Category Archives: Passing the Torch

Never Give In

We were asked to move my Mother to a second nursing home because she became too difficult. She has dementia. She cannot remember that we’ve been taking care of her 24/7 for the last three years. She cannot remember that my Dad’s been gone for 30 years.

No one’s going to tell her what to do or keep her against her will. They tried calming her with a mild sedative, then a stronger one. The stronger one effected her paradoxically; it enraged her. They eliminated the drug to no avail. She made for the exits. They put an alarm band around her ankle. But she kept trying to make a run for it.

So the powers-that-were politely asked us to find her a new home.

I wanted to say:  She’s a ninety-six year old woman in a wheelchair with the strength of a kitten. Was she too much of a challenge?

I could have argued but I realized the truth: they were not willing to handle her.

She’s articulate, clever, intelligent, sarcastic. She also has almost no short-term memory and is often confused. She can get belligerent. But I thought nursing homes were where one went to get care when one became disabled, particularly when one was cognitively disabled.

Apparently not so, unless one is cognitively disabled in a compliant sort of way.

In the span of six days at her new place, she has tried to take the elevator down, pulled the fire alarm, and threatened to press charges against the staff. She doesn’t cooperate even when it’s to her benefit, hanging on to the table’s edge when they’re trying to pull her chair out from where she’s wedged herself.  Never give in. She’d make a wonderful protester.

To be fair, when we pushed the elevator button to go home, there was a bag taped to the wall next to it. Yes, they have installed the fire alarm right next to the elevator button. In a dementia unit.

My 96 year-old Mom: kicked out of one home, making the second home create new procedures.

When we get there, she gradually calms down, she jokes, she brags of her badass-ness. We re-orient her, we reassure her. We talk about her grandchildren. We explain that she cannot take care of herself at home right now and so she needs to be there. We take her out to the gazebo. We manage to persuade her to submit to another overnight, we promise to be back next day.

And try to be nice to the staff; they’re just doing their jobs. We’ll be back tomorrow.

This must be repeated every day. Her kids are her only link to stability. She cannot remember new people so everyone else is a stranger. Sometimes our reassurance and persuasion go down fairly well, sometimes it takes hours, and sometimes she still isn’t buying it. She’s going home.

She will never not want to go home. She is nursing home-resistant. I hope the new place is ready for permanent non-compliance because she is not going to assimilate.

I am trying to plant an idea in her mind. Although it may seem cruel, I’m trying to suggest that when you are almost 100 years old, it’s no shame to lean on others. It’s no shame, and maybe even necessary, to accept some help. She could be so much more content.

So far it’s not working.

 

Simple Advice

Be honest about what you ultimately want from your life. This is tricky because we’re dishonest with ourselves about this. And when we’re young we think there’s endless time and endless opportunity to change direction.

But time passes so quickly, along with opportunity.

If you want to look back at your life from the end and see a happy home and family of your creation in partnership with a person of the opposite sex, do not pussyfoot around with politically-correct posturing through your twenties and thirties. Stop trying to impress your peers and social media contacts. Get to work looking for that partner and developing yourself into a person who can create that home.

Decide what you really want from life. Shut out all the other voices around you and think about what you would regret not having done when it’s too late. Too late comes much faster than you expect.

If that’s the career of your dreams, go for it. If it’s public significance and gravitas, go for it. If it’s purpose without recognition, go for it.

If it’s a lifetime working together, shoulder to shoulder, with the person you admire and respect most in the whole world, go for it. Get to work.

Is there a person in your life who is kind, dependable, willing to commit to you? Do you think this person will support you through life’s rocky road? What more do you need?

If it’s you standing at a sink of dishes with a toddler or two roaming around wrecking havoc, go for it. If it’s watching your kids become unique and valuable human beings who better the world by their presence, go for it.

None of the options will just happen. You have to be intentional about what you pursue. Yes, sometimes things mysteriously fall into place, and God does drop things in our laps. But we must be able to discern those things as gifts, and not devalue them and throw them away.

I’m afraid we throw away gifts like garbage all the time.

