Funny thing about being in high school. A few years ago, I went back to my old high school. Since I had lived out of state for years and this was pre-Facebook, I had lost touch with almost everyone. As we stood around reminiscing about our past, I had an epiphany. Almost everyone in high school thinks they are not popular!
As I heard people I would have identified as some of the most popular kids in our class talk about being teased or not feeling like they fit in, I realized maybe the whole popular thing is more about learning to be comfortable in your own skin. Perhaps it is about realizing there is no “normal” person and being different can really be just great (in healthy, godly ways of course). Maybe our shared angst was actually more about discovering who we were than about how popular we thought we were.
Did you grow up in Church hearing about tithes or that you needed to give 10% of your income? Have you heard about something called the “prosperity gospel”or been told to give a lot to Church so God will give you a lot of things? Do you struggle with how much to give or if you should give based on your net or gross income? If we are confused about how to give to God, how are we going to teach the concept to our children?
Jeff Anderson has written a little book called Plastic Donuts. In it, he re-examines Biblical giving and applies it to today. What he found was interesting. In spite of much Church talk of a tithe, about half of the offerings commanded in the Old Testament were actually freewill offerings. Of course the obvious question is, “How much is that?”
Some days I almost forget we are now helping care for my husband’s two elderly parents. We are living our more accustomed life of raising and caring for our daughter, my husband’s job, volunteer commitments and regular chores. And then the phone rings.
Suddenly in the middle of the night, we will have Hospice on one line telling us one thing and the facility on the line telling us something entirely different. Both lines are demanding a decision which we feel totally unprepared to make. Or we are running back and forth all over town because one in-law is in the hospital, the other in their apartment and our daughter has to be somewhere. (And we are the blessed ones because my in-laws can afford to be in a place that gives us both the autonomy and the extra help we all need.)
Meanwhile, our daughter needs our love, attention and help with her life. My husband’s company expects him to carry his weight. And we all know that laundry, dishes, meals and yards don’t take care of themselves. There are some days where all you can do is pray and cry.
If your daughter is over 5’7″, has long legs and is thin, someone has probably suggested she consider modeling. To young girls, modeling appears to be a dream job. Who wouldn’t want to travel to glamorous places, wear beautiful clothes and make tons of money?
In Kylie Bisutti‘s book, I’m No Angel, she does a fantastic job of describing the life of a model from a Christian perspective. As Bisutti shares her story, the reader follows her through her early aspirations, her conversion to Christianity and her life as a model. Throughout the book, Bisutti slowly reveals the experiences and thought process which made her decide to walk away from her dream job in order to honor God.
When your first child is about two or three years old, it seems like most of your day is spent in correction. In our house, it was the “terrible three’s”. I remember calling my dad during a particularly “no” filled day and asking if I would still have to punish her this often when she was older. He promised me if I were diligent at three, then the rest of her childhood would seem easy in comparison. He was right. After those crazy few months, our daughter has been delightful and punishments have had to be given only rarely.
At some point after the year fondly known as “establishing who the parents are”, we tend to go into more of a maintenance, correction mode. Most parenting books will tell you this is a result of establishing firm but loving boundaries when your children are young (for the most part!). Because rebellion becomes less common in our homes, we sometimes forget to train our children how to avoid sin and deal with ongoing temptations.