Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days of "Things I have Learned from my Children"..Courage

The courage I am learning about is the kind that believes something is possible and then does it.

I want to protect my children, to keep them safe in a world that doesn’t seem so dangerous until you have little people you must protect from it. But I also want my children to be brave. I want them to know right from wrong, and I want them to be willing to say something is wrong if that’s what it is.

I wrote yesterday on “voice,” and I have not stopped thinking about the word since. In particular, I have been thinking about the voice of a girl on the other side of the world that spoke up for girls in her country. She said that they should be able to go to school. As a result, a terrorist organization has vowed to kill her. She is brave. She knew something was wrong; she was willing to say it was wrong; and she spoke because she thought that change was possible. Her voice is now echoing around the world. She is fourteen.

I want my children to let their voices be heard. And I want them to do more than speak; I want them to act.

In election seasons especially, I want to say to my children, Regardless of what happens, you still have personal responsibility to speak the truth and to act on it. I suppose that during elections, I feel as though so much hope is hung on a person who promises to pass laws or put in place regulations that will change lives. It is easier to believe that someone else – someone with more power and resources than me – can fix this problem. But to not only identify a wrong but DO something about it, that is the brave part. That is the step of faith. I believe (deep breath) it is job of the Church to help people, and we often miss the mark on this one.

I agree with those who fight to make abortion illegal. But wouldn’t that voice be louder if every person who opposes abortion actually adopted a child or offered to help a mom who has no options?

What if we, the Church, bought a struggling family food or medicine? What if we made them a meals or watched the kids when the mom needs to work? Those actions are big; they are the ones that can change lives – really change them. Those are brave actions.

And what of this girl in Pakistan who is fighting for education? We support her in principle, but what if we DID something? What if we raised children that knew right from wrong, and did not settle for the wishy-washy-truth-is-relative stuff? What if we loved in the way Christ loved and actually DID something. I admit, I have no idea what the doing would be for this girl, for the girls in Pakistan who want to learn, but there must be a brave action here – doing, loving, meeting needs – that might actually make a difference.

And I am learning that my actions are being watched. Even though I am a mom with four kids, and I am simply trying to make it in and out of McDonald’s in one piece, if I take a moment to be brave, my children will see it. If I take a moment to buy that person who is in need a cup of coffee, they are watching. Even the little things take courage. And they are watching and learning to be brave with me as I put into action what I believe. Maybe, just maybe the significant change would come if I start living as if Mark 12:30-31 is true…

“’The most important [commandment],’ Jesus answered, ‘is this: “Love the  Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” The second is this, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’”

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