It’s Not Always Easy to be a Kid

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photo credit: Daddy-David Crying at dinner – Day 331 via photopin (license)

I have gathered, when kids express they feel it can be hard to be a kid, some parents laugh, saying the kids’ feeling is wrong, that what is hard is being an adult and having to work and pay a mortgage, to earn money to care for and provide for kids who would turn and complain about their lot in lives.

Certainly, children know little of the problems of adulthood. There’s the exertions of work, the stress of finances, and the time consuming tasks of raising children. There’s the emotional stresses of wondering whether our life has really mattered, if we’ve made the right choices, and what type of world we’ll leave to our children.

We may find ourselves looking out on a summer day which we’re about to spend doing thankless office work or thankless housework and remember those summer days that were as free as rain water when we could do most anything we wanted. When we could sleep until 9 in the morning or later and then run until the sun went down, with almost boundless energy. What energy we often have is drained in drudgery spent at work and at home for kids who complain about their lot in life.

There’s something to be said for gratitude. Modern middle class American children need to learn it. If they were born another time or in another country, their lives would not be spent playing video games or demanding cell phones. They’d be spent working in the field or in some sweatshop. Their country and their parents have afforded them a great deal of opportunity.

Rather than blaming the children for feeling their lives are hard, let’s graciously remember two things. They typically lack the perspective on life needed to realize how easy they have it compared to past generations of kids and kids of lesser economic situations. They are also not capable of commiserating with the challenges of adult life. They’ve never been adults. But adults are capable of taking off their rose colored glasses and remembering what it was like to be children–what it was really like.

In addition, beyond the confines of the safe home you raise your well-adjusted family in, the sad reality is many children are suffering greatly in situations bad beyond our comprehension. Kids are easy to abuse in the most vile ways imaginable by adults. Kids from abusive and otherwise disadvantaged backgrounds can be easy prey for bullies. Kids suffer from hunger, starvation, discrimination, and poverty in every corner of the United States and even more so around the world.

Yet even kids in far better circumstances lack control. The biggest things that kids can’t control is who conceives them and who parents them. While there are now designer parents, children will never get to have designer parents. An infant doesn’t get to request an emotionally supportive father, a mother who will encourage her interest in sports, or a parent who will sacrifice part of her career to stay home with her and any siblings she has. They don’t get to choose if they’ll have a parent who will read to them.

Birth parents begin making decisions for a child before he’s even born by the birth mother’s habits during pregnancy and how she takes care of herself and then during the developmental years. Decisions are made about exposure to media and stimuli that will set the course for the rest of their lives.

Kids don’t get to choose their economic strata or what type of schools they’ll be able to attend. They don’t get to decide whether their parents will be dedicated to making their marriage and family work. They don’t get to decide how much exercise they’ll get in early life or whether their food will be healthy. They don’t get to decide whether the parents will make decisions that are far beyond their ability to understand: whether they’ll receive religious instruction or how it is given if it is.

Kids suffer all the time due to parental unwise decisions made as a result of a lack of knowledge of their unique kids’ unique needs and how to meet them while emotions like pride, fear, and shame keep the parents from seeking professional help. Parents can allow kids to do whatever they want, only for the children to suffer later because the parents didn’t consistently say no to something harmful.

Some types of short term pain produce long term benefits. Parental-induced boredom may be meant to prepare children for the fact life isn’t a non-stop party of fun. Limiting junk food and screen time may produce healthy bodies when they’re older. Yet, such reasoning is beyond a child’s comprehension.

From a child’s own, limited perspective, it is indeed hard to be a kid. After all, even as adults, Christians are still children in relation to God. We don’t get to decide his Word or His Commandments, His Ways are often beyond our comprehension. And, if we are truly submitted, then we are not in control, He is. And at times, we don’t understand, and get very frustrated at how hard this foreign way to live is.

If it is hard, at times, to be a child in the hands of a God who loves us, how much harder is it to be a child helplessly in the hands of well-intentioned but flawed human beings?

