Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Living in Never Land

I won't grow up
I don't wanna go to school
Just learn to be a parrot
And recite a silly rule
If growing up means
It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me!
Not I,
Not me!
Not me!
I won't grow up
I don't wanna wear a tie.
And a serious expression
In the middle of July.
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me
Not I,
Not me!
So there!
Never gonna be a man,
I won't!
Like to see somebody try
And make me.
Anyone who wants to try
And make me turn into a man,
Catch me if you can.
I won't grow up.
Not a penny will I pinch.
I will never grow a mustache,
Or a fraction of an inch.
'Cause growing up is awfuller
Than all the awful things that ever were.
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up,
No sir,
Not I,
Not me,
So there!
I won't grow up!
I will never even try
I will do what Peter tells me
And I'll never ask him why
We won't grow up!
We will never grow a day
And if someone tries to make it
We will simply run away.
I won't grow up!
No, I promise that I won't
I will stay a boy forever
And be banished if I don't.
And Never Land will always be
The home of beauty and joy
And neverty
I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me!
Not me!
Not me!
Not me!
No sir!
Not me!
"I don't wanna grow up" from Peter Pan
Do you remember when you were young, when you couldn't wait to grow up and make your own rules, live your own life?  Do you remember when you willingly ate ramon noodles and drove a junker car just so that you could afford rent and be the king of your own castle?  Do you remember the nervous excitement you felt as you embarked on adulthood - your determination to prove to your parents and the world that your were ready to shoulder the mantle of adult responsibility?  Do you remember when you embraced adulthood?
For generations children have aspired, almost from infancy, to achieve the coveted status of adulthood.  From the time they can crawl, they want to walk - when they can walk, they want to run.  An independent and self-reliant spirit seems to be ingrained in their very being.  In past generations, this independence and self-reliance was encouraged from every corner.  Parents required chores at an early age.  Teachers demanded a disciplined demeanor and rigorous academic acumen.  While still children they were being prepared to shoulder the responsibilities of society.  They were being trained to succeed, flourish even, in a future of their own making.  Their daily life prepared them for all that life would require of them.  It prepared them to build, to lead, to govern. 
That was then.  Now, in modern day America, we live in Never Land.  Our children don't want to grow up, but even worse, our parent, our teachers and our leaders don't want to grow up.  We want to live in a perpetual state of childhood, where all of our needs are anticipated and met by someone other than ourselves.  We want to be coddled and fed and told what to do.  We want someone else to be responsible for us when we've made bad decisions and we want to be bailed out when we experience the consequences of riotous living.  We don't want to have to suffer or work or struggle.  And when it comes right down to it, we are more than willing to "Do what Peter tells us - and never ask him why" in exchange for never growing up.  America has become a nation of "Lost Boys".
Although Disney would have us believe that Peter Pan was a charming, fun-loving, altruistic boy, the truth is that he stole children from their families, used them in his own social experiments and then killed them when their population threatened to overrun his island.  How charming is that? 
And that, my friends, is where America is heading - to Never Land.  If we refuse to grow up, refuse to suffer, to work or to struggle, we will forever be living in Never Land. We will be the Lost Boys - never to experience the exhilaration of adulthood, the joy of responsibility or the incalculable power of freedom.
America is a country designed for adults.  Are we up to the challenge, or are we Lost Boys living in Never land?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Case for the Ultimate Survival Mom - Part I

Vermeer's Milk Maid

The Wife of Noble Character
A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
She is like merchant ships
bringing her food from afar.
She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
In her hand she holds the distaff
and she grasps the spindle with her fingers.
She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Every morning, after the men leave for work and before the littles wake, I spend time in my bible.  I read two chapters of wherever I happen to be at the moment and I read whichever Proverbs lines up with the day.  Today, being the 7th of the month, I read Proverbs Chapter 7. 
As I was reading Proverbs 31 on the last day of 2014, I was reminded again that it is the Proverbs 31 woman that I endeavor to emulate.  She is the wife, mother and woman that can and will see her family through the darkest of days with grace, humility and complete confidence.  Her faith is securely anchored in God and she lives her life in accordance with His wisdom.  Her way is secure.
One of the first things that I notice about the Proverbs 31 woman is that she is rare.  There are a lot of women in this world.  A lot of pretty faces.  But, the woman that embodies these qualities, the woman that you would willingly walk through the end of the world with, is very rare indeed.  In fact, her rarity makes her worth far more than the most precious jewel.  When you consider that, you might also consider the fact that this woman is very hard to find.  Just as rubies require significant effort to unearth, so a noble woman will have to be earnestly sought and won.  Yet she will be worth every effort.  She will be the woman by your side, preparing your house to weather the most ferocious storm.  She will train your arrows to be sure and true.  She will bring every good thing within your grasp and fill your home with joy and mirth.  
Men, if you want a woman to walk by your side during TEOTWAWKI, find a Proverbs 31 woman.  Women, become the Proverbs 31 woman.  Seek God.  Build character.  Acquire the skills to run a self-sufficient household.  Prepare for the storm then laugh at the days to come.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

