Reality Reflection: The Next Generation

Today in the US is Mother’s Day.  It’s a chance we all have to celebrate the moms and mom figures in our lives. We’re not at the point that we can just create kids, they’re still born the old fashioned way, even if sometimes a little extra help is necessary to get them here.  I’m amazed with how far we have come with the technology/science we have to help kids into the world, and the technology/science we have that helps us all live longer and enjoy more time together as a family.

This week of course I’ve been reflecting on the upcoming Mother’s Day and on the state of the world and the kids of the world and the moms of the world.  From a quick glimpse at the internet or any TV news program (and many TV shows) it’s pretty evident that there are problems in the world.  Whether we try to be blind to it or not, there’s a huge problem with drugs (and I’m not talking medical marijuana use).  There are too many people dying each day from drug overdoses.  Which also says there are too many people using drugs to escape problems or reach for some high they’re not finding in life normally or doing it to be “cool.”  There are also the stories of the not-so-good moms who don’t seem to have a care in the world, especially not about raising their kids with any manners, good behavior and goals.  There are also some not so good statistics and stories about the kids of the world and some people have concerns about the ability of the next generation to run things in a responsible and thoughtful manner, regardless of their parent/parents teaching.

Can we all use some improving? Yes, absolutely.  But Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to talk about the next generation.  Do I believe that some moms need to step it up and do a much better job? Absolutely.  Some moms don’t have the resources to care for their kids and don’t make any effort to get the widely available resources for them.  They don’t feel that maternal bond or need to care for them that some moms do (the same is true for dads as well).  But if you’ve been around for a bit you know I’m a supporter of the concept of having a village raise a child.  There’s no reason for anyone to try to do it on their own.  That means that each and every one of us has a responsibility to check how we’re behaving and talking around kids, to support child related organizations and charities and to step up for our own families when they need the support.  Tomorrow can be a bright future, but only if we all step up for the next generation.

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Mother’s Day Blessings

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day we stop to appreciate and remember those women who have had an impact on our lives.  A word that I think really sums up this celebration is blessing.  It’s a word I’ve been sharing about quite a bit with you lately, because it’s an important word, one that often gets buried in our lives underneath “challenge” and “problem”.  This Mother’s Day think about these different blessings:

Bunches of Blessings:
One of the easiest and most popular gifts for Mother’s Day is flowers.  Personally, I prefer the potted kind instead of the cut kind because they last longer.  Whatever your flower preference is, don’t forget that what you’re giving isn’t as important as remembering to truly celebrate the one you’re giving them to.  Think of not only what you’re gifting, but also the gift of having a mother this Mother’s Day.

Bountiful Blessings:
In this world of abundance, abundant gas prices, abundant unemployment, and abundant opportunities for growth, change and development, one thing we don’t stop to think about is having abundant blessings.  Psalm 23:6 sheds some light on where we get those abundant blessings: “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  More so than anyone, mothers should be dwelling with God.  If they’re to be amazing mothers, they need a lot of strength, wisdom and many blessings from God.

Boxes of Blessings:
Sometimes our blessings come in disguise.  I’ve been meditating a lot on a song by Laura Story, Blessings, (on YouTube).  Her song reminded me that sometimes our blessings are like items that we get in boxes in the mail.  We don’t really know what’s in the box, but we hope it’s what we want.  Sometimes, the box doesn’t contain what we want, or what we did want is in the box but it’s not in good condition.  It’s the boxes of blessings that most often bring us to our knees asking for guidance.

Bundles of Blessings:
Mother’s Day is a celebration of the gift of life. Psalm 139 contains David’s thoughts on how God begins our lives with us.  God’s special plan for each of our lives includes our mothers.  If you are blessed with the opportunity to be a mother, remember to thank God for it, because not everyone is blessed with that calling.

This Mother’s Day, in all of the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to say a prayer for all of the mothers around the world, and those who have a desire to be mothers.   Also, consider the bunches, bounty, boxes and bundles in your life.  These aren’t just lessons for Mom, they’re lessons that everyone needs to gather in their life.

