Tag Archives: Consistency

Pastors… who are they really?

Christianity is a bumpy ride at best… if anyone says differently, they’re not being honest or they’re not living life! I don’t care who you are, life can definitely be hard (even when it seems to be going well). Choosing to follow Jesus is not a promise of sugar cane lollipops and clean sheets! Following Christ is a demanding choice that brings with it the promise of a healthier life if we choose to follow the example that Jesus taught and what God promises.

I’ve been more challenged in my latter adult life than at any other time, because I choose to follow Christ! I choose to make the hard choices I do to help me live the best life I can. I can’t say I get it right all of the time or even most of the time for that matter, but it’s incredible to know the difference because it means I have a path to follow and a guide to help show the way. It gives me hope!

God does want not tell us how to live our lives in terms of what we choose to do when buying a house, what we want for a career, where we want to live or what colour to paint the bathroom. I do believe though, that He hopes we’ll share or offer our choices to Him and ask for His guidance and wisdom. I know there are probably some people who just read that who may in part disagree with me. That’s completely OK… that’s between you and God to wrestle with. I’ll continue to engage God and wrestle with that stuff too.

I suppose this is where our Pastors come into the picture. What a huge responsibility they have. They have to be available for questions or thoughts like I just mentioned. They also have to be there for us as we struggle through our challenges, losses and triumphs. They’re an amazing group of people wouldn’t you agree? They choose to be an earthly guide to us as they present the Word or Message of God. They do this not just every Sunday, but every day! Every single day, our Pastors are on the spot because they must lead lives of example; the example that Jesus left for all of us to follow. That is an awesome responsibility! Not only must our Pastors lead lives of example, but their husbands or wives also share and present a similar example. On top of that, they must try to live out in their own lives the same advice they offer us. Talk about a hard road to walk!

While they engage in this life of service, they knowingly choose to be held by God to a higher standard! They are held accountable because they have chosen to publicly accept the responsibility for leading His people in a life committed to following Jesus Christ! WOW! I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a pretty incredible responsibility to accept! To add even more responsibility, they must do what I just described with absolute grace and humility! When you think about it, it’s a pretty incredible life choice to make!

I hope by now you’re beginning to see my point. Our Pastors are pretty incredible people who have taken on an awesome responsibility! It’s been my privilege to make and maintain deeply bonded friendships with nearly all of the Pastors and families who have come into my life! I’m getting a little choked up thinking about it actually! Some of the very best friends I’ve ever had are Pastors! If you’ve known me for most of my life, you’d quickly realize how bizarre and unusual that sounds! I spent the 80% of my life outside of any form of Church or organized religion. I still do not consider myself a religious person, but I am definitely a deeply committed man of faith and follower of Jesus Christ! I’ve been a follower walking in grace for nearly 30 years, but I’ve not been involved in a church or with any pastors for the majority of it. In fact, it’s only in the last 10 years of my life where I’ve really become closely connected with any church or pastors. There’s a long story to my testimony and maybe one day, I’ll write about it, but this is about pastors and so I’ll continue to focus my thoughts on them. To do that though, I’ll have to share a little bit of what I’ve seen through my friendships with them.

Probably the most significant thing I’ve notice is THAT THEY’RE PEOPLE TOO! They experience the same struggles and trials in life that we do. They have to pay bills, maintain mortgages, raise children, buy food, face trials and cry tears like the rest of us do. When it comes to experiencing all that life can bring, they are no less subject to the trials of life than we are! I won’t share specifics about what I’ve seen, but I can tell you that what I’ve seen is no less challenging than anything I’ve faced in my lifetime.

When our pastors have trouble with their children, who can they turn to? Of course, they can and will turn to God, but it’s also nice and real to need a certain amount of human support too. They’re there for us when we need them… are we just as available to them when they need us? When their kids or family get sick, when they maybe having a marital or relational problem or when they’re struggling in their faith just like we do, who here on Earth can they turn to?

So far, I’ve only focused on the stuff life can bring their way, but what about the stuff that really doesn’t belong to them like our expectations of them? Do we consider that they have lives and trials just like we have when we say we need them? Are we aware of the difficult decisions they must make like whether or not to help someone financially? They have to make financial decisions every single day with funds entrusted to them by their congregation and by God! They must discern whether someone is truly in need or is fabricating a story just to get a hand out. They choose to help guide our children, teens and young adults and they have to deal with our expectations of how they’re to do that too.

