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Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

I don’t understand reality shows like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. I realize I am in the minority in this opinion and that frightens me. When this show was first released, I was certain that it wouldn’t last. Boy, was I wrong! What is the attraction to watching a dozen different women fight over the same man? What compels a person to participate in this program? It certainly does nothing to their reputation, unless they are trying to come off as easy and desperate – neither quality is attractive, by the way. And I guess that’s the point that attraction is only skin deep, therefore we need everything they sell during commercials to lessen wrinkles and lose weight.

What about compassion and unrelenting forgiveness? Those are two qualities absolutely necessary in any successful relationship. Do these bachelorettes really compete to be romantic for a few hours and expect that to lead to a good marriage? FYI: Romance is a sad measuring stick for a good spouse. It takes devotion to the Sacrament of Marriage, dedication to be with one person forever, love beyond comprehension to get past the obstacles that are certain to come, and forgiveness – loads and loads of forgiveness. Communication and sacrifice should always be in stock as well, right next to patience.

These types of reality-programming are obviously great for ratings, but explore for a moment what it does to real people. It uses promiscuous behavior to sell souls. Sure, “if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” Anyone can sling that excuse around to cover anything. To be honest, there is no need to watch the program when the commercials have such juicy teasers, all of which are seen by young minds. What about the people participating in it? What about their parents? What happens to their resume when they apply for a job and are seen as a symbol of sex-selling entertainment? That image doesn’t end when the program is over.

Where did our society lose its interest in protecting our souls? When did innocence stop being a desired quality for children’s upbringing? Turning on the T.V. has become synonymous with opening your front door and inviting in a murderer. That may sound extreme, but compare the status of moral integrity in our nation a hundred years ago to today. Those statisitcs don’t lie.

What are we – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors and community leaders – willing to do to protect Innocence from further destruction? It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. Luke 17:2

Entertainment ratings are killing innocence. When 12-year old girls are giving birth, something is seriously wrong. When 9-year-olds are members of Alcoholics Anonymous, we should ask, “What is going on?” Giving our children free run of the internet becomes as risky as giving them infected syringes to play Spoons. All the issues that have stricken our country stem from the same source – and it’s in every house. Television.

I have three daughters. I protect them from images on our TV by not subscribing to cable. We rent and go to movies that have been approved by http://www.pluggedin.com. I have been accused of being a helicopter parent, but that doesn’t scare me because I know that it’s not true. I don’t hover above my children, shouting out commands and directing their lives. My husband and I are side-by-side with our children, having discussions about choices and doing our best to listen to their thoughts and ideas.

When new issues arrive, we turn to our faith for the answer. What Would Jesus Do? What does Jesus think of his beautiful sisters selling their futures as brides on national TV?

I have happy for my daughters as they have grown up seeing a great husband and father – so watch out future boys who come to the Schaub house! The standards are very high.

My daughters don’t even know there is a show called Bachelorette. They are protected for even knowing the reality of Reality TV because there is nothing true about those shows. Want truth? Open the Bible. Want reality? Go to a mission kitchen and help serve dinner. Looking for an entertaining story about falling in love? Read Sense and Sensibility. Want to protect your kids from dangers? Unplug and see what happens. Worse-case scenario… your kids will thank you for spending extra time with them and being a Real Parent.

One more thought…When these former Bachelors and Bachelorettes have children, what will they say when they are asked, “What did you do before you met Mom/Dad?” Just wondering…

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Pop-Quiz!

I’d like to give a big shout of thanks to all the people who help me quiz my children on their academic standings. No, really, I mean it! It’s so helpful to bump into people in the middle of the day, who upon learning that we home-school, proceed to ask, “What’s the capital of New Jersey?” “What do you call an insect without a backbone?” and my personal favorite, “I can buy five cans of tomatoes for $4.00, plus I have a coupon for 20% off my entire order. How much will the tomatoes cost?”

Sarcasm aside, I’m both puzzled and thankful for this phenomenon. Academics are crucial to the success of anyone who wishes to have a decent career. But math doesn’t hold the same importance for a writer as it does for someone interested in becoming a doctor. Words are lovely when they are crafted into a well-written blog post or story, but they do little to organize finances. To think that one pop-quiz in the middle of the grocery store or at the park is going to determine the quality of home-education is ridiculous.

What matters in the overall education of a child is character development, faith formation, and perseverance in the face of adversity. I’m still waiting for someone to ask the girls, “What is the most valuable lesson you are learn from being home-schooled?” I’m quite certain “I know that Trenton is the capitol of New Jersey” will not be the answer.

This is a slice of what homeschooling looks like, but missing in this mini-slide show are the field trips, the science lessons, and vacations that are rooted in history lessons. And I have yet to capture a picture of the emotional bonds that homeschooling creates, but rest assured that when I do, I will post it here.

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Feminine Genius. I like that term. Blessed John Paul II used it in several encyclicals, but it has only recently come to my attention. The concept of Feminine Genuis first appeared at the closing message of the Second Vatican Council. No matter what your view of the Catholic Church or your standing on women’s rights, this is a golden statement about the necessity and influence of women:

“The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved. That is why, at this moment when the human race is undergoing so deep a transformation, women imbued with a spirit of the gospel can do so much to aid humanity in not falling” (Second Vatican Council).

Think about it: Being a woman is a trip! Our vocation is absolutely unique. We are given amazing bodies that can bring new life into the world, we can do everything a man can do (and do it better sometimes) but still can’t open a jar of pickles without straining and looking rather unseemly as that vein on our temple nearly bursts. Our spouses, boyfriends, brothers and fathers, as manly and strong as they are, are dumbfounded at our complexities and unsure how to proceed when we give them “the look”. You know what I’m talking about!

