Mothering: Balancing kindness and goodness

Children misbehave more when their mothers are in the room.  That’s not just cynical anecdotal evidence talking; that’s science.  OK, it’s fake science.  The article I read acknowledged as much.  But the logic behind the argument made a lot more sense that most of the so-called data coming out of the think-tanks these days. 

Adulting

Adulting is hard.  I see T-shirts and various other paraphernalia that make this assertion.  I don’t necessarily want to agree or disagree in this context.  Instead I would like to point out the whiny nature of a so-called adult who would make that claim — and worse, pay money to broadcast his or her incompetence.

Stories from the Road: Twenty Years of Growth

I finally convinced Tracie to take a drive past our first house during our latest trip to Texas.  We were in the neighborhood, literally driving within a stone’s throw of it.  Just a slight detour, and we could see what had become of the place since we sold it almost 20 years ago.

I expected it to be different.  I did not expect it to be that different.

Ice cream, walks, and personal growth

When we lived in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, we lived a short walk from a major intersection, 91st Street and Aspen Avenue.  I would often take Samson, the Brittany spaniel we owned at the time, for walks around the neighborhood, and occasionally I could convince the girls to come with me.  Yes, they loved their daddy.  Yes, they loved Samson.  But mainly, they loved ice cream.  And on the opposite corner of the intersection of 91st and Aspen, there was a Braum’s ice cream parlor.  Samson and I would cross both streets with the girls and then wait on the sidewalk and watch through the glass door as two little girls, not ten years of life between them, walked up to the counter with a $5 bill and ordered some ice cream.

Let my people grow

One of the first things you notice at Walt Disney World is the preponderance of “Mickey-shaped” items.  From pencil tops to fireworks, everything seems to consist of two small circles sitting atop a larger circle.  Sometimes, as with shrubbery, the shape is forced upon the item; those in charge simply alter it until it achieves the proper proportions.  Sometimes, as with ice cream, the item is formed inside a mold.  The latter of these can get downright creepy at times.  Forcing a pumpkin to grow in a “Mickey” shape by placing it in a mold in its infancy is … weird.  The desired effect is achieved, yes.  But at some point a living organism has to be allowed to grow in its own direction.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ve just seen one too many Mickeys over the last seven years.

Anyway, striking a balance between fostering growth and channeling that growth has been a bit of an obsession with me over the last 23 years. 

 

Real dangers vs. imaginary ones

Hospitals across the country are retheming after a recent study unearthed a startling fact.  Of 250 children surveyed, exactly 250 of them expressed an aversion or out-and-out fear of clowns.  I suppose a generation of administrators raised on Bozo and Ronald McDonald were slow to realize that garishly painted faces were just about the last thing children wanted to see when they were already scared out of their minds.

A few examples of “The Small Things”

Last week in this space I encouraged the “one-talent” Christians out there to not lose heart, but rather to rejoice in the “small things” they may be able to do in service to God and to the church.  I thought I would follow up today with some specifics.

Again, these are things that virtually any Christian can do. 

Nerf

A 9-year-old boy in Wales has lost an eye to a Nerf gun.  This is not the beginning of a joke.  This is the conclusion to a two-act tragedy.  It seems he lost sight in the eye because of an incident with a toy arrow when he was only 3; the second incident caused irreversible damage to the eye, forcing him to have it removed entirely or else risk losing sight in the second eye as well.

The mother, who is raising money through crowdfunding to get her son a more realistic prosthetic eye, says she doesn’t want people to think she is a bad mother.  I wonder why she would feel compelled to say that?

Short cuts

It’s time for another report from the Facebook links.  Really, one of these days I will quit watching these things.  But then again, if I did, where would I get ideas for this column?

Anyway, in this particular instance a woman was being interviewed by a TV reporter because she had difficulties while dropping her children off at school.  She was running late, so she decided to cut through an elementary school parking lot to get to another school in the neighborhood, driving around two traffic cones while doing so.  One schoolteacher was so upset at her actions that he literally threw himself onto the hood of her car.

College

We ship Kylie back to college this week.  It’s sad on multiple levels.  But it is part of the process of watching a young person grow up.  On the whole, it would be much, much sadder if it didn’t happen.  If I tell Tracie that enough times, maybe she will start to believe me.