Who do they turn to when they have troubles within their own pastoral community? Managing a staff of church employees and pastoral staff is no different than managing regular employees because they’re all regular people, but who can they talk to about it. Peer review and experience are important resources to lean on when making business and staffing decisions and they exist beyond the church. Are we available without judgment and in confidence?

Who do they turn to when they’re struggling with a problem themselves? What if they need someone who isn’t in the pastoral community to listen to them because they need someone who has shared the same experience? What if they need to turn to you for help, would you be ready or willing? I don’t necessarily want to talk with my girlfriend about everything. I may be struggling in a relationship issue with her and I need to hear another perspective before I try to discuss it with her. I’m not saying that we should air our laundry publicly, but sometimes, it’s helpful to say what you’re thinking to someone else and have them reflect back to you what they heard you say. Maybe the issue is all me and I need a checkup from the neck up. Our pastors needs are no different.

I think we have an conception or understanding that our Pastors are infinitely wise, their lives are largely without trouble or trial and that they probably don’t need us. Well, guess again! They’re people just like us and they need the same love and grace we do! They’re no less human and therefore no less prone to the trials or temptations in life that we are.

I’ve seen in a few cases where people live their faith lives vicariously through their pastor. They “do what they do” and happily accept the grace they receive from their pastor or friends, but are very quick to judge a pastor when they fall in the same things they’re guilty of because their expectation is that their pastor is beyond sin! Well… I’d rather have a sinful, repentant and real pastor than a fake, holier than thou pastor any day of the week and twice on Sunday!

I happened to be at an event recently where my pastor and his wife wept openly while they watched their son admit to a part of his life he’d been struggling with. It was not easy for their son to admit to and it was no easier for my friends to watch their son make his obviously honest and sincere testimony! What I can tell you is this… they were not crying because they felt shame or guilt because of what their son was publicly offering in his testimony. They were weeping tears of joy because their child had claimed freedom from the dominion of pain they’d been labouring under and the guilt and shame of that past. What was my response? I cried with them, held them and supported them too because they’re my friends and I love them!

Pastors have kids who have to go through the same teenage years that ours do… those waters can be shark infested at the best of times and it’s no different for them. They have illness, financial challenge, need for retirement and other challenges to face within their own families and lives just like we do. They do all of that and still listen to our burdens and suffering because let’s face it, most of the time we need their counsel when things aren’t going too well in our lives. We usually need them when we have a difficult challenge or question we’re facing and we want or need their time to work through that stuff. They share with us as we watch our kids being born and they weep with us when we lay our loved ones to rest. All the while, they’re facing the same stuff in their own lives!

I think we should have a national “love your pastor” day because they definitely deserve our love and respect! One day seems too little considering they give back to and serve us nearly every day. Think about that… they’re living a pastoral life every day of their life. Here’s a challenge from me to you. Make a day in your own life to honour or thank your pastor… just as they do for you each and every day of theirs.

I have to say that I’m overwhelmed when I think of all of the pastors who’ve been giving, loving and kind to me. They’ve sacrificed their time when I’ve needed them. They’ve been there to help guide me through very difficult moments in life and in my faith. God has richly blessed me by allowing me to become closely connected with my pastors! They are among the wisest and most gracious people I’ve ever met. Not because they bear the title pastor, but because they choose to be kind, gracious, humble, truthful and above all, human!

I’m writing this today because I want to honour the pastors who’ve always been there for me and who continue to remain willing to be there for me. Beyond that, they choose to call me friend and share friendship and life with me! What a blessing they are. I’ve been told that no matter where I am or what time of the day it may be, I’m always welcome to call… not because I’m anyone special, but because they truly love me, care for me and want the very best for me!

What an amazing blessing our pastors are to us each and every day… let’s all take time to give them a hug and tell them that we not only we appreciate what they do for us, but why! Tell your pastor that you love them if you do and how they’ve helped you or helped shape your life. Worshiping God is about more than music. Worshiping God is about recognizing and rejoicing in his blessing and provision for us. Celebrating your pastors and their families with love and acknowledgment of their life choice is God honouring worship too, not to mention, it’s just kind appreciation for all of the love and sacrifice we receive from them every day.