What Should We Do?

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments!  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them all, especially from those of you who are disabled and/or have (or had) small children.

As you can imagine, Sir Knight, the children and I were in agreement with the vast majority of you - the woman with the small children should have used the larger stall and the lady in the wheelchair should have graciously waited.  What really surprised us was "Dear Abby's" response.  In her column, she stated that the handicap stall was reserved for handicapped people only and the woman at the end of the line in the wheelchair should have been given preference.

Truthfully, I don't think it really boils down to an issue of mobility but rather is an issue of courtesy.  In my experience, most people do their best to be courteous to one another.  Had I been in that bathroom I would have encouraged the woman behind me with the small children to use the handicap stall, just as I would have given preference to the woman in the wheelchair had she been behind me.  I am relatively certain the handicapped woman referred to in the "Dear Abby" column would have been quickly ushered into the handicap stall had she been gracious rather than rude.  She had an opportunity to encourage charity and understanding, instead she chose the disheartening attitude of selfishness.

The unfortunate truth is that sometimes we can't seem to win regardless of what we do.  If we allow the person behind us to "cut in line", the person at the end of the line gets irritated.  If we open the door for someone, they very well may hurl the insult of "I can do that myself!".  Even offering a seat to an older person can be offensive - "I'm not old" they often quip.  In our self-centered society even the most courteous of actions can be misconstrued as blatantly offensive.  What are we to do?

The answer is simple, really.  We do the right thing.  We are kind, we are courteous and we are gracious.  No. Matter. What.  It doesn't matter how someone else responds, we are responsible for our own actions - every time.  We do not have the ability to control how others respond.  We can't make them behave correctly.  We can't force them to react the way we think they should.  The only person we have control of is ourselves.  And therein lies the rub.  It is our responsibility to control ourselves. Every time!  We need to control our tongues, our tempers and even our thoughts.  Our person is under our authority!  We are our own responsibility.  No. Matter. What.

I'm pretty sure the answer to "What should we do?" is "The right thing".  If we held ourselves and our children accountable to that simple precept our country would look a whole lot different.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What would you do?

Hi everyone - please forgive me for the inexcusably long absence.  I have been wrapping up 2014 and ushering in 2015 and became more than little sidetracked!  I'll be bringing you up-to-date in the coming month.

I have a question for you.  Recently I read a "Dear Abby" column and disagreed with her answer completely.  Over tea, I posed the question to Sir Knight - his answer mirrored mine.  After dinner, before we abandoned the table, we posed the same question to each of our three older children, they too, answered as Sir Knight and I had.  Funny thing, that!

And so, I ask you - what do you think?  Here is the scenario:

You are in a public ladies bathroom (you gents will have to use a little imagination here).  There are three regular stalls and one larger handicapped stall (equipped with a baby changing station).  When you enter the bathroom, all of the stalls are occupied.  A line quickly forms behind you.  Directly after you is a frazzled looking young woman with a loudly fussing infant in her arms and a cranky toddler attached to her skirt.  The first bathroom stall to become available is the handicap stall  with the baby changing station.  Being the kind and generous person that you are, you usher the young mother into the stall and continue to wait for another stall to become available.  Almost instantly an angry voice cuts through the room - a lady in a wheelchair (at the back of a very long line) voiced her adamant opinion that the woman with the babies should have waited for a "normal" stall and she should have immediately been ushered into the handicapped stall.  

What do you think?  Should the mother and children have taken the handicap stall or should it have been reserved solely for the use of the handicapped patron?

You can probably imagine our response, but tomorrow I will tell you what our family thought and what "Dear Abby" answered.  I can't wait to here what you say!