When I read your post , my first thought was that it must have been written by an elderly grandmother type. But before I launched into an expletive laced rant, I figured I should find out a little bit about you. Hey, there’s a first time for everything, right?.
I was surprised to find your blog and see you were younger than me.
I was not surprised to find that you were a Christian.
I read your blog. I read your followup to the Iphone post, your similar post about Dads, and I read some of your series on how you survived adultery. As I learned more about you, I began mentally editing my post. It’s easier to rant against an unnamed person, or a celebrity like Mark Driscoll or John Piper, but putting a face( and, more importantly, a story) to you made me want to be a bit kinder. Of course, since you’re a Christian, this post will probably still seem expletive laced to you if you read it.
Sorry, there’s not a fucking thing I can do about that.
I mentioned that I was not surprised you were a Christian. Actually, I deduced this before finding your blog. I’m no detective, but I ran in Evangelical circles long enough to recognize the signs. Mainly it was your mention of The Creator, and your egregious use of gender roles. I couldn’t help but notice that the hypothetical boy in your post was much more assertive than the hypothetical girl. Also, the general shaming tone of the post was a dead giveaway.
I saw the note at the end of the post, about how you are guilty of the same thing. I suspect it was added later as an afterthought, because the re-post of the story I initially saw didn’t include it.
But even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was always there, the problem is, that doesn’t change what it is: an afterthought.
When I was an evangelical Christian, I usually forgot to look at the plank in my own eye first. It seems that in the midst of all that Jesus talk, you did the same (see what I did there?).
Like me, you probably also forgot the whole “judge not lest you be judged” thing, but I don’t think you’ll need another reminder since a whoooooollle lot of people are judging you for the post.
Like me, you probably forgot Matthew 23:4
“They [the teachers of the law and the Pharisees] tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”
In your follow up post, you said:
Isn’t it our job to encourage and lift each other up?
Isn’t it also our jobs to point out hard truths?
Here’s the thing: most people don’t actually need hard truths pointed out. They already know them. Most parents already know that they should be giving their kids attention. The ones who don’t care about that won’t give a rip about anything you have to say anyway.
I think what most parents our age need is encouragement.
Parents our age have more demands than ever before. They can see parents on Pinterest doing it better than them. They can see the article of the week about the latest food or common household item that will give their child autism, toe cancer, or Gulf War Syndrome. They have access to a dizzying array of parenting books and blogs, all with wildly differing ideas on the best way to do it. They fear being carted off to jail for leaving their kid unattended in the car while they go in to pay for gas. They fear that they will be just like their parents. Or they fear they won’t be as good as their parents.
What they probably need is someone to tell them to CHILL. THE FUCK. OUT and just enjoy their kids. Which, strangely, is the message I think you were trying to communicate.
But they don’t need someone adding more stress, someone saying OMG PAY ATTENTION YOU’RE MISSING SOMETHING IMPORTANT!
Trust me, they already know that. Anyone who’s been a parent for more than a year or so is all too aware of how quickly time flies. This is not news. Every parent has missed important moments. Today it might be because of an Iphone. Two hundred years ago, parents were probably too busy busting their asses on the farm to enjoy much time with their kids. And the kids were probably too busy helping them.
PARENTS MISS THINGS. Guess what? This gets kids ready for disappointment later in life. Their teachers will miss things. Their friends will miss things. Their bosses will miss things. Because people aren’t perfect.
AND BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT THE CENTER OF THE GODDAMN UNIVERSE.
See, that’s the other thing I sense in your post: the addiction to child worship that seems to infect many Christian circles. I’m sure your kids are awesome (I mean, obviously not as awesome as mine, but hey, no one’s perfect).
But every kid needs the occasional reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around them. They need to see parents engaging in self care, and having healthy adult relationships.
They need to see parents who are not constantly beating themselves up. Because some day, they might be parents themselves. And if we stop this cycle of parent shaming, they will thank us for it some day.
And that thank you just might come via text message.