Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's never easy

There are something’s in life that are easy, for example- falling off a rock, knocking over the new vase that your wife had told you not to touch, saying the wrong things to the wrong people, easy come easy go, easy like Sunday morning ooh. You get the drift (OK so I hope you do)

One thing in life that isn't as easy as some would want you to believe is being a parent. Don't get me wrong; being a parent is amazing-words cannot describe it, usually a deep growl or groan, but not words. With that said parents need to understand that just simply having a title of parent really doesn't mean anything unless you do something with it.

I have always been troubled by parents who don't have the guts to stand up to their kids, lay down the law and love them enough to set them straight. Kids don't just "figure" things out on their own. Ok sure there might be some, but for the most part no!

Kids are in need of direction & instruction, that's why there are parents. Teaching kids this stuff shouldn't be the responsibility of the schools, although I am thankful for teachers and administrators who step up to the plate. Its shouldn't be the responsibility of the police, community, churches whatever-it should be the parent.

Here's how NOT to be a parent

Working with the court system I have had kids assigned to me to do community service to fulfill their sentence for whatever crime they have committed.

One kid was brought to me having to do 60 hours of service, this was his second offense and it was basically his final chance. The judge made the terms of the sentence very clear.

He began his time with me. His parents brought him the first time then said that he would be driving himself. After the first time he showed up sporadically. I would call him and remind him, I would tell him that he needed to get his hours in that the courts had only given him so much time to do so. I told his parents that he wasn't showing up and that he needed to be made to. That fell on deaf ears.

Four days before he was to go to court he had only finished 8 hours out of 60. His dad comes to me and says this right in front of the kid, "Steve he needs his letter for the court. I know he hasn't finished his hours, but if you would just write a letter to the judge stating that he has finished them I will make sure that he comes here until his hours are finished". I remember looking at that kid then the dad. They both stood there I think actually thinking that I was going to say, "O sure, no problem, here let me write it right here so you all can get going I'm sure you have a lot to do today".

I took a minute to compose myself then I looked at the dad and said-"You want me to do what? You want me to perjure myself to a court of law for you and your son. You want me to lie to a Judge and tell him that your son finished his hours and you are promising me that you will have him here every time until he has completed them-are you an idiot?"

Both dad & son had a shocked look on their face; I'm guessing that wasn't the answer that they thought they would get. The dad then says that his son is going to go to Juvie if I didn't write that letter. I responded by I don't care that's wasn't my fault, he had plenty of chances and he blew it. I also said to the dad that he better come down on this kid or else there would be bigger problem down the road. Well needless to say the family got real mad at me (boy that kept me awake), they left the church and how can I say this, they didn't have a lot of very flattering things to say about me (again how do I sleep at night).

I wish I were wrong, I wish that everything would turn out like a Hallmark movie. You know the kid goes to Juvie, gets banged around, but discovers that he has a gift for playing the piccolo and ends up with a really great record deal and plays back up to Yani.

No in and out of jail through the rest of his teen years arrested numerous times as an adult and then finally found dead in his parents basement of an apparent drug overdose.

Granted things like this happen to really good parents who really try, but in this case like so many others, these parents didn't have the guts. Parenting isn't easy, but to me it's worth the fight. Are you willing to fight?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Live their convictions