We are tall or short, thin or plump, endowed or ready to run without a bra. We can laugh until tears blind us and our breath comes in gasping catches when our girlfriends tell a story, and we can cry at the death of a baby bird – a creature we didn’t even realize had been born under the eaves of our back porch until its little body is found floating in the wading pool (actual experience).

I was born after the feminine revolution of the 60’s, raised by a stay-at-home mom and now I am a stay-at-home mom. Motherhood is a 24-7 gig. It is the vocation I choose although sometimes I feel like it choose me. I love it, but I will also admit that there are days (usually laundry days or when the baby is teething) that I crave a 9-5 job with nice clothes and a pay check. Instead of swanky office chatter and big business presentations, I endure piano and violin practices, diapers and four little mouths that are always ready for the next meal. My job has no start time and no clock to punch. Vacations are included in the motherhood package, but they are taken in snippets during naps and the infrequent outings with girlfriends or my husband.

I do feel the burden of being a woman and a mother. It wears me thin to think that the mess I just cleaned up will return the next day. I have yet to walk into the kitchen without spying a dirty dish. And the only time that my house is clean is when…well, that hasn’t happened yet and I don’t expect it will any time soon.

Since I refuse to sell the kids and hire an interior designer, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing I can change is how I view my life.

So I will practice Feminine Genius; the art of taking what I have and filtering it through the gifts I have to empower the people in my life. The Catholic Church says that the influence women have on this world has never before been achieved. What do I have? Imagination, baby! I will no longer look at the laundry as a chore, but a mining expedition in search of stray gems hidden deep in pockets and after they are washed, I will be thankful for all the beautiful clothing we have. Mopping will now give me the satisfaction of being able to look back at a job well done, even if it lasts from now until the next muddy boot. Cooking is an endeavor I enjoy with my children, teaching them the art of chopping, smelling new herbs, taste-testing and following a recipe; all time well spent making memories. (It also helps that whoever helps the least in making dinner does the dishes.)

I can practice my feminine genius in many small ways, too. I will read that book for the fiftieth time, dig under the couch for the run-a-way legos, wipe a nose, kiss a cheek and dry those tears. I will do all things with immense gratitude in my heart because God gave me children to love, not spoil or ignore, but love. The genius of a mother finds its source of power in the love that God feeds us. I want to do this motherhood thing well and tomorrow will bring another opportunity to do it even better!

When a woman, no matter what her life situation, gracefully accepts her role as a wife, a single woman, mother, daughter, aunt, employee or manager, the beauty of the feminine genius fills her thoughts with empowering inspiration. And our actions follow our most powerful thoughts.

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Several months ago there was a sale at a school and up for grabs were bookshelves, desks, instruments and a million other things. We went, of course, and found three desks for the girls. Problem was they would not all fit in the back of the truck. I came home and hooked up the trailer (a very proud and physically tiring task!) and returned to the sale. The man who helped me load commented that he had never seen a woman tie down cargo quite as well as I had. Proud moment number two! After a successful drive home, I approached the driveway and faced a great obstacle: backing the trailer into the driveway.

I have watched my husband do this over the last 13 years and I remember the ‘steer in the opposite direction’ concept from driver’s ed. classes, but this was the first time I had actually attempted backing up a trailer on my own.

After several failed attempts and even more positive encouragement from my daughters, I did manage to back it in. While learning how to do this, I was completely blocking traffic on our street and had more than one offer from a man to just to it for me. Stubbornness runs fiercely through my blood, and I politely said, “No. I have to learn how to do this.” Luckily, the men just waited patiently in their trucks and laughed at my many comical moves.

My pride was a bit bruised by their laughter, I’ll admit, but when I did finally succeed, those lovely men actually cheered for me. That was worth all the work!

A few days later, my middle daughter was working on a new math concept, her most difficult subject. Working together, she could solve the problems well. But as soon as she was on her own, she forgot what to do next. And so I would model the process again, this time asking her to figure the steps along the way. On her own once more, she would trip and fail. We were both frustrated and I didn’t know what else to do.

“I think you just need to try these on your own. Do one problem then show me. We can figure out the mistakes together, but you need to give this a go.”

She did not like the idea. “What if I get it wrong?”

Ah-ha! That was the problem. Children are afraid to make mistakes and adults are quick to jump and respond too harshly.

Children need a safe place to learn, explore, make mistakes and succeed. There is a line from the movie, Megamind when Titan, the bad guy, tells Megamind that he always fails. Megamind responds with, “I might fail, but I’ve learned from my mistakes.” And he proceeds in successfully defeating the bad guy. (I apologize if that’s a spoiler for anyone!)

I reminded her of that line in the movie. “We learn the most when we try and fail. Sometimes learning what doesn’t work is more important than learning what does. Thomas Edison, in inventing the light bulb, said he found a thousand ways that it didn’t work. He needed to find only one way that did.” (another movie line! Thank you National Treasure!)

“Like when you backed up the trailer?” she remembered. “Those men wanted to help you, but you said no.”

“And now I know how.”

My parents always told me that parenting was a more difficult than growing up because you re-live all the emotions that your children feel. How true! I’ve also discovered that children are learning how to be adults. If, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends we can embrace a child’s mistakes and use them to enhance their understanding of this world and how they fit in, we are creating a future of people who can pass along the tradition of knowing the value of the ‘try and try again’ principle. The moms and dads of the world also need opportunities to completely fall on their faces and get back up. What would happen if we forgave a friend who made a grievous mistake that hurt us? Or what would happen if we gave a co-worker, who should know better, the opportunity to re-do a botched project?

In a nut shell, children are being schooled on the idea of adulthood. Adults are taking the test.

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