Tag Archives: family

Toxic Environments

Toxic environments aren’t necessarily detectable to the senses. Time, relations, and motivations all get in the way of us seeing the things that choke us. It can never be personal, or you’ll end up spinning in the circles that make you dizzy.

It’s sort of like the three year old in the “Johnny Johnny” videos. That little bastard gets into everything and all he ever says after his dad asks him “telling lies” is “No Papa”. It’s humorous to us, but the little bastard is a liar.

Learning to look empathetic towards folks when they are deceitful like you would look at “Johnny Johnny” is an acquired skill. You have to put yourself in a place where you see past the deceit. You have to be above it!

Co dependence plagues our cultures to the point folks have even tried to establish truth as a subjective concept. I understand this progressive delusion, it’s necessary in the pursuit of justification. The field of behavior is wide open after this dysfunction is perpetrated.

Now you can hear folks justifying dysfunction based on others behavior. So I can take what belongs to others because I have needs. I can shoot another person because I have interests others are interfering with. I can stay in my addiction because no one cares. I can use people for my needs because they have too much anyway, or maybe the most damaging; I’ll tell a lie if it gets me what I desire, no one else is telling the truth. These are some of the root ills that folks use to justify their behavior, and the fault where co dependence sneaks in under the guise of love and caring.

These toxic environments replicate theirselves in millions of forms everyday across the world. Honesty becomes a liability and friendship becomes convenience. Even marriage or kinship become a bartering chip for individual needs. Nothing is off limits as long as “I” benefit and perpetuate my dysfunctional existence.

These relationships can be temporary or long term, depending on the folks involved. If you sense something wrong, it will probably turn out wrong. This is the point to bow out gracefully. Take the high ground and understand why it is you accepted this delusion. If you did it knowingly for the right reason, pat yourself on the back and move on. If you found yourself in the midst of it, walk on and reflect on how you got into the situation to begin with. If you didn’t have a clue do some soul searching and spend some time alone. Either way, create some respectful distance.

Constant drama, incessant focus on others problems, and lack of accountability are “Red Flags”! If you encounter this, or you’re perpetrating this, stop. Just real yourself in and call it for what it is. Be honest with yourself about yourself and others.

Many folks want to experience the best of the folks we come in contact with. We have these hopes and fantasies about our relationships that don’t always align with others and that’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re “that guy or gal” who finds yourself in the midst of a toxic environment. Distance yourself and decontaminate your brain and heart. Stay too long and you’ll become one of the monsters disfigured by delusion.

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Silent truths

God is looking for that person who doesn’t know there’s a heaven but leads a truthful life. The one who does good for goodness sake unaware that He is watching.

You can’t aspire, seek, or desire without imperfection. The sentiments can be beautiful, but flawed non the less. This is humilities role, we can only try.

I used to listen to the attacks on truth today in wonder. I no longer wonder, but still shake my head in concern. The truth is folks don’t want to hear it. I’m not talking about the Gospel truth. We can’t get near that today for fear of human truth.

Today you’re supposed to ignore the truth for the perspective another espouses. So if you’re having a conversation and someone says something that isn’t quite true you’re supposed to ignore this lie for the benefit of the premise outlined. It’s ignorance, and a childish behavior.

So if I’m talking to a friend and they are telling me about the trouble in their life and all the misdeeds done to them, I’m supposed to ignore everything self inflicted to bolster the idea that they are the victim.

Never mind the fact that they drink too much, or self medicate, or use co dependent relationships to fill their lives with drama due to an absence of authentic relationships that are mutually affectionate and caring.

The examples are endless, but I have a couple favorites. Suppose you are the caring person for a moment. Unfortunately your “friend” isn’t so caring. So you take time to invite them to lunch. You want to make it special so you actually invite them to your home and prepare lunch. You spend hours on this labor of love making everything perfect.

Upon arrival your friend complains about travel and forgets to say hello. When you sit down to eat they excuse theirselves to the restroom for a lengthily stay. Upon return they list for you again their illnesses or troubles. When it’s time to eat your friend feigns decor and doesn’t complain, but associated illnesses and memories with each course you’ve prepared. All the while intermittently commenting on how they love the meal, but explaining its effect.

At the end of the meal your efforts just become another story in the repertoire of histories your friend uses against you. Never mind your efforts, your thoughts, or the care you’ve taken. Your “friend” has manipulated you into this pleasing state of bondage that becomes the basis of a co dependent existence you feel guilty about interrupting.

This is manipulative behavior. It’s how narcissist create victims. Beware of these “friends” and ensure that you’re always especially honest with them and call them out. Remind them of how their acting. I’m not saying they can’t be true friends, but you will have to be guarded with them.