Larry, Don, Arden, Mike, Sara, Heather, BrianD, BrianT, Ed, Lynda, Doug, TimB, TimD, Scott, Rick, Anthony, Nate and any that I’ve missed; to you and your families, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of the love, care, compassion and patience you’ve shared with me over the years. Thank you for loving me enough to kick my butt when I’ve needed it. Thank you for always being willing to ask the hard questions and then walk through them with me. Thank you for trusting me with your confidence when you’ve needed my friendship and thank you especially for always being real people! You’re a light unto my path and my life would not be the same without your loving friendship!

Always and with love,
Tim

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Men, Women, communication and silence…

Lately… it’s been blog articles that have inspired my writing… “my writing”. There’s something I never thought I ever hear myself say.

I read an article this morning while sipping on my coffee and chatting with a few good friends (http://www.tickld.com/x/the-difference-between-men-and-women). How many times have we read this kind of parody on non-verbal interplay between a man and a woman? It’s a fairly common stereotype and sadly, there’s a significant amount of truth to the story.  The truth underneath this article is I think, all too prevalent in our relationships.

Before I get into this, I want to say that I don’t necessarily buy into the gender stereotypes presented in this scenario though I do know that they do exist. I see it far more often than I should and that’s a sad statement. Of course, not all women or men are like the characters in the story, but there is a certain thread of truth to their reactions and thought processes.

At face value, we could conclude that this is just the way it is between men and women, because of what and how we value and how we process. Women value relationship and are connection oriented. Men also value relationship but are compartmental and task oriented. Again… these are generalizations which I think are for the most part… nonsense. I think it is rude and assumptive to lump the behavioural patterns of individuals within their gender set because of their gender alone! While men are generally task focused, we’re not always that way… neither too are women brooding ninnies who constantly postulate scenarios because of a single spoken word or sentence. It’s preposterous and dismissive!

What I found very true about the article though was what happened because of silence and lack of communication. Fred’s silence or apparent lack of interested (in Martha’s view) spawned a dizzying array of scenarios in Martha’s mind, based assumptions which were based on a single word response! Let’s do away with the female stereotype for a moment and ask ourselves what’s wrong with this picture…

Was Fred wrong for answering as he did? Was Martha wrong for reacting as she did? Maybe and maybe not. This phenomenon is all too common and it’s based on one thing… our willingness to face truth. To be truly honest with ourselves and with those that mean the most to us.

Why is it that we have trouble expressing ourselves on topics that matter most to us? Clearly, relationship was very important and valuable to Martha. I would say it was a core value to her. That isn’t to say that it’s not also for Fred, but in this scenario, Martha is clearly thinking about moving to the next level in their relationship. Why then does she not pick a time to talk to Fred about it? Why not just be direct,  willing to face reality and ask? I know… I’m blowing this scenario out of proportion, but honestly, why do we let ourselves live in limbo? If the truth is that Fred would rather eat Doritos and watch re-runs of sporting events than share his life with someone, that is what he’s going to do and there is nothing that Martha can do to change it. It’s is what it is… that is simply the truth of the situation.

Martha clearly values Fred and feels that he’s a good match for her., but is he really?  Instead of respecting her values and engaging in a conversation with Fred about her hopes and the reality of their future though, she allows the situation to end in a cloud of uncertainty. Even worse, she further proceeds to play out scenarios by talking with people who can’t possibly hold any of the answers she seeks. I’m not suggesting that we do not seek the wise counsel of friends, but those conversations should be about us, our character and conduct, not what the other person should do or might be thinking.   If we truly find ourselves in a good and healthy relationship, we should be able to share the truth and be accepted and respected for it.  The subject may be difficult, but that doesn’t change reality!  It doesn’t change the truth that must be faced.

Why do we fear the truth? It’s just the truth. It’s reality. We have no control over what someone else will do. We may have a small amount of influence here and there, but honestly, we have no control!

The answer to this riddle is not at all complex. It’s simply based in truth and a willingness to hear, understand, accept and live in it! Martha can “suppose” all she wants to with her friends, but the truth she seeks lies in the heart and mind of Fred. Hopefully, he has enough integrity in himself and respect for Martha to answer with equal honesty.

