The Golden Rule: Refugee Version

My children and I were listening to NPR last night, as we often do on our drive home. (You should try this. They get really quiet.) There were several stories about what is happening in Paris and the status of Syrian refugees across the world. I wanted to know what my kids thought of this. So, I carefully explained the situation.

As I told my kids about the plight of these people and what other people and nations feared, my 4th grade son piped up with:

“Wait, this is like that movie, ‘Little Boy.'”

For those of you not familiar with the film, it is about a little boy in World War II waiting/praying/wishing for his father to come home from the war. During that time, he meets a man of Japanese origin who is being mistreated by the community.

“So, this is like when the people were all mean to that guy because he was from Japan and everyone treated him like jerks.” he said.

Exactly.

We talked about what it would be like to be judged solely on your country of origin. Or state of origin. We talked about how it would make him feel if someone turned him away in his time of need because there are bad people in Alaska. Yes, there are criminals here too. And sure there are people who want to do great harm. There are evil people everywhere. But, there are also good people. People with kind hearts who want to help others, no matter what. And there are in-between people. People that just want to live their daily lives and not be scared to do so.

God calls us to:

Love our neighbors as ourselves. Mark 12:31

Feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Matthew 25: 35-40

Show love to foreigners. Deuteronomy 10:19

 

Now, I’m not going to get all high and mighty on you. This blog is typically about weird stuff my kids say, which usually relates to butts and poop.

I just think we need to see this situation through the eyes of our children whose first instinct is to love. To act out of love and to help others. Of course, what that looks like depends on who you ask. My 13-year-old daughter is also worried about refugees. She asked if we could adopt a refugee child. And then followed that up with, “But they’ll have to sleep on the couch because I’m not sharing my room.”

The Political Debate – Bedtime Style

My office was getting rid of some old items and let the employees pick through the pile. I found an old style telephone (big white handset and buttons intended to look like a rotary dial) and a boombox. My 13-year-old daughter has a boombox. She uses it all of the time. All of the time. Say, on a Saturday, when I am in the kitchen washing dishes and listening to public radio shows like This American Life or Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me or Prairie Home Companion, and she walks in with her boombox, like straight out of a ’80s movie, blasting  the music “the young people listen to these days” and completely overtaking whatever peaceful thing I was listening to on the radio.

The thing about the boombox is, it’s hers. She can listen to just about whatever she wants to on it. And her brothers eye that with secret envy. So, when I saw that boombox at work, I took it home and handed it over to my boys. Now they would have their own freedom to listen to what they want. At first, it was all the Top 40 stuff. Then, it was Oldies. But a few days later, I realized he was listening to something completely different, when he came out to the living room, very alarmed and walked up to me saying, “Mom, I don’t think I like President Obama anymore.” Which is interesting, because my 4th grader has always loved President Obama. (We’re not a very political household, he came to this affinity for the President on his own.) I was shocked to hear him say otherwise, so I asked him why. “Do you know that he’s been having secret meetings with other countries to get treaties passed? And the American public doesn’t know anything about it!”

“Where did you hear this?” I inquire.

“The news guy on the radio said it.”

As a journalist, I knew I needed to set things straight. “What station are you listening to?”

When he told me,  my husband and I must have had a collective eye-roll, because we knew immediately he’d been listening to talk radio. We explained to him that talk radio is NOT the news. It is not fact. It is opinion – a once-truth spun in a way that suits the purposes of whoever is using it. We explained that some people like President Obama and will use the facts in a way to make him look great and some people dislike the President and will use the facts to make him look bad. That, of course, led us into a conversation about why some people would like him and some people wouldn’t – which led into the topic of political parties – which led to him asking me what political affiliation I have. “Undeclared,” was my answer – mainly because I want him to make these decisions on his own. Not with my leading him one way or another – or the radio doing it for me – just him and the facts.

