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Posts Tagged ‘Nephew’

Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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Today I spent a little time looking at a website that list different roadside attractions through out the country, http://www.roadsideamerica.com/. It was like a walk down memory lane. I remember when I was younger visiting some of the places listed. Sadly most are closed, but still it was nice to read about them and to see photos of some of them. It did bring back to mind the simplicity of youth that seems to be missing now. One of the remarks I read about the closing of one

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Note: Cross posted from STATIC Youth’s Weblog.

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2316677591_6654e4ce6f With Mothers Day upon us, it is time to reflect on our mother, both earthly and those that are no longer with us. The other day I posted a blog about having parents, or better yet, the blog was tong in cheek about needing to prove I had parents on my

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What ever happen to  the concept of responsibility? It seems we have lost that somewhere along the way to enlightenment. As we grab onto those lofty ideas of inner growth and walk down the path of opening our minds, we seem to forget that we have an obligation to self, that we are responsible for our own actions.

In the modern world, all-to-often we hear people state “Not my fault”, “I didn’t know” or even “But, I wanted too” or something along those lines. the basic underling theme of each of them is the same, the lack of personal responsibility.

And the sickening part of it all is that we as a culture now think this is an appropriate response. We now expect and accept the concept that it was out of our control, that we had nothing to do with it, that a great force overtook us and we could not stop it, we were at it’s mercy, that we are the victims (because everyone loves being the victim).

My 17 year old nephew is a perfect example, or for that matter, any teen will prove the point. Ask a very direct question, such as did you_(fill in the blank)_? and 9 times out of 10 you will get the response of an excuse, a reason why they did not.  The question required a simple yes or no, nothing more nothing less, but what you get is reasons why they had no control over the situation. Now you may be saying, well that’s just teens, they all do that… And I will respond by saying, Yes you are correct they all do do it, and that’s my point! We, the adults, allow them to, because we, the adults, accept that, we nurture it in them. If we, the adults, did not allow it, than they, the teens, would not do it. Example, when my nephew, or any other teen, responds to a simple yes or no question my response is “That’s not what I asked you”. I didn’t ask for the six million reasons why the dishes are still in the sink, or why you lost your phone or anything else, what I asked was “Did you _____?”. Simple question requiring a simple response. And the funny thing is, he now knows (for the most part) that he needs to respond to the question, and not play the victim of his own lack of responsibility, in fact, the scary part of all this is, that most youth I deal with learn this lesson rather quickly from me, because I do not allow them to skip over personal responsibility when they are responding or talking to me.

But as long as we, the adults, allow them to continue placing the blame elsewhere, as long as we accept and expect them to do so, they will continue to do so. But, and this is a big but, we must also take stock in our own lack of personal responsibility. We as adults do the same exact thing, I wave worked with and still do work with many who never take the blame, the blame is always place on someone or something else. I have the same exact conversations that I have with my nephew with adults, ask a yes or no questions get a five minute dissertation on why they did not or could not or would not, but the same theme runs through it all, it is never, under any circumstances there fault. Funny how that works, with so many perfect adults in the world one must wonder how we ever got so screwed up.

The challenge before us is one of paramount responsibility, in a world were the Nanny State is on the rise, and were the populous wants and expects the government to take care of them from birth to death we are entering in to a world of no responsibility. We are entering a unprecedented time in American History, it is a defining moment for us, as our President (Mr. Obama) likes to keep telling us, and he is correct! The defining moment is now, and it is all about responsibility, our own personal responsibility. We have to decide if we want to keep passing our responsibility to the government or do we want to keep it for ourselves. Do we want to be truly free (keeping our own personal responsibility) or do we want to be slaves (giving all our responsibility to the government).

Personal responsibility is walking towards a slow death, so far it has been an uphill walk, but we are now at the top of the hill, and what we choose to do at this moment in our history will determine the direction and speed of our walk. If we choose to continue to negate our personal responsibilities we will run, not walk down the back side of the hill in to slavery to the government, but if we choose at this pivotal time in our history to turn back towards they way we came from, if we choose to re-accept our personal responsibilities, that we can start our slow, responsible walk back down the front side of the hill towards our personal freedoms once again.

We have a choice to make, it is our responsibility to make the correct choice, not only for our today’s but also for our children’s children’s tomorrows.

Paul

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Time for your self is important, each of us need to set aside a little time each day for ourselves. Now I can hear some people already says, sure maybe you have time to set aside, but me, I’m so busy that I barley have time to sleep, with work and the kids and this event and that even….

and so it goes….

Well I say bull crap to that!

No one, and I mean no one is that busy that they can not find 5, 10 or 15 minutes each day for themselves, I am sure President Obama does, and you can not tell me you have more stuff on your plate than the leader of the free world does.

I am sure he has time for his wife and kids and for himself. If he can find the time, so can we. It’s called time management, and its a skill we all need to learn. And it is one we can discipline ourselves in, if we truly try.

As proof to my point, the young man that lives with me, my nephew, he use to spend all his time after school doing nothing but homework. He would come home, sit down and start on his homework, stop for dinner than study until 10 or 11 at night, and sometimes wake up a 5am to study more. He did ok in his classes, but nothing great. I was on him for over a year to stop this madness and go out with friends, hang out and play a little , to take time for his mind to rest and time for himself.