This by the way, this isn’t limited to intimate relationships. It is applicable in all of our relationships… We could be wondering about the conduct of our child at school, a relationship at work or the status of our current position at our workplace. We could be wondering about our relationship with our neighbour… there’s no end. In the end, the truth exists and it exists in the honesty and minds of the people involved. The honesty shared between two people creates the truth in any situation.

Martha could have just as easily asked Fred “Wow… Six months… I’m glad to be here… how do you feel about the next six?” Fred could answer in many ways, but in the end, Martha knows what she values and if Fred does not share her values, then Martha’s reality becomes one of choice. Does she respect her values or does she compromise them? I could write a book on this scenario, but I think you can guess what I’m getting at. We must be willing to explore the truth and reflect it against what we believe and value because that is our truth. You can’t make an apple be an orange no matter how promising it may look to be. If Martha hopes to be married one day, to have children and live out her life sharing it in a family, then that is her truth. If Fred is not quite ready for that scenario and can’t say when he will be, then Martha has some thinking to do. She can do nothing of course, but then where does that lead? To more indecision and angst!

These choices are not always easy because of the promise that we may see in a situation, but it is far better to let go of what merely looks good and promising to us and instead seek something or someone who will value and accept us for who we are and what we value. A wise friend once said to me “it’s better to be single than wish you were”. Truer words were never spoken.

I’m sure that Martha and Fred are kind and wonderful people, but they may not be wonderful for one another. The only way for them to find that out is to be honest and open with each other. If they are unable to do that in the early stages… what might the rest of their relationship look like long term?

Being willing to accept and value who we are and then to accept someone opposite us is based in truth. The ability to be honest about who we are, what we value and what our goals are. It’s not rocket science. We just make it more difficult by not being willing to face and accept the truth of a situation. Phone a friend? Guessing? Will those bring direct answers or truth? Sometimes but mostly not. Ask about and face the truth with those directly involved and also be willing to share what you know to be your truth. You may not find the outcome you seek in that particular situation, but it will probably lead you to a much happier and grounded life.

Of course, this is just my opinion and you are welcome to challenge it, but do you have one on this subject or have you asked yourself… how do I feel about this?  If you don’t have an opinion then I challenge you to ask yourself to make one.  Please consider this… we’re depending on your truth.

a response to “How to understand women”

In my purposeless state this morning, I came across a post on the wall of a friend on Facebook. It was a reference to an article about an 12 year old boy who felt he had figured out “How to understand women”.

http://www.viralnovelty.com/12-year-old-boy-wrote-perfect-advice-understand-women-priceless/

Intrigued, I had a closer look. For a 12 year old, while I was impressed with his willingness to tackle such a potentially difficult and age old subject, I was not so impressed by his penmanship… or his insight for that matter. After the title and question were posed on page one, the entirety of the supporting answer and conclusion were stated on page two. “You can’t!”. Maybe he needs a little healthy guidance.

I personally feel that the person who chose to blog the “perfect wisdom” of this 12 year boy old has missed the point… even if their point is to find humour. Yes… I can see the humour in the statement, but must we always be so sarcastic and cynical? Why not truly ask ourselves and try to understand what is at the heart of the question and even be willing to expand upon it?

First, “how to understand a woman” and then, “how to understand the heart of a woman”

In order to attempt to answer these questions though, they both need to be given one very important consideration and one very important qualification.

First the consideration… the question needs to be considered respectfully.  Why do we feel we need to joke about this? I feel that questions of this nature either emanate from or gravitate toward social stereotypes that needs to die! These are both very worthy and serious questions and need to be considered respectfully!  The second part is the qualification. While respecting both women and the question of understanding them and their hearts, we also need to realize that they’re all so very different. Sure, there are common traits, but those vary because of the woman herself.  Because of her individuality.

I think it is more important to try ask the latter question more than the former one and I also think it’s important not to generalize!

So then, let’s ask the question “how to understand the heart of a woman”? I think this question is important not only for men, but for women as well. What is at the heart of a woman? That’s a simple and complicated question at the same time, because it depends on the woman. It can be a paradox and a conundrum as much as it can be a clearly defined statement.