[tweetthis]It’s Not Always Easy to be a Kid guest post by Adam Graham @idahoguy[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]If it can be hard to be a child of a perfect, loving God, how much harder is it to be a child of flawed humans?[/tweetthis]

 

 

Greetings, Gentle Readers!

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Jude 1:21
Looking for reviews for Avatars of Web Surfer, I have only e-review copies at this time, the kindle file and PDF. Book info at the link below, please share. Interested folks should contact “andrea” AT my site’s domain name.

I also received some kind feedback from Alan Brown: “Just a compliment on an essay you wrote a year and a half ago – “The Dangers of Righteous Anger“. I am afraid this is exactly the pit the country is falling into … that there are so many groups “righteously angry” at each other, that are getting progressively more angry and progressively less righteous …”

I agree with Alan, “The Dangers of Righteous Anger” is still a timely piece, one the fracas surrounding the election, etc. this year has repeatedly brought to my mind, too.

Here’s a short excerpt:

The most dangerous anger I’ve witnessed lately is righteous indignation. The reason it is dangerous is humans aren’t righteous. We are most prone to do ugly things to each other when we’re angry and either it is justified or we believe we are justified.

It saddens me that so many grown adults behave as if they honestly believe “I am angry, and you were wrong, therefore you are no longer worthy of my respect, kindness, or being treated fairly, and I have every right to lash out and hurt you.”

This may be one of the greatest social ills plaguing my country today, perhaps the world. I see it all over the news, cropping up in many different ways, but the underlying spirit of “righteous” rage is the same, and it can drive good, reasonable people to do the cruelest of things to the people they love, sometimes perfect strangers.

Go check out the rest of “Righteous Anger” at the original post.

Please be in prayer for my family (my husband and I) as we face major decisions on how to grow our family and go through an emotionally difficult season. And please let me know how I can pray for you!

A final, favorite Bible verse I thought I’d share:

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song. (Isaiah 12:2)

In Christ,
Andrea J. Graham

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Graham’s Razor (AKA Gabrielson’s Razor)

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grahams-razor

I originally penned my twist on Occam’s Razor five years ago, in a sci-fi novel that has not been released yet, and I’ll spare you the details, but lately I’ve been finding just how true it is, or rather how needed it is, as Occam’s options of “stupid or malicious” are making way too many folks feel good about themselves for calling political foes in particular stupid rather than evil–and then there are the folks who note stupidity often doesn’t explain someone’s political views, and therefore feel justified in their assumption anyone with views that oppose theirs are malicious and deliberately causing harm.

This is simply not true. Yes, we do have to watch out for deceitful, corrupt wolves who seek power in order to use it maliciously, but they can worm their way into nigh any political movement, religious group, etc–including your own. I like to hope most humans aren’t one of those monsters, whatever their walk of life, and the popular assumption today that someone with opposing views is either malicious or stupid is simply not helpful. It’s not creating peace and understanding. And, more importantly for Christians like myself, it is not showing the love of Christ to the world, nor have I seen it persuading anyone to accept Christ and/or the ways of Christ’s kingdom.

So let’s understand, for the most part, differing worldviews explain people’s behavior better than deliberate malice or stupidity. Mind the deliberate; someone’s actions may well be evil within the context of your world view, but you won’t encounter many real-life Saturday morning cartoon villains who are deliberately evil. It takes wisdom from God for us to know how to speak the truth in love, respectfully, rather than hurling the truth at someone without any consideration for how things look from their view and how our truth will be simply insulting, rude, hateful accusations that shut down communication and any hope of reaching that person.

Some will still be uncertain about my claim that it is not true that only stupidity could possibly explain someone disagreeing with your carefully thought out, highly intelligent views. So let’s pretend we’re talking about math here. Surely there is only one right answer, and you know you’ve done your math correctly, all your colleagues say so. The mathematicians at your rival college who got a different solution to the problem must be stupid.

