For most of us, it’s both a great and hectic time of year. Each of our three children have extra curricular activities that are coming to a head. There are school music concerts, plays and, yes, the final flurry of end of year projects and exams.
In the midst of this grand time of year comes an event that strikes fear into the hearts of men all over this nation.
I, of course, speak of Mother’s Day.Some husbands try and joke away the need to celebrate by claiming “She’s not my mother.”Bad move.But perhaps I should explain that it’s not the day itself that strikes us men with fear, but the challenging ritual of shopping for the perfect gift that makes this day so difficult.
Birthdays are easy. Even if my wife says “I don’t want anything,” I know that’s hogwash. I can get her tickets to a show or even a gift card to her favorite clothing store.Christmas is also simple. It’s a meaningful and sentimental holiday where gift giving is often driven by wish lists.I just have to pick one – or two.
No, Mother’s Day is something different.As a child of one woman, I can see a clear path of thanks to my mom for birthing me, consoling me over scrapped knees or even the help with homework. With over twenty years of hindsight, I can see the effort that went into molding and shaping me.
Watching the nightly news – local or national - has become a depressing act of futility for me. It’s not as if anything horrendous has happened lately; November’s news has been pretty much the same as October’s. The names may change, but the scenarios tend to follow a fairly predictable pattern: floods and fires, complaining and dishonesty, war and peace.
But what didn’t bother me last month, has really begun to irk me these days.
Does that ever happen to you? Have you ever noticed that what you dismissed last month as petty or irrelevant really bothers you today?
As a parent of a special needs child, you regularly encounter a dizzying array of challenges and choices: therapies, IEP’s and numerous doctors, just to name a few. And frankly it’s ok. You grow accustom to it. But things don’t always go so smoothly. We might experience a real “down” time. We have days when the things we previously did without a problem feel heavier than a ton of bricks on our back.
Yet, this is normal. The fact we go through these times of depression just makes us human.
I was watching TV the other night while a young man sang the John Lennon song “Imagine.” Most people who’ve heard it would agree that it is a moving melody—and the young man sang it beautifully.
The problem I have with the song is the lyrics: “Imagine there’s no heaven. . . And no religion too.” The answer to the world’s problems, according to Lennon, is to keep religion from holding back the human race.
While this may be a great solution in some people’s minds, I find it shallow.
This week someone asked me about a story out of Iraq. Two women with mental disabilities were used by terrorists as suicide bombers. These women entered a crowded market place and blew up a lot of people.
Some say that a hate-filled religion explains this atrocity. They assume that people are basically good but religion turns them into monsters.
While this might explain some simple issues, I don’t find this answer complete. Is religion responsible for these women being disabled? How about car accidents or cancer? If all the world’s problems could be solved by being a humanist, maybe I would sign up!
There’s an underlying question to ask: By nature, is man good or bad? Throughout the ages, most religions have been the impetus for incredible good—while also being the inspiration for incredible evil.
As the disturbing events of the above tragedy were unfolding, another story of compassion and love was happening simultaneously in the same country. Soldiers delivered wheelchairs to needy kids in Iraq.
I have a little routine every morning. I get the kids up for school, make them breakfast, yell at them a couple of times to hurry up or they will be late. Once they get out the door, I look over the news. I do look at the big stories, but I am looking for something in particular. I look for news specific to disabilities or things that affect parents trying to raise their kids in this crazy culture.
Have you noticed that our leaders don’t seem to be on the same page right now? By on the same page, I mean with us and each other. Is the new healthcare law good or bad? I can’t tell if it will give insurance to everybody or create limits on how much healthcare we can get. Meanwhile, we’re dealing with giant deficits of numbers I can’t even fathom. I know this is a bunny trail but how can 600 million people owe 14 trillion dollars? Can anybody tell me where that all went?
How about public workers and their unions? Like them or hate them, I can’t tell if they are good for America or bad. I’d like to make 30% more than everybody else, or pay nothing for my insurance, but how come they can’t balance a budget without taking from those on the lowest end of the pay scale?
What about the rest of the world? Who put the hate blender on puree? If they aren’t mad at us they are mad at some other group in their own country, the government, the military, or other ethnic groups. Could the United Nations be any more useless? By the time they make a decision the uprising is over and some new oppressor is in power gearing up for his 30-year reign.
These stories leave me with a sense that our leaders and most of the adults in the world just aren’t getting it right. When it comes to disabilities, it seems the next generation can show us a thing two about understanding.