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You let your kids do what?!

There are many things to write about on  my mind and we have had adventures that still have not made their way to this blog yet. There is one thing that’s just weighing heavy on my mind now though – Friends & their Mothers.

The boys (all 3 of them) go to friend’s homes and their friends  come here to ours to spend the night or hang out. I love to meet new people and I have a strict policy about meeting people first before my children go off to someone’s house. Maybe it’s how I was raised that has rubbed off on me, but I like to make sure that no one is making meth in their bathtub before I send the kids off packing to stay an evening with them.

I don’t judge, condemn or compare myself to the other parents I meet, but I have met some parents over the past school year that do. Everyone is different. Some of these meetings leave me scratching my head as I left totally speechless.

If you have any children maybe you can relate. If your children are very young, just wait…you’re in for it too.  (No child or parent’s names will be listed and these are in no certain order.) All conversations begin the same way: “Can X spend the night mom?” I reply, “yes, but I need to speak with their mom or dad or whoever they live with first”. Then I usually hear, “Okay, I’ll send you their #. ” I usually start, “Hi, I’m X’s Mom. He asked me if your son could spend the night and I said that was fine, but wanted to speak with you to make sure you knew and it’s alright.”

Random Kid #1 Experience:  “Uhm, okay. Yeah, thank you for calling. I already told him he could. The boys have already decided everything and made plans between themselves”, is the answer I received.

“So, you’re fine with it?” I ask.

“Yeah”, she replies.

“Do you want to know where we live?” I ask.

As the phone clicks to signify the hang-up, I hear, “No, the boys will work it out.”

**End result: The child was relatively well-behaved. I had to make several phone calls to find the mom to take him back home.

Random Kid #2 Experience: “I am so glad you called. I wanted to meet you before sending X over to your house and make plans to pick him up tomorrow.I feel more comfortable talking to you first, seeing if we know any mutual people and such.” (This parent spoke to me for over an hour.)

This child was a handful, but is welcome any time to come back!

So, sometimes the roles are reversed and I am the one calling because my son is asking me to be able to spend the night at another kid’s house. These conversations always start with, “Hi, my name is Chrissy. I am X’s mom. He has asked me if he could spend the night with your son and I wanted to speak to you, make sure you are aware and okay with it, and will be home with the boys.”

Random Kid #3 Experience:  “Oh yeah, X asked me and I said it was okay.”  Long pause…”Do you know where we live?”

I get the address and then ask what time she would like for me to pick up my son the next day.

“Just …whenever…is …fine …I …guess”,  she answers. “They’ll be shooting each other in the yard most of the day, so just any time should be fine.”

“What!? Did you say they’ll be shooting each other?” I clarify.

“Oh yeah”, she says as she huffs into the phone. “X’s big brother will be there with them overseeing everything to make sure no one gets hurt. They do it all the time. We have extra guns if your son needs to borrow one. Do you need my son’s phone number so you can text him and get all the details?”

“What?! I think I must be hearing you wrong. Did you say they are going to be shooting each other?” I ask again.

“Yes,” she said through a giggle. “They do it all the time. We live on a farm and have several acres. The boys make obstacle courses, wear extra clothing and shoot each other.”

😦 Geez…she wasn’t kidding either!! 😦

Random Kid #4 Experience: “Oh hi! It’s fine for X to come over! I’ve met him and love him! He can stay as long as he likes and I’ll be here with the kids the entire time. They may shoot some basketball, play video games, and watch movies. Does that sound good?”

🙂 I reply, “Yes!!!  That sounds great!! I can pick him up any time you’d like tomorrow. I can’t wait to meet you when I drop him off!”

So come on moms, chime in! Am I alone in this crazy world we live in? Would you let your child go to some of these homes? Some were great, some where not.  Do you call and speak to the parents of the children before your kids go to another’s house? Would you allow your teenager to go to another kid’s house to be shot with or without supervision? Am I paranoid?

A Sad Day for Runners

My thoughts and prayers are with the people at the Boston Marathon today! My 14 year old son came home from school and told me what he had heard on the bus from the radio about the bombing. He was sad. I’m sad.

It’s hard to see your children’s reactions to events like this, but it is far more sad for the sorry excuse for a person that did it!  There were children there!!!

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.  1John 2:5

Footprints in Life

Which way will we turn next in our Footprints in Life? What direction do we want to take? What’s around the corner? Should we worry about things that we have no control over? Should we spend precious time trying to figure life out? Why do we spin our heels worrying about how our kids will turn out? Why do we become consumed with ideas or thoughts?

In the long run, it doesn’t matter which way we are about to turn or what’s around the corner. Our Footprints in Life are measured not by our own eyes.
There is no need to worry over things which we have no control.
If we spend precious time trying to figure life out, we miss the here and now.
We can’t worry how our children will turn out. We must simply put our best effort in to leading by example, not just leading by words. Our examples will been seen in our Footprints in Life.
We must not allow ourselves to become obsessed by any one thought or idea. Lest we find ourselves stuck in an alternate reality, ever missing the present.