Do we imagine that God’s methods, the ways he designed us to actualize those chances, are too outmoded for our enlightened times? What pride.

We are made for relationship. There is not one thing on earth more significant than building good relationships. The question is: what kind of relationships do you want as you walk through your life? How deep, how lasting? What will you have when it’s too late to change direction?

 

The Wrong Side of History

Re-posting from awhile ago.

Let’s not be on the wrong side of history. I say this because I like to hope that some future people who descend from us will have rediscovered the moral compass, learned to honor objective justice, found the Truth. If so, they will look back at us and be appalled at our indolence, our indifference in the face of genocidal baby slaughter.

There can be no escape for us as a people.  Multiplied millions of murdered children cannot go unanswered by the conscience of any possible belief system. Only an utter nihilist could deny that the scales will ultimately be balanced and we will be found wanting. A universe which assigns no meaning and passes no judgment upon endless human carnage is an absurd nightmare.

The activities of Planned Parenthood are completely indefensible. If we cannot purge this corporate atrocity from our society, we do not deserve to call ourselves civilized, moral, or even good humans.

I do realize that all abortions are not chosen in as careless a manner as PP advocates that they should be. It may be, for many women, that all available medical advice was to terminate and try again. They may have grieved terribly over having to lose a child they wanted…Or they may have aborted for more elective reasons but felt unaccountably uncomfortable about it after. I realize that there are many women who were urged to abort for what seemed like unarguable reasons.

That’s the problem. If the default of our society  is to err on the side of death in order to solve our problems, and women are confronted with life-and-death decisions when they are at their most vulnerable…death becomes the predetermined result.

Then all those women, as well as their children, become victims of opportunistic corporate interests, and the aggrandizement of relentless political interests. The best and most well-meaning solution that such a society can offer is death as panacea.

Such a value system is inadequate to meet the needs of real life. In real life, unexpected stuff happens, lives are in danger, less than perfect decisions have to be made. If the overarching goal in the face of the unexpected is to get back to our comfort and our plans, no matter what the damage, those decisions will be brutal.

We need cultural change. We need to be honest enough to admit what is clearly before us.  We need to value Truth. We need to be willing to call evil, evil; and good, good.  We need to be a culture which values all human life and devalues none.

When difficult situations come, as they will, our impulse ought to be an honest search for a solution which protects and honors all involved. Our default should not be death for the defenseless ones.

Some Disorganized Parenting Advice, For What It’s Worth

I agree with J. Budziszewski when he says that love is the commitment of the will to the true good of another person. We are called to love our children, so that means we’re to be committed to what’s truly good for them.

Principle #1: When you are responsible for someone’s well-being, your efforts may not be understood or appreciated by the object of your efforts. Or: your kids are still childish, so they might not get what you’re doing for them. Or: if your kids think you’re great and nice all the time, you probably aren’t doing the parent thing right.

When you are a mom or a dad, the overarching long term goal is to cultivate and maintain healthy relationship with your kids–for life. Love, love, love them. And the reason you do this is to guide the young people toward the development of their own loving relationships–in healthy, purposeful, functional adulthood–because you’re committed to their long-term good.

Your best efforts, on your side of the relationship, should promote harmony, health and happiness. But a lot of your time as a parent is spent doing things for your kids which they don’t like and don’t understand.

Like discipline. Human beings start out helpless, self-oriented and without any self-control whatsoever. As we develop, we gradually acquire more and more other-awareness, impulse control and independence. But we need help. Does anyone deny this (she asks, remembering blog conversations in which a consensus even on this was not reached)?

One of the first things to make understood, after your child reaches an age of accountability, is that there is a line. The line is what your child must not cross without expecting to receive unpleasant consequences. Your message: these items are not tolerated and are not negotiable. If you cross that line, I will enact consequences which are designed to be just unpleasant enough to deter you from doing that item again.

Let us not substitute virtue-signaling for realistic discernment concerning what form those consequences should take. Know your child, know your own limits, and with humility do what is really best for your children. I don’t ascribe to a rigid formula here. People are all the same, but also people are very different.

