Gaping Holes Between Generations

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So, the Daily Post posed a question in their daily prompt that I found kind of interesting.

Think about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them? 

This is something I actually pine over quite frequently. Being 43, I feel it is a constant struggle to exhaustedly bridge the gap between the generation above and below me. My parents generation was more of a selfless generation. They did all they could to earn a living and support their families. They had strong morals and convictions and there was no wiggle room for deviating in any direction. It was a time of the family. Family gatherings, family prayer and extended family get togethers. Now, they continue to care for their own parents who are aging and in need of their help. They spent an entire lifetime caring for others without ever thinking twice. So what can we learn from them? Selflessness is a gift that keeps on giving. Putting off your own needs to help out with needs of others can be the most rewarding and kindest thing you can do in a lifetime. The generation was dependable, hard working and kept problems within their family unit, sometimes keeping them only to themselves. I guess what I dont understand is how they sacrificed their own chance of living the life we all dream of. 

I don’t know why it was so hard for them to find balance between living for themselves and living for others. I also find it hard to have conversations with them because they are very closed minded, set in their ways, often times not even willing to see something from a different perspective.

I also have two teenagers. What can I possibly say about this generation without completely offending them? They are a generation who likes to be edgy. They claim to be accepting of everything and anything yet they think nothing of ridiculing and judging their own parents on a daily basis. They are brave and bold and fearless to a point that is dangerous. They do not respect adults like other generations. They feel like they are on the same level and can say and do whatever they feel like. If they think a rule doesn’t make sense than they just don’t follow it. They challenge everything and everyone from their own parents and teachers even extending to the church. They are consumed with themselves as evidenced through excessive selfie taking sessions. They do as little as possible without going the extra mile to help anyone else. It’s not my problem is a common theme. Dare I suggest they are lazy? They don’t get up to mow the lawn or do the dishes or even clean their rooms because after all who can make them. If there’s no point to something in their own mind than why do it? 

 What could we possibly learn from them? They move at their own pace. They can’t  be forced into doing something because someone thinks they should do it. They dont over extend themselves and they will have healthy hearts because they do not rush around or sacrifice their own needs for the needs of others. I worry because they don’t seem to have much common sense. Things like thinking outside of the box or even making change seems extrely difficult for them. They are a generation who has been entitled. They don’t know what it’s like to go to a library to look up information to write a paper. They don’t understand the concept of sacrificing one thing so they can have another. They want it all and why shouldnt they have it all? Everything is at their fingertips. They lack interpersonal skills because texting has taken the place of face to face conversations. They are as quick with their fingers as they are with their comments.

And my generation? It borders on both extremes. Between the rigid views of our parents and the liberal views of our children, how could we possibly please either? And further more, who has the energy to do it anyway? We overextend and over schedule. We are consumed by our children’s activities and competition has consumed our spirits. We work hard. We cater to our kids. We sleep. 

For me personally, I feel frustrated and stuck. I feel like I’m in a no win situation and I don’t see improvement anywhere in sight. What about you? How would you answer the question?

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Dear Mom, You’re Ruining My Life

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I’m so glad my parents always make an effort to spread positivity about my day ❤

That was a post made by my teenage daughter today. OF course she was being sarcastic. One thing that is very frustrating about kids today is that they have a very difficult time sitting down and talking through a problem. It saddens me that they can easily air their problems through social media but can’t seem to be open enough to sit down and have a respectful discussion. How can I possibly respond to this. How can I possibly make her understand that sometimes you get what you give? 