Psalm 16:5 says “Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing.  You guard all that is mine.”  I hope that blessings overflow in your life (and your mom’s life) this weekend, and I encourage you to take the time to celebrate and recognize all the blessings God sends your way.

Simple and Smart Organization

Today I’m thinking about some ways that we can be more organized.  I’m a big fan of being organized, I like things being in their special places so that I can always find them.  Even if I’m the only person who knows where something is I usually know where it is because I put it back in its spot.  Organization doesn’t have to be challenging and complicated and it’s something that the whole family can (and should) participate in.  Many people struggle with getting started which is the best time to hire an organizer to work with for a period of time until there’s a system in place and you can get into the habit of putting things back. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to be better organized.

Have a structure: this is an important part of being organized, and really the first thing that has to happen if you want to get organized.  If you don’t have a structure for how you organize and homes for everything, there’s no way you can get organized, let alone find anything. Invest in a good cabinet or shelving system and boxes for any room in the house that will have books, toys, clothing, paper, or other products in it including the office, kids rooms, kitchen, storage room, attic, garage, bedroom, basement, and/or bathroom(s). That’s the physical organization, but don’t forget about the other types of organization like apps that help you with grocery lists, to do lists, and communications between family or teams, and folders and labels on your computer.

Get the family involved: just because it sounds like a grown-up thing to do, getting organized is something the kids can participate in too, especially if the organization plan is such that it’s easy for them to do so.  Having things stacked high on shelves is great for getting them out of the way and maximize use of available space, but putting them long and low gives your kids an opportunity to do more of the cleaning.  Also being able to sort the toys into boxes for easy play and cleanup is important.  If your kids aren’t reading yet you can cut and tape pictures of the type of toy on the box and matching lid so they know what to put in it.

Have a plan: some people do better if they organize as they go along, other people prefer to make a mess and clean up at the end of the day.  I do a mix of both, some things I clean or put away as I go along like dishes going into the sink, but other things I put away at the end of the day because I use them throughout the day like pens, schedules and important papers.  The important thing is that by the end of the day everything should be cleaned up and ready for the next day.

What do you do to get organized and keep your life and family on track?

A Healthy Next Generation

The Bible talks a lot about parenting and how important it is to consider the next generation.  We have seen what happens when the next generation doesn’t care or doesn’t have the standards of the previous one, or is the opposite and believes that the past generations haven’t been doing a good job in their roles of caretaker, provider, protector and teacher.  Right now we’re in a mix of all these, there are those who believe we’ve been doing a great job at killing the earth through some of our practices and are making strides to change that, and then there are others who haven’t learned manners and don’t really care what happens to the next generation as long as they get to enjoy their time.

But as I said, over and over the Bible talks about how important it is to be teaching each other what is good. Yes, that means in the Biblical and spiritual sense, but also about the basic good things like love, peace, consideration, empathy, sympathy, critical thinking, community and kindness.  These aren’t spiritually motivated things specifically, but at the same time they can be done as part of your daily spiritual practice.

During His time on earth Jesus spent some time talking about and spending time with children.  He didn’t ignore them or count them out because they were ‘too young to know what the adults were talking about.’  Instead, He emphasized the fact that they were valuable and important and should be taught and loved, not just ignored until they were old enough to matter.  They’re also a great source of curiosity and wisdom that we often unfortunately lose touch with as we get older and more involved with the world and our responsibilities.  So not only should we be teaching them and thinking of them as we make choices and live our lives, we should be watching and learning from them too.

How healthy is your relationship with and attitude towards the next generation?  Are you so focused on your generation that you aren’t seeing the future ones?

Reality Reflection: Being a Dad

This Sunday in the US is Father’s Day.  You’ve probably been seeing the ads on TV and maybe thinking about the experience you have had with your dad or dads or the father figures in your life.  Whether you’re reading the papers, watching TV or reading a fiction book, more often than not it’s the dad who screws things up or is “evil”.  Dads don’t have the best reputation, and it’s unfortunate that I agree that they don’t have the best reputation and that there’s a really good reason for that.

