Poor Parenting: Exhibit 3,458
Our little suburb was featured on Channel 8’s 10PM Newscast last night.
Apparently, it’s big-time news when a town of 70,000 people’s police force has decided to crack down on underage drinking in our community. Yep. They’re going to be on neighborhood patrol looking for lots of cars parked on both sides of the street with kids in the back yard standing around a “party pool” holding red Solo cups pumping a keg. Such is the nature of high crime in my community.
Now, I’m not knocking this. They say it’s to stop drunk driving before it starts and such. Fine. I’ll take them at their word on that, and public safety and/or drunk driving are not laughing matters. I can assure you I’d be glad for both me and any keg-pumping Solo-cup holding kid if the cops kept that kid from slamming into a parked car in my driveway…or the myriad of possibilities that are worse.
That’s not what I’m focusing on here. Read the article…or watch the video.
Check out this quote:
The Flower Mound police will even take the unusual step of getting a judge to issue a search warrant, so officers can enter the home.
It may be extreme but a needed step, officers argue, because often kids and sometimes even their parents will resist cooperating.
“Parents will tell the kids, ‘don’t open the door, y’all lock the door, don’t let the police in there.’ So parents are hindering our job to make the kids safe,” said Lt. Clay Pierce.
Parents, if your kid wants to drink, you’re NOT…
…let me repeat myself…
…doing them any favors by lowering the bar of expectation by saying, “We know you’re going to drink, so when you drink, drink here.” And, parents, as an aside, you most likely are unaware of the tremendous legal exposure you’re placing on yourself.
And, ummm, you might want to think about the message you’re sending kids when you tell them to ignore police directives. I’ll remind you when they ignore your directives that they learned to subvert authority at your feet.
For about the millionth time, parents, please stop trying to be your kid’s friend or the cool parent or whatever. Do your job. Be a parent, for crying out loud.
Yes. It can be difficult at times.
No. If you do it right, you won’t win popularity contests very often.
But be the parent, okay? It ain’t about a happy teenager in 2009. It’s about an adult that uses wisdom in say, 2018. But you get that from lessons you taught them in 2009 while they were under your roof at your feet.
Well, I tried.
You couldn’t play nice.
I’ll now be moderating all comments.
Thanks a lot.
I deleted the previous post.
In case you forgot, it was about Memorial Day and a little tribute that I found meaningful.
Here it was:
When Thank You Simply Isn’t Enough
For reasons I don’t completely understand, the conversation wasn’t about the thankfulness we have for those that served us.
Rather, it became a discussion about the state of things at the church I serve.
Okay. If that’s what folks want to chat about, even if it’s uncomfortable, tense or heated…such is life. Even if this is my personal site, well, have at it.
But, the personal attacks and amateur psychological analyzations of people I care a great deal for were simply too much for my taste. Criticism’s fine. I can take uncomfortable, tense and heated. Most of the time I enjoy creating uncomfortable, tense and heated. Frankly, I can dish it out, too, brother. Don’t believe me? Try me face to face.
Let me say that I deleted the post on my own volition. Deleting the post is the only way to delete the comments. See, I use Haloscan rather than the Blogger-provided commenting feature. Haloscan allows for easier commenting…including and especially anonymous writers. The downside is that you can’t manage the comments, so you gotta delete the whole post if somebody gets out of bounds. However, if I switch, I lose every single comment since The Diner’s inception. Not willing to do that, so I put up with Haloscan’s weaknesses.
Nobody told me I had to delete it. Nobody even suggested I should. Nobody even hinted it might be wise that I take it down.
The Diner’s supposed to be a fun thing for me.
And this entry stopped being fun for me.
So, I took it down.
Believe what you want…and many of you will.
But I know enough when I see it. A line was crossed in this case. I might not know where the line was when we started, but I know where it was at 8:12PM last night.
And that was enough.
So, Today I’m Thinking
…that a former student (who now works writing curriculum for Dave Ramsey) had this on his Twitter yesterday: $13.2 billion is given to churches each year. Americans spend $58 billion on soda each year.
