Monthly Archives: January 2015

My 3-Year-Old Has Good News

Some parts of me don’t want to publish this post.  Mostly, I’m afraid I’ll come across as pretentious and boastful–like I want everyone to praise my shining example of modern parenthood.

But, I think I can trust you to believe that’s not my goal… (Right?)

Then another part worries I’ll lose some of the beauty of this memory, upon releasing it to dozens of others who may or may not understand the significance. I don’t want to break the spell by dropping a huge chunk of my soul into the cold abyss of the Internet, alongside all the opinions and prejudices and criticisms.

But something amazing happened tonight--and I’m not whole unless I write through an experience.

What’s a beautiful moment, unless you have the freedom to recount it?  Doesn’t everybody want to tell their favorite stories over and over, to whoever will listen?

So that’s what I’m going to do now; tell my story.  It’s only a few hours old, and already one of my favorites…

——

This is my best word-for-word transcript of the conversations I had with my 3-year-old daughter after my exercise class, when I picked up she and her brother from the playroom at the YMCA.

Me:  Look at my face. This is an ANGRY face.  I’m very, very unhappy with the way you’ve been acting.  Your teachers told me you had three time-outs! And then you ran away from Mommy when I told you to come back and put your coat on. What’s the matter with you?!

Cami:  See that little girl, Mommy?

Me: No, I’m not looking at the other little girl right now. I’m looking at YOU–because I’m talking about all the bad choices you’re making. I don’t know where your brains are, but they aren’t in your head… We have to ask Jesus to help you focus and be a good girl.

As we walked to the car, Cami announced that Jesus helped her change her attitude and she was ready to be a good girl.  I told her we would still have to talk to her dad about what happened, but usually this would be the near-end of the conversation.  She really was trying to behave, so I don’t know why I didn’t leave it there. I can’t explain why I said what I did next…

Me:  Well, we have a problem, Cami. You really deserve a spanking when we get home.

Cami:  What?! No! No, I don’t want a spanking!

Me:  I know…but you did lots of things that you know are naughty.  And, when people do things that are wrong, there has to be a punishment.  Somebody has to take the consequences…

Cami:  But, no! (*starting to sniffle*)  I don’t want a spank! I’m being a good girl!

Me:  Yes, you are being a good girl now. But what about the punishment?  Who will get a spanking if you don’t get it?

Cami: Just, nobody! Nobody can have a spanking!

Me:  That’s not how it works, baby girl.  When we do bad things, there are consequences. SOMEBODY has to get a punishment.

We sat in silence for a couple of minutes, while I drove home. And, eventually, we got distracted by songs on the radio and playing with her baby brother. But when we pulled into our garage, Cami remembered the situation.

Cami: Am I still getting a spank, Mommy?

Me:  Let’s take our things in the house first. But, then it’s almost Spanking Time.

Cami:  *sadly* But I’m being gooooooood!

(We go inside.)

Me: The problem is, you already made the bad choices to slam your brother’s hand and not say sorry when your teacher asked.  And then you laughed and made us tell you three times to put away the toy.  And then you ran away and hid from me. That’s a lot of things that you already did wrong!   Who’s going to pay the punishment for all of that stuff?

Cami:  Uh….Collin!

Me:  Does Collin deserve to be punished?

Cami: *hesitantly*  Y-y-y-yeah.

Me:  You want me to give the spanking to Collin?! Even though he didn’t do anything wrong…?  You know it will make him cry, right?  Are you sure you want Mommy to spank your baby brother?

(I stood up and walked toward the baby, so I could show his sweet, smiling face to her–but she jumped up and yelled.)

Cami: No! Don’t spank Collin!

Me:  Who deserves to be spanked?

Cami:  Just…(*desperately*)  just…nobody!

Me:  Maybe the cats should get the spanking?  Were THEY naughty?

Cami:  No… (*sadly*)  I did.

Me:  Who deserves the spanking?

Cami:  Me. I. Me. (*sniffling*)

Me: You were naughty?

Cami:  Uh-huh…  (*sniffs again*)  But… (*almost whispering*) I don’t want a spank!

Now that I had the official confession, I walked across the room and knelt in front of her.  Very carefully–making sure she looked in my eyes–I told her:

I don’t want you to get a spank either. 

She looked both hopeful and a little confused for a split second before I continued:

So, tonight, MOMMY is going to take your punishment.

And, before she could wrap her mind around my words, I slapped my own hand with 2-3 cracks.

That tenderhearted baby immediately burst into tears…

No, Mommy! No, No! (*sobbing*)  Noooo!

Obviously, I wrapped her in my arms… and then I rocked back and forth, shushing as I stroked her hair.  We cried together for a couple of minutes.  And, when the moment passed, I grabbed her face and said, “I love you.  Now it’s done! So, let’s eat dinner.”

And we did…

It wasn’t until we were climbing the stairs for bed more than an hour later that she asked me a question out of the blue, letting me know her wheels were still turning.

Cami: Why would you smack yourself, when you didn’t do anything wrong?

