Sunday, February 13, 2011

Rugby

For some reason rugby was on TV yesterday, and DH and I watched South Africa slaughter the USA team.

After a while, I realized that rugby is sort of like football, except for the part in which you get to beat the crap out of whoever has the ball until they give it to you, or until your entire team has crashed down on them and they have passed out from their lungs being crushed and have reflexively released the ball into your team's control.

Brutal.

Ineffability

This popped up in my reader from nakedpastor.com a while ago.


It made the rounds almost instantaneously in certain blog circles.

A couple of thoughts:

#1--I frequently feel this way. I'm in a place where it's easy for me to know what I don't think is true, but it is extremely hard for me to articulate what I do think is true. Negation is much easier than propagation. Whenever I want to put something forward about what/who God really is, I feel the limitations of my own words and thoughts. They're just not big enough. And even if they were, they are still bound by their own restraints.

#2--Even though nakedpastor hits it on the head with this one....as of yet I don't think that he, or anyone else who has posted it, has actually "shut up". So maybe we are good at ignoring the urge to simply be silent.

;-)
Ugh.

Several more days of sick kids. The Intuitive was up all night emptying his stomach into a trash can.

Does it make me a terrible parent that as I took care of him, wishing that I could make him better, that I also was thinking, "Oh crap.....I really hope I don't catch whatever this is."

Probably.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bringing My Work Home With Me

I mentioned a while back that my job consists of performing and public speaking in elementary schools, a different one each day. The main topic that my co-worker and I address is bullying prevention. We present a puppet show in which a child is being mentally and physically bullied, and when the strict performance part is done, we move into a Q&A section in which we are still in character, but we are interacting with the kids, asking and answering questions.

So, everyday I discuss bullying with kids.

Today, as I was driving the kids home from school, I saw one boy tackle another boy, a boy whom The Rationalist has said is frequently bullied and ostracized, and slam him onto the asphalt road. I immediately stopped the car, got out, and broke things up, not physically thank goodness, but by telling them to cut it out. The kid who tackled the other kid said he did it because the other kid pushed him.

I asked them if they were OK and told them to go home once they said they were. The initiator's sister responded with mouthy, smart-alec comments aimed at the other boy. At which point I asked her if her parents were home and if I should go talk to them about the way she was treating people. She didn't say much after that.

I drove home in a deep funk.

The week before had incidents in which The Rationalist was called a "bitch" by his coach's son and had a teenager in our neighborhood pull out a small pocket knife and turn and walk toward The Rationalist, implying that he was going to do something with it.

He thought he was being hilarious.

In the meantime I had to talk to the teenager's father, who said that he knew that his kid had found a knife and that "it was like a tiny thing".

Yeah. Ok. Whatever. I don't care if it's a tiny thing. Your kid is a teenager and mine is ten years old. Your son looks like a grown up to my kid.

Then tonight I had to ask the soccer coach if his son had a problem with my son. He seemed surprised at my question. "What? No." I had to tell him that his son had called my son a "bitch" several times. Sitting off to the side was another mother who then spoke up and said that the coach's son was also mean to her son.

The cluster of these incidents in a relatively short period of time has thrown me into a concerned period of anxiety.

The Rationalist will be heading into middle school next year and, well.....middle school is middle school. It's probably safer to walk into a lion's den covered in hamburger meat than it is to walk the halls of most middle schools.

I'm seeing the tumultuous tween/teen years ahead and I am fearful....not so much at the thought of The Rationalist being a teen, but at all that he's going to have to deal with.

I'm also discouraged. Discouraged that kids can be so rotten and mean. Discouraged that parents are so out of touch with their children that they have no idea what their kids act like. Discouraged that I can't be there all the time, playing the part of neighborhood enforcer and self-appointed righter of wrongs.

In each instance, I have had stomach-turning anxiety about what the best thing to do was. Do I intervene and possibly embarrass a kid who is being picked on, who might not want my help? Do I talk to the father of the teenager, who happens to always have a group of thugs out in front of his house drinking in the middle of the day? Do I talk to my son's coach, risking the possibility that it might make soccer go sour for The Rationalist if the conversation doesn't go well?

At each point I had to take the time to consider the possible outcomes and the chance that by saying something, I might cause unintended consequences.

I forced myself to intervene, knowing that I might earn the title of over-protective mother, or annoying-lady-who-always-sticks-her-nose-in-everyone-else's-business. I had all of the awkward conversations. I ignored the urge to simply do nothing and take defensive measures, avoiding situations and hoping that everything would just work itself out on its own.

And the results?

Mostly positive. The coach had no idea that his son was acting that way. The father of the teenager at least knows that I am keeping close watch on my kids, and that I am not afraid(well maybe I'm a little afraid!) to get into things if I have to. The kids whose fight I broke up? Well, knowing kids, that will probably continue, but maybe next time they won't think that just because they are away from the school and adult supervision that they can get away with whatever they want to.

Still, even though nothing completely blew up in my face, it's made me weary. I don't want to have to have these conversations. I don't want there to be a reason to have these conversations.

sigh.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Catchy Songs, Dreadful Lyrics

James McGrath tagged me in a meme about CCM Praise songs that we have trouble with.

The one song that immediately came to mind, which is not actually a "praise" song is the Newsboys' Wherever We Go. It's actually quite catchy and was played incessantly on Christian radio stations when it first came out.

I still listen to predominately Christian music stations, so I know most of the CCM bands out there, and this particular song always rubbed me the wrong way.




It's kind of cute, but the lyrics always make me cringe, especially this part:
Wherever we go, the dumb get wise
And
the crime rates drop
And
the markets rise
It's a curious thing
But it's just our thing
Bullies make nice, crooks repent
And
the ozone layer shows improvement
It's a curious thing
And it's humbling
Wherever we're led
All the Living Dead
Wanna leave their Zombie Mob
It's a touching scene when they all come clean
God help us, we just love our job
Maybe it's supposed to be tongue in cheek...but I know the evangelical circus very well, and someone, somewhere actually believes this stuff, that by merely being Christians, their very presence will improve crime rates, economic troubles, and global warming.

shudder.

As far as praise music goes, most of the time I am not really bothered by lyrics that truly don't make any sense when you sit down and actually think about them, or which represent God in a way that I personally don't agree with.

I am much more forgiving with worship and praise songs because I kind of see them as "love" songs...which can sound insipid, schmaltzy, and downright co-dependent in nature when you're not in love with anyone.

I don't like to mock the truly earnest. Bad praise lyrics may make me inwardly turn up my nose, but taken as an inherently limited way to express the inexpressible, I'm willing to let a lot slide by.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Soccer and Sickness

We've been busy this past week.

The entire weekend was consumed with soccer games. While watching the kids play and chatting with the other parents, I realized that I get as much out of watching them play soccer as they get out of playing it themselves. It's never a chore to watch their games. It's a family event, a way to spend time together in a fun setting.

After the soccer weekend, The Rationalist came down with a nasty virus, high fever and cold symptoms. I'm taking him in today to make sure he isn't harboring the next flu pandemic virus.

Although he's cranky when he's sick, he's also very sweet. He doesn't understand why we're letting him watch as much TV as he wants and letting him drink 7-Up non-stop accompanied by his favorite foods.

"You don't have to spoil me so much!" he says.

Very cute.