This past semester I forced him to do so, I refused to allow him to come home a study, he had to go and do something else with his friends and than after dinner do his homework. He got his best report card to date! He has learned a lesson for life, that time for himself is invaluable. His comment to me after getting his report card was, “I guess to much studying is not to smart”.

No truer statement can be made, and you can replace the wordy studying with any other word you like:

  • I guess to much overtime is not to smart
  • I guess to much helping others is not to smart
  • I guess to much volunteering is not to smart
  • I guess to much ________ is not to smart

We all can find the time, it’s not a matter of needing more hours in the day, its a matter of using the hours we got smartly. If my 17 year old nephew can figure it our, we should be able to also.

Sit down and write out your typical day, hour by hour, see where your time is going, and discover how you can re order your day or remove from your day to gain 10, 15 or 20 minuets to give to yourself.

Paul

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Last night I had a intimate chat with my nephew, he is a 17 year old young man who originates from Cameroon Africa. He has only been in this country for a few years, and I have only known him for 1.5 years or so, well maybe closer to 2 years now, but what ever. In truth he is not my natural nephew, I knew his dad, not very well, through the church I am youth minister at. His son was in the youth group, and to make a long story short, to help him and his boy out, i let his son move in with me, so now he is my nephew. But back to that chat.

Last night at dinner he is usually very quiet, and does not offer up much information, not much more that a grunt or two. But some of that is typical teen age communication but with him it’s also a cultural thing, he was taught to be seen not heard. And that’s what he tries to do, over the last year or so I have worked very hard to get him to open up, to talk to me and other adults more freely. It’s been a hard road, but it has had it’s moments, like last night.

the topic of our conversation is of no real concern for the point of this blog, what is of concern is the importance of intimate conversation. We have gotten away from intimacy in general, our conversations are done via text messaging on our cell phones, one of the latest trends is to text your boy friend or girl friend that you are breaking up. My nephew asked a young lady out via a text message. I was not happy and told him so, to me, asking someone out is an intimate act and should be done face to face, or at least over the phone, voice to voice. The ability to text someone removes the direct contact, removes the personal touch. It makes it easer to have no investment in to the relationship. Sure there are times that texting is called for, or Instant Messaging (IMing) someone one. I IM people all the time, unless it is important, unless it calls for intimacy than it is a face to face contact.

The body often times speaks more that the voice, we can learn more for the language the body is using than the language the voice is using.  With text messages and such, all that is lost, we speak in bits and peaces, using icons to display emotions and words that haven’t even been added to any dictionary as of yet.

When I talk with my nephew I always make sure I can see him and that he is looking at me, often times he looks down or away, and misses the body language of the conversation. I try to explain the importance of looking someone in the eyes when you talk to them, but in this world of texting it seems to make no cense. I am sure he would rather just text me a reply and be done with it.

This all to often is what most teens, and now even adults would rather do. We are loosing the ability to have intimate conversations by allowing our youth to continue hiding behind there phones. As parents and care givers we have a responsibility to teach our children how to be intimate, and we do this by example, but forcing them to look at us when they talk to us, but explaining that texting does not replace face to face or voice to voice, that important things are not reduced to “OMG” (Oh my god) or other such abbreviations, and that a 🙂 does not truly equal a smile.

If we continue down this path we run the risk of living in a world of no intimacy, just a quick text and off we go. So last nights conversation was truly of no great importance except he did communicate with me, he looked at me and he smiles and responded with feeling in his voice. That is much more than a text message ever can be.

ttyl

Paul

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 “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest”
Mark Twain

What a true statement, when we do the right thing people always seem amazed. The other day I was talking to my sister and we were talking about a family that took in my nephew. He had moved out to the DC area and knew no one except my other nephew, and in truth they really didn’t know each other all that well. But as the story goes, he met a young man that lived in the DC area and they became friends, his family took in my nephew and is treating him as their own son. As my sister and I were talking about it, she said that she just couldn’t believe that they would do that, that she was amazed that a family would invite someone they did not know in to their household.

I had to take a moment to remind her that we do the same thing, that currently I have a young man from Cameroon Africa living with me, whom I did not know just a little over a year ago. That she has accepted him as one of the family and we treat him as if he was my child. He is part of our family and has been ever since he moved in over a year ago.

But we did not see what we are doing as anything great because we are doing what we are suppose to do, the right thing. We live our lives according to the standards we were raised and to the faith that we are called to. It is nothing astonishing, nor is it a great thing, it is, just plain and simple, the right thing.

To me it is more astonishing that people don’t do the right thing that they chose to ignore the needs of others so they can fulfill their own needs. Both my sister and I are tight on cash, she is without a job and I am currently going through a bankruptcy, but neither of us would ever consider not taking care of this young man, nor would we turn away others in need. We would open our homes and pray that God will bless us with what we need to survive. And so far He has, whenever we get close to that breaking point, we seem to always find away to make it, something happens and we receive the money we need, or the help we want.

So once again Mark Twain has placed his finger on it, he has captured in a few words the human condition, one that is sad, but true, doing the right thing often times is seem as extraordinary and ordinary. The human condition is in need of repair, start today and do the right thing, and marvel all your family and friends, and don’t boast about it, let the action speak for itself!

Paul

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