OK… here goes the bold statement… I’m going to jump into the fiery abyss and try to answer the puzzle that’s seemingly perplexed mankind for millennium…

I truly believe that what lies within the heart of a woman is desire. That can be taken a multitude of ways, but if you’ll permit me, I’ll explain my rather bold and simple statement.

A woman’s desire or heart is no different than that of a man’s. We all long to be understood, valued, cared for and loved. These vary in degree as much the shape of snowflakes and people. Some desires are stronger than others dependent on how we were raised and some are personal or peculiar to the individual. In my circumstance, I believe those desires are placed there by God and shape how we were wired by him. That’s the cool part about God… He makes us all different and yet, He also makes us able to fit into the heart and life of another through our differences. It’s quite beautiful really.

So… back to my bold statement… that desire is at the heart of a woman. Knowing that desire is at the heart of a woman removes a great deal out of the challenge of discovering who she is and how to understand her.  When you seek to know what her desires are, what makes her get out of bed in the morning, what makes her decide whether to spend time preparing her hair and make-up, or to don a hat and put her hair in a ponytail, that will go a long way in making her feel comfortable with sharing her heart with you. You see… at her core, I believe that her desire is to trust. Sure… she also wants to feel that she is valued and loved, but to do those things, she first needs to feel that she can allow herself to trust. To satisfy the yearnings within her heart, she needs to establish trust in order to risk sharing them or even engaging in them if you’re to be a part of them. She needs to know that if she truly reveals herself to you, that she’ll not be betrayed for simply being herself.

If she wants to be a mother, she wants to know that you’ll be there with her. If she wants to be an artist, she wants to know that you’ll support her. If she wants to be a writer, she wants to know you’ll engage with her, to struggle with her to find the truth that she seeks to share (even if it’s fiction). If she wants to be your best friend, she wants to know she can trust you with her heart! She wants to know that you’ll let her be her (without your unsolicited opinion)!

It’s not all that complicated really… it’s all about paying attention and giving her respect. It’s about recognizing and valuing that she has chosen to share her heart with you.  It’s about recognizing and respecting that she has a voice. It’s also about her seeing something in you that has caused her to feel that she wants to share with you what she has to offer. She just needs to know that she’s as safe as she can be when she does. Don’t we all? I don’t necessarily think this desire or need is stronger in woman than it is in men, but I do believe that their willingness and need to be vulnerable and to have it known and recognized is!

There is no enigma wrapped in a puzzle. Women are no more complicated than men are, except that their hormones on occasion can and do betray them because of the wonderful gift that they possess… the wonderful ability to bear children.

To understand a woman, you have to WANT to value and understand what lies within her heart. It’s not too complicated… she’ll let you know, but only if she feels she can trust you. All you have to do to earn that is to act with integrity, pay attention to her and let her know when you’ve heard her. When she senses your understanding, the trust I spoke of will grow. It’s about being willing to respect her heart, her mind and her soul!

So… to the statements made by my 12 year old brother from another mother… Son… you CAN understand a woman, but first, you must be willing to show her respect and to earn her trust! When you do that, she’ll be willing to share the glories of the desires of her heart with you! You’ll also likely find that she’ll also be equally willing to share yours too! When you get to this place, you’ll have a much better chance at understanding her and her heart.

I truly believe that a woman wants nothing more than to feel that she can be truly vulnerable with someone. To be all that she is and to be accepted for it.  Not because of her make-up, not because of her smile, not because of the way she walks or wears her hair, but because of her heart and what she has to offer!  We need to feel attracted and attractive, but once that’s established, we need to feel trust and value. Find that and you’ll be blessed with one of the greatest earthly gifts a man can hope to receive… you may be gifted with the heart of a woman.

What is proper online behaviour?

3 youth in my community have been charged with distribution of pornography, because they allegedly propagated content of an inappropriate nature through electronic media. Believe me, I’m not condoning this behaviour and this post will not be about mitigating or further diluting our cultural or social standards… it’s going to identify the lack of them and how we’ve become desensitized in the process! Fait accompli!

The reaction to the above, presented in the local news media, is to create an awareness program in our schools which will teach what the consequences for this kind of behaviour will be instead of getting to the root truth of the situation… teaching WHY this behaviour is not only inappropriate and wrong, but that it’s damaging and carries with it consequences that reach far beyond the legal ones they create! I’m not saying education in this area isn’t important, but it needs to get to the root of the matter instead of being a reaction to a byproduct.

