Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kids at a Pool Party

Kids are fascinating. Boys, girls, all ages, I love them. And I want a few of my own some day. IN God's timing. I've already written about that a lot, but most of the time I don't post it.

Yesterday we had a pool party at our apartment complex; I attended so I could do some people-watching and reading. Maybe a hundred or so people showed up, they had a DJ and music going on, they fed us food, and they organized a few games. One game in particular caused me to take note of the kids and how God has created them and each of us.

The Raft Pull was two inner tubes on ropes on the same side of the pool as the kids.The rope on the other side needed to be pulled by one volunteer (we are in the Volunteer State, after all) for each team.They called for volunteers, and I considered helping out but decided it would be more fun to watch instead. Actually, my second thought was, "Some kids' dads should definitely get out there and pull."

There was silence for the first few seconds, and then the kids all started calling for their dads to come over and help out. One did. The second volunteer ended up being the complex's office manager.

But the visible elation on the faces of the kids whose dad helped out, and the dejection on the faces of the kids whose dads didn't, was something to behold. Kids need their parents: need them to listen, to participate, to enjoy the things they're enjoying, to love them, to hold them, to provide for them.

I recently heard about a study some people performed on infants. Mothers, whose babies were near them, held either dolls or other people's babies and loved on them. Their own babies became jealous.

(Incomplete; I'm not sure where I was going to go with this, since I'm recording it 7 months later.)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Saying No

Saying no. Is it such a hard thing? I don’t have kids yet, so maybe it’s more difficult than I think, but yesterday my aunt Renee was talking about my cousin Bennett’s going to Belmont College, which is in Nashville and about 20–30 minutes away. He plans to live at home and commute but knows a friend who lives right down by the college. His idea was to live with Patrick during the week and then go home on the weekends.

Aunt Renee mentioned that she didn’t think that was allowed, because he will be a freshman and she thinks that for at least the first two years students must live either on campus or at home. The way she said it made it sound like she didn’t know for sure but was pretty certain that’s the way it was. She also mentioned she was hesitant about that just because he is an 18-year-old boy. I said, very gently (because I thought about saying it before I just blurted it out), “You could just say no.” The look on her face was priceless and conveyed two things:
  1. She hadn’t even considered saying no. After all, he’s an adult (just turned 18 two weeks ago) and should be able to make those decisions.
  2. She would never say no to him for anything.
I didn’t understand but didn’t ask any more about it. I didn’t want to make it a topic of contention especially when the grandparents (her parents) were right there. But it makes me want to know if it’s that hard for all parents to say no or if they just don’t say no. I know my parents said no to us about a lot of things. I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but when I look back, I’m glad they limited what we could do. However, even though my parents said no for a few things, they also let us make our own decisions about a lot of things; they encouraged us to think about whether it was a good decision. For instance, if we wanted to see a certain movie, they’d make us read about it and decide if it contained content that we thought was acceptable for Christian girls (princesses, children of the King) to see.

If I had to guess, I’d say that my parents had already seen the movie or knew about it and so were just as informed as we were, but they let us think it over. I hope that when I have kids I can foster that kind of thought process but still have had enough influence on them when they were younger to make sure they make the right decisions. However, there are a few hurdles I have to cross before I can get there!

Getting "Art"

I don’t get “art.” This weekend at my church is all about expression through media: painting, dance, music, and poetry, among others. My cousins had a couple dance performances that I went to see, and all it made me want to do was possibly take a hip-hop class for fun. It did not make me appreciate it, it did not make me feel like I was worshipping, and it did not make me want to take up that kind of artistry. By my cousins and uncle love it. It’s their way of expressions.

During the church service, an artist was painting a picture of creation (today he would be doing the fall, redemption, and re-creation during the respective services). It was really neat to see the whole picture from start to finish. Of course, I didn’t see the “creation” part of it until the pastor mentioned it; I just thought he was painting a picture of a forest and a man with an aura. But evidently it fascinated a number of people and made them worship.

Also during the service they showed a video of four women discussing their painting and how it is an expression of their time with God. “Real Conversations,” they called it. I just don’t understand the whole mentality.

But then again, there is no doubt that I am a words person. I express with words (mostly written and sometimes spoken, but I communicate much better with the written word than the spoken word because I have more time to think about what I want to communicate). I can pass well for “thinking on my feet,” but that’s only if I’ve thought about what I want to say before I’m in the situation. I don’t do well when someone asks me or says something that I wasn’t expecting.

But words can only get one so far. As I memorize James, I’m getting to the verses that deal with not being hearers of the word only but being doers as well. I have so much knowledge that I’d like to be able to do something with, but I don’t have any good ideas. I recently thought that I’d like to marry a visionary. But letting someone else do my thinking for me is not going to solve any problem that I might have. I have to trust God to help me come up with ideas or to open doors for me so that I can communicate His Word and Truth, because I desperately want to obey Him.

But about marrying a visionary, I would love to do that, to support someone in his ideas, and to add some of my own problem-solving skills and knowledge into his ideas. I’m amazed at the desire to be a supporter and helper that God has given me. Thank you! Even if I can’t use it yet how I would have expected.