Why Do We Judge So Much?

Parents, in general, are a judgmental bunch. If you’re a mom I’m sure you’ve encountered it. Unsolicited advice & questions about the way you are raising your child. Oftentimes it is meant to be helpful, but it can be given/taken in the wrong way. Yesterday I encountered an interesting situation that really made me ask why are we (especially parents) so judgmental?

It all started in church, the pastor gave a sermon about hearing God’s voice in crisis situations (found here). At one point, he shared a story from Bill Hybels about a situation with his then teenage daughter. Pastor Jim shared the situation & then repeatedly stated that he did not want us to judge Bill’s reaction to the situation. Repeatedly!!! It struck me as interesting because of how much he focused on not judging. What in the world did Bill Hybels do? You’ll have to listen to the sermon to find out, but I didn’t think it was all that crazy. Maybe a bit, but I was not there. Who in the world am I to judge what he thinks is right in his parenting, especially when he felt as if he were hearing directly from God in regards to the situation?

After church we attended a cookout with some friends & you know what came up in conversation. Yep, a discussion about Bill Hybels actions. It just amazed me that even though Pastor Jim stated it several times a discussion arose anyway. Now, the people who were discussing the matter where talking about what they would do in the same situation & weren’t overly harsh, but I did detect some judgment in the comments. Why were we focusing on judging Bill Hybels instead of the overall message of hearing God’s voice? Maybe we just wanted to think through the situation so we can be prepared for when our children are teenagers?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers. Does anybody out there?

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Reasons Jared is Awesome

Jared did a few things recently that have reminded me how awesome he is. I thought I’d document it mostly for myself, but also so some of you can have a little laugh. So here you go in no particular order:

  • Today he walked around saying “Chutzpah” which he learned from watching Elmo in Grouchland.
  • Another great phrase, “So good!” He normally says this twice in succession when he’s really excited about something like getting grapes. Yep, he gets really excited about eating fruit.
  • At some point in every day he ends up with only one sock on. He goes to the trouble of taking one off, but not the other.
  • He sometimes sings along when Jon and I sing to him at bedtime.
  • Each night Jon and I say The Lord’s Prayer with (well, to) Jared. One night Jon decided that he wanted to recite Psalm 23, which he recently memorized. After about a line, Jared started saying, “Pray, pray, pray!” and was on the verge of crying. Our kiddo is such a traditionalist.
  • He loves letters and numbers. I’ve even caught him counting to 10 when he thinks no one is listening, but he refuses to do it when you ask him to.
  • Around naptime and bedtime I ask Jared what time it is and he answers, “bed” and then grabs my hand and walks into his bedroom.
  • Because of the show SuperWhy, Jared now loves the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk. He walks around saying, “Fee Fi Fo Fum”.

Yep, he’s awesome! You should hang out with him soon if you haven’t lately.


Simply Dressed Up Brownies

Jon and I celebrated Valentine’s Day this weekend while my parents watched Jared, so dinner last night wasn’t that big of a deal. In fact, I hadn’t even really planned it out until yesterday afternoon. While thinking about the menu I decided that I wanted to have a yummy dessert, but that I didn’t want it to take hours (I was going to the grocery store at 4pm, there weren’t hours left). I decided to go the Semi-Homemade route รก la Sandra Lee and here’s what I came up with.

Dressed Up Brownies

Ingredients: 1 box favorite brand of brownie mix with ingredients to make brownies, 2 Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy bar (jumbo size) or your favorite candy bar, and a jar of frosting.

Directions: Mix brownies as directed on box and prepare 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Pour half of the brownie mix in the pan. Unwrap candy bars and place them in the pan on top of the brownie mix. Cover with the other half of the brownie mix. Bake as directed on box. Once the brownies have cooled cut out shapes using a cookie cutter. Heat frosting in the microwave until it is pourable (20 seconds) and pour over the top of your brownie shapes. Let cool and enjoy.

So simple and cute don’t ya think? Now go impress your friends and let them think you slaved in the kitchen all day. I won’t tell if you don’t.