One of my other favorite characters is the victim. Lord knows there’s enough bad, or evil, around to fill everyone’s life. Some folks make this a career. They ride bad situations like trail horse that just ain’t been ridden. They exaggerate the parts of the ride they avoided disaster, and lament the part where they couldn’t stay on the horse.

Addicts use this tactic. Understand that there are probably more addicts out there not diagnosed than there are celebrating recovery. Functioning addicts and non functioning addicts being supported by co dependent family and friends do more damage to society than the ones that overdose or end up in prison. They capture entire families in a web of dysfunction. Everyone in the game hides from the truth to further their own insecurities in a comfortable manner. “At least I’m not……..

I may be self medicating, but I’m not on the streets. I may take a lot of OxyContin or Adderall, but I’m not shooting heroin or smoking meth. The real popular one is pot. I just smoke enough to calm me down or help me sleep. It matters not to these folks that an altered consciousness creates an altered reality, that’s an innocent truth.

The list of truths we hide from are endless. Bad boys or girls who make us victims to be felt sorry for. Drugs that stigmatize over drugs that are prescribed. Hiding truths of psychological manipulation to feel needed or loved. Even denying the truth for living a lie.

I’m not afraid of truth anymore. I don’t wonder about why folks choose to portray truth as subjective. Truth is hard. The person delivering and receiving have to be ready to experience it. To deliver truth if one or the other isn’t ready is traumatic, and dramatic folks thrive on this mistake.

In the end we have to acknowledge truth and understand that in some relationships it’s so difficult that the alternative seems the only safe choice. The sad truth is we can’t all decide today to let go and just tell the truth because the world would be turnt on its head. This maybe why God is so silent. Sometimes silence is the clearest mirror to reality.

Me-llenials

The 70’s dude! A decade of confusion. A transition to dysfunction on a societal level that speaks to so much confusion today. The origin of the “me-llenial”! We just can’t seem to slow the train down long enough to see clearly, life is a blur.

I ain’t blaming women, You can’t really ever blame one group for a societies developmental dysfunctions, it takes a village. Woman however, changed the American family to a degree that no other facet of American life could. They went to work and had careers.

Woman in the 70’s responded to divorce rates, family structure, and economic autonomy by leaving the home and going to work. Prior to this time women as a whole stayed at home and maintained o home (which is not the same as a house) and raised children. Kindergarten was not yet a norm so children were at home until 6 years old learning in their homes and communities.

“Play dates” were an everyday thing. Cars with fathers pulled out of the driveway at 7am and the streets were filled with kids playing and Mothers talking. Naps were a necessity and at 4 or 5pm cars with fathers returned for dinner. This was the norm for most families.

I want to be clear that I’m not blaming woman. The economy was such that it became a necessity. Fathers either couldn’t make enough to maintain the middle class stature or just opted out and left for a loaf of bread never to return. Either way women had to step up and step out of the house for additional income.

There was no such thing as daycare, preschool, or head start. Most women relied on friends who used the babysitting money to supplement their own families income. A few daycares sprang up, but all you needed to be certified were a toy box, fire extinguisher, and a emergency services sticker next to your phone. This was not a great time for many children. In America.

These kids grew up to birth the “90 Babies” just around the technology boom. This generation of parents never were handed down the traditional parenting skills their parents experienced. Preschool, head start, and kindergarten became a norm and the main source of information for parenting.

These early childhood educators blurred the lines between children and students, even in some cases the authority over the child. Then the school starts to share the role of educator with raising children. So then we had parents educating their children while schools focused on their well being. Hell, everyone was confused.

So now we have the “me-llenials” and these babies are all confused. They can’t decipher whose role is what. The television and computer fill in the gaps with vulgarity and innuendo to the point sarcasm is viewed as a positive trait. Entertaining yourself through other folks pain is humorous, and drama within families is expected.

These babies are having babies and seem to be responding by wanting to do better than their parents or grandparents did. They track pregnancy from conception. They communicate at a level that’s painful for many older folks. They seem to see through the bullshit in a “this has been going on long enough” manner. On the front side of family life though, they are way out there.

These folks create genders, races, and cultures like apps on a smart phone. They experiment with all facets of life to an uncomfortable degree for many. This is what makes social media so entertaining and dangerous. Socially, politically, and culturally there are no safeguards to protect us from the degradation we see. Truth becomes subjective, reality is what you make it, and authority is viewed as a negative facet of life.

