The Selfie-ish Generation

Duck Face Diva? This woman may never be out of the internet spotlight thanks to her memorable mugshot --> http://abc30.tv/1nqxDTI
Duck Face Diva?
This woman may never be out of the internet spotlight thanks to her memorable mugshot –> http://abc30.tv/1nqxDTI

 

I stepped out and said it. I did. I posted on my Facebook page that I was proud of Pastor Rob Cox, who pastors a group of young adults training for ministry at his church A Place Of Refuge, for all that he is doing. I also commended him for making a rule of no selfies for the seminary students.

I swim upstream here. I know I do. I don’t mind an occasional selfie. A profile pic, a picture on vacation, but I have an issue with the obsession of it.

Romans 7:9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this scripture says:

Paul describes himself as in sensible of the corruption of his nature till he saw himself in the glass of the law (Rom. 7:9 ): “I was alive without the law; that is, I took all to be right with me, and thought myself not only clean, but, compared with the generality of the world, beautiful too; but when the commandment came, when the glass of the law was set before me, then sin revived, and I died —then I saw my spots and deformities, and discovered that amiss in myself which before I was not aware of; and such was the power of the law, and of sin, that I then perceived myself in a state of death and condemnation.’’ Thus, when we attend to the word of God, so as to see ourselves, our true state and condition, to rectify what is amiss, and to form and dress ourselves anew by the glass of God’s word, this is to make a proper use of it.

There is this look at me mentality that we need to overcome. All of us. And I’m not the only voice speaking. In an article by Stephen Miller True Worship in a Selfie World he writes:

This is the world in which we live, the world of the selfie.

The world where people take something that is not about them and make it about them through the lens of their camera.

Grown men pose with their best “Blue Steel” smolder while the tip of Paris’s breath-taking Eiffel Tower protrudes from the side of their heads like a tiny, awkwardly placed steel horn.

Teenage girls attempt their cutest look while a singular stone column of Rome’s ancient, awe-inspiring Colosseum is barely visible in the background.

We are not seeing the world through their eyes so much as seeing their eyes blocking the world.

And there is my point. I want to see the world through your eyes when I’m talking to you. Facebook is considered a one on one conversation with your closest friends. It’s the new water cooler meeting, the new breakroom chatter. I want to read about what you see in the world. I want to read about your thoughts on current events. I want to know what you think about issues that face our world. I want to read about how you are working in your area of ministry. As my friend Adrienne Piasta says, “tell me something good”. So I take the time to read my newsfeed and day after day I read, “I love myself.” Well, that’s great. I’m truly happy for you, the first 10 times, but after awhile I want to know if there is anything else going on around you? I want to know if you care about others? I want to know what you have going on today. I want to know about your goals. I want to know what you’re reading, what you’re learning, that you need prayer or you’re stuck in traffic and need a misery buddy for an hour. I love you, I think you are beautiful, but you don’t need constant approval….

Or do you?

 

So, I honor Pastor Rob Cox who is trying to change a generation’s view. I honor the Apostle Paul who said and I paraphrase, “I thought I looked okay until I looked in the mirror of the Word of God and then I realized there is a bigger picture.”

Stephen Miller ends his article perfectly:

May we all resist the temptation to fill the frame with our face, but rather fill our minds with his eternal glory, and never stop repeating the refrain of John 3:30:

“He must increase. I must decrease.”
“He must increase. I must decrease.”
“He must increase. I must decrease.”

 

Men Don’t Matter

What a lie we have been given.

If you haven’t read Part 2 click here.

As women, born of this generation in America, we have this ideal of a single mother that while true for some is not true for most. We can buy a house without a man, we earn our own income and for some we earn more than the man in our life. For some women who are not interested in equality in a marriage, often because of their own daddy issues, this becomes the seat of power in which we devalue a man and emasculate him to show our power. This has nothing to do with love and everything to do with pride.