I’ve met more dads than I would like that don’t live up to the responsibility and gift that being a dad is.  These are men who don’t see any responsibility towards their children, don’t feel anything for them or about them, don’t show them any love or affection, beat them or their mothers up, and don’t try to give their kids the best chance they can have.  Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of great dads out there, and there are bad moms too, being a not-great parent isn’t limited to the dads.  And even though men have failed over and over as dads, the men of the world are the ones given the next superhero role, looked up to for their “superiority” and seen as default leaders.

Again, don’t get me wrong, women (and moms) fail too.  But like I said there’s a reason for the stereotype of men failing as dads.  As we look ahead to Father’s Day I encourage you if you’re a dad to step up and let your kids know you’re there for them, let them know you care what happens with their future, and be a good example for them now even if you haven’t been in the past.  Choose to be the man that everyone looks up to, choose to do the right thing when you could do the wrong, choose to show your kids in more ways than just buying stuff that you care about them, and don’t be ashamed to be proud to be a dad.  Who are you celebrating this Father’s Day?

Reality Reflection: Mother’s Day Celebrations?

Sunday is Mother’s Day here in the US, and of course it’s got me thinking about moms both good and bad.  Some moms get a bad rap because they are single moms and have to leave their kids with sitters often so they can make money for food and a place to live.  Other moms are actually bad moms: they don’t take any interest in their kids or their kids’ lives, they abuse them, or they don’t care for them (or provide care for them).  And some moms are great moms simply because they do the best they can and care about their kids and their lives.

I’ll say what you may be thinking: some women shouldn’t have kids. I understand that birth control is usually accurate, but sometimes fails, so there are some women around the world who didn’t mean to become moms.  These women have the choice to either keep the kid and do their best or to give it up.  Honestly, if you can’t care for a kid on a physical or emotional level there are tons of families around the world who would love to have a kid and you could make their dreams a reality.  Don’t frustrate yourself and your kid by being an absentee mother.  On another note just because society expects you to have a kid because you need someone to pass your fortune on to or for some other reason doesn’t mean you should have one.

Mother’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the moms in our lives, but it’s also a call for moms to do better.  Maybe you’re doing the best you can by yourself and it’s time to reach out and ask for help from the community around you.  Maybe it’s time to re-prioritize your life and let go of some of the things that you really don’t care about and aren’t in line with your life dreams or goals and/or aren’t helping you be a good mother.  If you’re not a mom or you know a mom in need make sure to reach out and show some love to them too this weekend.

Beyond Your Legacy

Today we’re taking one last look at the topic of legacy for this month.  In thinking about legacy often we think about it as a serious thing, and it is.  It’s one of those intimidating things like picking your college, getting married, buying a house or facing sickness and death.  We all want to leave a legacy with the world, no one wants to be forgotten.  But the kind of legacy we leave isn’t always up for debate.  I don’t know anyone who really wants to leave a legacy of death, destruction, hurt and hate.  Sure they may want to leave a legacy that they’re known for and one way of doing that is to be part of world destruction, after all when things go bad there’s lots of press.   But as memorable as it is to be known as a killer or do bad stuff, would you rather not be remembered if that was your only choice?

Just like when we consider success I don’t think that our only focus should be on creating a legacy.  If we spend all our time on how we’re going to leave a legacy we’ll miss out on a lot that life has to offer.  Life isn’t just about the endgame and a race to the finish, there are so many special moments in between the beginning and the end that we need to be attentive to and often miss out on.  When we’re only focused on one thing in our lives I guarantee you will miss out on things.

As you think about the month that is ending, the year ahead and the legacy you’re creating don’t let the moments that seem pointless or don’t seem to build your legacy get ignored.  Make the most of each and every moment.  Choose to live the best life you possibly can.  Don’t let worry overwhelm you or focus too much on creating a valuable legacy, remember that you’re part of a bigger picture.

“I tend to split my activities into fun, income and legacy. The number of things in that finance bucket is pretty few and far between and doesn’t consume much time at all.”  Timothy Ferriss