Be The One

As my kids have gotten older, they (naturally) have been getting in more situations in which they have to make a choice about the right way to behave.

We’ve had lots of conversations lately about what they should do when other kids are encouraging them to do things they know they shouldn’t. They have been complaining that often one kid is driving all the others in a group to misbehave.

During one of these discussions, a phrase popped out of my mouth that has started to become kind of a mantra at our house: Be The One.

Let me explain. Sometimes they are in a group with a strong leader. One kid can have so much power. He can influence all of the others to do the right thing. Or he might be stirring up trouble.

Well, they have a choice. They can either follow. Or they can Be The One.

They can Be The One to encourage the other kids to do good. They can Be The One to stand up for what they believe. They can Be The One to help other kids choose the right path.

This idea really struck a chord with my kids. And it has me thinking, too.

How can I Be The One?

Will I Be The One to talk to my neighbors? Will I Be The One to be a friend to someone who is lonely? Will I Be The One to help someone in need?

It’s so easy to follow. It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to not say anything when someone else is a bad influence.

But why not Be The One?

What do you think? Can you think of any ways you could Be The One? Have you had similar conversations with your children? And what has worked for you?

Edited to add: Oh, and by the way… my kids aren’t always THE ONES to influence others in a good way. They definitely do their share of stirring up trouble. =]

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The sewing class

About a month ago, I read the list of classes offered by our homeschool co-op to my 5-year-old daughter.
“Jewelry making, sewing and duct tape,” she said. Those were the ones she wanted to take. (Duct tape, by the way, is a class that teaches kids to make bags, wallets and other projects from colored duct tape.)
I wasn’t surprised by her choices. She’s a very crafty girl.
But I found out this week she had put some thought into her selections.
You see. During the five years of her life, she has created quite a list of sewing projects for her mom.
“Can you sew, Mom?” she always asks.
My answer is usually the same. “Of course I can sew! I’ll do it as soon as I have time.”
I actually CAN sew. IF I had a needle. And some thread. A sewing machine wouldn’t hurt, although I could sew without one. But the biggest tool that is lacking is the desire. And so, without really thinking about it, I have made my daughter wait and wait. And wait.
The sewing project at the top of her list is her best friend. Pinky Bear.
Pinky Bear has gone everywhere with my daughter since she was a baby. Pinky bear has been loved. Hugged. Rubbed. And unstuffed almost to her death. She has had her head sewn back on three times. Usually by her father.
This is a new bear that is similar to what Pinky Bear once looked like.
Recently, we were discussing our possibilities for the fall. Should we continue to homeschool or send the kids to a private school? While the boys really want to homeschool, my daughter would prefer a classroom. Although… she pondered… what about that sewing class at our home school co-op?
Finally, I got to the bottom of her reasoning.
A few days ago, my daughter showed me a hole that has been growing in Pinky Bear’s neck.
“I’m going to fix it, Mom,” she said. “Just as soon as I take that sewing class.”
You have to admit. That’s ONE reason to home school.
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The dentist

I had been dreading this for days. Weeks really. OK, months.
As I was getting ready to leave the house, the kids asked where I was going.
“To the dentist,” I replied, with a sound of trepidation in my voice.
“No fair!”
“You’re so lucky!”
“Can I go?!”
When I was a kid, we all had a common feeling about the dentist. Fear. Dread. That’s how life was supposed to be. No one WANTED to go to the dentist.
But these days, if one child doesn’t have an appointment with the others, she cries. A trip to the dentist means watching the latest Disney movie in the waiting room. Playing video games during the appointment. Choosing a new toy out of the treasure box. Not to mention getting a sugar-free sucker and a new toothbrush. Going to the dentist is fun!
Oh, if only I felt the same way.
Two days before I gave birth to my daughter, a filling fell out of my tooth. I called the dentist immediately, but he said he couldn’t give me a filling so close to my due date. I guess he didn’t want to deliver a baby if I went into shock. Dentists are so wimpy these days.
I knew the lost filling was only a sign of all the havoc that had been wreaked inside my mouth during the past nine months. Pregnancy has a way of sucking the life out of me. And causing my teeth to crumble. Literally.
I was so afraid of the dentist that I procrastinated for five months to get the filling replaced. I mean, come on. Isn’t that why God gave me TWO sides of my mouth?
What I fear most isn’t the drilling tool. Or that awful smell. Or the thing that sucks all the liquid out of my mouth.
It’s the lecture.
“Have you been flossing?”
“Yes! I swear! I swear I have!”
“Every day? Twice a day? After every meal?”
“Cross my heart, I have!”
Then, she gives me that sly look of, “then why are your gums so red as if you just flossed the heck out of them to try to fool me. I’ve seen your kind before.”
I was bracing myself for the worst as the assistant showed me the dental chair and began her exam.
“I LOVE your purse,” she said.
“What?!?” I thought. I waited for the lecture.
She chatted about my purse for a while, and then gave me the good news that I probably wouldn’t need a root canal to repair the long-lost filling. I started to relax and watched The Today Show for the first time in about five years.
Another assistant came by and again, started going on about the purse. Once we got our treatment plan in place (yes… there were a FEW cavities), the billing lady came by.
“I LOVE your necklace!”
“Oh, thanks,” I said, as I flipped it right side up so she could see the front.
Finally, in came the dentist. I hadn’t seen him in, oh, a couple of years, and he seemed a little older now than the college graduate I remembered. His teeth were perfect. I stared at the white squares that formed one straight line across his mouth. No spaces in between. Nothing crooked. I waited for a flash of light to hit them to see if they would actually sparkle.
For the next hour, he asked me to hold my numb mouth wide open as he drilled, filled and called out secret codes to the assistant when he needed a new tool. He stopped periodically to ask me how I was doing. Was I uncomfortable in any way?
I gave him the thumbs up since my mouth was wide open and too numb to speak.
He’s lucky I couldn’t talk. I entertained myself with my imaginary response: “Look, buddy. I have four children. FOUR times in my life a human being has lived inside of me pushing vital organs out of the way and causing my body to be stretched to its limit. I have been cut open and sewed shut FOUR times to remove these children from my body. Over the last five months, I haven’t slept more than a few hours in a row. I have endured a constant tooth ache. I have been sitting in this chair for two hours and not ONE person has asked me to change a poopy diaper, get them a glass of milk or fold a basket of laundry. So, your little drill is like a massage to me. If you could find a few more teeth to fill, I would thank you.”
Finally, we were done and I made my way to the front desk to make my downpayment on the dentist’s children’s college tuition.
As I was standing there, a hygienist zoomed by me and called out, “That is the cutest sweater EVER!”
OK. Now I get it.
I get to watch TV all morning. Sit quietly in a chair. And they send various people into my room to compliment me on my outfit. Plus, I got a brand new toothbrush and a little tube of toothpaste. This is the life.
How soon can I go back?