As a parent who has given up my own freedom to raise and parent my children, it is disheartening for me to see my daughter lay in bed and read all day long for several days at a time. Sure, it’s not a bad thing but I have failed to teach my children responsibility and setting priorities. I have failed to teach them to do their part and not sit and watch me cook, clean up and do the dishes every single night. I haven’t taught them to be kind and helpful and to do something uncomfortable for the sake of another. I haven’t taught them they have to work for things in life like money for gas or even a car. They just expect things to be given without sacrificing or finding a way to get it for themselves. I failed to teach them to be respectful and not roll their eyes at an adult. I failed to teach them it is not okay to challenge and question every little thing. I taught them that laziness is okay and they should only do what they feel like doing. I failed to teach them to hold their tongues and not speak every single thing they think. I’ve taught them that phones are allowed at the dinner table and conversation isn’t necessary. I’ve taught them that a bad attitude is okay and mumbling under their breath comes without consequence. I’ve taught them they can get away with mean comments and hurtful words. I’ve taught them so many things I tried so hard to avoid.

Teens are tough today. They are hard to parent. Sometimes they are even harder to love. They build walls that seem impossible to climb and they act out negatively only to bring themselves the wrong kind of attention. Sometimes as a mom, I feel lost. It’s a different world than the one I grew up in. These are different times. Kids do things today that I would never even consider as a teen myself. They are cocky and self consumed, condescending and snide. They think they know it all. They have all the answers. They challenge everything their parents say. If I say a shirt is purple, they will argue it’s blue. They haven’t seemed to grasp the “It is better to be kind than to be right” philosophy but they have mastered the “I will always prove my point and have the last word” philosophy.

I have done my best but my best was never good enough. I have showed them by example many things that they simply reject. I have lost the heart and soul and energy to stay on them and follow through. Maybe I have done all I can and its time for them to learn the hard lessons on their own. Maybe they never will. Maybe time will teach them that life doesn’t always feel good. It is not about doing only what you feel like doing. Its not about escaping responsibility, or entitlement. It is not about sitting back and watching someone do your share and saying whatever you feel despite the consequences. Maybe someday they will learn you get what you give. Or maybe they will never figure it out at all. Maybe one day they will stop believing I am ruining their life and learn that it is their own actions and words that ruin it for themselves. I guess only time has the answers but at least something does. Does anyone else feel like they can’t do anything right while raising teenagers? I wish I didn’t come down so hard on myself.

Stolen Moments

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You may not see it, but I know it is there

It is a shadow that I cannot escape, creeping closer when I turn away

It taps me on the shoulder but I do not dare turn my head

If I look it in the eyes it will consume me til we are one and the same

I keep moving but still it follows, closer and closer

I can feel myself fading into its darkness

It feels so empty, removed and I’m comfortable there

There are no concerns, no worries

Nothing can touch me there, not a single thing going on in this circus of a world

Not my circus, not my monkeys anymore

I sleep and sleep while depression tightens it’s hold

It wraps it’s arms snuggly around me and I settle in, sinking lower

A place to escape where I am safe from the intensity, the pain, the fighting

A place to rest until I am strong again 
Earier today I heard about someone who took his own life. Depression is a scary thing and it can rob people of the precious time they are meant to spend living and feeling happy. If you know someone with depression reach out. Show them compassion and kindness. Be the hope that has become dim. The world can be a lonely place. Be a loving embrace, a kind word, an understanding heart. Be the light when someone is trapped in the dark. It’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference. Be that difference.

Stop the Bus

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Its almost 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon and I haven’t seen a single soul. Growing up, I used to look forward to Sunday’s. After my mom survived her bout with cancer, everyone used to come for dinner in the afternoon. We didn’t have to beg people to be there. We wanted to be there.  Sunday’s were about rest, church and family time period. How did my life spin so depressingly out of control that I have lost these things in my adult life? Somewhere along the way I hopped on a bus going the wrong direction and I can’t seem to get back to the station. Sunday is just another day for a company to make an extra buck. That is where my husband is today. He doesn’t want to be there, it doesn’t come down to a choice. My son is still in bed probably from texting all night long and my daughter hasn’t bothered to come home yet after sleeping at a friends house. So here I am, feeling a little sad for myself because I am all alone. I know you are probably thinking that I allowed all of this to happen and in a way you are probably right. The older I get though, the more I realize I cannot control the actions of others no matter how hard I try. In fact, the more I try, the further they seem to slip away. I am stuck in this sad little place between what life used to be and what it is today. I can’t get off the bus no matter how much I want to. The world is changing and I don’t even recognize the station anymore. Maybe there isn’t one. We live in a world where we are consumed by anything and everything except people. I’m riding the bus alone surrounded by people who are there but will never see me because they are just too busy to ever look up. I miss the simpler days that seem so far away. I miss when friends got together because they were not consumed by there child’s year round sports schedule. I miss when kids used to get together in the summer to spend the day at a pool instead of playing video games and Facetiming each other. I miss the days extended families would plan summer picnics and spend the day eating hotdogs and tossing water balloons. These kind of days have been retired, expired I guess and I don’t have any energy left to fight and try and get them back. So for now, I will sit on this swing alone looking at my empty pool and try and pretend that nothing’s wrong. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Maybe…