When your child has truly repented of that thing and wants forgiveness (which is how you know the discipline actually worked),  he will receive it immediately , along with happy and healthy restoration of your relationship and a warm hug. Thing will be completely forgiven and he will never be reminded of it again.

Principle #2: If your kid doesn’t repent, your correction didn’t correct. He hasn’t learned anything yet.

Non-toleration should be reserved for acts of true intentional disobedience or rebellion, or acts of malicious intent, and other items which you will designate yourself. In our house, striking or physically hurting a sibling was one act which was under the no tolerance rule.

Non-tolerated items must include acts which would be dangerous to the child, such as running into the street before the age of learning to cross safely, or playing with the stove or the electrical sockets.

Childish mistakes and impulsive foolishness should be teaching opportunities.

Principle #3: All consequences must only be performed while you, the parent, are calm and cool, and always with the goal of quick restoration and the long-term goal of teaching the child to have self-discipline.

One of the embedded premises in your correction is that you are the authority. It makes a lot of us uncomfortable to assume that role but it is one of the difficult things which we do for our child’s benefit. You do your child no favors to teach him that there isn’t anyone to whom he is accountable, or that there is no one whose moral standing can be trusted. If the person who is teaching him the difference between right and wrong isn’t a moral authority to be trusted, then it’s not too difficult for him to decide that right and wrong are subjective opinions.

Principle #4: You must own the role of unqualified authority to your child. This role is not a thing that you lead with; it is to be a premise underlying your pleasant and affectionate parenting. But it must be real when the rubber meets the road. For the sake of your child, you cannot be inconsistent here.

The line is important. All kinds of kids from all kinds of raising  might rebel one day. But the kids who grew up with a line and an authority understand the context better. They know who and what they’re dissing and do it with some understanding. It’s possible that they will think through their choices, with the critical thinking skills you have taught them, and that they will find their way back, as thinking persons with an understood moral paradigm.

Kids who grew up without a moral authority in their lives, who found it hard to understand what was expected of them, with an amorphous moral context, will rebel mindlessly, emotionally driven by they know not what, with no purpose. They are truly blind and lost in their rebellion, and that makes it so much harder for them to find their own way back to responsible maturity.

What else would I tell parental-advice-seekers, if I were to be asked?

Thicken your skin and cultivate peace in your spirit. When you are holding the line against some unwise course your kid wants to take, do not expect back-up from other adults. Expect to stand alone. The world is chock-full of bad advice for you and your kid.

Principle #5: Being a conscientious parent is not for the faint of heart.

Everything you have in you will be stretched and challenged. I’m not referring to obvious items like patience and physical stamina but your integrity, your self-esteem, your emotional stamina and your convictions or lack thereof.

When you have toddlers or several children under, say, eight, you think life’s as challenging as it can get. Oh you poor fool.

Sometimes I wish I had a house FULL of toddlers. It would be easier.

Those little people grow up and become self-directed young adults whom you can no longer contain in your home, who don’t have bedtimes, who drive automobiles, who can go here and there and do whatever they choose for goodness sakes. Whom you can no longer control. And you become a mere advisor–that is, if you’re blessed and fortunate enough to have young adults who choose to listen to you at all.

And no, you can’t guarantee that by how well you parent them. That’s just the point. They become people with free will. Hopefully the seeds of your good teaching fell on fertile ground and your mistakes were forgotten; but even if so, we can never guarantee clear critical thinking and mature forgiveness.

Anything can happen with human beings! They can decide to cut you out of their lives even though you loved them, provided for them, watched over them every minute of their lives and cared about their future more than anyone, including their current drinking buddies.

Principle #6: Expect your older teens and young adults to hurt you more than anyone else will ever be able to.

Even when you and your young people are on the same side, they can hit you right where it hurts just exactly when you were expecting reciprocal consideration. When thought you were doing all the right stuff. That’s why intimate relationships are so risky–we can love powerfully, we can hate powerfully, and we feel both most from those we love and trust.

When your toddler hates you, you can laugh it off. But when your 20 year old only speaks to you to ridicule you, that hurts a lot. You’ve cultivated a vulnerable relationship with this thinking person who is making a decision to dismiss you. So it’s helpful to remember he still has a lot of growing up to do, i.e. think of him as a toddler. That frontal lobe isn’t complete til about 25.

