Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting Burned by a Sermon

Peter Rollins has this way of building you up to something emotionally. When he gives a talk, he leads you down a path, and you think you know where it's going. Part way through, you're often angry or uncomfortable with what he's saying. Then, at the end, you often realize you had no idea where you were headed at all. It all makes sense in hind-sight and the emotional reaction you had was all part of the experience.

He gave a talk last week at Mars Hill in Eastern Michigan. It's a perfect example of his style. I urge you to check it out. You can download an mp3 or subscribe to the podcasts of Mars Hill.

You should know that he's from Belfast, Northern Ireland. When it sounds like he says "zed," he means Z. He's also a funny guy. As inflammatory as he can seem on the surface, I have yet to disagree with him, and I always enjoy the wild ride of emotion.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Some Thoughts on Parenting: Random

  • Cartoon characters often teach bad lessons right along side the good lessons. Curious George should be a convicted felon ten times over. Animated ducks and frogs often steal, break into, and destroy other people's property, people that are rarely revealed. Is it any wonder empathy is a lost concept in our society?
  • Kids like Spaghetti-O's. I think I would like them if they didn't smell that way when you first open a can. It's not that they taste bad. It's just, there's something strange in that sauce, the way it smells when it's cold. Maybe I watched Food Inc. a few too many times.
  • Kids don't care about character development. Don't believe me? Rent one of the movies you loved a child. Not an Oscar winner, but one of the more ridiculous ones. See how well its held up for you. There's nothing worse than having your three year old fall in love with a plot-less, poorly animated, two-hour long, straight to video mess. My parents remember these as the Benji movies.
  • Coloring books are just as expensive as toys these days. When I was a kid, my parents always tried to appease me with coloring books. They were cheap. Now they rival the price of action figures from $6-7.
  • Parenting groups used to complain that cartoons and toy lines were too closely integrated. Now, the cartoons themselves are about games and toys. It's like they've broken the 4th wall, and no one cares. Yu-Gi-Oh! is a cartoon based on a card game where they actually use the game (playing it) as the plot of the show.
  • I know this is cliche, but when you become a parent, sleep takes on limitations. For the most part, my kids sleep from around 9 p.m. to 7 or 8 a.m. I'm not complaining about that, but as a parent you give up the right to a complete night's sleep. On ANY night, I can be woken at any hour to address illnesses, bathroom needs, and/or nightmares. It's often the night you least suspect.
  • Do I need to mention what this can do to your sex life? Interruptions?
  • I live by the four hour sleep rule: If I get four hours of mostly uninterrupted sleep, I'm good.
  • All kids are brats. Let me clarify. All kids are innocent brats. They don't know what they're doing. They don't know what consequences are, especially in social situations. At some point they learn to be purposeful brats or to monitor their own behavior. I think that's the distinction some non-parents miss. Not all kids are purposeful in their brat-i-tude. Most learn to act correctly after making mistakes and being shown the consequences.
  • Kids are crazy eaters. One day they love cauliflower, the next it's like Kryptonite. Who can keep track of these crazy changes?
  • My kids don't like ketchup. Not even a little. My kid brother used to eat it with a spoon as a main course. I don't know what to do with that. I guess I used to hate cheese.
  • There are some positive sides to the strange eating habits of kids: I can cook hot dogs, grilled cheese, or make peanut butter sandwiches for any meal, and they're satisfied. I can add canned corn to any meal, and they'll at least eat something. They've actually fallen for the line, "Broccoli is like eating mini-trees."
  • Also, pop is like the holy grail to them. I can tell them anything is pop, and it'll be gone in under thirty seconds. The title of candy has similar powers, but they've gotten wise when we try to label medicine as candy.
  • To the parents that hate kids' meals that come with toys because they entice our children into eating unhealthy meals: Sometimes I need to have a night where I don't have to cook, a night where I know they're going to eat the entire meal even if it's not the best for them. Sometimes those little toys are so cool, we don't have to put up with inquiries about real toys for months. Sometimes it's very convenient that my kids eat a burger and then play for an hour on a conveniently located playscape in the same restaurant. Especially in the Winter, that might be more exercise than we can accommodate otherwise. I'm just saying, everything in moderation is still within my job description, and I think I've got it under control.