Special consideration

You don’t need to look far on any social media site or even just a quick browse on the net to reveal a group or section of society that is calling for special consideration.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

These groups are all asking for the same things – tolerance, acceptance of differences, understanding, compassion.

You want to know why I’m sick of it? Well, I’m glad you asked 🙂

We shouldn’t need to ask for it. Tolerance, acceptance of differences, understanding and compassion should be how we treat ALL people, not just those in minority groups.

The reason we have the need to specifically ask for special consideration is because we, as a society are not doing it for anyone, let alone a minority group.

The people I know who give special consideration for those sections of society are the same ones who give special consideration to everyone they come into contact with.

It’s not often you meet a generous person and their generosity only extends a small distance. More often than not, generous, giving people will give at any opportunity, with time, money and spirit.

So what we need is a call to arms. Tolerance and acceptance should be our way of life, not just something we ask for some in our community – it should be what we give to all.

Now, you can call me an idealist – trust me, you won’t be the first, or the last – but surely it’s possible.

And you know why I think it’s possible? I have seen enough glimmers of it in the world, to know that we can do it. The key ingredient is Love and the One who is the source of that Love in the first place.

When we truly love, there is no room for bigotry, racism, intolerance, and elitism.

When we truly love, there is really only one possible outcome – special consideration, for all.

Quality time is a crock.

Chatting to a friend recently, the subject turned to parenting and the whole ‘quality’ time thing. As parents we are constantly bombarded with ‘should’s’ and ‘shouldn’t’s’. Society is more than happy to make us feel guilty at every turn – as if parenting weren’t hard enough by itself!

One thing I have never bought into is this idea of ‘quality’ time. What the heck is that, anyway? What does it really mean?

Ask yourself – when you’ve specifically set out to ‘spend quality time’ with the kids eg take them to the zoo and the day turns to mush, compared to the time when everyone gathered in the kitchen, got their hands into the biscuit dough, sang and danced and just generally enjoyed each others company. Which one was quality time?

I think ‘quality’ time is born out of guilt and that’s half the reason it often turns sour, our motivation is wrong.

If you’ve read this blog often, you’ll know I’m all about intentionality in our relationships, so I am in no way suggesting we should stop putting effort into our relationships with our children. What I am suggesting is that it needs to be in perspective.

I’ve seen many parents get so caught up in giving their kids ‘quality’ time that they wear themselves out. Giving our kids quality time can so easily turn into us feeling so guilty that we forfeit our own right to hobbies or relaxation and spend every spare second with our kids.

And the children in these families, more often than not, are demanding, whinging, and spoilt.

While we are so busy giving quality time, we forget that we are teaching them, and often, all that quality time is teaching them is that parents are there to cater to their every whim and want, without them having to take into account another persons feelings.

It doesn’t hurt our kids if we say we are too tired to play a game. It doesn’t hurt them to have to ‘find something to do’ that doesn’t involve us. And here’s the real kicker – it doesn’t hurt our kids to be bored occasionally. It’s actually good for them. Being bored can trigger creativity, imagination and self-reliance. We are doing them a favour by allowing them to be bored.

Oh sure, as parents we have to suffer through some initial whining but if we can push through that and remain resolute, we will find our kids under the table building a cubby, pulling out old toys they haven’t used in months, drawing and writing stories, reading a book, sitting quietly – thinking!, or *shock, horror, gasp* playing with their siblings.

And it also doesn’t hurt to teach our kids that we matter as human beings, too. That there is more to us than being a mum or dad, that we have interests, hobbies and a ‘life’ outside of them.

Do your kids a favour and don’t get sucked into the lie that they want ‘quality’ time. Trust me, your kids will thank you one day.

You, me and Easter.

Due to my beliefs, Easter is a significant time on the calendar, as is Christmas. Yet, in society, I have noticed a shift over the years.

At Christmas time, even those who have no definitive Christian beliefs will agree that it is a time for giving, for love and generosity – sentiments that stem from the reason we have Christmas in the first place.

At Easter time, we seem to have thrown out, not only the reason we have it, but the sentiment it carries, too.

The message is one of forgiveness, a time for redemption and grace, yet Easter is seen nowadays, as no more than a four day weekend. We have forgotten the message and it’s importance to us as people, regardless of beliefs.

Forgiveness and grace are essential to our relationships. We have all, I am sure, struggled to forgive at times, and also known the pain of being unforgiven. Grace, when extended to us and grace shown by us to others, has the power to change lives.

Yet, at a time when it is most significant to remember, forgiveness and grace are not mentioned at all.

What will become of a society that has forgotten how to forgive and be forgiven?

What do we look like as people when grace has no part in our lives and we can’t even take one weekend out to think about it, and maybe even act on it?

Are you weeding?

Before we moved to the house we are in now, we had a large veggie patch, herb garden and chooks. And we loved it. Every twilight was spent pottering in the garden, each weekend we would make renovations to the chook house, my husband and I often laughing that their house received more attention than ours!

The house we are in now, while we love it, does not have a great spot for a veggie patch, or chooks, so we have not really much of a garden to play around with. One day, we tell ourselves, we will have more finances to make what is currently unusable, usable. And more time to do it, too.

What we do have – some herbs, various roses and other plants – is often sadly neglected as we are also much busier now (owning your own business will do that to your life!) and have significant health issues that we didn’t have a few years ago.

Yesterday, though, we bought some new herbs which obviously needed planting, so we were out and about pottering in the garden.

Because I am not out there much, there was a definite increase in weeds. Everywhere. As I pulled the nasty things out, I reprimanded myself for letting it get to the state it was in. If you just come out for half an hour each day, or even every couple of days, you wouldn’t have this situation, I told myself. What beauty there is out here, is being marred by these unsightly weeds, that if I just stayed on top of, wouldn’t be such an issue. Going outside and seeing areas that are totally overrun with weeds can be overwhelming and something I am then tempted to put off. Whereas, if I just do a little each day, the task doesn’t seem anywhere near as daunting.

As I continued to tug the weeds out, I reflected on how like life gardening is, not a new analogy, I know, but it really hit me afresh.

If I tended to those things within me that are unsightly with regularity, the task is cut down considerably. Conversely, if I continue in bad habits and attitudes, any good there is in me and my character can easily be overshadowed. And the task to ‘weed’ my life becomes that much more difficult.

We also know that weeds grow prolifically without us planting them, needing no encouragement from us to thrive. On the other hand, the roses, the herbs, the plants, require intentionality and nuturing. Just like our good and bad character traits.

We need to keep short accounts with ourselves and not let the weeds get out of control. Sometimes, it’s hard for others to see our beauty when the weeds are in abundance and taking over.

Do you need to do some weeding in your life? I know I do.