Category Archives: Religion/Spirituality

Is Your Child Up to “Know Good”?

KnowGood

“There are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ people.  Some are a little better or a little worse, but all are activated more by misunderstanding than malice”-Tennessee Williams

Most of us like to compartmentalize our lives. We want to put different areas of our lives in neat little “boxes” that are free of conflict and adversity. When random unexplainable events disrupt our lives, we search aimlessly for answers that make sense to us.

Children are polarized thinkers. They see things as good or bad. This is why cartoons, movies and books always have  a good person and a villain. As they grow older and experience life, they start to notice the area of “gray areas of life” and start to question the concept of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong. 

Unfortunately, what is happening in our society is that adults are now becoming polarized thinkers. We are so quick to judge and react to situations and simplify them as good or bad.  We focus on the bad things that we tend to overlook the good in the world. Our energy is directed at the violence, hate and anger that is permeating our society. Some of us are pessimistic; eagerly waiting to share bad news on social media. Instead of enjoying the good times, we wait anxiously for  something bad to happen.

We’ve lost faith in ourselves and in future generations. We want to  be optimistic about the future, but once we hear about another random act of violence, it sends us driving down despondency road again.

What are we teaching our children through our words and actions? How can we tell them to think positive, to plan for the future, when we present such a bleak future? Why do we tell our kids that “It gets better” then we turn around and say “Things are getting worse”.

We shouldn’t be surprised that our kids are becoming desensitized to tragedy. If we don’t help our children to appreciate the good in life, we will raise a generation of jaded and cynical men and women.

We inundate ourselves with bad news and we partake in negativity by watching reality shows that glorify bullying, and thoughtlessness. Think about how much negativity and bad news we share through social media. Our kids are watching and paying attention and they’re beginning to accept this as normal. We can’t create a perfect world for our kids but we can change how they perceive life and tragedies.

We have to remind our kids that life has good and bad moments. They need reassurance that all is not lost and that there are good people in the world.  If we want to raise loving and empathetic adults, we need to exemplify love, empathy and  compassion. It starts with reminding ourselves that there is good left in the world, but it’s our job to notice it and show it to our kids.

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13 Things to Stop Doing in 2013

Stop!

Each new year, we hope to be better and do better than the previous year. Unfortunately, as we fret over our resolutions and sign up for classes and workshops we have no intention of attending, we forget what really gets in our way. The problem isn’t  that we aren’t motivated enough or lazy,  it’s that most of us refuse to admit our true flaws even to ourselves. We rather deal with the superficial and easy stuff, because the big stuff can be overwhelming.

I can relate. However, I’ve learned (the hard way) that I don’t make any progress unless I start being real about what gets in the way of my happiness, success and overall well-being. I’ve also learned that my sons watch how I deal with the nuisances  and challenges in my life. If anything, I want to set the right example of how to persevere as well as recover from failures and disappointments with grace.

1. Stop Being Afraid

If you’re living in fear of what may come, what can happen, what might be, you are denying yourself the opportunity to enjoy life. Think of the last unpleasant and unexpected event that happened in your life; did staying in your comfort zone and trying to play it safe change the outcome?

2. Stop Living in the “Waiting Place”

In Dr. SeussOh the Places You’ll Go, he mentions the Waiting Place, a place where people get stuck waiting for things to happen.  Saying things like “When I get…. I’ll do …” means you’re stuck in the waiting place. It’s time to get a new address. Get moving by doing one thing a day that will bring you closer to your “Thriving Place”.

3. Stop Holding on to People You’ve Outgrown

Not to sound callous, but there are probably people in your life that are holding you back because you have outgrown their way of thinking, behaving and living. It does nothing for you to continue pursuing friendships and relationships that hinder your progress. Some people  in your life have passed their season.

4. Stop Looking for Answers From Others

If you have doubts about what moves to make in life, the answer lies within. You can ask people for advice, but you know what you need to do. Sometimes, we ask others because we need confirmation or reassurance but the truth is we already know the answer.

5. Stop Being An Approval Whore

Yes, it’s a strong word but what else would you call it? Ask yourself why it’s important to get people to like you. Isn’t it more important to have meaningful relationships than it is to try to win the approval of people who don’t matter? More importantly, you need to ask yourself: “Why do I care what people think?” We tell our kids to “be yourself and people will like you. Maybe we need to follow our own advice.

