Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Choose love, people, for everyone's sake, choose LOVE

My heart has been breaking in my Facebook news feed today.

So many of my “friends” are speaking out against accepting Syrian refugees. They say the refugees threaten our national security. They say we don’t have the resources to sustain them. They say they can’t be trusted. They say our leaders who show compassion are weak.

Then they say we should consider letting in the Syrians if they are Christian.

And my heart hurts.

Where is the love?

Just when I think hatred has been stirred by the fear and that the fear mongers and the haters are winning, I see this beautiful tribute from one victim’s husband and I’m crying.


I remember the families from the Charleston shootings offering forgiveness and LOVE.


Only love is strong enough to combat the hatred ISIS is perpetuating. Not the military, not closing our borders. It’s the worst kind of isolationism to send our troops to kill them and close our doors to their victims.

What the hell is wrong with our world?

Why aren’t we speaking more LOVE?

Only LOVE can save us. Prayer cannot, not when the people praying are also refusing to help. War cannot when the soldiers we send are flushing more victims into the world with nowhere to go. Politics cannot when the criminals are running a help desk and our politicians are tweeting fear and hate.

I tell Hollie constantly, “Speak with love. Act with love. Find the love and let it determine how you respond.”

People are angry. They are afraid. They are being told what we don’t have. But what we do have is love. Find it. Feel it. Give it. It is the one resource which never runs out and is violently contagious. It is the one action we have that is proof of a higher being: the source of love.

More on the Syrian refugee crisis here and here. And on the screening process here (admittedly screening is difficult when the infrastructure needed is in shambles). For the love of innocent children, stop reading FOX. They'll sell any crisis for mindshare and advertising dollars.

Let us reach out in love, people. Even our U.S. Christian leadership is urging hearts and hands for helping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

lot of GenXers are loathe to admit we should have been wearing bike helmets as kids. It seems silly to us that our kids see them as essential as a seatbelt in the backseat or hand sanitizer before snack.
When did we get so deliberate in our safety efforts?

While I may forget to remind her about the helmet, I have been very deliberate in a specific realm of Hollie’s life: communication. Charlie and I are really, really good at communication. We expect Hollie to be, too. 
It takes work, though. Especially when she doesn’t always have the vocabulary to express herself.

Hollie and I stood on the stairwell and looked up at the family pictures I’d assembled there.
“What do the words say?” I asked her.
“Caring. Kindness. Love.” She read each one, rolling the syllables over in her mouth. “Honesty. Trust. Integrity.”
“Those are our family values,” I said. “Caring. Kindness. Love. I expect you to treat your friends with those values. Do you understand?”
She nodded. She’s learning. And I’m doing the best I can to teach her. 
So this is an apology to her friends, our neighbors, and any other kids we come in combat with. She’s learning.

I don’t want Hollie to adopt “hug your sibling” apology skills. 

I want her to understand what an apology actually is:
  1. acknowledge what you did
  2. acknowledge the outcome of that action
  3. recognize why the outcome was hurtful or bad
  4. demonstrate remorse.
And if she can do one and two but doesn’t think there is a bad or hurtful outcome, then I won’t force her to apologize.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To my best friend on her wedding day

The speech I would have given if I hadn't been drinking all day...

You look amazing. It’s not just the dress and the hair and the make-up. It’s also the way you wear that smile.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell if that smile is a mask and behind it is all the grief you’ve experienced this summer. Or if it’s an attempt to reassure me and everyone else that you’re “fine, really, totally, literally fine.”

But today, that smile is something else.

It’s the culmination of all the work and planning you’ve put in and the excitement of starting your life with your husband. It’s having your family and friends around. It’s the party you’re throwing.

And it’s beautiful.

I hope you’ll remember that the wedding is just the beginning of it. What happens after is marriage.

Marriage is very different from weddings.

For one thing, there’s less cake in marriage. More microwave-heated restaurant leftovers, more hastily-prepared meals over the sink, and more boxed macaroni and cheese because it was on sale. Less cake.