We can buy a car, we have great credit and we can afford to do so. We can pay for private school, camp, medical care, and trips to amusement parks. This is the picture of a single mom. Only that usually isn’t the case. Many single moms struggle to make ends meet. Often have more month than money left at the end of their payday, and life isn’t this happy place they thought it would be. They get up early to get their children ready for school, lunches packed, themselves ready. They work hard to get the laundry and dinner and homework finished while they are dogged tired. They make grocery lists and hope there is enough money for the food they need to buy. They make pancakes for dinner at the end of the month because sometimes that’s all there is. They don’t get to go and have spa days or go with friends to have a nice dinner because it isn’t in the budget.

And no matter how much we try and no matter how much advances in technology and medicine we make:

A woman can’t be a father.

 

No matter how much we try to fill the void of a male influence we can’t do it. We’re failing miserably statistically. Our children are missing out whether we want to admit it or not. Sure, there are statistics of moms who raised incredible people on their own but they don’t outweigh the statistics of those who can’t. I have a saying,

“A woman can do it all. She just can’t do it all at once.”

So while we’re busy earning a buck and climbing a corporate ladder, our children are missing out on a critical component of a family. In their mind, they are learning that they may have to go it alone that one day, they too may be called to raise children on their own because families may or may not be sustained.

So let’s throw the lie out. Let’s begin a discussion with young women about how valuable they are and how we need to make better choices in the men we choose to father our children. Let’s talk about working on our marriage before they are broken and let’s talk about marriage before babies. I know it sounds counter-culture and I know it it will sound sexist and it will be met with push back and name calling but I’m okay with that. And here is why: Watch this video and tell me daddies aren’t important. Watch this video and tell me that she has someone else who fills this void in her life regardless of who her daddy is. Tell me that these daddies are not necessary. Tell me that she isn’t affected.

“When he does time, she does time.”

 

I’m okay with the being an unpopular voice if a child gets an active, involved, worthwhile, father. I’m okay with the term baby daddy being thrown out of our vocabulary. Because it was never meant to be there in the first place.

I Changed My Mind

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My husband and I took a drive to the beach to sit on the sand, enjoy the sun and read a book on our day off. It was a hot day and there were children playing in the waves of all ages. As I glanced at them I noticed something. Each child had a personal lifeguard. There were blankets on the beach and coolers and bags but they were empty because all of the caretakers were on duty. I saw mostly mommies but there were dads and grandparents as well.

Such a strange dichotomy between that scene and a 20/20 episode I watched recently about moms moving out and choosing to be non-custodial parents click here. One mother said she didn’t want to to do the bath and bedtime routine. One mother moved states away and Skyped in to speak to her children. Her middle child, a daughter, took care of feeding and getting her little down syndrome brother ready for school. Dad was there and the family was coping. At first I went into judgment mode, “What?!! Who does this?!!” Then I stopped and thought, she is doing what fathers have been doing for decades. I am outraged either way, maybe I understand it less because I am a mother or a woman I don’t know but I do know that it seems incomprehensible for a parent to leave their child.

The mothers were in new relationships, didn’t know if they had ever really wanted children, but knew they didn’t want the daily interaction of it. I get that actually. I remember once in a particularly frustrating day I announced, “That’s it, I’m running away from home.” Casey who was 4 at the time said, “Wait, mommy! Let me get my shoes on, I’ll run away with you.” I laughed and went on with my day. But what if I had been serious as apparently these mothers were?

The women made the argument that men had been doing it forever and they wouldn’t be judged as harshly as the women were. I just can’t go there. Children need their parents mother and father. They don’t get to change their mind.

One mother when asked if she loved her children more than herself answered, “Should a mother love her children more than herself?” I guess I think we should.

Regret

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Maybe only some really feel regret for the hell they gave their mother (and father) and maybe that’s because only a few ever really rebel.

ME: “Geez Mom, just think if someone would have told you when I was 16 that I’d turn out to be your good kid.”

Mom: Laughing, “I’d have said, ‘Just shoot me now’.”

We had a great laugh over that one. Her heart has been restored towards me. Not that she ever turned from me, just that I deeply disappointed her in those, “I know more than you do years”.

On Mother’s Day as my kids checked in, I was happy to hear from them. We went to church in the morning, my oldest child preached a great word where his sermon confessed to the whole church that I spanked him with a shoe when he was six,( it’s a Latina thing, don’t judge).  We came home had lunch, watched TV and dozed and then the kids were on their way home.