No, not necessarily. They could be doing their math using a different order of operations. Now, in math, there is one and only one correct order of operations–one order in which to solve complex problems with many additions, subtractions, multiplications, divisions, etc. One of these two colleges does have the wrong answer, no matter how sure both are that their own order of operations and solutions are correct.

The same way, God’s Truth, the ways of the Kingdom of God, are the only truth, only his “order of operations” for dealing with life’s problems will give solutions that truly work in the world God created. If we use any man-made “order of operations” that differs from God’s, it doesn’t matter how smart we are. It doesn’t matter how intelligent we are. We’ll get a wrong answer. It can be fun for a season, but pursuing wrong answers ends in death. That we can be sure of. But let’s remember, most of the time, that a bad end is not purposely being sought. The person plowing toward it is usually smart and usually truly wants to better the world. They have done their calculations and are sure this is the way to good things. They simply are misled by a inaccurate worldview.

I can’t say what is the most effective way to show them that is the case and prove to them what God’s solution is and that it is right. However, a good start toward effective dialogue and peaceful relations with our neighbors is respecting that they are smart, well-intentioned people.

Just for fun, we’ll close with this meme:

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Never attribute to malice or stupidity that which is adequately explained by a differing worldview. @andreajgraham[/tweetthis]

Dangers of Righteous Anger

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Jude 1:21
The most dangerous anger I’ve witnessed lately is righteous indignation. The reason it is dangerous is humans aren’t righteous. We are most prone to do ugly things to each other when we’re angry and either it is justified or we believe we are justified.

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]Most dangerous anger: righteous indignation. We’re most prone to do ugly things when justifiably angry.[/tweetthis]

It saddens me that so many grown adults behave as if they honestly believe “I am angry, and you were wrong, therefore you are no longer worthy of my respect, kindness, or being treated fairly, and I have every right to lash out and hurt you.”

This may be one of the greatest social ills plaguing my country today, perhaps the world. I see it all over the news, cropping up in many different ways, but the underlying spirit of “righteous” rage is the same, and it can drive good, reasonable people to do the cruelest of things to the people they love, sometimes perfect strangers.

One danger I see is how this rage can blind us to the hypocrisy of our actions. “Person X said/did Y to person X and this is deplorable. We should never do/say such hurtful, mean-spirited things. I will teach Person X by saying/doing hurtful, mean-spirited things to Person X. They deserve it, so I am totally clean. My nasty behavior is justified by the nasty behavior of Person X.”

When we succumb to such thinking, in realty, we have become part of the problem ourselves. We have become what we hate.

Brothers and sisters, we can be dismayed but not too surprised when the world behaves in this manner as our culture slides further and further away from any sort of Christian foundation. Let’s seek to keep it out of the Church, starting with the one person whose actions we have any control over: the person in the mirror.

Let’s respond to evil with good. When they curse, let’s bless. When they’re rude, let’s pray for strength from God to speak kindly and respectfully back. A soft answer turns away wrath; turning the other cheek to insults can break the spread of the rage overtaking many.

No matter how wrong they are, and what we think they deserve, let’s try to take a step back, remember Christ took the wrath of God that we deserved for our wrongs on the Cross. Let’s offer freely the love we have received from Christ, and let’s try to keep in mind the love of Christ is also rather different from the world’s idea of love, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Breathe. Slow, long. When your body tenses up, choose to unclench those clenched muscle groups. Acknowledge to yourself that you are angry. Acknowledge the reality of the wrong/injustice/threat provoking the anger response. Pray and ask God for wisdom in how to address the real issue while by being kind, respectful, gentle, patient and forgiving toward the other party rather than attacking in kind. We won’t always succeed. We will fail and make our own mistakes. As much as we safely can, be sure to acknowledge your own wrong to the other person as their wrong does not justify ours.

Hate can’t be overcome with hate. It only can be overcome with God’s love.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Ro 12:14;17-21

[tweetthis remove_twitter_handles=”true”]Angry? Hate can’t be #overcome with #hate. It only can be overcome with God’s #love. See: Ro 12:14;17-21[/tweetthis]

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