Google+
Sunday Prayer: Free Will

Sunday Prayer: Free Will

Dear Lord, I don’t know where to begin with this one. I want to say thank you for common sense, but I wonder why you gave us free will first. For example Lord, I tell my daughter not to climb because she can fall–see, common sense that I’m sharing. Her free will says climb anyway can come to after she falls–common sense not working. Of course I understand that if you changed things up now, our parents will not be able to smile at all the “trouble” our little one gets into. I know it’s an insider joke between you and the grandparents–I’m not offended (if you were worried). If you were to make any changes (please, not just on my behalf), then might I suggest common sense before free will? We all know children are impulsive, but if they had common sense (or listened when the parents share theirs) then this world might be a better place (cliché I know, but it sounds nice). However, deep down I’m probably just wondering, why couldn’t Zee just take my word for it–I haven’t lied to her yet, why start now? Hmm…maybe my next prayer should be a sedative for me. If she’s like this now, I shudder to think about how it will be when she’s a...

Forest of Family

When I was younger, I used to think of my family as a forest of trees. Always standing, always strong. It didn’t matter what happened, I knew I was protected by the vast numbers of my loved ones. But as I grew older, I noticed a shift, a change in my forest. No longer did I feel protected; I felt very vulnerable. My family slowly shifted, and instead of being in the background–protected from the winds and hardships of this world–I was projected to the front lines. I was now doing the protecting. Yesterday, we laid to rest another matriarch of my family: my Great Aunt Marjorie. She lived to be well into her 80s, and had 6 children. She was the wife of a World War II veteran, and she was the last living sibling of my Grandmother. Looking at my Grandmother, I can see the sadness in her eyes. She is now the only one left. Mother, father, husband, sisters, and brothers, and even son had passed away and laid to rest; all that’s keeping her here is my mother and her grandchildren as well as great-grand child. I cannot imagine what it’s like to be the last one standing in your family, the same very protection you felt slowly crumbles away, and you are left naked and alone once again. But I can imagine it, since it will be a fate that some of us will have in our futures. You always think that you have more time to get to know someone, that what ever you need to get done can wait until tomorrow. Sometimes...

Practicing the Golden Rule

I’ve struggled with this post for the longest. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tackle this book: Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn. This is a topic that I started to discuss in an earlier post. After going through this book more than once I can finally sum it all up in one word–respect. For the most part, this book focuses on one of the two major parts of behavioral psychology: operant conditioning. “Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behavior.” (operant conditioning was coined by B.F. Skinner–a behaviorist). Most, if not all, parenting books will focus on operant conditioning; how to get our children to do what we want through punishments and rewards. Behaviorist believe that a person’s behavior is 100% caused by their environment. They don’t take into account feelings, or internal thought process–free will is irrelevant. So, in the spirit of operant behaviorism, our actions can cause or shape a person to behave in a way that is pleasing to us. This is usually done through rewards and punishments. What does this have to do with us? As it turns out, most of us usually rely on these principles to have our child do what we want. We learned this from how we were raised, and practices that were applied to us (getting rewarded for good grades, punished for speaking out of turn–through school and home). In a way, we were conditioned to be conditional. For now, it seems that these behavior modifications work. The problem that Kohn and other psychologist brings up is that does not work...

Breaking Invisible Glass Barriers

  When my husband and I first met, we began doing a knowledge swap. We would each talk about our traditions and what it meant to us. This worked great with just trying to know each other, and know our families, but after we were married, we had to know more. Knowing only our traditions was not enough, we needed to understand each other’s history and background. What really made us tick. So, we began doing a history swap. This made me really excited since I was a African-American & American history major. I still find myself curling up with a good history book on my Nook. What I have noticed during our sessions is that there is so much that I never knew about my husband’s history, and he was even more surprised when I started to discuss my history with him. I always try my best not to be biased, and show him all aspects–good and bad, positive and negative–and let him make his own conclusions. I don’t want to steer him in any direction, I think that would be an abuse of knowledge. Sometimes, he asks me: “With your history, why aren’t you angry?” “What for?”–is my usual response. Despite obstacles that were put in my family’s way, or a clear glass wall that was set up to be a barrier, my family still did what was necessary to break through those invisible barriers. So why should I be angry? If anything, I am a walking testament of my parents and their parents will and determination. But this is not only for me, we are all...
Sunday Prayer: Patience

Sunday Prayer: Patience

Dear Lord, Why can’t patience be like a bank account–with no fees? I mean seriously, we can check to see how much patience we have in the bank, and our families will know how much to withdraw. When we are running low, all of our loved ones will receive a notification (other than our personal warning: “I’m losing my patience”). For women, we can have an automatic deposit during the week of–or a few days before–Shark Week, so we’ll have it when we need it the most. I think it would be a great idea Lord–of course if you want to implement it, you would. I was only trying to give a suggestion. If you decide not to go through with it, then can you grant me the strength to get through the times when my patience is running low, and the wisdom to keep some in reserve when it’s high. Aside from sanity, no one really understands how patience is really valuable–almost as valuable as me time. Thank you for listening....
Google+