I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw that Eminem had released an apology to his mother in a new video called Headlights. I don’t know why I clicked but I did, not sure what to expect. When I watched it and listened to the words, I wept. Wept for the times I disappointed my mother, wept for the times I disappointed my children, wept for children who are estranged from their family and who are wasting valuable time being angry. I wept for the single moms who have to work so super hard to be a mother and a father. Her children carry hero worship of a father who vanishes, takes no responsibility, but steps up to take credit, and whose love and acceptance her children desperately yearn for. It’s easy to beat up the one who is your constant, she’s usually a safe bet. She’ll love you anyway. I wept because her children don’t know her pain. They don’t understand the mistakes she’s made and the way she beats herself up. I don’t judge those women who turn to drugs and drinking really. They are masking their pain and sometimes there are things so deeply painful that they don’t always recover. I do understand the pain it causes her children.

I watched the video as his mother tried to drive up to his house to see him and how she was refused and how deeply saddened she must have felt, and although I don’t pretend to know their history or story that prompted that video, I heard the regret of a son. I’ve never seen the movie 8 Mile, I have heard the song Cleaning Out My Closet. I felt their pain in that scene. In our youth we say such foolish things that we often regret later, we do such crazy things that sometimes we don’t get to recover from. Imperfect parents create that.

So tonight as I pray, I pray for recovery. I pray for reconciliation. I pray for sooner rather than later. I pray for time, that it not be too late. I pray for parents everywhere and their children. It seems according to the video I saw today that Eminem was loved as best as a mother who couldn’t fully love. I saw his realization of that. It wasn’t enough then. It isn’t enough now, I only hope they are able to reconcile and that they can build a beautiful life together with what is left. I won’t post the video here, nor the lyrics, it has very strong language which may offend some readers, so I warn you of that in advance. I overlooked that to hear his heart and it broke mine. Sometimes lessons and blog posts come from unexpected places.

What I Am Not

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Perhaps, when you and other girls hear bossy, you can think of leadership. Perhaps, bossy could mean someone has an opinion and is comfortable sharing it with other people. Bossy could mean someone has a plan, that someone is bold. Bossy could mean that someone is the boss, a leader!~ Helen Drinan 

There is this movement to ban the word bossy. I’m not a fan. My second grade report card stated, “Susan is extremely bossy…” The grades were straight up good. I received the award for most outstanding student, most outstanding reader, most outstanding in math. Here’s what I remember about my second grade teacher. She spoke very broken English and it was very hard to understand her. I remember asking her to repeat herself many times. I was also a rule follower. She would make a rule and then when children weren’t following it, she’d become exasperated and yell and throw chalk, but never followed through on her point system. So I’d remind her. Someone had to. The black and white thinker that I am was already formed at this age. If you said that you’d take points away if we misbehaved, then I took you at your word and felt that you should.

Bossy doesn’t bother me. Female leaders are often deemed bossy but my thought is hey someone has to be the leader. I can get things done, I work very well with others. All that being said, when my mother read the teacher’s comment to me and asked me about it, she smirked. I think she’s always been understanding of the bossy girl that was born to her. I remember explaining the issues to her. She told me to try to get along with her. I do not remember the term bossy hurting my self esteem nor making me feel less than. I know myself and I know what I am not. I am not a usurper, meaning I don’t seize power,  and I am not emotional. When this teacher would yell and throw chalk I would just watch her and try to understand why she couldn’t take control of her class. I would raise my hand and ask why she didn’t use the point system and write our names on the board. Then she would break chalk on the chalkboard writing all of our names on the board. Obviously she wasn’t bossy.

Here is where the misunderstanding of the word comes in. Men are not called bossy and weak men are intimidated by a woman who know what she wants and knows how to lead. I would never be able to married to a weak man. He would not be an equal and it would be frustrating. My husband is an easy-going, super nice guy but he is anything but weak. Everything I do in our life is discussed with him and I get the okay before I move. E V E R Y T H I N G. Some things are discussed longer than others but ultimately his no is no and his no is honored. He is great about directing me. I am heard and he explains why an idea is a go or not. We work well together because he is a visionary but I am a detailer. So when he gives me an idea, I can make it happen.

