Category Archives: Parenting

Bullies Be Gone

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stop bullyingOctober 16 is Blog Action Day 2013. The theme this year is Human Rights. It is a world-wide blogging opportunity and over 100 countries are participating.

A few months ago, a co-worker and I were talking about child-rearing. Since my children are grown, he asked me, “when is teasing and mocking others a normal part of childhood and when is it bullying?”

My answer, “It’s bullying when it’s your child.”

So, the issue I chose to discuss on Blog Action Day is bullying.  

The definition of a bully is “a person who hurts or browbeats those who are weaker.” All of us have encountered these villains at one time or another. There are bullies at work, in the media, and in politics.  

I want to speak to the ones, we all have experienced, the school bullies. Several years ago a bully would steal your lunch money, call you names, and make fun of your clothes or family. But today, with the increasing use of social media, cell phones and cameras, bullies can harass and expose weaker ones with unharnessed abandon and lack of consciousness. Countless young people have had their reputations smeared and irreparable damage done to their lives. There are news reports about students who resort to suicide because they have lost hope after verbal, physical,  and cyber attacks.

What is the answer?  What can we do to stop this madness?

The first thing we do, is speak openly and honestly to our children and grandchildren. Make it real and make it personal. Tell them your own stories, treat your experience as a part of your legacy.  Second, we use bullied girlunspoken communication to train and teach. We model right behavior. We don’t mock others or make fun of people. We tune out radio and television programs that tear others down. Third, we become proactive. Encourage students to report bullying and challenge them to take a stand for those who are being mistreated.

Finally, the golden rule is still relevant today. No matter what your background or religion, it still speaks to men, women, boys, and girls. “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” In other words, treat others like you want to be treated.

A culture of honor begins in the heart and at home. Let’s step up, step out, and take a stand today.

Would You Do It Again?

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Last week, I couldn’t bring myself to write the usual Mother’s Day devotional. I couldn’t find the uplifting pretty words to talk about the most difficult job in the world. While it is wonderful to honor mothers once a year, I can’t help but think about the mothers who are hurting because of their children. When our children are born we watch them struggle as they learn to talk, walk, and run. We watch them struggle with separation anxiety as they go to school for the first time. In new surroundings, they have their feelings hurt and their knees skinned. As they grow, they experience the pain of the first break up and they realize there are people who don’t like them.

Some mothers are hurting because they lose their unborn babies and they spend a lifetime mourning that loss. Every day young moms lose their children as babies before they have a chance to know them. The loss of a child can be experienced when the young man or woman walks away from their family and decides to walk the path of the prodigal. Accidents, illness, drugs, and war take countless children from us. 

So, I have to ask you a week after Mother’s Day, would you do it again? Knowing about the hurt, the pain, the loss, the tests that come with mothering would you do it again?

I wonder how Jesus’ mother, Mary, would answer that question. She was given the ultimate responsibility of carrying and caring for the Son of God. She watched Him grow as a child. How did she feel when he skinned His knees and bled down to His toes. Did she panic when He lagged behind at the Temple and they couldn’t find Him? When He neglected nutrition and rest to serve in ministry did she question the call on His life? When He chose to spend time with twelve men instead of His family, did she feel neglected and abandoned? What went through her mind when the persecution started and He was arrested and nailed to the cross? Did she lose her breath when she saw with her own eyes her beloved son hanging on the cross agonizing and writhing in pain?

So Mary, would you do it again? Without hesitating, I think she would say yes!

In Luke 1:46-53, Mary rejoiced at the prospect of carrying God’s Son. For most women, motherhood is a time to rejoice. Carrying a child and giving birth is an honor.

In Luke 2:33-35, When Jesus was dedicated at the Temple, His mother and father were amazed at the things being said about their son. But Mary was also warned about the pain this Son would bring to her heart, “and a sword will pierce even your own soul-to the end that thoughts from many hearts be revealed.”  It doesn’t take long to find out that our children experience pain in this life and that breaks our hearts.

Mary had the joy and privilege of carrying God’s Son but she also had the duty to bear the pain of His loss. I think if we asked her personally, “would you do it again?” She would jump at the chance to reassure each one of us as mothers. She can reassure us because now her perspective is an eternal perspective. I like to imagine that she might look each one of us in the eye and say, “it is hard being a mother but…like my Son, Jesus, each child is born with a purpose and a plan for his/her life. It hurts to watch them struggle with the hardest parts of life. But even in the pain, there is purpose.”

What in your child’s life has caused you pain? If you knew what you know now, would you become a mother again?

Heavenly Father, Touch the hurting hearts of mothers today. Please give us a glimpse or even an eye full of your eternal perspective. It’s an honor to serve you by serving our children. In Jesus Name, Amen