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Lost: Across the Sea

In the beginning… there was a crazy woman.
SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this if you haven’t watched the May 11, 2010, episode of Lost.
Finally, it seems that the Lost writers have switched gears. They have stopped jumping through time and creating questions. They started at the beginning and they are telling us the whole story. Yes, we still have many unanswered questions, but we also got lots of answers last night.
But my biggest revelation from the episode is simply that I need to accept the fact that I am watching a myth, an allegory or a fairy tale. I thought I was watching a show about a plane crash and trying to survive on a deserted island. Then, I thought perhaps it was science fiction. Maybe the story was a modern-day mystery, drama, whatever.
Now, I have to accept that the show itself has no rules. It isn’t about what might happen in real life. And all of my questions won’t be answered.
And that is probably a good thing because sometimes their answers come in the form of: “In the beginning there was a crazy woman living on an island, guarding a river of light, which represents the good that is in all of us, but don’t be tempted to touch it because your body will be spit out and you will become a big shaft of black smoke.”
So what did we learn last night?
Jacob and Man in Black are twin brothers. I think most of us called this one. I still go back to my earlier post that Man in Black’s name is probably Esau. Don’t you love how they were even dressed in light and dark blankets when they were born? Did Esau ever ask his mother if maybe HE could wear the light outfit for a change?
Remember when FLocke told Kate he had a crazy mother? Boy, he was not kidding.
Man in Black was the special one. He was the one his killer adoptive mother loved most. He was the one she wanted to guard the island.
Jacob, on the other hand, has always been a follower. He never did really know WHY he is guarding the island. He is just blindly following the instructions of a woman who killed his real mother in cold blood and refused to answer any of his questions.
I have to say that I have a lot more respect for Man in Black after this episode. At least he had the moral conscience to leave Crazy Woman when he learned she had murdered his real mother. He is the thinker. He is the one who asked questions and refused to just go along with her games when she wouldn’t even explain why.
Both boys learned Mother was a liar when she told the boys they were the only ones who exist, and yet Jacob was too weak to leave her. Reminding me of Ben Linus, Jacob was so desperate for his mother’s love and approval that he would rather stay with her and be manipulated by her than seek the truth.
We found out how the smoke monster came into existence. But I still don’t understand what happened to his body. We know it decayed and became the skeleton of the island’s “Adam”. But then at the same time, he (or someone else) was able to continue living in that body.
We also found out that once Jacob drank the wine, he and his mother were “the same” or did she say they were “one”. I can’t remember. Whatever the case, it seemed that Jacob took on her belief system after he drank it. Now that Man in Black shattered that bottle of wine, does that mean Jacob’s replacement won’t be able to drink from it?
We learned, as suspected, that the boy who appeared to FLocke in the jungle was the young Jacob. And we found out that only “special” people can see the dead on the island. If that is the case, we know that Locke was special, and so was Hurley, Sawyer and Walt. Who else?
We still have so many other huge questions to answer.
Who is Mother? Has she always been on the island? Is she the beginning of all people? Or, as she said, did she have a mother?
When was the big Egyptian statue built? I’m assuming Jacob’s temple will be built on the river of light? And did someone else come along and complete the donkey wheel, which by the way, made PERFECT sense, huh? I mean just channel light and water with a donkey wheel and you should be able to leave the island, right?
How did Jacob get off the island to go on his recruiting missions (maybe the donkey wheel)? And why couldn’t his brother leave? Esau tells Jacob that eventually he would be able to create his own game and make up his own rules. Was Jacob’s “game” to bring real people to the island and play with their lives, rather than pieces on a game board?
Finally, I have given up on trying to determine good and evil in this show. I don’t think it’s about good and evil. I think it’s making a bigger point about the nature of people. Inside all of us is both good and evil. We decide which to follow.
Likewise, some of us will be followers and others will be leaders. Sometimes we will follow people who are actually followers themselves and don’t really know where they are going. Those people might lead us by not giving us a choice (like Mother did with Jacob and Jacob did with Ben).
Other people lead by giving us information. They think about things and try to figure things out. Does that make them bad? Does it make them good?
And, finally, when we follow, sometimes it’s after carefully thinking things through… And other times it’s by blind faith. Is one way better than the other?
What did you think about last night’s episode? I would love to hear your thoughts. And for more Lost recaps, check out Rocks in My Dryer.

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