Monthly Archives: November 2010

Doing Nothing

Doing nothing seems easy.  But when you’re a parent doing nothing can be very hard.

My friend’s daughter wanted an ice cream cone tonight.  They were freely being handed out at the other side of the room.  She wanted one.  Desperately wanted one, but wanted help.  “Dad, will you come do it for me?”  He wisely replied, “No, honey, you can do it yourself.  Go ahead.”  My friend was not being lazy or trying to take the easy way out, he was trying to instill self-reliance, moving her along that continuum of dependence to independence and letting her know he believes in her.  He was doing the hard thing – nothing.  Letting her do it herself.

When your children don’t want to do something themselves it is very easy to step in and do it for them.  It’s quicker, less messy, the end result is much more to our liking and sometimes there’s much less hassle involved (yelling).  But the end result is not the task at hand.  The end result is a child that is learning to take another step for themselves, learning that we believe in them and realizing that they matter.  The pout on their face and the whine that exudes from their mouth does not agree with that last statement but they don’t see the big picture, we do.  But when we get tired, crunched for time, out in public or short on patience we forget, rush in and just get the ice cream cone.  My friend didn’t.  He reminded me that parenting is encouraging them and then doing nothing.

As I drove home I realized that the asks from my children are bigger now than going to get the ice cream cone.  With late adolescents and emerging adults in the family the stakes are a bit higher.  For both of us.  Perhaps at first glance the task itself might not seem any different from an ice cream cone but they are still on that continuum of dependence to independence.  And our goal is ultimately interdependence, where we can depend on each other.  And as long as I am impatient (we have been at this a long time now), in a hurry or frustrated – I rush in when maybe I should just do nothing.  Thanks for the reminder tonight Mike.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family

Speak Up

360 – days since I first saw a child held in slavery

239 – days since I asked my country to help that child by passing the Child Protection Compact Act

83 – days since I visited Senator Gillibrand’s office to ask her to bring this legislation to Congress for a vote

54 – days since I visited Senator Schumer’s office to ask him to vote yes

47 – days since Senator Schumer said yes and became a co-sponsor on this same bill

1 – day until I call them and ask them to use the small window of time left in this year’s legislative session to make a difference for that child I saw 360 days ago.

I know it might be a stretch to think that this piece of legislation, the Child Protection Compact Act, will actually touch that boy on Lake Volta, Ghana.  But I know that once passed it will help those held captive in the modern-day slave trade.  There is a small window of time to ask our Senators to pass this legislation, just weeks before they break for Christmas and the newly elected Congress arrives on Capitol Hill.  If it’s not passed this year what will we do?  We’ll start over again.  We might be delayed, but we won’t forget.

How can you help?  It’s simple and fast.  Call the 2 New York State Senators below and use this script:

Hello my name is ___________ and I am a constituent from ______(state).  I’m calling to ask the senator to vote “yes” on the Child Protection Compact Act (S. 3184).  Thank you.

Senator Schumer  (202) 224-6542

Senator Gillibrand  (202) 224-4451


If you live outside the great state of New York find your Senator here.

And then pass this along to others.  Wednesday, November 10 is the National Call In Day for those that want to see this bill passed.  Even if you miss the big push, call another day this week, or next.

Join me in making a difference and speaking up for those that can not.

Leave a comment

Filed under Global Reflections

A Month of Thanksgiving

Whether your children are young or old you are as much a teacher as you are a learner.  Sometimes you learn that laying in the grass watching the clouds is more important than the dirty dishes that are piled in the sink.  Sometimes you learn that taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon does everyone, even those over 4 years of age, a world of good.  Sometimes you learn that you can’t fix the hurt or take it away, but you can share it to ease the burden.  You set out early in parenthood thinking that you’re the teacher, but from this vantage point, I think I’m more the learner.

Who taught my daughter to take the time to be thankful – everyday for an entire month?  That surely wasn’t me.  I didn’t lead by example.  But I’m learning from her’s.  Who taught my daughter to care deeply about her faith and live it out with her life?  I’d like to think it was me.  But I think it was more the others that  have surrounded her and those she intentionally surrounded herself with that have demonstrated to her how to allow truth and love to penetrate your whole life.

I am a student these days.

And to follow her example, I’m thankful for my daughter – living within God’s story right in front of everyone.  Including me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Family