…proof you’ve been in student ministry 21 years: yesterday I was having coffee with a former student getting caught up. She wanted me to quote chapter and verse on something I said, and since I’d forgotten to bring my Bible in she handed me her “Cute-Pink-College-Fit-In-Your-Purse-Small” Bible. While I was flipping the pages (of which two page flips took me past the entire pastoral epistles) she asked, “Is the print too small for you?”
…say what you want about his profanity and how he makes people uncomfortable, but no one can deny Eminem’s talent. It’s overwhelming–and I generally detest rap music.
…strange things are afoot at the Circle K.
…that I’ve been listening to Dick Cheney and Barak Obama discuss the political football that is the detaining of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. My conclusion: There’s no easy answer and two politicians are kicking a political football back and forth. I know. My GenX is showing.
…BIG segueway: recently, a current student had a school assignment in which they had to “interview someone who is in the demographic labeled Generation X.” He asked all sorts of questions about political movements, pop culture and the like. I remember us GenXers had to interview people who lived through the depression.
…what kind of world do I live in when my daily to-do list for today includes yoga and yardwork?
…I’m kind of excited about teaching our student ministry a course on personal evangelism this summer. My friend Bill found a curriculum that might actually be meaningful (none of this silliness with cubes or wristbands or drawing on napkins we’ve been pawning off as evangelism training for decades) and after looking at it, it’s something I can be excited about.
…take some time to laugh at ourselves in the Christian subculture: Stuff Christians Like and Stuff Christian Culture Likes. Sometimes, the truth is pretty funny.
…I’m fascinated by the full-blown Texan mindset of Jerry Jones as exemplified by the building of the new Cowboys stadium. I’m not even kidding when I tell you to check out the 180′ x 72′ video screen that’ll keep fans up to speed with replays.
…I haven’t finished a book in over a month. My exercise plan seems to have overtaken the hour or two a day I’d spend reading. I’m not sure what to make of the trade.
…still pondering the pursuit of a doctorate. Leaning towards “wait a few more years.” We’ll see.
…everybody on the Texas Rangers bandwagon with their strong start in the first quarter of the season might want to tap the brakes a bit. The first starting pitcher went on the DL today, and June’s schedule brings the best teams baseball to the forefront. They’re better than in the past, but that pointing to 2010 as a year we might seriously contend sounds about right.
…Green Day on Good Morning, America? Not sure how I feel about that. Kind of like how I feel about Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols remaking a song for Guitar Hero. On one hand, a new audience gets exposed to the music, but it still feels like “selling out” rather than getting getting others to “buy in.”
…another big segueway: I have “Pop Culture Pop Quiz” moments with my children to check on the generation gap and how wide it might be. Kid2, age 15, was victimized by this question: Do you know who Jimi Hendrix is? “Nope.” Oh, man. Gotta transfer two more cassettes to CD this weekend. She’ll politely listen and wonder why he was so great. We’ve been down similar roads in the past.
…that I think this little piece of irony is delicious: You’ve seen the commercials where they give somebody $1,500 to buy a computer they need. They “can’t” get what they want at the Apple Store and find way more than they imagined with a Windows-based laptop PC. The advertising agencies involved did all the editing using Apple hardware and software. Again, the only people not going the Mac way are those who jobs depend on Windows PC’s.
…that if you have a high school junior you’ll know that today’s Zitz comic happens daily in your own home. This scene, with an excited parent wowed by the options and a befuddled teenager overwhelmed by those same options, is very real:
…that I need to get on with my day.
Day Off Armchair Reading
Leafing through Rolling Stone issue 1079 yesterday, I came across a quote from Billie Joe Armstrong. For Diner patrons unaware, he’s the lead singer/songwriter for the newly-critically acclaimed rock band Green Day. The cover story is about how they’ve grown from a power punk band to culturally relevant ideologues who happen to play aggressive music. Much of the interview was about where they came from and how they came to create their newest release (which, IMHO, is very, very good).
One story involved the band going to buy vinyl albums to play while they were on recording breaks and there was a wide variety in their purchases: Husker Du, the Replacements, the Kinks, the Plimsouls, the Doors, Meat Loaf, et al.