Me:  Because I wanted you to know what Jesus did for us. Jesus took our punishment.  He loved us soooo much, that he wanted to keep us from hurting. But SOMEBODY had to pay for all the naughty things we do all the time.   I know this is hard for a little girl to understand.  But I wanted to show you how much I love you and how much JESUS loves you, too…  Know what I mean?

Cami:  (*nods and smiles*)  Yes! But did you like it?

Me:  No, it hurt! I don’t like being hurt. But I didn’t want you to be hurt, either.

Cami: So you took my spanking! You took MY spanking, so I didn’t have to get spanked!

Me:  I think you got it… and how did it make you feel?

Cami: Happy!

Me:  It made you happy. But it also made you cry. Why did you cry?

Cami:  Because…  (*starting to tear up again*)  Because I didn’t want you to get spanked either. Because I love you.

Oh, man, rip my heart out why dontcha, kid?  🙂

Cami:  (*suddenly smiling*) We can tell Daddy!

Me: What are you going to tell him?

Cami:  We’re going to tell him “Mommy took my punishment.”

—-

And thus, she moved straight into the “Great Commission,” even without being taught that part of the lesson. That’s right, Girl! Go on and share that Good News!

God, give me the wisdom to keep sharing the Gospel with this brilliant and amazing child. 

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Just to Clarify, America, THIS is what ACTUAL Bullying Looks Like

Soooo….  a friend of mine recently had a baby who had to spend a few days in the NICU being monitored.  (Although, he’s supposed to go home today. YAY!)     Anyway, my friend has been posting updates and prayer requests on Facebook “publicly,” so that her family can share the news.

And all would be well, except one of her updates (mentioning her son’s circumcision) was discovered and shared by a couple of Slacktivist groups:  Infant Circumcision is Unnecessary and Mutilation Watch.

Technically, these groups aren’t doing anything illegal, by trolling around the internet to find personal stories of women who have recently given birth and posting their real names (and their baby’s names), so that their followers can gossip about them…

But it’s a pretty lowlife move, isn’t it?

That’s why I posted a comment on one of the group’s threads, telling my friend I was sorry she’s being harassed by the Know-It-All Mommies.  But my comment was deleted immediately, and I was blocked from future posts. 

Again, that’s within their rights to do.

But doesn’t it say a lot about a person’s “argument,” when they won’t allow any replies?

And what can you learn about the character of a person who will intentionally upset mothers in the middle of their recoveries, so that they and their friends can cluck their tongues at them?

In what universe does that qualify as doing a good/important thing?

… Listen, I’m all about sorting through different opinions.  I LOVE a good controversy, and I’ve participated in hundreds of debates in my lifetime.   If somebody wanted to go back and forth with me about the pros/cons of circumcision, I’m all for it.

But don’t prey on a friend of mine and use her baby as a prop, just because you’re legally allowed.

And don’t shut down the conversation when it gets too hard for you.

The members of this group have the same philosophy as a car thief who refuses to accept responsibility–but keeps repeating, “the door was unlocked!”

When you won’t let people defend themselves–when their only choice is to lock up their information, to keep jerks like you from exploiting it–that makes you a bully. 

—–

It took literally 15 minutes for the administrator of that group to shut down my rebuttal, and repeat her passionate battle cry about “mutilating babies.”  This is America, so few of us have real worries. Instead, we spend all day on our phones, sharing one-sided information about the LIFE THREATENING DANGERS of a common surgery, and we fight the important battle by searching for photos of unsuspecting people to shame…

Anyway, I share all of this in case some of my readers want to peek at these groups or try your own hand at engaging the administrator in dialog.  If you do–I want to know how long it takes for you to be deleted.  (Longest time gets 50 points!)  🙂

The Modern Muslim

There’s a lot of talk right now about “Muslim Extremists” and “Islamic Fundamentalists” vs. “Peace-Loving Muslims.”

We use phrases like “some Muslims” or “Most Muslims” or “not THAT kind of Muslim,” etc, etc.

So, it seems to me, with all the lines we’re needing to draw and clarifications we’re having to make, the word “Muslim” doesn’t really tell you much by itself.  You have to dig a little deeper to figure out what people really mean by that label.

There’s a pretty big difference between the Fundamentalists and the tamer, westernized version.

Are you a Muslim who takes the Quran literally, or are you basically a Christian with a Middle Eastern name?

We all know there are terrorists who take the Quran literally when it says: “The infidels are your sworn enemies” (Sura 4:101). “Make war on The infidels who dwell around you.” (Sura 9:123) “When you meet The Infidels in the battlefield, strike off their heads.” (Sura 47:4)

But, on the other hand, a Peace-Loving Muslim would probably prefer meditating on “Love your neighbor as yourself”

…even though that particular verse comes from the Christian holy book.

What’s the one belief that ties ALL Muslims together?  What is foundational to practicing Islam? 

It’s tough to pin point because it could be anything on a spectrum from, “Kill The disbelievers wherever we find them” (Sura 2:191) to the belief that all humans are equally valuable–even though Mohammed himself failed to treat women and children this way.