Folks… we tell our kids that it’s NOT okay to take nude pictures and then share those using cell phones and yet, we tolerate TV or take them to Miley Cyrus concerts. I’m not condemning Miley Cyrus, but some of her behaviour is simply unacceptable! Teaching awareness of socially acceptable behaviour should not begin in our schools, it should begin in our homes and within our families! It’s about awareness, understanding and then choice! Just because “Sex Sells” doesn’t mean we have to buy into it! Teaching (not preaching) and leading by example about what reasonable social conduct (including the use of technology) looks like is where this should begin. We need to think about the kinds of emails we share and the kind of TV we watch, because it says something about us! Most importantly, it says it to our kids!

Our society’s cultural standards have eroded and we seem oblivious! We’re becoming a sad group of technologically dependent introverts who are losing our grasp on reality and our concept of morality! Television and Internet media is teaching or creating a new social paradigm and the future doesn’t look good. Our societal values are coming through mass media and we’re slowly becoming desensitized to good old values. “Good old fashioned values”… they’re not old fashioned… they’re just good values! You don’t look up Sally’s skirt! You don’t disrespect your elders! You don’t disrespect your parents! You don’t disrespect yourself, your neighbours or your friends!

I’m far from being a prude and consider myself to be very progressive and open minded, but things are getting way too far out of hand. We cry for social justice, equality, choice and freedom of expression. We rally and fight for the voice of media to remain free but where has that gotten us? Media is a business and that business is to sell us more of what we tell them we want! I get it… that’s OK to a degree, but I’m here to tell you, what they’re also doing is to sell this stuff to us in a way that is eroding our social values! They have an incredible responsibility but clearly they’re not being responsible! Who is holding them accountable? At the end of the day, does it matter if there is a body to impose proper conduct for the media? We have a very powerful filter in our grasp… it’s called our finger and it can be used to turn off the TV, or not consume some of the garbage we do.

Our minds are like our bodies… if we eat too much junk food and don’t exercise, we get out of shape and lethargic. The same is true for our minds! If we pollute our minds with so much of the banal drivel we see in the form of “entertainment media”, we’ll become a product of what we consume. It’s time to make a choice for ourselves and then, to let our kids see us do that and then explain to them why we’ve made the choices we have. Telling someone that something is wrong is incorrect is a fraction as effective as actually showing them and then being an example of it!

I was a child of the 60 & 70s (call it 4-10 years old). I watched Bugs Bunny & the Road Runner constantly and I’m doing just fine! I’ve noticed that the same cartoons of today have been edited for content (violence) and yet… what about the rest of television? Have you seen Ren & Stimpy or South Park?

What’s with our society’s current fascination with vampires and werewolves? I like a good vampire movie as much as the next guy, but it’s come to a point where if it doesn’t include soft core porn, it’s not a movie! The same is true and more so for television and if you don’t believe me, just watch an episode of “True Blood”. What are we consuming? Why do we seem to need more and more of this sort of stimulation? Are our lives that unfulfilled or without reward? Where will it end or what will be enough?

I’m not at all saying that people can’t figure out that vampires aren’t real (It’s not about the vampires), but it’s the values we’re ingesting through watching that sort of programming that serve to change our views on morality or what is socially acceptable from a moral perspective.

This then trickles down to our kids. It does so because it changes what we’re willing to tolerate, what we will allow them to see and what we won’t. What’s worse though is what’s available to them when they’re not in our home and the choices they’ll make in our absence. It’s also about how we treat one another in front of them! Our kids are mimics. They learn their values from us! I for one do not want to teach kids that disrespecting women is cool. I do not want to teach them that uninhibited sexual conduct is OK.

I want to help them learn and make them aware what this “stuff” is and why it’s all around them. Think about that statement for a minute. Imagine yourself explaining what is available on TV to your child and how difficult that would be. I’m not talking sports, but reality TV, game shows, soap operas, prime time television and the content within many commercials. While we’re at it, why not explain what we see in the news. Do any of us take the time to have these kinds of discussions with our kids?