Those teens and twenties don’t have a lock on their self-control yet. Especially since the young in our culture never stop hearing that it’s suspect to control themselves, and that their emotions are Absolute Truth.

Principle #7: Watching quietly while your children make their own decisions is a lifelong commitment to worry and impotence, or it is a lifelong commitment to hope and fervent prayer. Your choice.

Hopefully your young will make wise decisions. Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes it’s a good time for you to say something. Sometimes it is a good time to be quiet even though you have the answer. Sometimes you don’t know how there can even be an answer. I have it on good authority that knowing the difference is an art I have not mastered.

Principle #8:  As a parent, you never arrive at a place where you can look back and say, “There–I did it and I’m satisfied with the job I did.” It’s a task for life, and you have to keep ahead of the learning curve for life.

 

 

Biology Isn’t Bigotry: Christians, Lesbians, and Radical Feminists Unite to Fight Gender Ideology by Emily Zinos

Biology Isn’t Bigotry: Christians, Lesbians, and Radical Feminists Unite to Fight Gender Ideology

Be sure to check out the links in this essay.

Note that transgender education led immediately to a loss of free speech and censorship.

“Parents were told—by the school’s lawyer!—that free speech creates a “hostile environment” when it critiques the transgender issue. Letters that parents wrote to the school board for public comment were heavily redacted. In some cases, 90 percent of the letter was blacked out.”

How could it be otherwise? When social change agency cannot endure examination, it does not persuade but requires capitulation and complete conformity.

“The belief that one’s internal sense of self determines maleness or femaleness and that subjective feelings take precedence over an objective physical reality constitutes a severing of mind from body. …But the true believers in gender ideology are hard at work, pulling in converts to this gnostic worldview that shuns the material that we humans are made of: the body. “

We Are a Plague…Or At Least You Are

Sir David Attenborough says that humans are threatening their own existence and that of other species by using up the world’s resources.He said the only way to save the planet from famine and species extinction is to limit human population growth.

“We are a plague on the Earth.”

“We keep putting on programmes about famine in Ethiopia; that’s what’s happening. Too many people there. They can’t support themselves — and it’s not an inhuman thing to say.”

David Attenborough– Humans Are Plague on Earth

Overpopulation panic is a rather retro fear, one which badly needs updating. One example of 21st century people still buying into panic over mid-20th century (questionable) hypothetical problems. Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, clings to his guns about the apocalypse of overpopulation, even though all of his deadlines have long since passed with no sign of his promised disaster.

Ehrlich:  “Allowing women to choose to have as many children as they desire is like allowing everyone to “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor’s backyard as they want.”

People = garbage. Other people, that is.

And can you just feel the outrage that someone is throwing their garbage into my yard?

Today, birth dearth and the failure to achieve replacement numbers is a crisis in most of Europe. Economies the world over are in danger of collapse, and many millions of men have no hope of ever creating families because their spouses were aborted or prevented.

The progressive solution focuses entirely on the need for women to limit their childbearing, especially third-world women in less white cultures. We need to stop producing so many (poor) people!

In fact, one reason for seven billion people is at the other end of the age spectrum. One reason there are so many people is that so many people are living longer, and projections have this “problem” growing exponentially. Look here.

Our civilization has succeeded in producing such a sustainably high quality of life that people are living longer, healthily and comfortably, for far longer than ever before. Cue the subversive change agents to transform that achievement into a catastrophe.

And since Sir Attenborough is 85  plus, the personal earth-friendly solution should be obvious. That’s a joke. I would never suggest that someone ought to commit suicide. But perhaps Sir Attenborough would gain a new perspective on the issue if the solution required him to act, rather than to suggest what the less fortunate ought to do about the problem.

I have many acquaintances who know exactly what other people ought to do about overpopulation. But I have never heard one of them volunteer to help out in any way that would infringe on her personal preferences, or to volunteer to reduce overpopulation by one.