We can’t fix this overnight. This is gonna take a minute. There are many uncomfortable moments ahead. Now is the time for candor, not to be confused with being blunt. It’s a time for a leader, but they’re rare. It’s a time for honesty. Most importantly it’s a time for families to retreat to the dinner table and say “hold up”, we need to take a step back and evaluate what we’re doing. We need to reaffirm our roles as parents, children, and siblings. Before we go out that door again and step out into this dysfunction. We need to tighten up and reestablish and reaffirm what we stand for. No more co dependent relationships built on cultural fantasies.

It’s not over, but that rolls both ways. Americans are families. We are independent and proud. We are philanthropic at the lowest socio economic strata. We believe life is bigger than us. We need to start acting like that or the America that our grandparents rocked will be rolled right into a ditch.

Family Myth

Family is an agreement that love is paramount, time is precious, and honesty transcends self.

Blood is not thicker than water, it’s made of water and flows freely together. Water is the essence of life that beats through our veins and fuels emotions to sweeter heights. Without water we have no pulse.

Absence does not make the heart grow fonder, commitment makes the heart beat towards the memory and hope of another, loyalty minus the exceptions.

Without water blood coagulates, it ceases to flow. A heart that beats dust leaves ashes to fall, and withered limbs reaching for a love without color.

So now I’ve learnt to create moments, behind memories and just beyond hope I feel with my heart as my hands lay silent, ever looking for that moment words pulse with color.

My heart beats in all directions like a starburst reaching out to darkness, or disappearing into the light. No matter though; I can always close my eyes or look at the sun in memory of us, because family beats in our heart and rests in our mind.

Parenting is Offensive

A few days ago I commented on a friends post about fatherhood. I am still getting noticed about folks commenting on his post. So yesterday I get a call from someone who’s wondering how to explain to their parents that they will not be continuing the traditions that brought them into the world. My simple answer was; Nothing offends folks more than your parenting style!.

I remember having a few “pet peeves” that made folks uncomfortable when raising my oldest three daughters. I always told them, “I’m not raising someone’s wife!” They participated in dance, but I chose classical ballet. They had uniforms and dresses, but didn’t wear jeans. They ate what I cooked and were never made to “clean their plate”! I heard all kinds of advice about how that was wrong and because of my military background I was too strict. I was amazed that folks thought my parenting techniques were a statement about their parenting choices.

I didn’t really care what others were doing. I was, and am, paying attention to each child and ensuring I do as little as possible to define who they become. I trust that we are inherently good and that they will respond in kind. I recently told someone that I know exactly what I want my oldest boy to be when he grows up from his current age of 9. He’ll be happy, that’s it.

It doesn’t take long after a child is born before friends and family begin to “put in their 2 cents” about what your child should be doing. He or she turns 1 and they should be walking. 2 Years old comes around and solid foods and no bottle. Potty chairs at 30 months, listening and responding perfectly, and A,B,C’s. It’s crazy. It’s like “terrible two’s” are a parental problem, not the child’s. Everyone wants to control your child for you and advise you how to do it. It doesn’t matter that you’ve raised 6 kids and they’ve raised one, there’s is older and special so their gonna enlighten you.

If your having your first child and looking for advice, don’t. Go with your instincts. Follow development charts and look for good examples. Have a prepared response for those folks that want to interfere in the child rearing of your child. I like the statement for overbearing parents: “My parenting choices are not a statement of how you chose to raise your child. You raised me the best you knew how and I love myself, and I’m sure my child will do the same.”

Our children are ours. They won’t grow up to be what anybody thinks except themselves. They ain’t gonna be babysat by a TV with inappropriate television. They’re not going to have relationships in elementary or middle school. They’re not gonna run around worrying more about what they look like than how they act. And they will not run around with phones as an extension of their security blanket. Believe it or not these few rules will offend half your friends and family.

In the end your family is yours to protect and love. Traditions are wonderful if they don’t define the child. Culture is wonderful as long as it doesn’t oppress who your child wants to be. Family is important as long as there isn’t some vicarious nightmare that stifles who your child will become.

Just remember everyone has an opinion and the intensity is off the chart when it comes to parenting. Have an empathetic response prepared so as not to create too much friction. Most importantly though, make a statement. Those are your children, and while the sentiment behind your advice is appreciated, I’m the parent and I will do what I think is best based on what is best for my child, and there are no negotiations.

Home Parenting

“Just get the milk from your sister, it’s 500 degrees out here and you’re letting the air out!” “Give me the lotion. You can’t do it, you’re wasting it!” No, I’ll pour the cereal, you’ll spill it.” Give me the paint, you’re making a mess!”

These, and many more memories echo in the minds of most parents. It’s so much easier to do so many things by yourself, but is that a sound long term tactic? Would we be better of, or more importantly, would our children be better off if we spread the pain and anxiety over 18 years?