I want children to understand for themselves (not because I TOLD them) the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviour because because those are the kinds of adults I hope to interact with in society!  I also want to teach them how to interact with a person directly instead of through a keyboard, mouse and monitor!

This is not up to our teachers, nor should it ever be! It should start in our own homes, within our own families! We should be identifying this and talking about it openly instead of just consuming it…. I was going to say “consuming it together”, but that’s not necessarily true either considering most kids have their own computers, cell phones and access to a television in an isolated area of the home.

I personally don’t want a teacher having the responsibility for educating my child on what is right and wrong! That’s asinine and it’s not their responsibility! It’s completely unfair to expect a teacher to show my child the difference between what is right and wrong. Of course, they need to offer supervision while I’m not around, but my child’s value set should come from within my home and family. It should not be learned in school! PERIOD!

What I’m saying isn’t intended to impede social growth or progress. It’s not at all intended to rail against individual freedom of expression or choice. It’s intended to encourage us to identify what is healthy vs. unhealthy and then to teach and encourage that value set in our families so that our kids will be equipped to deal with stuff when they encounter it. They’ll know the difference and then, they’ll have the ability to make an informed decision based on a solid foundation of understanding and awareness.

This is not about promoting blind innocence or an over simplified perspective like that which was portrayed in “Leaver it to Beaver”. I’m not suggesting that a “Cleaver” society is what we need, but the family values presented in that show were very valid! We’re not simpletons and we have the ability and intelligence to choose to understand and recognize the difference.

I’ve been watching the erosion of society since I was a teen. I was very aware of it and I’ve always been. I knew the difference because my parents took the time to teach me!

By the way… ask yourself if you’ve been affected by it. If you’re old enough, please consider your life today vs. when you were a teen… call it 20 years ago… or 30, or 40 if you’re that old. Do you think your value set is different today than it was back then? I know mine is. Let’s ignore the context of sex for a minute and look instead at economics. How do you buy and value stuff today compared to 20 or 30 years ago? We’ve been helped and encouraged to become mass consumers who quickly become dissatisfied with what we have today because of what will be made available tomorrow. It’s created a society of “entitlement” and expectation instead of one of gratefulness and contentment. I’m not saying that having stuff or even nice stuff is bad… but what version of Go Pro are we on now? iPhone 5 with iPhone 6 in the wings? Think about it!

Back to the kids who are being charged, someone said to me about them, “they were probably not aware of what they were doing anyway”. “They probably didn’t know the consequences or even that it was harmful or wrong and were just being kids”. That’s the point of what I’ve written here today. They were just being kids and they need to know the difference because they acquired he behaviour somewhere or from someone.

We have a choice with regard to moral foundation and reasonable acceptability in our future of our society. We can continue to lick the lollipop of mediocrity and continue to be spoon fed what comes our way, or we can make a personal choice to become aware of what is happening all around us. If we choose to embrace the latter, we can then choose to effect change within our homes and families.

The choice is yours!

By the way… While I’d like to hear your opinion in form of a comment, I’d rather you instead offered those thoughts for discussion within your family. That’s the point behind this post.

The value of wisdom, the strength of character

I’ve been writing in an online context for about 6 years now. I found my passion for writing after a break up with an incredible friend and my fiancé at the time. I decided to give online dating a try and came across a singles forum which hosted what seemed an endless array of topics on which to share your heart, mind and soul. I learned a great deal through reading the posts on that site, but I also learned a great deal about myself. I found that I had a great deal of wisdom and common sense in me that I wasn’t aware of. I suppose it was an accumulation of my life experience, but because I’d never consciously tapped into it, I just wasn’t aware of it. Responding to some of the posts I read or simply writing out my thoughts helped me to do two things: I learned that I knew more than I was aware of and it helped me to solidify my personal philosophy. I became very aware of what I believed in nearly all aspects of my life. I continue to learn each day through this same kind of interaction. I learn from being challenged by people and original thought. I’m constantly taught by others because I try to remain open, humble and I try to do reflective listening. I’m not saying that I get it right all of the time, but I am willing to take time to sit quietly and reflect upon my experience and contrast it against the experience of others through interaction with them.

