Monthly Archives: July 2014

Let the Children Come

let the children come to me

In today’s first reading from the first book of Kings we hear about the dream in which God asks King Solomon to request something of Him and He will give it to him. King Solomon responds by asking for an understanding heart instead of a long life or riches. So God gives him that plus everything else. How cool is that?

But what the reading reminded me of today was the family bible we had when I was a child. It had many illustrations in it; I have many fond memories browsing through it as a kid. The one story/illustration that really stuck in my head from that bible was the story of King Solomon and the two “harlots” which is actually the next story in the same chapter ~ 1Kings 3: 16-28. As a child I remember being horrified by the story… that he, the wise king, would suggest that the baby be cut in half! Of course his decision was brilliant because through it the women showed their true colors and the real mother was revealed. That story still sticks in my head as being wild and out there. I am still blown away, in awe like the rest of Israel, of King Solomon’s wisdom.

king solomon

This in turn brings me to an idea I wanted to blog about earlier this week which at the time did not seem to be a very Catholic topic. (But now it does, of course, bear with me, I know I go in big silly circles at times. It has to do with children and how they are treated by some silly adults…) In the summer I teach at a camp for high functioning autistic students. I love this job because it is camp and even though we are trying to teach the kids social skills we are also trying to have fun, playing games and making crafts. I don’t know if I should have been an elementary school teacher… but I do enjoy hanging out with these neat kids and having fun. During the school year I work as a case manager (special ed, resource room teacher) in a high school, which I love~ I love hanging out with teens too. But I do like the break in the summer … to be a bit sillier and goof off with the little ones.

So why do I bring this up? Well it has always bothered me the way some people talk to children. You know what I mean~that condescending, high pitched, sing-song-y, baby-talk that some people revert to when they speak to children. UGH! It drives me insane. Makes my eyes bug out of my head! And makes me want to come out swinging (yes it still does)! Because YES I do remember loathing that way of speaking waaaay back when I was a little kid, and I am talking back when I was in early elementary school in the 1970’s at Genesee Hills Elementary School in DeWitt, New York (it is now a very nice Jewish Community Center). I hatedhatedhated it when teachers or any adults spoke to me or any other kid in that “voice.” (I also hated some of the silly moronic children songs or rhymes too). I wondered why they felt the need to talk to me/us that way? Did they think I/we were stupid? It pissed me off. Why couldn’t they speak to me/us in a normal voice? I made me feel like “this” big… (small) .. it was a horrible feeling, like they thought they were better and felt the need to talk down to us. Because of this I always wanted to be a grown up because I hated how (most) adults treated kids.

So now when I hang out with my students, or with kids at church or at a family gathering, I don’t speak that way to the little peeps. I talk in a normal voice. I may be silly and say and do silly things (well I do that with adults too LOL) to make them laugh but I don’t talk down to them. And I try not to talk about them in front of them (another thing adults do in front of kids that I hate!)! By talking like that (condescending sing-song-y baby-talk) you are not being respectful. What about their dignity? Seriously. They are people. Little people. Little people who like to play and be silly, but for the love of God TALK to them like people!

One more thing before I jump off of my soap box. I cannot stand it when teachers say to their students, “Okay friends…” or “Let’s all wait for our friends …” Friends! When I was a kid we did not call our classmates “friends” never ever. Sure some of the other kids in our class were our friends, or they became our friends, but not all of them. Yes I understand the concept of being nice, kind and respectful to everyone in the class … but they are NOT all “Friends!” These teachers have ruined the meaning of the word! When I hear someone saying it to kids my undies get in a bunch (yes they do!) and I want to SCREAM… it is almost one of “those” PC words … this “friends” word is like teetering on the edge of the bucket of my least favorite PC BS words … you know like “tolerance”, “Diversity” “coexist” … (oh I could go off with a big list… but I will refrain)… Hey, I like to make friends and like new friends. I am the kind of person who likes 99.9 % of the population. I see the good in everyone and like most people’s company… don’t get me wrong… but the idea that EVERYONE must be your friend irks me to no end. Yeah maybe I’m being a jerk… but there it is. Ha.

