Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trust and an Eraser

Through all the stuff I get to see on social media, I've found some gems and some stinkers. I had several of each this past week.
 One I really liked was this quote.
" some folks just need a pat on the back,..........
of the head,..........
with a hammer...."

But some are more serious. Like this one I shared last week, shared for one young friend in particular.
Trust is like an eraser. It gets smaller and smaller with each mistake.

What I wasn't expecting was the response I got.
 "What do you do when there's no eraser left? And you can't walk away?"

I didn't and don't have an answer for that question. It did how ever make me think about the trust that we try to nurture with consumers.
So often we think to think that the outreach is the all important part of connecting people with the farms. But what happens when there isn't any trust left, and our opponents are so heavily invested in their cause that they can't seem to find a way out or the desire to step away?
A couple of thoughts. Some folks don't want the dialogue, don't egg them on by giving them a platform to beat you up. But be polite. They want you to lose it. Don't give them the satisfaction.
Some people are sort of unlovable. It must hurt to be there. Don't add to their misery.
Our opponents want us to look untrustworthy, don't give them a reason to say,"See, I told you they were a terrible person!"
But it's really hard for me to be around someone that I don't trust. I chose my friends and allies for a good reason. It bothers me a lot when I see someone who is not looking out for others, getting the best of a friend. It ticks me off.
And lastly. If you find yourself to be that person who folks don't trust, remember that trust that can be lost so quickly, will take years to rebuild. Trying to force that won't make it heal faster, but further alienate yourself.
I'm blessed with so many young friends that challenge what I think and how I approach issues. They are each a blessing to me. This young friend and I will continue to talk about trust. Maybe we'll figure something out.....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fathers, Daughters, Mothers, Sons

This is a copy of the devotions that I did for youth group recently.
Fathers, Daughters, Mothers, Sons

So is anyone else uncomfortable yet?.

So why pick a topic like this one? Maybe a little background for you guys. You know I do the Hopeline for DMLive.  The reason for starting that went along these lines. God blessed me with a great upbringing, stable family, no question that my parents loved me. If  I could share some of that stability with the kids calling the Hopeline, it would be a good thing I could do to build Gods kingdom. But something odd happened along the way, God used that experience to teach me about his grace, mercy and love. It also taught me something about being a parent.

A show of hands, who thinks their parents just don't get it? One of the things I found at the hope line, was that I tended to agree with parents most of the time. Not all the time mind you, but most of the time. And honestly that surprised me a bit. I wasn't expecting that. I really thought these kids would come from some messed up places. Some did, but some of what I heard was just parents and kids not figuring stuff out.

But parents and kids not getting along is something new right?
Matt 10:35 "for I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law...".
So 2000 years ago this was going on. Not far enough back?
Micah 7:6 same verse.
Let's go back a little further, Jacobs dream was Jon's topic two weeks ago. He received his birthright but deceiving his father, with the help of his mother.
What I'm trying to say here is that the conflicts between parents and their kids is as old as the human race. And it is a far too big topic to address on a Wednesday night.

But God gave us the perfect pattern to follow to be parents. He calls himself our father doesn't he? So why aren't parents perfect? Let's try something.
We have two easels here, I'm looking for three volunteers.
So one of you will give instructions to the other two. Use the instructions that you heard to recreate the picture that you envision being described. The end results looks nothing like what the instructions that where given.

In the same way that these pictures became distorted by the fact that the people drawing them didn't understand what they were drawing, parents don't always get it right either. They don't understand what they are being told, or they aren't paying attention, or they have a detail that they think is more important. Lots of reasons, but not what God intended. We, and you, can't  fix what's wrong with your parents. The only part of that relationship that you can control is you. And sometimes that is really hard.

