Monday, December 19, 2011

a 4 year olds mentality of Christmas

As Ayden and Ellyse have aged over the years we have seen them pass Kyle in maturity, and intellect. They both seemed to pass Kyle when they were about 5, we could see them begin to comprehend and understand the world more than he could.
So even as Kyle is biologically the oldest he is now in almost all instances the baby. He is the little brother.

There is a big difference in the way a 4 year old views Christmas as opossed to an 8 year. As our kids get older, it is hard for them not to view Christmas as the wishlist for life, whatever they want they put on a list and they have the expectation they will get it. It is a fight against the consumerism mentality that privades our culture.

With a 4 year old there is still a sense of awe and wonder. There is an excitement and a simplicity of thought when it comes to Christmas. There is a sweet understanding of the real meaning of Christmas, the gift giving and other traditions.

Kyle's one hope for chistmas is a bed for Tigger. As the other kids hope for electronics and other expensive desires, Kyle's desire is simple.

Kyle continues to bring a good perspective to the holidays. He got more than a little excited when we put up the Christmas tree, played christmas music, and drank eggnog. He has enjoyed each small little part of the holiday season.

We have a perpetual 4 year old in the house for Christmas each year, and that is not a bad thing. As life gets hurried and out of perspective Kyle brings it back with a comment, or we adjust our schedules to his physical limitations. It slows us down (in a good way).

As Ayden wrote in a paper for school this week- I want my brother to have a good Christmas- we know that he will and he will bring joy and happiness to each of us because he is with us.

Kyle is a present God has given us along with with our other two children. As we celebrate Christmas and God's ultimate gift to us, we are thankful on a daily basis for the little things he gives us.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The rest of the story

Does life happen in moment by moment time lapses? Are there moments that stand apart from everything else? Can a moment in life change your future, destiny, your kids life, and your legacy?

Or is life more of a melding together of small decisions and undercurrents that lead to the pivitol times? Is it like a tree where we see the growth but we don't see the roots system and the growth that happens below?

I have a hard time seeing random acts anymore in life, I have a hard time seeing stand alone events. Maybe on the surface they seem isolated but when looking at the back story and the small insignificant moments leading to the crescendo most of the time there is an important story that led to these moments.

Does this make everymoment in life equally important? Does this mean that what small acts of kindness or hate can have an even bigger effect long term?

Can the laziness, short cuts, or integrity make lasting impacts?

If I cheat someone of time, or money, have lack of patience, or show love and grace to someone not deserving it have long term effects?

If I turn the other cheek, or gossip? If I allow my tiredness, moodiness, and stress effect others, or if I choose compassion toward others?

The small choices in attitude and action play out both in who we are as people and the actions that will proceed major decisions.

It is easy right to use lack of sleep as an excuse. Not sleeping well,with Kyle getting us up regularly is starting to wear on all of us. General stress of life is a built in reason to excuse behavior and attitude, but life has so little to do with what we go through, rather it is my day to day response.

Over the last five years I have taught life skills in a maximum security prison, and one of the concepts that come up over and over is don't wait to change who you are until you enter the free world. Who each and every prisoner is is not going to change due to circumstances. Who I am is not going to change if I get good night sleep or not.

Sure extenuating circumstances bring out who we are, but the stress of life can not define me. It may bring to light the imperfections but the "major moments" of life expose the roots of my tree.

In the Bible there is a great analogy of a farmer pruning his vineyard and his grape vines. I recently heard that they can prune up to 90% of a grape vine to make it healthy and grow. The anology is the fruit that we are to be growing is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self control.

As we encounter difficulties and every day mundane living we have the opportunities to grow our vines. Do we see the right kind of fruit? Are we producing health or is it sickly?

As I continue today my desire is to continue to grow and be the person God intends and wants me to be. The hard part is not taking short cuts.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Is everything equal?

It was a few months ago, a friend and I were driving through the small farm town of Kouts, just south of where I live. As my friend was driving we saw police lights behind us. After we pulled over, and the police officer came up to the drivers side door, he informed us we had a tail light out. He was very kind, never asked for ID, just informed us of the problem and sent us on our way without issuing a single citation either verbally or written.

I have never had a problem with the police, I have been pulled over a few times in my life, for speeding, lights out, and not wearing a seat belt. Never have I had a bad experience or one that I thought I would end up in jail or even searched for that matter.

That night as we drove north to Valpo, I thought this could have been a very different night if I had been an African American male. At the minimum my ID would have been run, and in all probability I would have been searched and possibly detained for a minor infraction.

I don't know what my expectations are in life as far as fair goes. I just sometimes wonder what it is like not to be in the majority? What it is like to live in a society that is not geared for me? What is it like to live in a world, where I am subserviant to something or someone greater?

I think quite a bit about the world Kyle lives in. Is it fair is it equal? Should it be, should it cater to him, or should he try to succeed in an enviornment that wasn't made for him. One of the sad things for Kyle is his not being able to play at the playground at school. His wheelchair can't manuver the terrain. But is this a question of should the environment be changed for one person, or should it be about the majority?

Even as we think of our family dynamics should Kyle be asked to fit into the culture or should we create culture around him? Should the rythms of life be the "norm" of our society or should we tailor our lives to his?

We have choosen as best we can to build our family culture around Kyle. Is that fair to our other two children? I am not sure, but this is what we have choosen to do.

In an ideal world everything would be equal, but the only way that will happen is when those in the majority- care, love, and nuture those that are different whether it be race, or physical or mental disability.

Whether life is fair or not for Kyle isn't the question rather it is how can we overcome these obstacles to help him be the person God created him to be?