This week I read an article about a young wrestler in Iowa who decided not to wrestle his opponent in a championship match therefore forfeiting the match to the other wrestler. Now some of you may know what I am referring to, but if you don't let me fill you in.
A young man was on his way to competing in the a state wrestling tournament when he choose to forfeit due to the fact that his opponent was a female. He stated that because of his beliefs and I am paraphrasing, "wrestling is a combat sport and at times it gets violent" and because of his faith that he should never hurt a women, he decided to forfeit therefore giving up his chance for a state championship.
I wish I could write as fast as my brain is running, but I'll give it a try.
First off- good for him! So that's probably going to set people off but oh well. I agree with this kids decision 100% and the support of his parents. He showed what it means to be a man with character and strong moral beliefs.
I have been a athlete all my life. I have competed in various sports and even at times I have competed against females, when I competed in the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii as well as two other smaller Triathlons. In these instances I have no problem with men and women competing against each other. Why? Simple, first off I'm not grabbing them all over their bodies, second-I'm not throwing them down, pushing them, twisting body parts to the point of breaking, third- I'm not showing any type of violence toward them at all.
Wrestling is a contact sport, and yes at time considered a violent sport, therefore a contact sport. This young man choose not to participate because he felt that his "faith and belief" which he gleaned from the bible prohibited him from competing. LOUD APPLAUD!
This young man stood up for his beliefs, even though a goal he had worked so hard for, trained hard for, had sweat blood at times for, would slip from his reach, nice job! I believe there is a lot to learn from him, I see him as a champion already because he stood for what he believes.
Let me finish with this: I don't agree with young men and women competing in contact sports against each other. I'm sorry if there isn't a wrestling team just for girls at the school this young lady is from. As a dad of 2 boys and one daughter my question to the parents of the girls, why? To the dad's really, you want your daughter to be grabbed, picked up, slammed to the mat, rolled over and rolled upon, legs twisted and arms locked behind them- are you insane?
Don't give me this nonsense its a sport, its abuse and your a part of it.
Let the athlete's compete, but fairly. Good for this young man and his parents, they taught us all what it means to live their convictions even if it means forfeiting a dream.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just wondering

So I have been wondering. I always thought that a secret was something that your kept from others, why then has Victoria shown so many? Why is it that parents think that kids today need more than what they had as kids, was it really that bad? How come after a athlete scores a touchdown or dunks a basketball do they pound their chest frantically like they have just discovered a cure for cancer? Who decided that Sunday should be the first day of the week, why not Thursday? Why are people constantly looking for love, yet they always look in the wrong places.
If people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones would that be the same if people who live in a stone house shouldn't throw glass? Why do politicians think that we work for them and not visa versa? Why is it that someone can use the name of God or Jesus Christ as a form of swearing and no one bats an eye, yet if you speak of Jesus Christ as if you have a personal relationship with Him, you're "one of those"?
Lord let me be one of "those"!
Just wondering

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Kids aren't trophys

Recently I had some time to sit back and people watch. Ok the truth of the matter is this, I was at the mall, yes the mall! Not there on my own, in fact I cannot remember the last time I was there by myself, and that's ok by me.
So back to the story, I'm sitting in the main square of the mall just watching people. Alright, I was trying to read a book but then my ADD & ADHD & my IREALLYGETDISTRACTEDEASILYESPECIALLYWHENTHEBOOKHASNOPICTURES kicked in. So i decided not to fight it anymore, I mean it was a whole 3 1/2 minutes, and started to people watch.
If you have never done this you really should try and if your saying that you never do that I have one word for you-liar!
Let me clarify this though, I'm talking about just watching for a moment then moving on to the next subject, if this is not the case and your spending too much time on one subject may I be so bold as to describe you as creepy!
Ok, now to the point of this dissertation, wait did that just fall out of my brain, ummm yes it did, wow I'm even impressed.
A family walked by me, a husband and wife and their adopted child about 2 years old. Now you might be wondering, Steve seriously how could you possibly know that their child was adopted. Well I am trained in the art of observation, first thing was that the child was much smaller than them. Second the man was bald and the child had hair. Third the parents weren't Chinese.
So I watched this family unit and the longer I watched the more irritated I became. Why be a parent if your going to be irritated by everything that your child does. I mean there are times that they drive you a bit bonkers, but those hopefully are passing uneventful moments.
Not the case here. Now picture this, you have a 2 year old tiny little girl child person in the mall during the Christmas season which for most children and easily distracted adults this is stimuli overload wanting just to see and touch everything you can.
You have two parents who were more concerned about their double frap-o-cheena-than they were about really being parents. They went straight from asking the child to move on to screaming at her. Meanwhile I am watching the whole demeanor of the parents especially the mom-it was one of disgust and being completely irritated with this little person who not only was their daughter but these 2 people paid an awful lot of money to have this child (cost of an overseas adoption).
After a period of this nonsense going on they moved their little "idiotic parent" show on to a different part of the mall.
As I am leaving my wife and I are walking through a store and low and behold who do I see, the disgusted, irritated no parenting skills dimwits. This time the infraction was over putting on of a coat. As this went on, people walked by shaking their heads because they saw what I am describing. It was really sad. note: just for the record if they were not abusing the child or anything to that fact.
This really made me think about; do people really understand how selfless parenting really is. Do people really count the cost when they are deciding to have children, or do they walk around with child in arm or in those fancy strollers sort of displaying them as simply trophy's?
I hate to say it but I am seeing more and more parents who have no idea what they are doing let alone are they even prepared to raise children.
I'm going to state something that might not sit real well with some, oh boy I'm really going to have a tough time falling asleep tonight!
Becoming a parent or parents is a choice. Yes it is. No one just wakes up one day and has a child. From what I have read and from personal experience there are certain actions that are required for such an event to happen.
So to put it bluntly, any time you have sex be prepared to have a child. If your not prepared to take on that responsibility then A. don't have sex, B. To quote Bob Barker-have yourself spayed or neutered.
Parents always remember this, your kid didn't ask to come into this world you did that, so you owe it to them to be parents who care, who love unconditionally and who are willing to do whatever it takes to see them grow into who they are to be.
It makes me sick to see children displayed as some kind of trophy. I mean its not like you just climbed Mt Everest, or found a cure for cancer, this is a child, a life. Your to raise that child. if your going to be irritated by this concept don't have children. Don't even adopt a child if your only going to make that child's life worse than it already is.
Remember they are children not trophy's.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Take a deep breath

