Monday, July 27, 2009

Tommy Can You Hear Me?

As some of you may know, there is nothing more wonderful than raising kids. On that same note, there is nothing more horrifying than raising a teenager, particularly a teenage daughter. My wife and I have done a pretty good job of handling the upbringing of my oldest daughter who is almost 14. Everything kind of came naturally, that is until now. For the first time, we realize we haven't got a clue as to what we are doing.

My sweet little girl has become confronting, argumentative, and disrespectful at times. Yes, she has the potential to be a pure Gremlin. In general, the fighting happens between my daughter and my wife who understandably is reluctant to take the crap that my daughter has come to believe she is privileged to dish out. It is pretty much impossible to break through the barriers of my child's mind to get her to understand her responsibility for her actions. She doesn't understand where she is wrong and doesn't want to hear it. It seems like the same fight over and over and at times I duck my head into my foxhole until the shrapnel quits flying. Often I have to step in to fan out the smoke so everyone can see clearly. Still, the point is, my daughter doesn't hear what we are saying. She doesn't want to see her part in the problem. She doesn't want to talk about what she could do differently so that we might all live in harmony.

This is where I bring in the reference "Tommy can you hear me"? This phrase is from the rock opera movie "Tommy" based on music by The Who (1975). The Movie is about a young boy who's' father in the military, returns home one night and sees his wife with another man. The man then kills Tommy's father by smashing a lamp over his head as Tommy witnesses the whole thing. Tommy is then told by the mother and the lover that he "didn't hear it, didn't see it" and "won't say nothing to no-one". As a result, Tommy becomes deaf, dumb, and blind in order to block out the tragedy and conform to the request of his mother and her lover. The movie then revolves around the mother and eventual step father breaking through the wall Tommy has built to enclose himself from the outside world.

So there is my comparison. "Tommy can you hear me, Tommy can you see me"? My extremely brilliant daughter has become the "deaf, dumb and blind kid" when it comes to the reasoning of parenting. In addition, I'm concerned that she doesn't "play a mean pinball" in order to snap out of it. ( You'll have to watch to movie if you don't follow what I'm saying there.) Nevertheless, here I am trying to play "the miracle worker" to mediate and communicate where possible. That is, when I'm not ducking into my foxhole. Some tell me this is normal. Although I'm still concerned, the only thing I can do is turn it over to God. I pray, I love and every now and then I peep out of my foxhole. As stressful as it all can be, my faith tells me God will take care of me, my wife, and most importantly my baby girl. I also know He will give me the strength to deal with the next teenage girl who for now is nine. I pray more. I would also appreciate it if you would pray for me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What the ?

Let's say your walking down the sidewalk next to some lovely manicured shrubs and suddenly a cat runs out and between your legs really catching you by surprise. You then say "What the insert expression here ?". Now I have recently began what I will call my walk with God as my faith and relationship with Christ is at the forefront of what drives my life. I am his and I am in his hands. The same goes for you too, you just may not choose to accept it as it is or cherish the truth as I do. Nevertheless, I am new to this somewhat and only God knows what follows "What the" as the cat scares the holy crap out of me. ( I said holy crap!)

What's significant about this is that it is very likely that I will catch myself at this point from saying one of several words that one might see as being non-Christian. I don't know that I'll break down into text-book Ned Flanders and say "What the darn doodely diddely?" but I might say " What the Heck?". I might even say "What the?" and leave it at that.

For a moment let's suppose I didn't catch myself and I just let it fly, "WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THAT? First off, I'm not a bonufide scholar of the Bible, but I don't recall where it says I shouldn't say that. If such is written in the Bible please let me know so I can study this further. Second, I know that I am already forgiven. How awesome is that? But chances are I am going to catch myself and not let that slip. The longer I walk with Christ, I find that am less likely to let such slip from my cake killer.

There are several expressive words that as a society, we have deemed curse words (or cuss words as we like to say here in the south). There is the famous "S" word one might shout as they realize they just locked themselves out of the house. You know, the one that means "doody". ( I am so stoked that I got to say doody in my blog). Is the "S" word a cuss word? Is that word in the Bible? Is Doody or other representative synonym in the Bible as an abomination? I will agree that there are some words that are just ugly words representing unsavory things that you just don't want to say and much of society doesn't care to hear it. But the most important thing is, if it slips, its OK. Jesus has forgiven us and he will pick us up, brush us off and continue to walk by our side. You can bet your sweet ......ummm.....rump on that!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Slower Traffic Keep Right

There seems to be some connection between my ever increasing age and my tendencies for unbridled road rage. I often have to ask myself "Do you really think you own the road?". Obviously I don't but it takes some self convincing at times, especially when there is an encounter with a rolling imbecile or blatant inconsiderate ass. I don't have the "pull over and let me kick in your teeth" kind of road rage but one that can be just as dangerous. I have the aggressive driver "I'll show you" kind of road rage. Generally, there is one driving habit that tends to set me off: Failure to get out of my way.

My father taught me how to drive. He taught me how to get where I'm going while also being considerate of other drivers. Courtesy is what I believe he called it. In particular, when you're in the fast lane of a four lane highway and someone is coming up behind you moving at a greater speed than you, it is common courtesy to move into the right hand lane to allow them to pass. This prevents a cluster of cars doing the interstate tango for however many miles it takes to break through the madness. It allows for free flowing traffic without bottlenecks. Failure to do so is failure to get out of my way and thus specifically is what usually sets me off.

I live in Murray County, Georgia. It just so happens to be the "failure to get out of my way" capital of the world. I have been living here for 15 years and I have simply never seen any place quite like it. Nor have I seen so many clueless drivers populating one area of the fine state of Georgia. On my commute to work everyday I drive from my hometown of Chatsworth in Murray county to Dalton in neighboring Whitfield county. Along this 12 mile stretch of 4 lane highway there are SEVERAL signs stating: SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT. They might as well have planted a shrub there as to put up those signs.

Now there is a LARGE Hispanic community in the Northwest Georgia area and they are a great addition to our diversity and culture, not to mention the fantastic labor pool we have because of them. However, very often it is a Hispanic driver that is not getting out of my way. I calm myself by saying "they don't know any better. They probably don't read English and don't understand the concept of being a courteous driver." Then I ask myself, "If all the signs at the local Wal-Mart are in Spanish as well as English, then why don't we have highway signs in both languages?". Surely this would help would it not? The answer is no, it will make no difference at all. These Hispanics have learned to drive by the examples that are already here. For every Hispanic that fails to "keep right", there are three yokel hillbilly morons doing the same thing. Understand that nine out of ten of those yokel hillbillies have a Murray county tag or a Polk county, Tennessee tag. I'll tell you about Polk County some other day. Now let me be clear in saying that I don't think all Murray county residents are idiots. I AM saying that it has more than its' share. If you are reading this, rest assured that I'm not talking about you. The folks I'm talking about probably can't read and definitely can't navigate a web browser.

As inconsiderate as they are, they are not the big problem. The big problem is me. It's my impatience, my rage, and my potential to cause an accident because I have an issue. So I now work on forgiving those "idiots". I try to remember that I love them as Christ wants us to love each other. I work on taking a deep breath so that everyone goes home safe. The Lord knows it isn't easy.