When asked about the purchases, Armstrong simply said:
“Everyone’s gotta get their inspiration from somewhere.”
Another piece was on Harvard professor Cornel West. He’s come from the streets, was involved with the Black Panthers in the ’60’s, an influence in The Matrix movies and is widely considered one of the most preeminent intellectuals of our day…while still maintaining an approachable and engaging persona. He was asked by Obama to do some campaigning for him during the election process and agreed to do so only on the condition that he could “be Obama’s number one critic the day after the inauguration.” Trust me, from the tone of the article, he’s held up his end of the bargain. (“Obama’s a strategist, and I’m suspicious of strategists. It’s the quest for truth vs. the quest for power.”)
Anyway, along with the “inspiration” theme, he was talking about those that influenced his life, everyone from his mom to musicians to God (he professes to be a Christian) to Martin Luther King to Einstein, etc., and says this:
“I’m a bluesman in the life of the mind, a jazzman in the world of ideas…
[The democracy I dream of must be] Poetic. And by poetic I don’t mean a person who writes verses. I mean those who exercise imagination and get us out of our egocentric predicament! Give us a sense of awe and wonder! So we become concerned about something outside our little bubbles, our own little slices of reality, our own little professional managerial spots, our own little iron cages. There’s a lot of material toys in those cages. But you’re still in prison. And poets allow us to shatter those bars.”
And, for whatever reason, that little phrase inspired all sorts of thoughts and ideas and comparisons and contrasts and lists. Kinda made me want to enroll in Harvard and major in Cornel West. Like Mr. Armstrong says, we all get inspiration from somewhere, right?
Coffee-chat question of the day: Where do you get your inspiration from?
As many of you know, it somehow became “tradition” that the teens going to prom go over to the youth pastor’s house to take photos about an hour before they head out for their big night. If my memory serves correctly, my first year on staff at CBC, some students rented a limo that showed up an hour early and three or four couples killed the free time by popping by our house. I heard the next year that it was “tradition” and they showed up. It since has evolved into a true tradition.
However, for the first time the weather didn’t cooperate and it drizzled all day after a night of storms so they nixed coming by my house but decided to come by “our family’s other house” (there are awnings and covered stairwells and such):
I’ve always thought this was funny–the parent paparazzi:
Now, others on their FB pages and my smokin’ hot shutterbug trophy wife will have excellent photos from better angles with better cameras. I’m always buzzing around and goofing off with the other dads so my pictures come from that place wherever I happen to be standing when they’re lined up.
The group shot:
The showpiece every year…the girls:
And then I have to wreck it:
Anyway, it’s always fun because it reminds me of community, which I enjoy in all it’s forms. This is a little slice of life together as the parents I’ve spent almost a decade and a half with (and known some of these kids since they were 6 years old or so) hang out and remind ourselves that the days are long but the years are short and we laugh and then they head out for their big night.
And I’ll see them at the 10:45am service (our little reminder that no matter what goes on in your life, one form of community together that happens on Sundays for our Tribe still expects you to show up), with hair a little less perfect and tuxedos a little more wrinkled, to serve as ushers and take up the offering in their finery…
…but this is one “tradition” that I’m glad actually became “tradition.”
Here’s one one of the parents took that might give you a better idea of how everybody actually looked:
It Takes Diff’rent Strokes To Move The World, Yes It Does, It Takes Diff’rent Strokes To Move The WOOOOOORLD
It was a simple, responsive act. The song during the church service moved her to stand, close her eyes and raise her hand as she sang along. She was the only one in the room doing so and, generally, this isn’t the SOP of our church members. After the service, I overheard someone seated near her make a comment that “they hope our youth group isn’t going charismatic.”
It was one person’s response…in both cases.
It’s how the college girl expresses herself in worship. The commenter has a more reserved demeanor in church services.
People will walk out of a sermon in a church our size and there will be people who say that the sermon was lacking in some form or fashion. Others will download that very same sermon as soon as possible because of how much their life was affected by the words the pastor said.
