Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Selfishness Is Ugly

I listened as a friend shared how she had given up a few things in order to save up money to get a gift for a family member.  She was proud of the gift and couldn't wait to give it.  She later told me that the gift was received with much less excitement than she had hoped and that the person later mentioned that she had asked for something else and was disappointed that she didn't get it.  Sadly, I can remember doing this exact same thing to people as a teenager or in my early 20s.  However, when you're in your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s . . . etc. you should be well past this "Me, me, me," mentality. I think back on selfish moments I had as a young adult and I feel embarrassed.  Meanwhile, people twice my age are out there still doing it and not giving it a second thought.  Wow.  I just don't get that!

Where have we, as humans, gone wrong?  So many put so much time and energy into material things and their own selfish nature. Let me state that there are no laws forcing people to give you gifts for any holiday or occasion and there are certainly no laws stating that people are to give you only what you ask for. My heart went out to this friend who had gone without and saved her money to get this gift for someone only to be met with a callous heart and a twisted sense of entitlement.  Sadly, the world is full of people like this.  The above story probably reminded each of you of at least one person you know who behaves in this manner.  We tell our children that they don't get everything they want, yet there are adults who expect to get everything they want.  But wait . . . there's more!  You go out of your way to try and keep these people happy -- to do whatever it is they want (to feed their selfish nature, so to speak) . . . and they don't see it.  Instead, it wasn't EXACTLY what they wanted or exactly the way they wanted it.  They are sure to let you know about it or make you feel bad about it. There is nothing like going out of your way to try and keep another person happy -- putting their feelings before your own -- only to have them be hateful to you and treat you badly because even though you went out of your way FOR THEM, you didn't do it the exact way they wanted it done and therefore, you failed.  It was a waste of your time; a waste of energy.

Jacob and I often talk about how every person should experience a time in his or her life of being broke.  A time when you manage to pay all of your bills and then try to get that remaining little bit of your paycheck to stretch enough to feed your family until the next paycheck comes through. I think most people have experienced such a time in their lives -- I know we have.  I am thankful for this time.  It is, quite possibly, one of the best things that could have happened to us.  "Why is that?" you ask.  This brings me back to us putting our selfish nature before other people. Humans are selfish; it's just our nature. Put something shiny in front of us and we drool and start calling it, "My precious!" We want what we want and we don't care who we hurt to get it.  Sadly, some people hurt others without even knowing it. They push people away with their selfishness and (here's the funny part) they're too selfish to even notice!  (Some don't even realize this blog is about them! LOL)

I was sitting in a waiting room yesterday with my three gremlins waiting for Logan's glasses to be repaired when Logan and Kaitlyn started fighting over a toy. Alex, growing increasingly annoyed with his siblings, said to Logan, "Just give it to her."  Logan snapped, "I'm making something and I need it."  Alex, after hearing me say this so many times to them, said, "Do you REALLY need it?  You need oxygen.  You need water.  Do you really NEED that toy?"  Logan sighed and said, "No," and handed the toy to Kaitlyn.  We often get what we need and what we want confused.  Logan is an 8-year-old boy, so it's to be expected.  Adults who act in this manner are the ones who baffle me. My kids NEED to eat. My kids NEED clothes and shelter and clean water.  They don't NEED the latest video game system.  They don't NEED a room full of toys.  As an adult I don't NEED a brand new car or a giant house.  When did we lose sight of the difference between need and want?   When did we become so selfish and start putting our own wants before the feelings of others?

Look at the people in your life.  When your day comes to walk through life's exit door what will they say about you?  I am not perfect.  I don't pretend to be perfect.  I am, however, trying diligently to teach my children to put others before themselves. I'm trying to teach my children the difference between what they need and what they want.  I'm also trying to teach them to be caring, loving, understanding, and helpful.  This is what the world needs.  It has met its quota of hateful, selfish, critical people.