"I just don't have fun being a Christian"! Wow how many times I have heard that said, at times I myself have said that. People say to me all the time, its just not fair that when I wasn't a Christian I used to have so much fun but now that I am a christian things are sooo boring.
My reply is you're absolutely right, I have no argument to counter that point.
Now you might be saying why would I say something to the effect? Reason is simple, because its the truth at least in what the world defines as fun.
Here's a point I want you to hear. "Christian" fun can never compete with the worlds fun. That is an absolute truth. The reason being is that there is no limits, no boundaries, nothing is off limits. How can a person, a Christian compete with such things? It's impossible, really!
If you call your self a Christian and your life has been changed, the old is gone and the new has come, look back at the so called "fun" you used to have. Was it really that fun? Really? How many people do I meet that tell me about their so called fun but yet they are so very empty. If it was so much fun wouldn't there be some kind of joy that would come out of it all rather than remorse and emptiness?
The past three weeks I have spoken in roughly 22 schools. I have seen close to 50,000 Jr High and High School students. I wish at time that I could just walk into the school do a presentation and simply walk out, but that's not how it works, or maybe I should say that's not how I work. I have heard many a story of kids whose lives have been already broken by the so called fun of the world. They have either made the wrong choices or they are the result of someone else making them. Bottom line is that the fun they thought they would have turned out not to be so fun.
Now back to the Christian aspect of it all. Once a person comes to Christ their life is called out, literally. He has called us out of the world and the darkness that we once lived in. He has placed His Spirit inside of us to be led, guided and directed by. To follow or should I say to continue to follow after the things of this world will only lead right back to where we started.
Also seriously look at that so called fun you once had. If your looking at it going, hmm that wasn't so bad may I say this to you. I want you to get up from where you are seated reading this. I want you to walk over to the nearest wall, cement block is preferable, I then want you to put both your hands behind your head, take a deep breath then slam your head off that wall!
See your doing exactly what has trapped many a Christian, and that is thinking that that old life really wasn't that bad, nor was your life. Scripture says that we should never return to our former lives. It says that dogs return to eat their own vomit, but we shouldn't. I don't know about you but for me, vomit isn't on my most favorite menu item.
One final thought, I have been a Christian for 36 years and I must say that I have had a life full of fun. The fun I have had has been the joy and excitement I have received by serving the one who has saved me. If your looking for the fun that leaves you empty then by all means head back out into that world they're waiting for you. On the other hand if your looking for the fun that comes from following Christ, then come on in jump in with both feet.
Bottom line as I see it-it's you're choice-choose wisely!