Both murder and compassion could qualify as “Islam.”

The only thing that seems to matter is whether a person calls him/herself a Muslim.  Even if you were born to Catholic parents in Kalamazoo and never stepped foot in a Mosque–if you connect with Islam on a deep level, then you get to qualify as Muslim and argue that Islam is peaceful.

You just have to say, “I’m a Muslim,” and you are one.

…which brings me to my announcement:

I’m a Muslim now, guys.

Dont hate muslims

No, I’m not THAT kind of Muslim.

You don’t have to worry about me flying a plane into a building or wearing a bomb onto a loaded bus somewhere. Muslims like me believe in meekness and tolerance!

I’m a Jesus-and-Bible-loving, Modern Day Muslim.

I believe in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.  (You know: basic Jesus teachings…)  But I also really  want to write a blog post about how my burkah causes me to suffer discrimination. And I love the idea of facing East when I pray…

So…I identify as Muslim. Obviously.

Just remember, mine is a Religion of Peace. (I have absolutely no problem ignoring the hundreds of places the Quran encourages violence.)

Would anybody in their Politically Correct mind dare question my faith?

Just call me Aamilah Rania Mahdavi.

And please don’t discriminate against my (totally peace-loving) people!

What Would You Tell Your Gay Child?

The discussion around this new TLC show ought to be interesting…

It’s called “My Husband’s Not Gay,” featuring Men with same-sex attraction who DELIBERATELY CHOSE to ignore those impulses and marry women, because they believe it’s right…

In other words, these gay-tempted (but-not-gay-practicing) men are committed to loving their wives, even though their bodies often want to do something different.

This used to be called “self-control”  or “not giving into temptation”–but the concept is foreign enough to qualify as a reality TV show in today’s culture.  

It positively scandalizes my generation because we believe everyone should Do What They Feel, because What They Feel Equals Who They Are. (And no one has the right to judge you. Amen?)

But I don’t want my kids to be as confused about self-control as my peers are. So I’ve already started teaching my babies about choices.

I talk about the Flesh vs. Righteousness concept with my 3-year-old daughter all the time.

When I notice that she’s getting angry or frustrated with something, I let her know it’s a struggle for me, too. I’ll say, “Your body really wants to hit your brother, doesn’t it? My body gets angry sometimes, too!” OR, “You didn’t have a nap, so your body wants to cry and cry and cry, doesn’t it? Sometimes my body feels tired and cranky, too.”

BUT, I make sure she understands her heart still has a choice.

Even when it’s difficult–especially when it’s difficult–we still have the responsibility to think and act on what’s right. 

For my little girl, the lesson sounds like this:

“You need to ask God to change your heart. When you’re weak or tired or angry, be careful! That’s when your hands might try to get you in trouble!  You have to stop them. And even when it’s really, really hard, God can give you the strength.”

These talks are starting to pay off.  My daughter regularly says things like, “Uh-oh, I think my hands want to be bad!…”  or  proudly declares, “Mommy, I made a good choice!”   She’s already starting to recognize the difference between what she desires and what she ought to do.

And she’s not even in Kindergarten, yet.

That’s why I’m never intimidated when someone discovers that I’m a “homophobe” and excitedly demands, “JUST WHAT WILL YOU TELL YOUR CHILD, IF HE/SHE TURNS OUT GAY?!?!?!”  

The answer is simple. We have been preparing for that situation her entire life.  I’m also ready if one of my kids “comes out” as a shoplifter or a compulsive liar or someone who battles with any type of deviant sexual impulse…

“What do you expect, Mom? I can’t help who I am!”…

“And who are you, my love?  Are you basically a tangle of impulses and emotions? Are you defined by your body’s temptations? No–you are what you do… And, unless you choose to practice the gay lifestyle, you’re not gay.”

An Awesome Employee Seeks Support

Help, I’m experiencing discrimination!

I need a bunch of people to team up with me and tell my boss that she’s a jerk!

First of all, I’m an AWESOME employee, so there can be only one explanation for why my boss won’t cut me a little slack in a few areas: she’s hateful and is out to get me.

I’ve tried complaining about my job to my friends.

I’ve tried writing to the newspaper.

I’ve even priced a few lawyers.

The only thing I HAVEN’T done is wonder if I might come across as demanding to other people–because, again, I already know I’m an AWESOME employee. (My friends say so.)

Anyway, my question is, what derogatory name can I use to categorize my boss when I tell others my sad story? I’m white, so she can’t be a “racist.” Plus, SHE’S a woman, so she can’t be “misogynist.” As you can see, I need help here!

Obviously, I won’t be able to share all the details of the intolerant and unfair deeds every time I tell my story. (Because, believe me, I plan to rehash my story thousands of times over the course of the rest of my life–especially if she fires me like my last hateful boss.)

So, it would really help if I could win people to my side with a single phrase–preferably solidifying my role as the victim at the same time.

Know any good inflammatory labels which might apply here?

Can I just call my boss D.N.O.S.?  (Discriminatory, Not Otherwise Specified?)

Thanks in advance!