Helloooooo Summer!!! I seem to have about 5 spare minutes thanks to school being over (all the praise hands) to blog again. Translated, this will probably be my only summer blog post.
I take all of that back. I have sat down to write this 5 times. One baby woke up from his nap with a nasty diaper, one kid just threw a temper tantrum, and a tiny baby keeps beating my ipad with a rattle, so let’s see if this ever gets written.
So, back to my thoughts for today. I try (try being the important word in that sentence) to read aloud to my kids each day. We have been reading the book “The Giver.” To be honest I picked it up because my sister, who is a teacher, gave it to one of the kids for Christmas and it had a fancy gold sticker on it so I figured it was probably a good one…..very scientific of me. Anyway, the book is set in a dystopian society that basically lives in a community where all the choices are made for them. They categorize children in groups calling them by their age and when they become a twelve these elders choose their occupation. They don’t see color, feel pain, get sick, make any choices, and basically live a comfortable, boring, organized life in order to avoid any kind of discomfort or pain. If this sounds complicated for 7-11 year olds to understand it definitely was initially.
Let me interject. I actually despise reading out loud to my kids (try and make me feel guilty, come at me bro). It requires they ALL sit some kind of still and shut their mouths. In our house that is an olympic feat, but it’s valuable (so they say. Honestly I’m not sure who they is though) so we do it. I will say, while it is a discipline, I do see the value in it. Through my reading to them out loud it sparks the most amazing conversations. They learn, but I learn more.
So back to the story. We just got to the climax. Basically, the main character was chosen to be the “giver.” He holds all of the memories for the society. He learns what pain is, color, beauty, joy, grief, RIGHT AND WRONG. Basically the premise is that in order to not feel pain or sadness, they have eliminated all pleasure and joy. They don’t even see color. They live a safe, boring life. At the end of the book the giver witnesses his father, who is a nurturer (basically he cares for all the babies and chooses the ones suitable for life in this society) “release” an identical twin because you can’t have 2 of any kind where they live. The father casually injects the baby with something, the baby dies and he puts the baby in a box and sends it down the trash chute. Now! As I’m reading this I’m thinking “what the actual heck?!?” How is this a kids book? BUT then the questions……oh the questions. For the next hour I had this beautiful, natural, safe conversation with my babies.
They (understandably) couldn’t understand how the father character didn’t even bat an eye and think what he was doing was wrong. You don’t just kill a baby!!! Here we go………We talked about how if you allow people to think for you, tell you what is right and wrong, be passive, not ask questions, not listen to that still small voice we all have, when you stifle that, you can be led to do anything. You become desensitized.
Folks! That is the society we live in. We have stopped thinking for ourselves. We have stopped questioning. We follow influencers on instagram……guys!!!! Their title is “influencer.” Their job is to tell us who we should be! Here is the thing. Ninety-five percent of the “influencers” I follow are promoting comfort, status, wealth, they try to sell me all the things that I NEED….they tell me what is cool and right and trendy. WHAT?!?!!? What is wrong with us?!?!? (Ya’ll, I say us because I have bought some of that useless stuff…head smack).
My kids got it! We talked about how important it is to THINK FOR YOURSELF! Study and know the Scripture so they can know what is right and wrong. Don’t just do something because someone with a lot of followers tells them to. DO LIFE. Experience life. That means, in order to experience great joy, they more than likely have to feel sorrow. To understand pleasure fully they will have to experience pain. But more than all of this BE an influencer that someone will listen to. Be different. Be bold. I will teach my kids (yell at them) to look up! Experience this life for all it has to offer and make it better…..use the gifts God has given them to make this place we live in better. Be who God made them to be in order to bless others. I hope my children learn the great joy of serving and loving others instead of hoping someone is jealous of their Instastory. I pray that they will not be fearful of the pain, but embrace it, knowing it is part of their story and will allow them to savor sweet sweet joy. I pray they will be comfortable being uncomfortable standing alone and standing up for what is right, not just what is popular……but in all of this I am convicted. Am I doing this and being this for my kids? I can do better…..
So, I encourage you this summer to pick up a book and read to your kids. Talk. I think we get so busy doing the day to day we don’t realize we have stopped talking and are just communicating the tasks of the day. Interact and enjoy these little people (or just people if you don’t have little people).