De-generation

Today, I give you the tale of a man and his mistress. It’s a tale as old and sordid as history itself, but also as current as today’s scandal-driven news headlines as well as countless film and television plots. In this particular case, the man has his mistress. He delights in her, lavishes her with priceless baubles and they live together happily for a while, but over time, she becomes increasingly bored and decides to see other men.old-man-and-mistress-1884

Naturally, the man reacts with dismay to this turn of events. He’s jealous and wants her to himself, but the mistress finds his declarations of love to be unconvincing. If he really loves me so much, why doesn’t he make me his wife? she reasons. And, because he won’t marry her, she decides she’s not going to remain in an exclusive dalliance with him. She will toy with his emotions just exactly as he has toyed with hers. Occasionally, she even spends the night with other lovers, a pattern which makes him furious.

Eventually, the man becomes more demanding and quarrelsome, causing the mistress to leave in disgust. She travels to her father’s home to live, completely abandoning her lover. She reminds herself, there are other fish in the sea. Continue reading “Selfie De-generation”