So … yeah. Jesus knew you should respect and show children their true dignity! He did not talk down to them. He gathered them around Him and spoke to them with love~ In both Matthew 19:14 and Luke 18:16 “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

If I hear someone use that voice one more time…

screamin woman 2

 

 

 

 

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Die! …and Bloom Where You’re Planted

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Last Sunday I had an idea for a blog, but life got in the way, which is okay…. I got caught up in family activities and never got to jot down my thought. I figured it would all be there in my silly little head the next day. Ha. But no, the next day – poof – gone …. Only a smidgen of an idea remained… I couldn’t remember where I was going with it …

It had to do with the parable of the mustard seed from Sunday’s gospel reading. The idea I received… that we are all seeds planted by God. And I thought of David Crowder’s song “I am a Seed.” (great song… go youtube it!)… Well beyond those scraps and flecks that’s all I could remember … I lost the whole direction of where it was going to go…

Maybe because the idea needed to come to fruition through what needed to happen and what I needed to understand four days later~ yesterday.

But first I also had to realize that the Lectio Divina scripture readings I was praying through for the past week or so needed to soak into my silly addled brain. These three: 1 Samuel 3: 1-14, Isaiah 6: 1-10 and Jeremiah 1: 1-10. Being called by God and responding. Some of the quotes: “Here I am. You called me?” 1 Sam. 3:5. “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Here I am … send me!” Isa. 6:8. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.” Jer. 1:5. “To whomever I send you, you shall go, wherever I command you, you shall speak.” Jer. 1:7. God called Samuel, Isaiah and Jeremiah (and many others) … and they responded… joyfully, eagerly or sometimes not feeling worthy or mature enough to take on the task. He also calls us, for we are all fearfully and wonderfully made. He sends us out into the world to serve Him and to do His will in this life.

He may have a big job (purpose) for us to do or a small task to complete… either way I understand that both are the same in the eyes of God. We may think our small job is insignificant, because in the eyes of the world it is, but I believe even the smallest service for God is seen as HUGE in the kingdom of heaven. Just like that teeny tiny mustard seed, it looks insignificant but it grows to be a big tree.

“Do small things with great love.” Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta

So where should we serve God? Though a few are called to travel to foreign countries, most of us are called to serve right where we are… as the cliché goes, “Bloom where you are planted.” Right where you are~ in your own home. Sometimes that is the hardest place to serve God. I found that out yesterday.

I came to the realization that I would have to drop all of my activities that I normally do and take my son to football practice for the rest of the summer. Hmph. I am not a fan of football and I wasn’t keen on him playing in the first place. AND now I have to give up: Charismatic prayer group, a Catholic women’s book club meeting, a Daughter’s of Isabella activity, formation for the secular Franciscans, various doctor’s appointments had to be rescheduled… and… here’s the one that upsets me the most… I will miss day one of Soul Fest this year (I really wanted to see Crowder and Toby Mac!). My husband had planned on taking him to football but since he is not sure what time he will make it home on various nights from his job it is up to me. I was beyond upset last night … slightly furious… all MY activities! … and then it hit me like a 2X4 upside my dumb head. My husband commented, “So do you want him to give up football?!” … Wow. Yeah, I was being selfish. I needed to be there for my son. I needed to sacrifice.

Sometimes to BLOOM we need to “die to self” to sacrifice our wants and do things for others. I realized this last night as I stewed and grumbled about the situation … I would do anything for my children…. Wouldn’t I?

So as I die to self, just as a seed dies so that it can grow into a beautiful flower, I am able to bloom into the mother I am supposed to be, giving and doing for my boys. They are my life. My life is not my activities. This may be easy for some of you because you do this already. But seriously, I am still learning this stuff. Big dopey me.

As I was driving to camp this week I was listening to Switchfoot’s new CD and the song “When we come alive” came on… I thought it was appropriate:

We are fire

Burning brightly

You and I

We light the sky

When we ignite

When we come alive

When we come alive

****

When we die to self and serve … we come alive…

 

(I still really want to see Crowder, man!)

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