You’re Getting Too Old For That

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I went paddle boarding on the river today. I have been secretly obsessing about trying the new trend of paddle board yoga. I worked up the nerve to try a few poses. It was even harder than I ever imagined but I enjoyed the concentration it took to get it done. I called home to talk to my mother. When I told her about how I spent the day, her response was, “You’re getting to old to do those kinds of things”. No mom, age does not and will never define how I will spend my days. The mind is a powerful thing and if you allow it to set limits, you limit your life. It’s as simple as that. Recently I told the story of a 96 year old woman I met who went zip lining for the first time when she was 92. I wonder if anyone ever told her she was too old for that. I know for a fact she didn’t listen. Life is an adventure. Get out there and enjoy it!

Love Can Never Be Won

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I remember my wedding day like it was yesterday. I was very selective when it came to the readings for our ceremony. This one in particular was my favorite. It set a standard, guidelines for how I would practice love. So what is love? This is what it is to me.  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

There are two things that stand out for me and are the most challenging to practice. 

The first is, don’t dishonor others. 

 I think if we were to apply that to this day and age, it would mean don’t disrespect others because their beliefs are not the same as yours. Don’t insult, demean, devalue or treat anyone like they are beneath you. Don’t do it in conversations or posts on Facebook. Don’t use your words to purposely hurt or devalue another human being. Use your words to lift people up, never to tear them down.

 The second is don’t keep track of wrong doings. 

What does this mean exactly? Don’t keep score, don’t judge, don’t label, don’t hold a grudge. Don’t point a finger at anyone else, you are not their judge and jury. Your purpose in life is not to expose the flaws of others and then share them with the rest of the word. Your job is to show compassion, tolerance and respect when it comes to fellow human beings. How would you like it if someone dragged you personally through the Internet mud? Leave that for the news crew. Share and spread something positive. If nothing else, it will make you look like a nicer person.

Don’t celebrate love, practice love.

Don’t spread hate and intolerance in the name of love.

Love is not a game. We are not pawns in a game of life knocking each other off the grid so our beliefs can survive. Love is universal, it does not select a chosen few. Love exists or it doesn’t. It’s that simple.

Love is not conditional. If you are only loving toward a percentage of people and not all people, than you don’t really know love. Love doesn’t pick and choose anyone. We as people choose love or we choose not to love.  

You cannot experience real love with an angry heart. Angry thoughts and words do not promote love, they take away its value. If you love and support one group, while knocking and mocking and judging another, your actions do not come from a place of love. 

 Maybe the hardest act for others as a whole, especially when it comes to the Internet is do not boast. Have you seen the posts on Facebook lately? There is a fine line in supporting and boasting. Be mindful.

I ask you to to look in the mirror and ask yourself to get real and honest with yourself. Are you love? Do you practice love? A heart can’t love and judge at the same time. Love is accepting and respecting another person without conditions. Are you really capable of love? Listen to your words. Do they come from a place of love? Do your thoughts come from a place of love. Is your heart at peace or are you using it to fight a battle? Love does not fight. It encourages, sympathizes, empathizes. The heart listens and tries to understand. I ask again, do you really come from a place of love?