Where women like me clash is with the personality of what I call the Bull in the China Shop kind of man. They run around barking orders, and puffing themselves up. They lead by bullying. Bossy and Bullies clash. This is why women in politics and female executives get such a bad rap for the most part. I’ll let that sit.

Getting rid of the word bossy will do absolutely nothing about personality types. We need to focus on directing those bossy second graders to greatness.

We’re No Longer First In Obesity

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The latest statistics are out and Mexico is the number one nation for obesity in the world. The USA is second. The change, the newscaster pointed out, was that Mexico’s economy was up.

There is an underlying question though that has plagued me since this statistic came out and that is:

How do we overcome the poverty mindset?

While obesity is often seen as overindulgence, and it is on the surface, it’s sometimes about a sense of lack. Not always, there are some who have health issues but mindset is our topic today. We supersize meals because more is better, we eat from the .99 cent menu because it’s such a deal. Never mind that the food is bad for you, it’s cheap and we can load up, but it’s way too much food.

When I’d come home from the grocery store and the kids would see the cereal boxes. Lauren would grab a bowl of cereal because if not, Charles would consume the whole box and she’d miss out on tasting it. It didn’t matter if she was hungry or not, nor did it matter to Charles that other people may enjoy a bite. They were children and had to be taught to prefer others and that there would be more.

Once we had a fruit giveaway at the store. A local produce vendor had a whole vegetable stand of produce that needed to go and donated it to us. People arrived on the scene and formed a line. We told everyone, one bag per person. This one lady was irate! She wanted four bags. I told her that we had to share because there were many of us. She was livid and yelling at me about her son being in the war. My sarcastic self wanted to answer but instead I told her that the fruit was ripe and that there was really no way she could eat it all before it went bad. None of that mattered, she wanted four bags. She believed I was robbing her of something she was entitled to.

Then there were those in the line who truly lacked but didn’t think from a mindset of lack, “May I take two of these? They are so expensive in the grocery store and I haven’t bought any. You see, my husband has been out of work.” “Ma’am, you may take a bag full of whatever you’d like”, I replied. “Oh no! We couldn’t possibly eat them and I’d hate to waste.” She went about picking one or two of each type of produce.

Poverty mindset. The mindset of never enough. The mindset of lack. The mindset that someone is getting more than me. Can you see the difference?

“Eating healthy is expensive”, is the cry I hear from so many. Really? How much are you worth? How much does it cost to treat a heart attack, diabetes, joint pain, weight reduction surgeries?

Then there is the question of what obesity does to your self esteem. When you go into a fitting room and nothing fits and you come out feeling depressed and defeated? How much does that cost in terms of self worth?

A poverty mindset believes there is not going to be enough, so rather than share, they are going to take. In the mind of poverty, it is an honor to be able to afford to buy 16 hamburgers at .99 cents, so let’s splurge! In a poverty mindset they are continually reminding themselves of what things costs, never valuing quality. It’s gluttony yes, but often it comes from a poverty mindset.

I wish that we could get a revelation of who and whose we are. We are children of a King with whom there is no lack other that what you can’t visualize. Then we’d leave behind the consumer mentality and all of the issues that go along with that and we’d come to realize that health would follow as a natural progression. Health. Body, Mind, and Spirit.

Let’s pray for North America!

It’s About ME!

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“She’s got tickets to her own show. But nobody wants to go.” ~ Adam Levine

I love this picture because it shows perfectly what is going on these days. Have you noticed the increase in selfies everywhere? They have to show their makeup, their hairstyle, they have to look longingly at the camera, and every day there has to be a new triumphant picture. There is nothing of a thought process or a growth process, it’s all about ME!! Sure, a great picture of yourself once in a while is great, don’t get me wrong. I love to look at pictures of your vacation, or things you find important, it’s just that you find yourself important each and every day. What is really going on with you? That’s the conversation. What really are you about? That’s what forms our friendship.

“You’re perfect on the outside but nothing at the core.” ~ Adam Levine

Try to form a real friendship and get to the heart of matters and narcissists shut down into comedy or lies. It’s interesting too because the self absorbed narcissist doesn’t even bother to remember the lies.