With age comes patience, and patience wisdom. We’re so far past the stereotypical “first child parent” it’s almost difficulty talking to folks who are first child or only child parents without sounding callous or irresponsible. We probably sound and look as crazy to them as they appear naive to us.

We work with wood for a living. We do this partly so we can enjoy the wonderfully unbearable time we spend with our kids. We feel time is most important. It would certainly be easier to cart them off to daycare and go to a job for 8-12 hours and hopefully eat dinner together at a time that wouldn’t choke us in our sleep. However, we made the choice to be poor and together, for our situation it works.

I have three grown children from another marriage and we are raising three together. The two boys are 7 and 9, the youngest is 2 1/2. These are demanding and dynamic phases. The oldest compares his chest hair to his younger brothers. The younger brother decides wether or not every situation in the house is fair. The youngest thinks the kitchen and all of its contents are her playground. We can’t wait till there all a little more human.

The kids are around whenever we’re working. The boys have largely gotten bored with the excitement if power tools and constantly try to sneak outta the heat to watch some TV. The youngest though, she’s in her prime for tool time. Knives, saws, chisels and blocks seem amazing. So again, we safely go through the process of stopping what we’re doing every now and then to demonstrate, and supervise, our 2 1/2 year old sawing a block of wood.

On a recent trip to the grocery store in our 100 degree weather “little girl” decided she would put her sandals on because she wanted to walk into the grocery store where she could shop for us. She remembered the last time she got down from bring carried and the pavement was too hot. So we’re good now with grocery day. She remembers to bring her sandals she doesn’t want to wear because she can’t shop and has to ride in the cart when she doesn’t have shoes. This is pretty much the rubric for learning at this age.

Returning home everyone grabs as many bags as possible and takes them to the kitchen, which “little girl” has made an extension of her playroom. Standing at the steps to the door waiting on “Little Girl” to try and carry bread and milk up the three steps was amusing. Not to mention dangerous because we have lost a couple gallons in this process. All this made even more enjoyable by the unbearable heat.

What I know, and subsequently confirmed is; raising children isn’t easy. I could go to the grocery store by myself and hop outta the truck and be home in 25 minutes. I could go to work and only have to worry about the extra 30 minutes on either side it takes to drop the kids off and pick them up. I could cut and screw wood uninterrupted for hours at a time had we chose daycare. I could also send the kids inside to turn the TV on instead of enduring dropped groceries and 100 degree heat, but we experience many authentic moments being “home parents” that had we chose to work outside the house we would have missed.

We don’t “home school. We don’t feel it necessary. We send our kids to school for social reasons. We already knew their success in school was going to depend on us anyway. We drop them off and pick them off. Usually listening to their expectations in the morning and their successes or failures on the way home.

Being a “home parent” is very rewarding. We’re not wealthy and understand that has nothing to do with happiness or intelligence. We understand that it’s our choice and others make theirs for what they feel is good. What motivates us is we know each phase is the last and we’d better enjoy it while it’s here.

So for now we are hopefully allowing our kids to just be kids as long as they can and as fully as they can so when they’re adults that how they’ll feel. We don’t care what they become as much as that they become happy with who they are.

The freedom to explore and express theirselves now is important to us. We respect that not everyone agrees with this process. This is why we keep our 2 1/2 year old home mostly till she’s around 3, it’s safer for everyone involved.

We understand some folks seek academic success. Some chase actors curricular stardom. Some believe it takes a village. Some folks believe that insulating their child is the responsible thing to do. We respect other folks decisions, as we hope others do ours. We enjoy the difficult process of home parenting and including our children in our endeavors. It’s ugly for sure, but we all learn so much it’s impossible to see how limits are good if the actions are supervised, no matter how much harder it is than doing it ourselves.

Manda

It’s you, with fragile moments and beautiful sentiments that make my heart soften to the beat of life. The smile that weakens my resolve and melts my intensity to lust. I love to adore you in these moments.

Love falls short of what we are, life above all is what makes us. Our pulse undulates through time like the Northern lights through crisp skies and my breath whispers across your body in beautiful wisps of every hue.

I inhale your beauty waiting to exhale the us that each pulse swirls and rises in a mist of emotion. Colors fade and shimmer within each beat of our heart thundering across the landscape of love and lust intertwined in one bolt of lightening.

We’re elemental within a universe of passionate particles dancing on air. Nothing else exists when we breathe as one spirit sharing the beauty of two souls united in time and space. Nothing matters, not even living is conscious within our embrace, we just fade into the future riding on moments and memories of now.

Now we’re eternal, not constricted by time or space. Tomorrow and yesterday are one moment to bind us as one. Within every moment is an eternity that is exponentially expressed every time our lips touch. This is how we became us.