Let's all go do something nice for some one else today!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beauty In The Chaos

The house is quiet.  You're sound asleep, exhausted from the day's events.  Suddenly, the silence is shattered by your toddler's cries.  The mommy gene immediately kicks in and you jump out of bed faster than a Cheetah chasing it's dinner. You hurry down the hall to your child's room and she is sitting in her bed crying.  "It's okay, baby," You say in a soothing voice.  "What's wrong?"  In a weepy tone she says, "Chickmunks."  You're "Oh, baby, it's okay," face quickly turns into an "are you kidding me, here, kid?" face.  "No, sweetie, you can't watch the Chipmunks.  It's bed time.  You need to go to sleep."  In a beautiful and perfect world your child would smile at you and say, "Okay, mommy," roll over, and go back to sleep. Let's face it, this world is far from perfect and a toddler awake in the middle of the night rarely equals beautiful.  Her mouth opens wide and you brace yourself for the horrible sound you know is coming. She screams as if you are trying to hurt her, "CHICKMUNKS!"  You sigh and lovingly rub her arm. "No.  It's bedtime," you tell her.  Her screaming quiets and you breathe a prayer of thanks that she has calmed down, hasn't woken up her father or brothers, and is going back to sleep. She looks up at you and in a pitiful little voice says, "Candy?"  Ugh. "No, honey, you can't have candy.  It's 1:00 in the morning.  You need to go to sleep."  Oh no!  Here it comes again.  Her mouth forms a frown and then quickly opens, widening, and suddenly your ears are ringing.  She is screaming again.  "CANDY!"  Really?  "Okay, kiddo. That's it.  You may not watch TV.  You may not have candy.  You MAY, however, go to sleep like a good girl. You can watch Chipmunks tomorrow.  Okay?"  You breathe a sigh of relief as her mouth closes, she wipes her eyes and nods. "Hug and kiss," she says.  You lean down and hug her. "One, two, three," she says.  You say, "Okay, one . . ." (she laughs) "two . . . three!" At three she opens her arms wide, releasing her hug and smiles up at you.  You place her favorite stuffed animal by her side and tuck her in.  Then you hurry back to your own warm bed.

You had just fallen asleep when you hear, "Mom?  Mom!"  You jerk awake and look around the room.  Your son is standing beside you, obviously upset.  You jump out of bed again and quickly lead him out of the room so he doesn't wake his father.  Once you're out of the room you ask him what is wrong.  "I had a bad dream," he says as he cries. You go to the living room, sit on the couch, you hold him and say, "Okay, tell me about it."  He tells you every little detail. When he is finished you explain that it was only a dream and a cow walking around on two feet, breaking into children's rooms, and stealing their piggy banks will never happen. Once he is calmed down and smiling you walk him back to his room, tuck him in, kiss his forehead and say, "I love you,"  He says, "I love you, too, mom," and rolls over to go to sleep.  You walk down the hall to your room, and climb back into your bed again.

Not long after you drift off the alarm goes off.  You sigh and slowly crawl out of bed, like a sloth trying to get out of a tub of peanut butter. You stumble down the hall, past the living room to the coffee bar where you pour yourself a cup of coffee.  The first cup is always the best.  You hold your warm mug in both hands and breathe it in, feeling the steam hit your face.  You take a sip and savor it.  The house is quiet. 

The moment doesn't last.  In the distance is a rumbling sound.  You freeze, listening.  There it is again.  Is that thunder?  Suddenly a loud boom echoes through the sky (and through the house).  All three children are now awake nearly 2 hours before they are supposed to be. The toddler is crying, obviously frightened, and keeps saying, "It's raining!" The middle child asks if he can get in bed with his brother because he's scared.  The oldest child says, "No, let's not do that.  I'm up.  Mom, can we just watch TV in our room?"  You shrug your shoulders.  "Sure,"  The boys run back to their room and you put a movie in for you toddler.  She then requests chocolate milk and a Pop Tart and her blankie, of course. Finally, she is happy.  You hurry back to your coffee and take another sip.  Yup, it's going to be another long day. 

I plan to embrace every minute of it (even the earthquakes)! Here's to all the awesome super moms out there!  Have a SUPER weekend! (Come on!  You KNOW you've earned it!)