The proudly Childfree love these news items. It’s confirmation bias. I don’t want children, I don’t particularly like children, no one should have children. I have my search engines on the lookout for why it’s morally superior to be childfree. ( The internet responds favorably, just as it would with a totally contradictory search.) I’ve only experienced family from the perspective of the child, but I know best.

And it’s just one baby step to: YOUR only morally responsible act is to limit YOUR family to one child, if any. Moral condemnation follows for families of more than two.

Others should sacrifice. Abortion to the rescue! Death to the helpless is an easy solution. But better yet,  prevent that infestation of humans from being conceived in the first place. Sir Attenborough and the like: Sorry, little one. I will live into my nineties sucking up wealth and fame but the planet is just too crowded to permit you a spot.

However, even when our society eventually takes its eyes off the little ones in this equation, and decides to consider the elderly as candidates for elimination, there’s still no way that people like Sir David would be considered as expendable. We are willing worshipers of experts, celebrities, royals, presidents and the fabulously wealthy. Even in America, we want kings. And we love hitching our cabooses to someone else’s engine as long as we can advertise our morally superior destinations. When the celebrity-expert wears a mantle like environmentalist, or social justice warrior, we love the bling of associating ourselves with him, and we swallow the slogans whole.

Maybe we should acknowledge some facts about our human nature: we are fundamentally self-seeking and desperately self-important. We do not create social improvements that ask us to kill ourselves off. We invent solutions which make it a moral imperative to kill off other people, or to prevent them entirely.

There is no scenario where we do not value some people and devalue other people. We are tenacious respecters of persons.  As a society we have decided that the most helpless, the ones who most deserve our protection, the mockingbirds, the ones who are situated in the most naturally protective and nurturing place: the womb…are the ones who are chosen to be sacrificed in the building of a better world.

When social planning elitists sound alarms, we are all too willing to rally, as long as  someone lesser  makes the sacrifices.

 

 

 

Let’s Try Kindness

Let’s try kindness. Let’s simply try simple kindness.

I see too much of short-tempers and touchiness. I see too many relationships which could be heaven on earth, but which fall far short.  I have to watch while one hurts the other one seeming not to feel any empathy for the pain.

One person gives the other person a world of hurt when they could be enjoying a mutually loving and caring relationship. Offered happiness and unconditional love, we choose our personal agendas. I wonder what could we be thinking?

People take for granted that they’re going to be treated well while taking for granted the human gift that’s been given to them.

It’s hard to watch people lower the bar on their own relationship, as though the offender will benefit in any way. If the bar is lowered, it’s going to be lowered for both of you. Do you mistake forbearance and patience for a lack of feelings? Do you actually think that your partner will take what you dish out, and persevere in holding up his side forever?  You must think an awful lot of him; in fact, you must think he’s not even human.

Because any human being is going to get enough of being treated selfishly one day. He will then have three choices: he can decide to diminish so much that he’ll let you pummel him into a doormat whom you won’t respect, or he will decide not to take your garbage anymore, and give it back to you. Or he’ll decide that someone else will actually respect him and treat him as though he’s loved.

You say it’s because you can’t respect him? That only says something about you.

If you can’t respect someone who consistently treats you with kindness, sympathy, patience and hopeful attention, in the face of irritation, selfishness of feelings, and dismissal, and does not return anger for anger…you just aren’t able to respect.

And you are missing the obvious:  God has given you an unbelievable gift which you ought to treasure, and you are ungrateful.

What if, instead of looking for irritation, putting our personal agendas before other people’s feelings, and imposing on the other person’s patience and love, we decide to be considerate? What if we are simply polite (even if we don’t actually feel happy about it)?

What if we seek not to hurt even though we must pay the price of swallowing our selfish moods? How about if instead of serving our own childish feelings, we decide to serve the people God has chosen to be our companions in life?

What would we lose?

How about if the law in our houses, from now on, is kindness? What if we adopt a standard that even some people who never set foot in a church are able to pull off? What if we decide to expect kindness and love?

Because simple kindness is a shelter against all the troubles of life, and no relationship can withstand consistent unkindness.

 

This is a revision of one of my very first posts, and the recipient of my very first “like”.