Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Best Intentions-AIDS & Stepfamilies?

Back in 1988 King Rama of Thailand had a momentous birthday...He turned 60 years old. To celebrate the occasion he decided to give his country a gift. BUT his best intentions ending up releasing a horrible plague into his entire country. AIDS was primarily conatined in Thailand's prison system. Prisoners had it and passed it to each other, but it was not widespread, almost nonexistant in the mainstream of the country. The King decided to release (grant amnesty) to about 30,000 prisoners. His "gift" also released the AIDS virus into his population and begin to spread, infecting millions.

Can you imagine how he felt.... If you are a stepparent, you most certainly can. Ok, no we haven't released a deadly plague that has infected the USA...but we can count on all our fingers and toes how many of our best intentions caused a mini war in our home.

All you wanted to do was be sure they left the house looking presentable-they see it as an attack on their fashion choices and how they were previously taught. All you wanted to do was be a good steward and keep your house clean and when you move their things from where they don't belong, or tell them to do're considered a clean freak or picky. WHY is this happening...I didn't mean for it to be interpreted this way....blah blah blah...These stories can go on and on...but the truth of the matter is, just as King Rama learned...somethings are better left alone and on lock down.

You may think that what you are doing, or saying, allowing, or how you are reacting is what you should do.. but there may be a reason behind the imprisonment you see and trying to give instruction in an area where it will not be well received has the potential to infect your whole house. PERIOD.

So what do you do? Well, I have learned a few things.

Children imitate their atmosphere. They act and react based on what they have seen and have been taught directly or indirectly. Step children, my children or the children down the street they are the sum of three people (mother, father and the uniqueness of themselves)...The more I get to know my step children, the more I see things in them that people have told me was in their mother (positive and more importantly the negative). My children are the same way....I see me...I see their dad...I see them. That's alot of wacky personalities to manage and administrate.. Its takes grace. It takes God.

Please understand if your stepchildren are not meek (teachable) and you do not have the support of your spouse. . In most situations you need to backoff-today...literally. Its not that you don't love them or that you dont care, but ultimately the responsibility for those children belongs to the parent and they have to LEAD the charge in the teaching and the discipline in their lives. That is not your place. Your job is to support your spouse. Your job is to set the best example you can in word, deed, action, demeanor and simple things like making sure your spouse is happy. That is one of the most important things that they can see that 1. Their parent's life does not totally revolve around them and that their life and happiness is becoming more and more their responsibility. 2. Showing love in a marriage models before them what a marriage should look like and will hopefully cloud any negative exchanges they saw in the past in previous relationships. Is that to say you cannot correct, or instruct, NO...You are an authroity figure in that home and you deserve respect but it is to say just like the ROCK says...know your role...and shut your mouth....and I will add PRAY!

Pray for patience, pray for grace, pray for wisdom, pray for instructions. I am a witness that God will send "children" (yours or somebody elses) into your life that ARE willing to listen. The student seeks out and finds his teacher. God is truly a rewarder of them that diligently seek him....I promise.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


For those of you just joining as a follower this year, you missed an exciting time last November. In November, a online community of thousands sets aside the entire month to write a novel of 50,000 words or more. It's not a "contest" per se' but you are encouraged to finish and there are forums, suggestions, ideas, advice and help for you at every turn.

There is information to help you deal with writers block, to help you find a place to study, to help when kids keep interrupting, how to write during the Thanksgiving holiday, what to name your main characters', nieces' friend. Its great to get on there and find help in whatever area you need. What's even better is to see others that are having your same struggle. You feel like as my dad would say "fellows in the same ship" and all of a sudden you don't feel alone in your fight.

One day step-parenting, and second marriages, and single parenting and all of the other "taboo" things that trip us up and cause us to stumble will be talked about so openly that people will be able to get help and not feel so alone anymore. Until then we have to use blogs, articles, stories and the like to lift up one another, encourage and tell the truth about our situations so others can pattern us and have hope.
For example, My husband and I just went in for a counseling check-up session to make sure that we were communicating properly and to hear innovative ways and suggestions to do it better. Most people would not talk about counseling or admit that they do it, but maybe if a couple hears that we regularly check in and stay on top of our issues that it will encourage them to not fear it, but embrace the fact that we are imperfect people, married to imperfect people, raising imperfect people.
As I get prepared for NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) I look forward to the camaraderie as much as I do the writing. The novel writing is fun. You are writing off the top of your head and its exhilerating and interesting as you see raw ability being pushed to the limit. Its also just a fun to log on on a day that you can't go any further and see 20 people send you a message in 2 minutes encouraging you and helping you to push forward. I hope that all areas of my life will be encouraging, fun, supportive and motivating like that.

Monday, October 5, 2009

At the bottom of the cliff

I am rereading a book called The Influencer. This book starts by explaining that we have the tendency to prepare for the worst or spend alot of time learning "how to cope" that we spend very little time dealing with prevention. We feel powerless to change our plight, our situation, our relationships, our outcomes, so we read books on how to DEAL with teachers...or how to DEAL with diabetes...or How to DEAL with a bad marriage How to DEAL with having a bad attitude etc...I'm sick of "dealing"...coping...its time for influencing change.

The example the book gave was phenomenal and I also shared this with my "mentees". Lets say that there was this extremely steep mountainside and every car that comes across that area falls over the mountain crashing into the valley below. A community organizer sees the carnage of tangled metal and corspes and springs into action. They are so frustrated that noone was "doing anything". So they quickly raise money, jump on the phone for help, makes a website, gathers the best and brightest ambulances, EMT's and trauma medical staff people and he and all his resources go into the valley to wait for the next person in the car to come over the cliff, and the next person, and the next person, and the next person to come over the mountain and then they can deal with the injuries of any survivors.

WHAT ? Yeah...don't laugh...they are just like you and I. They have effectively learned how to cope with the accidents. They have also filled their need to "do something". But of course it makes more sense to go to the mountain where the issue is and build a gate to prevent the accident in the first place?

There are somethings in our lives that are preventable. Period. You eat and feed your kids an ongoing diet of junk food, salt and sweets they are not going to be healthy thriving kids. You have unprotected sex with someone with HIV, you will probably get it to. You smoke packs of cigarettes a week, your chances for Cancer have increased. You don't exercise regularly or eat a balanced diet-you will probably be weak and fat. Those, we understand.

On a more personal note, there are things in your life that you see over and over in your attitude, your demeanor, your reactions, your responses, your actions, your dress, your vocabulary that you have learned how to "cope" with instead of working to change. You have learned how to pretend, how to manage and how to perpetrate being who people think you should be. But standing in that valley isn't changing the issues in your life. You will just keep watching the cars come tumbling down. Only climbing to the top of the mountain and doing what's necessary to prevent the disaster will bring about the change and growth you need to go to the next level in your life.
How you the Personal Board of Directors post. Also, recognizing when you need help and being honest about it. Humble yourself and ask significant others in your life to help you. Teachers don't come looking for students. Students seek out teachers. Study, study and study. Exposure and information changes the seasons of your life. Actively pursue, confess and put change into thing at a time. ex. This week I will NOT eat or feed my family junk, Or (if youhave problem with negativity) try... this week, I will say one thing positive to at least 5 different people every day...etc.. baby steps...small steps...will eventually get you out of your valley experience and get you to the mountain top where you can really see further, clearer and achieve all that you need to accomplish.