Raising Jared and Self-Evaluation

Jon and I had a great conversation this morning about our future plans for raising Jared. It’s become pretty obvious to us that Jared is not a strong willed child. We are grateful! After counting our blessings, what do we do now? I have noticed that there are tons of books out there about dealing with your strong willed child, but what about the go with the flow kiddo? There’s still work that needs to be done, right?

It seems that Jon and I have the unique perspectives of both being pretty easygoing. Neither of our sets of parents would characterize us as strong willed. This characteristic has served me well, but I think it led me to follow others more than thinking through my own experiences. What kinds of things do I enjoy? Sometimes I’m not sure and I think I owe part of that to my desire to please others, particularly my family. Because I was such a people pleaser I got good grades, but the grades themselves were the important thing, not what I was learning or the amount of interest I had in the subject. I didn’t focus on subjects that I liked, sure some came easier than others, but I didn’t evaluate those things to determine what I actually enjoyed. This lack of the skill of self evaluation reared its head when I had to declare a major in college. What in the world did I want to do? Well, other people were chiming in, but by this time I wanted to make a decision for myself. Unfortunately the underlying ability to evaluate activities for enjoyment wasn’t there. I’m not saying that I chose wrong, but the decision was hard. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that it would have been at least a little easier if I was able to point out the things that I enjoyed.

Jon and I discussed this and he can definitely relate in some ways. We want to teach Jared to evaluate and trust his feelings about activities and direction. How to do this? It seems like we might have to force this kind of independence on him in the beginning. We’ve already started by offering him choices whenever possible (making sure the choices are things we can live with). Looking ahead we’re thinking about how to handle activities, such as sports or camps, and general interests. We don’t have any great answers yet, but we will be thinking it through. Any great suggestions?

Obviously he’s still got time for some of that strong will to rear its head and then we’ll be re-evaluating.

That’s parenthood for you, isn’t it?


Sassy

When I was on the dance team in college this was one of our team slogans for at least a year or two. It felt fitting & still does when I think about my time dancing, but doesn’t always describe me in my every day life.

Recently while watching Veronica Mars (a tv show on that you can find on Netflix) I realized that I really admired the sassiness of the main character Veronica. I think her confidence and quick wit are really endearing. She’s not afraid to share her thoughts.

Although I’m not nearly as sassy as Veronica Mars I do have some sass in me. Normally it’s pretty hidden though and only really shared with Jon and some very close friends. I’d like to start sharing that part of myself with more people. I started practicing this on Sunday with my personal commentary for the Super Bowl. Imagine comments on the stringy hair of Matthews and some random thoughts on touchdown celebrations. Okay, that doesn’t sound too sassy, but the group decided I would be a great addition to the commentary.

My newest goal is to feel confident enough in myself to let my sass shine through. So, if you run into me on the street be prepared for a little injection of sassiness in your day.


Who’s a Writer?

Oh, that would be me. At least I got to be one for a day. Last week a local website posted an article I wrote about creating my style book and for you lucky readers my scanner was working and there are actual pictures of the book there. If you haven’t already (via all my facebook & twitter posting) check it out here Also, if you live in the west suburbs bookmark this. Such good info all the time.


Holy Haircut Batman!

After weeks and weeks of absolutely hating the length of Jared’s hair I decided to take the plunge and cut it myself. Here is a before picture taken a few weeks ago.

Mullet boy.

The hair only got shaggier and rattier after this. I just couldn’t handle it anymore and couldn’t stomach the idea of taking him and paying $16 for someone to cut his hair much shorter than I wanted it. So, after his nap I told him to pick out what show he wanted to watch. This took about 10 minutes while he looked over all the DVDs that we own. Then he picked out Elmo’s Christmas Countdown. Ugh! I have very strict rules about when Christmas movies are to be watched and the middle of January does not fit in that timeline. Instead of fighting it, I sucked it up and put in the movie set up the chair and wet his hair. After he was locked and loaded in his booster seat I went to work. Jared did awesome! He just watched his movie and didn’t even seem to notice that I was snipping away at his hair. Here are the after photos.

All zoned out while watching Elmo.

Side view.

So far about an hour or so I still like it, but if you look closely you can definitely tell a professional didn’t do it. Don’t look too closely next time you see us, okay?