I’m also an early riser and I’m one of those people who, once they wake is immediately ready to go. I don’t need a stretch, a morning coffee or whatever time it takes to wake the mind from sleep. I’m good to go when my eyes open. The thing is though, I love to lay in my bed and read. Why not… I have this little cocoon of warmth surrounding me and it feels great to just lay and read. It’s also the time when I like to write down my thoughts. I’m grateful for blogging, forums or just the ability to easily reach out to a group of friends through written word.

You might be wondering… YAWN… where the heck is he going with this? That’s a good question and maybe I should get to the point! This morning while enjoying my coffee in bed (I only said I didn’t need coffee, not that I don’t love it), I was looking at my newsfeed on Facebook. My friends usually find little pearls of wisdom and post them to their “walls”. This morning was no different, but it was the article I found that caught my attention and which inspired this response. It was an article on the paradox of life and was attributed to George Carlin. Good old George… he nearly always cracked me up and I thought a great deal of his work was brilliant. Reading through the article though, I found inconsistencies between the expressions I was reading and the man I understood George to be. It seemed out of character for him to be making some of the statements I was reading! He actually talked about God and faith in a somewhat reverent way which was not at all the irreverent George I’d come to know over the years. The prefacing article indicated that George’s words were written after the death of his wife, but prior to his own (it claimed that they both died in the same year… they did not). I thought that maybe it was possible George had found a relationship with God just prior to his death, but that also seemed in contrast to much of what I’d read about his interment. Nope… this just didn’t seem right… “Something seemed very wrong here” as he would often say.

This article was only shared or reposted on my friend’s wall and was a link to the original Facebook article. I decided to read through the comments on the original post rather than racing to Google or Snopes to see what was up. I quickly found my answer. It seemed that others felt similarly to me and after reading through all of the debate, I discovered the truth. George had not written the article at all. It was in fact, written by Dr. Bob Moorehead who is the retired pastor of a Church in Seattle, WA. While I was sad to discover that George had not found relationship with God in the few remaining days of his life, I was also disappointed in something else. Why is it that something profound and valuable is thought to be less valuable just because someone famous didn’t author it? Why is it that people feel the need to take valuable thought and attribute it to someone else?

I decided to further check the article on Snopes and found that Dr. Moorehead’s words were attributed to more than just George. The authorship of the article had also been attributed to others like the Dalai Lama and an unnamed student at Columbine High School. Why? My point is, no matter who wrote the article, I personally liked what it had to say! I felt it had value, contributed positively to our society and it was thought provoking. Why do people feel it will receive greater credibility if it is attributed to someone famous? Ever heard of viral posts? How about the little girls on Facebook who in 2013 wanted a puppy and whose Dad said “If you can get a million likes by tomorrow, we’ll get a puppy”. Well… they now have a puppy! You don’t need to be famous to have something good or valuable to say. You just have to be willing to say what you feel and believe, have integrity in your words and be willing to back them up!

I’m a man of deep Christian faith, but I loved and respected Carlin and his work! He was a man who was deeply reconciled to what he believed and he stood by it! I may not have always agreed with him, but I respected him and his choice!

Sadly, I see this kind of thing more and more frequently and I find it really disappointing… even appalling! If something is worth reading, it will be read. Simple as that. Who the author is matters little to me. I’m interested in expanding my knowledge and understanding and the only way I’m going to do that is to expose myself to different thoughts and perspectives. I don’t have to agree with Carlin to like him! I’ve never read Dr. Moorehead’s stuff until this morning but I can tell you that I now like him too! I had some questions about his thoughts, but that’s another matter. What I find paradoxical though is that an article on life and faith was attributed to an outright atheist who chose to debunk “faith” whenever the subject arose. George Carlin actually commented on the article, “A Paradox of Our Time” and called the article “a load of shit” which was definitely in keeping with his character.

Folks… wisdom is wisdom. I’ve read stuff from six year olds that I thought was profound and thought provoking! Taking an original thought and then attributing it to someone famous or outspoken does not make it any more real, correct or valid. If anything, it takes away from the power of the words because it shows that people aren’t convicted in their understanding, philosophy or faith. While he was on earth, Jesus shared a lot of knowledge and wisdom… it didn’t catch on immediately, but look where we are today! You might even draw an ironic parallel between George and Jesus. They both deeply believed in what they said and had the courage to stand behind it!