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Like most women, I have tried to lose weight numerous times in a myriad of ways. I’m a Weight Watchers dropout several times over, I’ve tried Nutri System, diet pills, LA Weight Loss, and I actually think I attended a meeting of Overeaters Anonymous! As my trips back and forth to the kitchen increased during each diet, I am sure Kenneth was thinking, oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?
I saw a poster a little bit ago that stated, “Sometimes, when I open my mouth, my mother comes out!” I always smile when I read that quote, because I should be so lucky! My mother lived almost 97 years, and in all of that time, she lived her life by the Golden Rule – Matthew 7:12: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” She would tell us, “If you don’t have something good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all,” and she lived by that daily.
She’d also quote, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you: Matthew 7:1-2 (ESV). It sounds easy enough, but following those rules is far harder than one would think, because the rule has been broken before you realize it! And, if we’re honest, sometimes it is just almost impossible in this day and age to find something positive to say about some people! Oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?
My mother’s family sat around reading and talking together, but not holding a 24/7 discourse about the thefts in the area, the folks who were dealing and/or doing drugs, children who were being raised by grandparents because their own parents neglected them, children in dysfunctional homes, and political and economic chaos. Those are the concerns of our age, not theirs. Therefore, when you see the faces of folks you know plastered on television and in newspapers, it is difficult indeed to find something nice to say about them.
I had the best discussion with a dear young friend the other day, and this person was stating, “You know how my young life was, and it wasn’t too good, but I work sometimes seven days a week; I don’t just lay around using excuses! It’s hard, but I buy what I need. What are those other people doing; why don’t they work, too?” I don’t know, but it surely is hard to find something good to say about someone who will not work anywhere at all to support his/her family; someone who thinks the answer is to steal from others, or take drugs to the point that you are unable to raise your own children. I have actually had a few students who were only being honest when they told me, “I won’t have to do ANYTHING when I grow up. I’m gonna get a check!” I keep telling myself that “getting a check” just cannot continue forever! How on earth can our economy afford it? I’m sure other countries are looking at us thinking oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?
We have reached a point where fewer people contribute, yet many people “ask” and common sense tells us that economically we cannot continue down that path. Yet, I do not see tough decisions being made that will reverse the “give me” syndrome. The sad thing is that some people have lived in that environment for so long, where the system takes care of them, that the kids really believe that welfare is a life’s choice, a vocation, something they are due. Honestly, I look around and see what is becoming of our younger generation, and it causes me real concern. There is such a lack of “a good work ethic,” “responsibility,” and “respect” of others, as well as PERSONAL PRIDE today, and we know how that’s working out for us!
My youngest grandson just turned a year old, and is learning the meaning of the word, “NO!” He does not really care for that word. Even at his young age he looks at his parents as if he is trying to understand why they would impose such limitations on him. For real, if he put his fingers inside the cabinet door and pushes…he cries because it hurts! So, before he gets to that point, they are saying, “NO.” It’s the same thing with crawling or toddling around things that could hurt him. They are proactive in his life, trying to “teach” concepts early on that will help that baby be able to make better choices for himself, and that is the most important way to help a child learn – be involved in your child’s life! Those of you who are totally committed to your child, and are involved at every stage, I ask you, Oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?
I’m positive your answer is “Great!” You can better prepare your child early on to be a productive adult by helping it make good personal choices, set goals, accept responsibility, because children need love, shelter, food, and guidance, not a pal who doesn’t want to make the kid mad! My husband had his own way of teaching – it, too was “hands-on” but it was without parental intervention. Tyson was about 18 months old, and was plugging a light cord into a socket. As I walked down the hall, I saw Kenneth leaning against the doorway watching as Tyson said, “ight on, ight off, ight on. ” When I realized what was about to happen, I said, “Why aren’t you stopping him?” Kenneth said, “He’ll learn!” Sure enough, “ight on” became Yeow! The lesson was learned, but it was the hard way if you ask me! Sometimes life is hard, and sometimes it requires tough love. It is a “given” that if we are breathing, we are going to experience difficulties in life; the hard part is to learn from those hard times rather than allow them to throw us in a downward spiral from which recovery is almost nonexistent. They (whoever “they” really is) say that hindsight is 20/20 which in essence means we can look back and ask, Oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?
Many of our children are involved in youth groups in churches and the communities. These children are exposed to people who truly care about them, and who really want to see them prosper. But, if all that is ever expected of our children at home is the basic minimum, then that is exactly what these children will grow up to contribute to our society, the minimum. Responsibility, respect, honesty, love, compassion, faithfulness, right and wrong, a conscience, and trust are only a few lessons that begin at home. The buck stops there! If your child is not getting the most basic of life’s lessons from someone at home, someone with whom he/she spends the majority of its time, then that child is being set up for failure.
At some point in time, people will not be able to say something nice about that kid either. I remember a few years ago we were trying to encourage the children to address elders respectfully with “Yes Ma’am,” No Ma’am,” etc. for I had been taught, manners maketh man (or woman). I had a child come back and say; “My daddy said “I” didn’t have to say “yes ma’am” to nobody if I didn’t want to! Well, that’s true I guess and years later; I saw that same child’s face in the Herald for possession of drugs with intent to sell! I thought about the lack of teaching at home and wondered, “Oh yeah, and how’s that workin’ out for ya?” I can’t help but believe that if more of life’s important lessons had been taught at home, that child might have learned how to make better choices for himself that led him down a more positive path in life.
I’m not really trying to judge anyone, but it is evident when looking at life through the eyes of some of our children that they are not living in homes where the Golden Rule is practiced. In some instances it may be Do unto others BEFORE others can do unto you! I feel sorry for those people. I want to share something that my husband told me when he was recovering from his stroke. Kenneth said, “When I was in that helicopter being air-lifted to St. Thomas, I didn’t know anyone or anything that was going on around me. There was some kind of presence though that told me you’re going to be all right. I think that presence just had to be an angel protecting me, because you know the medical crew in the helicopter would not have been allowed to say anything like that, so I will always believe that I had a Guardian Angel with me that night. He also said, “You know if I had not already asked God for forgiveness, there is no way I could have asked for it then. I used to think that asking for forgiveness would only take a second or two, and there would be plenty of time to do that before I actually died, but it was not that way. My brain was not working…I couldn’t ask anybody for anything! I am so glad that I was ready to go on if it had indeed been my time!”
I’ve thought about that conversation many times, and I find myself thinking, not judging, but thinking about people who have died suddenly, and I have hoped they had found the time to ask for forgiveness, because the alternative – well, I’d have to say, “Oh yeah, and how’s that working out for ya?”