So I'm just going to focus on a couple of specifics of the relationship. The topic tonight, was listed as fathers daughters mothers sons for a reason. In all the relationships that I watched at the hope line, these two were, in my mind anyway, incredibly important. These two relationships lay the framework for how your future relationships work. For starters these two relationships are one of the few you will have in your life, that don't have a sexual element to them. They give you a way to figure out how to interact with the opposite sex, without sex being part of the picture. So much of what happens in a marriage is just life. So watch how you young ladies interact with dad, and guys with mom. It matters to your future.

Guys, understand how dads feel about their daughters. It is the guy relationship that you will be judged against by the young lady that God brings into your life.
This past week I've been having a couple of conversations about asking a girls dad, for permission to marry her. Think of it as a matter of respect. Respect the relationship that she has with her dad, enough to ask him for her hand. It isn't a rule, but is a good idea.
Also understand that the relationship that you guys have with your mother will shape how you and your future wife interact. And guys, the girls are watching how you treat your moms, and the other women that you interact with. Can you say teachers?

Girls, the respect that you show you fathers, is something that someday you will share with your future husbands.

All of this just adds to the amazement that I have for God, and how incredibly he made us. He created all of these interactions.
 One time I told a young man at the Hopeline,"you want to know how amazing God is? He understands women."

And how wonderful is God? He created women.

But that is a topic for another night.....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Facebook Status

I was looking at my friends list on Facebook recently, and was reminded that while I know many of my facebook friends well, there are others that only know me through SM. And after looking through the new timeline on facebook a lot of my status' probably don't make sense to those of you who don't know me well.
I'm a middle-aged married guy with four kids, aged 15,17,19 and 21. To someone reading my facebook status you would think I'm a helicopter parent or that they are always in need of help. Not the case at all, they are great kids, they are doing great. They experience the normal teenage angst, (guys/girls, relationships, grades, school decisions), but they are awesome kids.
I'm also work with teens through my church's youth group, and until recently, I was a volunteer Hopecoach for the Dawson McAllister Ministry. Dawson McAllister has a radio show that runs for 2 hours on Sunday nights on top 40 radio, all over the country. Honest forthright answers, with a dose of Christ's love mixed in. Volunteers and staff talk and text, with thousands of young people each month. Five years ago, I started answering phones for the ministry on Sunday nights, and discussing whatever topic came up with the teens that called in wanting advice or a friend to talk to. In the past five years I've had one on one conversations and made friends with, somewhere around 1500 young people. My young friends are bulemic, cutters, prostitutes, pimps, gang members, over-acheivers, drug addicts, anorexic, dropouts, strippers and potheads. They struggle with their parents, teachers, divorce, each other, depression, boyfriends/girl friends, and relationships in general. They have been let down, stomped on(literaly and figuritively), beat up, raped, abused and neglected. I've been on the phone with them when we called the police. They have tried to committ suicide, hurt themselves and everyone around them. I've talked to a young person with a pistol on the seat beside him, driving around looking for a quiet place to end his life. I've talked to 17 year old young woman who had never heard anyone tell her that she was loved. I've prayed with them, and I've had them pray for me. (You want to talk about being humbled, that will do it.)
When I got invloved in my churches youth group, it wan't long before kids found out about the Dawson McAllister call work that I did. So they started to talk, call and text. They also started to refer friends who were dealing with big stuff. Why do they talk to me? I don't know. Someone once told me that my grandpa could talk to anyone, and maybe God blessed me with some of him. I can say the conversations are one of the greatest blessings that God has blessed me with, and I'm a pretty blessed guy.
An animal welfare person I've come accross, once told a group of us,"I'm your worst nightmare, an insomniac, AR person, with a computer and an internet connection." He would say he was kidding, but he isn't even close. My nightmares include missing a call in the middle of the night, a phone call going dead, a call from a young person saying they've been raped or that one of "my" kids has died.
This isn't something I do on my own. God has blessed me with a great bunch of folks to walk along with, and I couldn't do it without his help. And please don't make me out to be anything more than I am. I am one of God's screwups. I mess up all the time, and without his help, I'd be an even bigger mess.
So in this New Year, if you see my status asking for a prayer, say a quick prayer for one of "my" kids. Thanks.