A small group can get together and have a discussion and one person’s outlook on something profoundly changed and lead them to repentance. Someone in that same study can come out and tell their friends they’re pretty much leaving that study because the discussions are pointless.
A mom can tell me that her daughter has never felt more alienated in her life by me and the youth group. Two years later that same mom will tell me that her son would die for me and his small group cronies.
This is a well-worn path here at The Diner (and I’m beginning to think all the paths are well-worn at this juncture)…
…but one size doesn’t fit all in our Tribe.
…and you have no idea who might be listening.
…and you have no idea who might be watching.
…and we should all have moments, even in our own gatherings, where we feel far afield from those around us.
…and we should all have moments where we have to get over ourselves and what we want/like. For those of you who speak Christianese, that’s loosely translated, “Love and serve others.”
…and everybody’s not at the same place in their journey. I’ll reference those who are mature enough to understand Christianese that very same loosely translated phrase above.
It ain’t about you.
It ain’t about me.
It’s about us.
The sooner we get that through our thick skulls, the better.
And, no, you won’t get the specific incident that triggered these thoughts…but suffice to say that, lady, you know little, if anything about me other than what you’ve presupposed or prejudged or and other “pre” word you want to use. And, if you’d just pop by my office you could have a cup of bad coffee and we could get to know each other a bit better.
That’s not to say that we’ll ever like each other. Then again, we just might. Who knows?
But I’m pretty sure we could at least understand each other better.
And we’d do well to understand that The Kingdom is big enough and broad enough for all of us.
And You’re Not Even My Gifted Child
Those were the words my very own mother, Charlotte the Scar, said upon laying eyes on the form letter that went out to parents when their children made a 4.0 for the quarter. It came the same day my degree arrived (I’m not real committed to pomp and circumstance moments–somebody said I should attend my seminary graduation because it would give me “closure.” I informed them that I’d get plenty of “closure” placing the framed degree on the office wall). I’m pretty sure she was kidding. There possibility she wasn’t remains.
Anyway, I’ve been toying with the idea of going back to school and working on my doctorate. There are two respected seminaries within reasonable driving distance (one in Dallas and one in Ft. Worth–ahh, the benefits of living in Flower Mound). I have a couple of different ways I could go with a thesis–one involving the idea of a converging congregation where there’s an active relational ministry with older/wiser members disciple younger ones, another involving designing a ministry with parents being actively discipled by older couples so they can better place their teens in situations to grow.
I kind of miss the discipline of education rigor. Not to mention the idea of sitting around and getting the intellectual stimulation of interacting with other like-minded peers and how that just keeps things fresh.
I feel like I’m wanting a greater challenge. Not that my current ministry doesn’t have challenges, mind you. I simply feel like it could get more visionary and effective. I loathe using the term, but more innovative and “cutting edge.”
And, yes, the programs at both are designed so as not to take away from you current job. It’d only be two weeks in the summer on campus and then monthly meetings with a lot of research taking place on the way. It’s more or less a 4 year plan. Most take 5.
But, there’s another side of the coin.
The cost. And, is this really the best time with two kids who will be of college-age by the time I’m in the middle of the program?
My ability to romanticize. I mean, they ain’t givin’ those degrees away. Apparently, there’s a lot of work involved. Not digging ditches or such, but the kind of work that involves carrells and late nights at libraries or on-line researching. I didn’t even touch on the time away from my wife. I mean, isn’t the empty nest a good time to focus on each other? It isn’t empty now, but it will be toward the latter end of the program. The early years would involve time away from children. You know, you’re there but you’re not there.
I imagine it would affect current students, too. I mean, with studying to be done I don’t know that I’ll have AS MUCH time to go to their games and events and hang out in coffee shops to chat.
That commute. I used to detest it daily when I was doing it. I’ve minimized that loss of an hour and a half every day, I think.
The weird factor that I’d be going to class where I currently have former students roaming the same halls. For some reason, that seems odd.
So, I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve drawn a line down a legal pad with “pros” underlined at the top left and “cons” underlined at the top right.
Alrighty, patrons. Advice?