6. Stop Doing Things That Hold You Back

What are you wasting your time on the most right now? If you have a teen at home, you’re probably amazed at how much time they could spend, texting or playing games on the internet. Yet, how many hours do you waste on something that is getting you nowhere in life? It’s time to reassess the things in your life that are stunting your personal and professional development.

7. Stop Playing the Blame Game

Maybe you grew up in a dysfunctional home but at some point, you’ve played a part in how your life has turned out. By adulthood, we are responsible for our actions and the consequences. You have to be accountable for what you do and say. Don’t forget that your kids are watching you and are learning how to play the game better than you.

8. Stop Complaining

When was the last time you solved a problem or made a difference by complaining? That’s all I have to say.

9. Stop Your Mental Time Travel

Unless you are working on a time machine, you can not undo the past or leap into the future. It would be great if life allowed us a remote control to rewind, pause and fast forward but since we don’t get one, there’s nothing you can do but live in the moment. There’s so much you’ll miss today if you choose to think about yesterday or worry about tomorrow.

10. Stop Waiting for Someone to Save You

No point in waiting for Superman, he’s not coming! You have to take action to change your life. You need to take charge of your life and develop a strategy that will get you where you want to be.

11. Stop Saying “Yes” When You Want to Say “No”

You’re not doing anyone any favors by committing to things you don’t want to do. Be honest with yourself and others about how you want to invest your time and energy.

12. Stop Being Mean

We’ve become a society of mean girls and bullies. Maybe you’re not intentionally being mean, but sometimes what we say, especially online, may not be what we’d say to someone in person. If we want our kids to be more compassionate and empathetic, we need to set the example by being mindful of how we treat others.

13. Stop Trying to Change People

People change because they want to, not because you want them to change. People have to be intrinsically motivated to change. If you want to inspire someone, let them see you in action.

How are you planning to improve your life this year?

Are You a Christian or a Bully?

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And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering.-Jude 1:22

I saw this tweet yesterday on Twitter and it made me stop to think this verse. Think back to yesterday, "Were you merciful to someone who was in doubt?" or did you pass judgement or criticize them?

I am a Christian, but lately I am ashamed to be associated with some Christians.There seems to be this need to bully, intimidate or chastise those who are not "like us".  It seems that some Christians are so ready to cast the first stone.

The same people who are touting how much they love Jesus seem to not  know his sermons very well.  They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"  (John 8:7)

I am a Christian. I know God's purpose for my life and each day do my best to live according to that purpose. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I do not feel compelled to grab a pitchfork or torch or stone to condemn those who are living their lives differently from mine. It is God's will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. (1 Peter 2:15)

I remember when I told a co-worker that I was a Christian and she fled from the room. Looking back, I could understand her fleeing (just not so dramatically). She probably thought that I was going to criticize how she lives her life and harass her to come to church with me so I can save her soul. 

I do not get any satisfaction in making others feel bad, so  that I can feel good about myself. I do not feel the need to hang out with only "saved" people. Who did Jesus hang out with? When Jesus heard this, he told them, "Healthy people don't need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners." (Mark 2:17)

Who are we to judge? If you're the kind of Christian who feels the need to look down on others to elevate yourself, don't be surprised when no one wants to receive your message. What that person who is down and out needs is a kind word, a hug,  and compassion. A bible verse or a gospel song has its purpose but when people's spirits are broken and battered, they need you to show you care. They need you to be Christ-like and pick them up and dust them off.

Stop being so righteous. Stop inciting fear and creating an environment of fear, hate and hostility in the name of Christianity.  Stop thinking you are a qualified spokesperson for holy living.  Stop being a spokesperson for Jesus, he already said everything perfectly.  Stop being divisive and narrow-minded.  Stop force-feeding your beliefs to non-believers.

Most importantly, stop being a hypocrite. The kids are watching and they're learning. If we want to raise Godly men and women, we must be example of  loving Christians.

Show mercy to those who need it.  Let grace be at the center of your life.  Remember that Christianity is inclusive, not exclusive.

If God doesn't like the way I live, let him tell me, not you. – Author Unknown

For prayers and support in a loving and encouraging environment, please visit He Reached Down Ministries

 

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