Sunday, December 31, 2006

What kind of Christian are you?

Just for fun, I took one of those online quizes. Here's what I came up with....

You scored as Classical Liberal. You are a classical liberal. You are sceptical about much of the historicity of the Bible, and the most important thing Jesus has done is to set us a good moral example that we are to follow. Doctrines like the trinity and the incarnation are speculative and not really important, and in the face of science and philosophy the surest way we can be certain about God is by our inner awareness of him. Discipleship is expressed by good moral behaviour, but inward religious feeling is most important.

Classical Liberal

93%

Emergent/Postmodern

82%

Modern Liberal

68%

Neo orthodox

64%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

61%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

54%

Reformed Evangelical

36%

Roman Catholic

32%

Fundamentalist

0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Trials of Being a Parent



Last night I had to get some last minute Christmas gifts for my kids' teacher aides. So naturally, I went to where all last minute gifts can be found: the local Starbucks. I shopped the displays until I found the most perfect packages of chocolate covered graham crackers, and the most sparkling gift card I could find. I paid for my purchases, and headed back to my car. A commotion to my right diverted my attention away from my destination, and I turned to look. A woman was screaming at someone in her minivan. From the way it sounded, I thought at first it was a homeless woman yelling at her mate, both completely drunk. The brake lights were flashing, obviously from whoever sat in the driver's seat that was teasing the screaming woman. Upon closer inspection, though, it became painfully obvious what was really going on.

This was another case of a frazzled mom right before the holidays.

A boy of about 9 sat in her seat in the van, pushing her buttons, along with all the buttons in the van. She stood there screaming at him to get in his seat while he either ignored her or screamed back. Nothing was getting accomplished, I could feel the tension coming over myself as I'm sure she was consumed by it.

I tell you, though I haven't been in this identical situation, I definitely have a defiant child, and have done the crazy mom routine. I have screamed, punished, spanked, timed out for eternity, screamed some more, and caused my head to spin round and round like the excorcist. Well, needless to say, all that resulted in more defiance, and more stress on me. And extreme dislike for my son, who obviously was the one with the problem!

Troubles with my son finally came to a head and I had no choice but to take him back to the counselor we've been seeing for a little while. I had a whole list made out of problems I wanted fixed in him. And I had definite expectations about how the counseling session would be, my validation being first and foremost. Imagine my surprise when the counselor took me in the room by myself, and told me what things I needed to change in myself. What? But he's the one with the problem! Not me!



Well, this is still a work in progress, and one that I am still developing as my second nature, but the screaming and out of control behavior in ME has subsided. In its place is a quiet and calm voice and demeanor, a hug or a hand on the back, a validation for HIS feelings, and awareness that he is only 5 (and in some ways even younger), and needs the chance to learn certain skills in good behavior before he can master them and abide naturally by them. Consequences are given calmly with love, with the promise that when he decides to change his behavior, he can cease the consequence himself. As a result, my son is less defiant, and more willing to crumple into me for comfort when he is royally frustrated. I am less stressed, and remembered that I actually DO love my son with every fiber of my being. Of course, I do still slip up in this process, and so does he. But it's much better than it was before.

When I saw that woman screaming at her child, and her child screaming back at her, my first desire was to give that woman a big hug. Obviously she was burnt out. And then I wanted to tell her to start over, hug her son, and calmly tell him to please get in his seat, and that when they got home, maybe he could help her make dinner, if he wanted to. I could tell she wasn't a bad mom, just a mom without the right tools to get her son to abide. Instead, I said a quick prayer and got in my car. Unsolicited advice is sometimes worse than the right advice, and it wasn't my place, and I wasn't asked for my opinion on the situation. Instead I am writing down my unsolicited advice here in my own space.

Love your child. Forget spanking. Forget yelling. Forget threats, especially the empty ones. Your child knows you won't follow through. Be the example you want them to follow, and you will have a happy family and a home filled with love!



10 Steps to Positive Parenting

· Show love and affection.
· When necessary, take time to cool down.
· Compliment your child.
· Set basic rules and limits.
· Develop a set of shared meanings, values, and goals.
· Introduce your child to books.
· Listen and talk to your child.
· Be the kind of person you want your child to be.
· Offer guidance.
· Tell your child “I love you” each and every day.