Be still. See with new eyes.
Quiet. Hear with new ears. Observe. Take in every moment that God the Father gives us and cherish the amazing favor he has granted us each day.

We have no promise of tomorrow.
We have no bargining power over life.
When a door closes, a window opens.
The cup is half full, not half empty.

We are resilient creatures, fully capable of healing, regenerating, and restoring  mentally and physically. 

We leave our personal footprints on thousands of hearts over a lifetime.  Our Footprints in Life can be harsh, rigid, rough, hurtful, disappointing, sorrowful, or degrading, …uplifting, happy, loving, compassionate, empathetic, determined, honest, integral, ethical, graceful, or empowering. 

Consider: The man that lives alone in the neighborhood. His yard is high & unkempt. Maybe his trash piles up before he hauls it off. The finer folks decided long ago he’s an eye sore and can’t wait until the day that the bank forecloses on his home. He goes to work at the same time on the same days each week. He parks his car/truck in the same place. He does not waive to passerbys & all the neighborhood youth have a naughty nickname for him to match the stories they’ve created to scare the younger kids. Why not smile, wave, and offer to help him? No one is exalted above him. 

Consider: The lady that changes your trash can at work – Do you smile and thank her for removing your waste?  Would you treat her differently if she was serving you a hamburger? Her job function is no more important than yours. She is a person and deserves the same friendly smile and gratitude for a job well done as we all do. You make Footprints in Life the same was she does each day.

Consider: What about that socially akward and silent family member or coworker that we all know? They are eager to fade into the background, stay to themselves, & never be noticed or make any ripples. Do they deserve any less attention than the loud, out going, extremist that we all know?

Everyone has a great deal to offer & has a role to play in life. Many of us play multiple roles at once. Some of us find a role we are comfortable with and remain within those confines. Regardless, we are all important and worthy of compassion, generosity, empathy, and kindness.

If one person falls out of your daily loop, your entire life will change. What if the man living alone moves out of the neighborhood? The entire neighborhood changes. Whether the opinion be that the change is for better or worse is irrelevant.  Change will occur nonetheless.

What if the lady changing your trash at work seeks employment elsewhere? The next person will make a different footprint in your life.

What happens when the socially awkward family member or coworker dies? Does everyone avoid/boycott the funeral and the grieving process because that person was socially awkward? Are their Footprints in Life wiped clean?

     Have you ever been in public and seen a poorly dressed or assumingly poor put together person? Do you stare in disapproval…or smile, knod your head and understand they may be in a bad place in life?

Every soul, every interaction we have with everyone embeds a footprint. Will your footprint be a positive one or one that breeds negativity?

In my life I’ve been very blessed. My Lord has allowed me to witness many things both good and bad. One day several years ago, I asked him to allow me to witness a few of my footprints. He granted me this prayer.

     Sixteen years ago, I had the privilege to work with physically & mentally delayed children in a preschool program at a public school. We worked with these children one on one. They were NOT just a job. Their development, livelyhood and social interactions were influenced by the work that we did. I prayed to see one of them again. The next day, I saw one of these children, a young man by then, at a local gas station the next day. He was socially functional! My heart filled with joy 🙂 I am not the only reason he became functional, but I heard my footprint as he paid for his gas, counting his money to pay the cashier.  🙂

     Nineteen years ago, I met a guy that was destined to become a best friend. We related to each other well and could talk about anything together. Many nights, we would lay outside, stare at the stars, and contemplate life. He was skeptical, I was hopeful. I spoke to him not too long ago and he told me he still stares at the stars and wonders about the possibilities out there 🙂

     Ten years ago, I met a young woman raising 2 very young boys.
She was single & happy with her life. They lived modestly and were a well defined family. Our children played together everyday when I got home from work. Things got bad for her when she followed a crowd that dabbled in drugs, taking the edge off of life. She quickly became addicted, forgot about her children, and lost her way. Her children knew I was just across the street if they needed me. Many nights they would wake up alone & run across the road to my house. I bandaged boo boos, packed lunches, provided clothing, food, transportation, and comfort until their mommy came home day after day. Five short years after I first met her, she called me to tell me she was straight, clean, sober and pregnant. She thanked me for never judging her or giving up on her. She died in a freak accident the next day…ran over while crossing the road on a foggy morning-by a street sweeping truck! At the funeral, the boys came & loved on me. I saw my footprint on them.   🙂

Not every footprint is a good one. In fact, we are usually well aware when we are making the bad footprints in life. But, if we strive to make at least one good footprint everyday, they sure add up overtime 🙂

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