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing. ~ Keith Abloom

Read more:

Gifted in what, is what I’d like to ask? Make up, hair, and clothing of course, but could they compete at a college level, high school level, or elementary school level in education? Probably not as the US is ranked 17th out of 40 developed countries in education, yet we spend the most per child, but that’s a different topic. And to what end? At what point do we stop measuring the exterior and get to what matters? What happens when we do and the house of cards comes falling down?

That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and earlier and earlier, raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy. ~ Keith Ablow

And the farther we go down the trail of narcissism, the more blame gets put on the people who are trying to bring some reality to the fake picture of pride. They are labeled jealous, mean, judgmental, haters of the narcissists beauty. In the greek mythology story of Narcissus, where we get the word narcissist, he was a beautiful hunter who was proud and who hated those who loved him because he was only in love with himself. Until one day he looked in a pond and fell in love with his image and there he died staring at himself. There isn’t much of a difference between Narcissus and the narcissists of today. They are dying without realizing that their idol worship has cost them their lives.

It’s funny how you say that you made it on your own when you haven’t worked for anyone your daddy didn’t know. ~ Adam Levine

Lie Witness News

Jimmy Kimmel does this skit on his show where he interviews fans of celebrities and asks them questions about the celebrity that aren’t true to get their reaction. All I have to say is, from a father who lies to the camera about his daughter’s reaction to something that never happened, to girls who really showed no character or thought process to the questions being asked, we need to start teaching what really matters!

Words Have Power

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In the scope of a week in my world:

1. Paula Deen gets fired for saying the N word 27 years ago.

2. I scan over an article, deem it worthy of sharing on FB, then as I am reading it out loud, I realize it is over the top in language and I plunge towards my computer to delete the message. Too late in those few minutes a bunch of people have read it and I am mortified. I apologize for it, but too late I’ve already been judged it for and it’s fair, and I accept the blame.

3. I see a picture of one of the church guys on FB. He’s dressed in a tux and sunglasses and someone has responded about the pimp in the picture. Never mind that he is a husband and a father of daughters. The same daughters that pimps would try to exploit if they had the chance.

We all make stupid mistakes.

In the case of Paula Deen I guess my question is has she changed? Is she sorry she got caught or is she more evolved? I will never know, I don’t run in her circles. I would want my sorry to mean something though.

I have never said the N word. I wasn’t brought up in her neck of the woods. In my vicinity it’s more about the spics, the wetbacks, and the coconuts. I’ve never said those words either but I’ve felt their sting before. More lately the words seem to be sexually powered rather than racially motivated. Pimp, ho, gangsta, biatch (which always catches my attention because of the spelling). I’ve also taken note of the people who say them. They tend to be ignorant.

“So what are ya?”, I was asked while in Texas.  Ok, I tend to be more than a little sarcastic, so I replied, “a woman, what do you mean what am I?” “I know that! I mean where ya from?”  “California, third generation. I’m American. Do you want to know if I’m a Latina? Yes I am.” “I know that! What kind?” As if it would matter, “Mexican.” And there it is, the little sneer that tells me that you think I’m less than you and where I wish Alex Trebek would show up on cue and show you I am not any more or less a person, but I more than likely have you beat in my world. I get the fervor over Paula Deen’s comment. It stings.

I also see life from her perspective. She was brought up in a place and time where there was an us and a them. I’m from the next generation and don’t feel that way.  I was born in a time after desegregation and so my friends were everyone. Our generation, those who weren’t ignorant, didn’t go around calling each other stereotypical names. It was too fresh and too raw. We knew better. That’s where my generation parts ways with the generation that comes after us. To call someone the N word, a pimp, a ho, gangsta, etc… is met with distain and offense on my part because I know what those words mean and I don’t think by making them seem cool changes the meaning of the word.  The generation after me glorifies sexualization and money no matter who you have to enslave to get there.  Suddenly being a pimp and selling women to get money seems like a cool way to make a living. Until it’s your daughter.

Words. They are powerful, they mark territory, people, and more importantly show who we are. Use them carefully. Weigh them out. Would you be okay if someone called you a profiling name and then said, “oh just kidding”? Let’s be smarter. I promise to be.