10 Steps to Teach a Child Discipline

· Teach and model self-control by your example.
· Set routine for bedtime, meals, and chores.
· Explain reasons for your rules.
· Let your child help make rules.
· Let your child help decide consequences for broken rules.
· Try to understand your child’s feelings.
· If your child breaks a rule, control your anger.
· If you lash out, apologize.
· Compliment your child often.
· Tell your child “I love you” each and every day.

10 Steps to Cool Down

· Take a deep breath. And another. Then remember you are the adult.
· Close your eyes and imagine you’re hearing what your child is about to hear.
· Press your lips together and count to ten. Or better yet, to 20.
· Exercise to release tension.
· Phone a friend.
· If someone can watch your child, go outside and take a walk.
· Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.
· Turn on some music, maybe even sing along.
· Drink a glass of cold water.
· Tell you child “I love you” each and every day.

Found at The Parent Center.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Giving



This morning I was early for work, for a change. So I decided to celebrate by stopping in at my favorite Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee to warm me on such a brisk morning. And once inside, I also caught sight of their new morning sandwiches. Having skipped making my lunch that morning, those sandwiches with their millions of calories made my mouth water. I stood in line for a little more than 5 minutes, and must have changed my mind about them at least 20 times. Once at the front, I decided that, yes, I wanted one, even if it just sat at my desk until I was a little hungrier.

The walk to work in the morning is about a block from the company parking lot, and a cold one at that this time of year. Most cars still carry the telltale signs of frost being furiously scraped off the windows, and give the appearance of just being snowed on (though snow here is an anomaly…..). And the coffee never tasted so good against the brisk cold. On the walk to work, I passed by a doorway with a homeless man sleeping, completely covered from head to toe in a tattered and dirty blanket, thin at that. And I thought to myself how awful that he had to endure that kind of cold through the whole night. And I kept walking. But my pace slowed as I thought of my hot sandwich tucked under my arm. I must have taken at least three more steps forward when I realized my duty and turned around. I walked back to the sleeping man, and without disturbing him, I placed it next to the empty to-go container that already lay on his “luggage”. And then I turned around and walked the rest of the way to work. My face was a bit flushed walking by the workmen that surrounded the area, and I avoided their gaze, actually hoping they DIDN’T see me.

Once inside the doors, I don’t think I thought about the sleeping man or the hot sandwich I had left with him again, as work can take over one’s thoughts once immersed.

I got out a bit early today to take my son to his counseling appointment, and passed the same spot that the man had been sleeping. Of course he was gone. As was his luggage, his blankets, and his empty to-go container. All that remained was the napkins that I had laid under the sandwich…..and the unopened sandwich itself. The seal on the sandwich wasn’t even broken, and it laid in it’s perfect packaging as if placed their deliberately. The message in its abandonment was clear: charity was not favorably accepted by this man.

Now there are several conclusions I can draw from this. One is the lesson that pride and ego can be stronger than necessity. That is true in all our lives. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll say no more on that, for saying more would result in my expectance that if I give, I should receive something for it.

And that brings me to what exactly came to my mind upon leaving that unopened sandwich just as it lay….Giving should be just that. Giving. If it is received thankfully, great. If it is taken greedily, fine. But sometimes our gifts are refused, and that’s ok too. For when we give anything to someone else, we are honoring God. It does not matter what we are giving, as long as it is done with a humble heart and no expectations. For then it is given in love, and given without conditions at that. And that kind of giving, the kind that is given freely without expectations, is showing love. And that is what giving is all about.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tired


I hear you so softly in the wind.
Please speak louder,
I'm begging you.
I need your strength
  your wisdom
   your beauty and solace.
I need your friendship,
to know that you are here for me
     as I move.
You are too far away.
You are too far away.
You are too far away.
     Please move closer.
Those whispers on the wind,
Place them in my ear.
Because I could sure use some wisdom right now.
I could sure use your shoulder to lean on.
And sometimes I am so tired
     that I could sure use your movements
          in place of my own.
I'm just so tired.
Please Lord, help me.
          In this moment, I just need a rest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do unto others....

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone can destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy, be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.” - Mother Teresa