Why is it that these questions always come right at bedtime? It’s like all day you are peppered with, “Why is the sky blue?” “How come those dogs sniff eachother’s butts?” And “Do we have to have salmon again tonight?” But, the moment bedtime is announced, it switches to, “Where is God?” “What’s a democrat?” and “How did the baby get in her belly in the first place?” It’s not that I don’t want to answer the questions and inform my kids, but geez, give a mom a chance here!
At least he only found news talk radio. Imagine the bedtime conversation we’d be having if he had stumbled onto Loveline with Mike & Dr. Drew show.

Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids

My two older kids are staying home by themselves today. They’ve been checking in with me a lot, all the time, so much my phone’s battery is dropping faster than a dollar bill at a strip club regularly. Most of the time it’s with questions like, “Can I go out and play?” or “What’s (insert friend’s name here) phone number?” and even the question-turned-tattle “How many times do I have to vacuum the floor because my big sister keeps saying I have to do it three times!” Yet, sometimes the calls I get from them end with me scratching my head and wondering what’s the rest of the story and do I need to come home right now?

And so, I bring you – the Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids:

10. “I finished the laundry. Now all your clothes fit me, Mom!”

9. “Don’t worry about making dinner, Mom. We’ve got it covered.”

8. “How do I get the microwave to stop sparking?”

7.  “The dog just ate something funny but it’s okay because he threw it up and now he’s being really quiet.”

6.  “You wanted me to get my hair cut. Wait ’til you see it!”

5. “What time did you say you’d be home?” (Followed by a hushed voice in the background of the other sibling saying “We’ll clean it up before she gets here and she’ll never know.”)

4. “What kind of snacks do bears like?”

3. “Mom, where do we keep the first aid kit?” <— an actual question from my son today who wanted to know, not because someone was hurt but because he and his sister wanted to reorganize it. What?!

2. “That stuff in the bottle under the sink tastes gross.”

1. “Should I answer the door for the man with the weird bushy beard?”

 

Any more you’d like to add to the list?

Random Childhood Injuries

So, my 5-year-old son burned his nipple last night at dinner. How, you ask? You know, just eating. Hot from the wok stir fry slipped from his fork and down the top of his shirt, landing on his nipple and leading to a panic-induced dance and corresponding song of, “OWWWWW! My nipple! It’s burning my nipple! Mommy, kiss it!” (And yes, I kissed it, much to the dismay of my 9-year-old son who called it, “Gross.”)

This morning, that same 5-year-old managed to nearly take the flesh off his face when he decided he wanted to, “shave like Papa.” Thank the Lord above – I managed to grab the razor from his hand in time. No blood. No damage.

My friend’s daughter also suffered a random childhood injury yesterday – rolling her ankle while hopping through a sporting goods store. What? Yep. A hopping injury.

I started thinking about all the weird ways our kids manage to hurt themselves. There’s the typical stuff: bonking a head or butt while sledding, scraping a knee while running or falling off a trampoline and breaking their leg (yeah, that’s a childhood memory I’ll never forget. No, it wasn’t my leg.) But – what I’m talking about here are the injuries that lead you, your family and friends to ask, “What? HOW did you do that?”

So – tell me – what’s the weirdest way your child has ever hurt his/herself?

Pre-School Dating Protocol

My 5-year-old, by all accounts, is something of a ladies man. Often times, when I go to pick him up from pre-school, girls will run and hug him as they say goodbye. And, like a ladies man, he ignores their attention. Though, I’ll tell you what he doesn’t ignore: when his older brother and sister give him a hard time, taunting him that he “has a girlfriend.”

What cracks me up here is that if you ask him, he will tell you he does indeed have a girlfriend. Any guesses on who it is?

It’s me.