Monday, October 11, 2010

It was just a matter of time

Before I begin I have to say how sadden I am that I was right. Yea most might think, wow I was right for once what a great time to celebrate. This is not the case. A number of years ago I spoke about Miley Cryus. I had said that I had great concern for this young girl. I had said that it was only a matter of time until the ways of this world would overtake her. I said that she was a prime target for destruction and that her parents needed to step in and protect her.
I'm sadden because today I watch a video of this 17 year old young girl who has come to the place I feared she may end up.
There are so many thoughts running through my head right now that I don't believe that my fingers can keep up!
Lets set aside that fact that she has grown to be a role model for hundreds of thousands of young girls. Lets set aside the fact that she is this icon. Lets look at her. She's lost, she has been swallowed up by the "machine" of fame and fortune. She has been bred for this. Some may disagree, but I really don't care what you have to say. This girl has fallen victim to the ways of Hollywood and money hungry people. I hesitate to say anything about the parental involvement in her life since I don't know them personally, but where in the Sam Hill are you??
I said when her dad rented out Disney for her 16th birthday that this was wayyyyy too much even for someone who can easily afford it. I said that this is taking her beyond what she is capable of handling. I said that someone, like her parents need to step between her and that world that was grooming her for what I saw today
Did it happen? I don't know? Did they step in and she refused their counsel? Oh wait I don't care she is a young girl! She needed someone to take her by the hand and say enough. I have said this over and over again-parents have to step up to the plate! Get off your duffs and start parenting. Start not caring that little Suzie or Tommy may not like you because you said no to them. Stop caring that you're "that parent" that the others talk about and say how strict you are and you have way too many rules. Who gives a rip! Unless of course you are so sensitive to having you're feelings hurt so you just go along with the flow of stupidity and never make waves
I am all about making waves. I am all about making the hard call knowing that my kid might be in their room making a voodoo doll of my wife and I. We/ I have never cared. You wanna know why, because we love our kids!
Am i saying that her parents don't love her? Am I? Or are they saying it and other parents who choose to let things like this consume their kids. Come on parents, come on Billy Ray.
Today isn't a day to be happy about being right, it's a day that make my stomach sick because I was right.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Metal Erector Sets

Maybe it's just me, well of course it is because if it isn't me then who, or whom might it be? Wow sometimes, well more like a lot of times I make my own head hurt. Now on to my ramblings.
Have you seen the commercial where there are kids playing on swing sets, that I bet are actually cemented into the ground, and have all kind of soft material underneath them in case they fall. Well anyway one of the poor children falls, well no it's more like a calculated semi-roll off the sliding board onto the really soft material and all of a sudden the camera swings over to 3 moms who immediately pull out this certain healing anti bacteria, anti e-coli, antivirus antidote, creme, spray and ointment, which I'm not real sure the different between ointment and creme, not important. So now all the moms are ready to go and treat the wounded.
What ever happened to spit on it, rub some dirt in it and climb back up that ladder and slide down again?
Now don't get all up in your feelings especially you mom people. I am being sarcastic, well at least I think I am.
I remember having a metal erector set. For those of you who may have no idea what this is let me describe it to you briefly. It was the most awsomeous (it's a word look it up) and painful toys ever to come on the market. All the parts were 100% American made metal, including all sharp edges for no additional cost. What you would do is build sky scrapers, bridges, rocket ships etc and you would bolt together each and every piece. A real wrench came with it, there were small parts with no warning "choking hazard" signs any where on the box.
I do have to say that I would come away from hours of building structures that went over huge rivers, or towered high into the sky, vehicles which carried spacemen to unknown planets, with fingers that were scratched, pinched and bloody. There was no one there to say "Ahhh you poor thing let me put some..... on it", no you spit on it and moved on. What was stimulated was my imagination and there was also the thought, you know not everything in life is always gong to be easy, and if you ever want to make any king of difference, then your going to get pinched, scratched and bloody. There isn't going to be someone running to your aid, you just have to learn to spit on it and move on. It never stopped me from playing with my erector set, all it did was make me more aware and careful the next time. Falling off the monkey bars onto the rock covered ground didn't stop me or others from climbing back up there and doing it all over again.
Have we moved so far the other way that we have taken the fight out of a generation? Have we been so over protective that this generation lacks feeling pain, good pain, you know the kind, pain that makes you hurt like nothing you have ever felt, but yet there's a satisfaction which builds up inside of you. Why? Simple, you have accomplished something that many wouldn't even try. Your pain is a life lesson that no one else can teach you.
I'm not opposed to better car seats, even though it was always fun as a kid flying from one end of the back seat to the other as your mother took a turn at 30 mph! Superman!!!!! I'm not opposed to soft stuff underneath of playground equipment, maybe just don't use as much concrete so every kid can experience the heart gripping jolt of panic as you think that they whole thing is going to tip over; dude!
I guess what I'm saying, spit on it, rub some dirt on it and live life-we didn't turn out so bad.