Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I know how much my parents love me and I believe that they are doing the best they can.

Proverbs 17:6 (New International Version)

Children's children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children

Stuck in between generations, I am a father and a son, it has taken me a lifetime to understand just what that means.

As a parent, you are so caught up in your life, work, and spouse; sometimes children may feel left out. You make decisions for them, set rules for them and provide reward and punishment like some omnipotent being. Most parents are concerned with the well-being of their child but sometimes fall short of listening to what they really need, because they are doing what's right or best in their mind. Taking time to talk to the child, understand their feelings and what makes them tick can be both rewarding and terrifying at times.

As a child, you learn to follow a schedule, do what your parents tell you to do and go to school to learn most everything else. Sometimes you don't understand why you are supposed to do things, like go to bed when you are not tired, avoid certain situations, or be educated in things you have no interest in.

This is where life gets interesting. It has been called many things: the generation gap, a communication void, a discipline issue, most of the time it is just the way life is.

Understanding the choices your parents make for you can be some of the hardest things to comprehend. Especially when you have peers being given just the opposite things as you. The world of electronics, cars, and even education have been a challenge for many parents as they decide whether you should have a cell phone and at what age, can they afford to buy you a car and then who pays for gas or insurance you or them? What college do you go to, and who pays the cost?

As a parent, I feel for the child when I see kids who have things my children do not, but life isn't always fair. I also see many children that do not even have the things that my children have, who should feel sorry for them?

The best thing to do as a parent is to give them what you can. Show you love them with hugs. Tell them you love them with words. And most of all spend time with them. Even if it just means sitting in a quiet room and talking about the day’s events.

The best thing to do as a child is to know that your parents love you. They may not always show it in the way that you would like, but they do. They wants what's best for you. When they yell or seem mad, it may be that your mom or dad is more frustrated that they can't do or make things the perfect world they want you to have. Then, it is not always a perfect world.

I love my children and I love my parent's just the way they are.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I would know that school would end soon enough...and work would...well, never mind.

Exodus 5:18 (New International Version)Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks."

It's that time , the hustle and bustle of a new school year. The world struggles with educating our youth. More importantly they struggle with employing the newly educated. I am blessed with three bright well educated sons who are continuing their education. One in law school and one in his senior year of college, the third in his junior year of high school. They have all worked hard during the summer and had pretty good gigs for  students but many others have not been so lucky.

More students that graduated with a college degree this year did not find a job in their selected field, than any other time in history. The move out was not a move up and sometimes it became a move back as many sought out their parent's homes for refuge. Jobs were scare for those that found them and starting salaries were below previous years. This is the startling reality of the newly chosen to enter the work force.

Very few graduated without having a student loan of some sort, expanding the burden and need to find a job soon. Student borrowing increased at a rapid pace of 10 percent a year over the last decade, trying to keep up with the rising cost of education. Tuition cost have outpaced the cost of housing, energy and health care.  Once a given that these loans would be paid off, there is a looming crisis as these 20 somethings have started to default on borrowed money at a rapid rate.

The lifetime income gap between those who graduated from college and those who graduated from high school is closing.  This sometimes makes it seem foolish to spend four years or more compounding debt to get a college degree without hope of ever using it in the area of study.

In reality though, those who graduate from college will have more money, bigger houses, more cars, and more vacation time than those who only have a college degree. They will have longer relationships and marriages. They will have less financial troubles and less problems with addiction.

Most of the people I know remember their college years as the best of their lives. They enjoyed the education, the fraternization, and the extended community. Work brings uncertainty, especially in times like these. My recommendation. stay in school, learn all you can. Get a minor in a foreign language if possible. The global gap is closing all the time and it will be useful to your future. And for those of you that so chose, go back to school, or go for the first time, it will be worth every book you open and every person you meet along the way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I would listen more closely to what my heart says:

Proverbs 23:19 (New International Version)

Listen, my son, and be wise,
and keep your heart on the right path.

It's a complicated thing to be right. Usually that means someone has to be wrong. I see my friends lean to the left or lean to the right. Sometimes they fall right into the middle. Many times they fall on their faces because they covet values that the rest of society use to control them and when it doesn't work society will change direction leaving them to wonder, What just happened.? Most of them have a hard time letting their heart guide them. They listen to the radio, TV and read Internet, magazines and post that sensationalize everything and I do mean everything.

Today 31 US troops died in a helicopter crash. People will take sides on this one. Some will say we should have been out of Afghanistan a long time ago, some will say we should wipe out a whole race of people for the sins of a few, even fewer will grieve over the loss of these wonderful young people.

 The US bond rating was lowered for the first time in history. America's finances are in turmoil and many still live day to day wondering what tomorrow will bring, while others say, "this doesn't affect me.". 
 Thylane Loubry Blondeau is making news for being a sexy magazine cover model. She is 10 years old. Many are outrage at this use of a child, some defend her and the child herself wants to know what all the fuss is about.

All of these will bring outrage and mistrust and even confusion to those that wish to follow their heart.
Life is no longer simple, we can't drive the car we want, wear the clothes we want or even eat the food we want without someone commenting. We are at war with a government that wants more and more. People have chosen sides and not always for the right reasons.

They chose Democrat or Republican because their parents chose to be one. They want security, freedom, and sometimes just to be left alone.  It's hard to see the grey areas, when things are suppose to be black and white.
If you look closely over a lifetime the parties change to fit the mold that gets them elected. The Democratic party of John F. Kennedy became the Republican party of Ronald Regan. The one thing that never changes is that everyone else wants you to believe what they believe and believe in there right or wrong.

In most cases I have chosen to look at both sides and pick option "C". There is always good in moderation. Some think that makes me wishy washy. Some think I sit on the fence to avoid conflict. Many think I am dead wrong. Those that know me think I chose silly over commitment. All are probably right at some point along the way.

I have chosen to follow my heart. I stop and listen to what people have to say. I research information in my own way. In the end, I have to choose my own path.

Does this make it easier for me? Well the short answer is: not really.

I see people that are unhappy all the time and I say to myself that will never be me. I will always be poorer than someone, not as pretty as most and my body hasn't been perfect since I started balding long ago. I can match wits with anyone even though my education may not be as arduous as theirs. 
My faults sometimes have become my greatest strength.  So when I have to choose I listen to what my heart has to say.

 I choose to follow my heart when things get tough and most of the time it doesn't let me down.