“Mommy’s my girlfriend,” he sing-songs as he walks around the house or while snuggling me. Last night, while tucking him in bed, things escalated quickly beyond just dating. He repeated the words, “Mommy is my girlfriend,” but then he took me by the hand. He held it and said, “Do you want to see what the boys do?” Now, when a child asks you this, you tend to have a certain degree of trepidation when responding. So, with a dose of hesitation I said, “sure.” He took my left hand and kissed it saying, “That’s what they do in Frozen!” Then, he looked back down at that very hand and at my wedding ring and vowed, “One day I’m gonna put a ring on you.”

Anyone else dealing with the Oedipus Complex in their house? Should I be planning a wedding? 🙂

Taking Turns Being God

“When is it going to be my turn to be God?”

It’s an odd question. I’ll give you that. It’s even more odd when it is asked by your five-year old, with obvious annoyance in his voice.

Let me back this up for you. It was bedtime. Prayer time, to be exact. We were saying our nightly, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” with a few add-ons, when my son interrupted, demanding to know when it was going to be his turn to be God. He seemed pretty annoyed that God’s been God for a while now, essentially saying He should let someone else take the reins for a bit.

I explained to my preschooler that being God was not like playing with a truck on the playground. This is one thing that is not shared – and even if it was – we pretty much all learned it wouldn’t work, thanks to movies like “Bruce Almighty” and the sequel, “Evan Almighty.” There are some things in this world that are better left alone. This is surely one of them.

So, how do you explain to a child that, although we make him share his toys with his friends and dessert with his family, he certainly not get to take his turn being God? Or, maybe the more fun question is, what would life look like if your child was able to play God for a day?

Death, Kissing and Parent Teacher Conferences

My kids say a lot of weird stuff. So much so, I have an entire category dedicated to it on my blog. So, by now, it really shouldn’t surprise me when they come out with something completely off the wall. And yet…

Here are the prize winners from this week alone:

“I don’t want to go to death!”

My 9-year-old son was reading aloud a section of the bible that talked about how kids should be respectful to their parents, or they would be put to death. (Matthew 15:4) It really struck him as important, so he told his brother and sister to listen up, as he repeated the passage. “For instance, God says ‘honor your father and mother’ and ‘anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father and mother must be put to death.'” Upon hearing this, our 4-year-old says, “But, I don’t wanna go to death!” Later that night, he brought it up again after supper, when the other kids had left the table.

“I don’t want to go to death. I’ll hide. I’ll hide in the refrigerator! He can’t get me in the closet, right? When?! When am I going to death?”

“Spin the bottle? I love that game!”

The award for the most alarming statement goes to my 12-year-old daughter who, seemingly out of nowhere announced in the car, “Spin the bottle? I love that game!” Turns out, she was reading her comic book and saw the game being played, which reminded her that she loves it so much. Thinking (and praying and hoping) that maybe she innocently had it confused with another game, where maybe you just spin the bottle and nothing nefarious happens, you know, like kick the can, I asked her, “Honey, what happens in spin the bottle?” “Oh, you spin the bottle and whoever it lands on you have to kiss.” Panic. Slight panic rising up. Yes, yes, I know she’s getting older and she’s going to experiment with things and I should get used to change and she’s growing up and does anyone have a paper bag I can breathe into? “So, sweetie, have you ever played spin the bottle?” “No, but my friend has at a party and she told me about it.” Insert conversation about not doing things we’re not comfortable with and how we can always say no and get out of situations like that…

“What? They’re going to put me to death?!”

After parent teacher conferences tonight, I arrived home armed with notes from my 6th and 3rd grader’s teachers. My son asked if he could see his report card. I said sure, having forgotten about the fact that I put a sticky note on it, with my reminder note to write a post about my preschooler’s thought that he could hide from death. My 3rd grader stared at his report card, without even opening it, and quietly read the words, “‘I don’t want to go to death?’ MOM, what did you and my teacher talk about?!”

Oh yes, raising kids is certainly interesting. I just wish I had a hidden microphone to catch all the other crazy stuff they say. You know, the stuff I forget to write down. What crazy things do your kids come up with?

Previous Older Entries