Assessing Walt’s Worldview

Everyone has a worldview, a way of thinking about or perceiving the world through the lens of their own experiences, ideologies and misconceptions. I am a follower of Christ, as such I attempt to perceive life through a biblical worldview. I do not always succeed. I am, however, able with mindful examination to discern the way I *should* view things when I stop and try to run things through the filter of Scripture. Spoiler alert, I often get it pretty wrong before doing this and still likely get it wrong after but with each pass through I am hopefully getting closer to the truth.

Accepting that everyone has a worldview that changes the way they see reality & therefore the way they present reality makes it strange that I rarely stop to consider the worldview presented in my entertainment. Maybe it’s because in our culture entertainment is often prided as being “mindless” so of course thinking to heavily about it would be silly right?

I also happen to be a huge Disney fan, a Disney Nerd if you will, who loves that shining beacon of capitalism and wholesome family fun; from the parks to the movies and everything in between. But what if the worldview of my favorite mouse creator is at odds with my own? What if, by sharing my favorite films and stories without deeper discussion, I am slowly indoctrinating my children to see the world in a way I believe is false?

I was reading an article in the current issue of “The Classical Difference” called “The Jungle Book Unearths Cultural Treasure” that used Kipling’s Jungle Book & the 1967 and 2016 Disney movie versions to highlight the underlying worldview shifts that subtly change the message of each retelling when it hit me that good ole Walt Disney and I don’t see eye to eye!

****I am using Walt Disney as a figurehead for the Disney corporation, obviously he did not write each movie and he himself was purported to be a Christian but the Disney corporation is made of members of society and therefore reflect the worldview of the time and place around them in their work.****

As I started thinking through many of my favorite Disney films I found big ideas I just can’t get behind when taken out of a cartoon context…so why I am I cool with them as long as they are voiced by a colorful, non-existent character?

Some of these ideas include:

Aladdin: The End Justifies the Means, I mean we are cool with Aladdin stealing to eat because he’s poor but then we are cool with him lying and creating a fake identity because… well i’m not sure why?

The Jungle Book: Life is about having fun and a friend you can trust, we can all get along if we just ignore the parts of each other’s lives we don’t like.  Not “bad” stuff but from a Christian perspective pretty false.

The Little Mermaid: You can make deals with the devil, run away from home, turn your back on your family, marry strange men and it will all work out! It’s about love right? You know love between a teenage runaway and the 1st random sailor she sees usually is a great idea! True love conquers all, also true love can be found simply by looking at someone!

I could definitely keep going but you get the idea. See the fact that I am looking at the world as a place with very clearly defined good & evil means I am going to have different ideas about what is right and wrong than someone who thinks it’s open for interpretation.  We can’t see eye to eye because we are starting from totally different places.

This doesn’t mean I can not enjoy a Disney movie or even find good messages in them! (There are many messages that can be reconciled with a Christian worldview) What it does mean is that I absolutely MUST examine the worldview and the messages and even more importantly I have to discuss them with my children. I have to model critically thinking about even “harmless” entertainment. I have a responsibility to show them that even if something is enjoyable it can be false and truth must weigh more than pleasure in our valuations.

I will continue to enjoy Disney, and other types of entertainment, with my children but hopefully with a bit more intentional discussion and calling out of wrong thinking when I see it. I look forward to building bridges between the stories they enjoy and the Word!

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Beauty in the Mess: Week 2

This week my moment of beauty came as I tried to clean blood out of washclothes and off my bathroom counter. I found myself reflecting on my gratitude for my children’s health and safety. Shortly before I had been holding a wet washcloth on my toddler’s mouth trying to slow the flow of blood gushing from her teeth. She had slipped on the bench at our table during dinner and her two top teeth connected with the edge pretty hard. I was upset and worried for a moment but once it was clear there more blood than anything I settled in to grateful. The minor injuries of my children’s lives are just that minor, small, momentary discomforts and for that I am tremendously thankful. It’s beautiful to have a healthy child, even one covered in blood.

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My Children Train Themselves

They do, my son is 3.5 and he basically trained himself to sleep through the night and use the potty.

He must have because I didn’t.

My children both walked at 9 months old, my son is a teacher’s dream, well-behaved, polite and eager. My 10 month old daughter will happily ride on my hip quietly for hours.

You can imagine I get alot of compliments on my children, like everywhere. I’m not joking I don’t think a week has gone by in 3.5 years where I have not gotten a compliment from strangers about my children and that’s great because they really are wonderful. Here is a little secret though, I’m not some super mom.

I’m not saying that in the way overachiever mom’s sometimes do with the pleased blush like, “Oh, I just threw together those 87 bakery perfect, healthy organic cupcakes, it was nothing, I’m not super woman!”

I’m saying it like, I am really not an especially great mom. I mean I think I’m a good mom, and I LOVE my children but i’m not breaking ground here. I don’t read to them as much as I could, I’ll throw on a tv show when my son gets a little whiny while i’m trying to cook dinner, they aren’t in classes to teach them stuff.

I usually look well rested and happy, and so do my kids because I just do what comes naturally, I let my kids decide when they are ready for things.

When you have early walkers people are always asking what you did you get them that way….umm genetics I guess?

When your family seems well rested and happy despite newborns or babies at home people ask. You know what we do, we sleep with our baby until they are old enough they can sleep on their own.

Jidge slept with us until 3, now he sleeps in his bed but his bed is still in our room. Lexi sleeps in our bed, when she’s ready they will move into a room together and sleep in beds.

That’s it, no tricks.

When my son potty trained himself he was ready. I say he trained himself because all I did was force the issue a little. I could tell he was ready and he wanted to (he kept talking about it and trying) BUT he was scared of the toilet so we stayed home naked for 3 days. I literally wasn’t even aware he finally started going until he called me to help him wipe. There was no transition period either, no accident phase. I mean it, he had one accident in the car the first week because he told us but we couldn’t get home fast enough. That’s it. I kept taking undies and changes of clothes and pull ups places expecting the constant accidents I see other parents dealing with but it never happened, he even gets up in the middle of the night to go pee.

No tricks.

Parents sometimes wonder why parenting seems so hard.

Maybe we make it that way.

Maybe we are the ones who think we should train our kids to do things that they will naturally progress to if left to their own devices.

Parenting is exhausting (because tiny people energy > big people energy) but it doesn’t have to hard or frustrating.

It can be a joy. My husband and I have laughed more at our son than any comedian I’ve ever watched and our daughter’s smile relieves more stress than the best massage. It will probably always be tiring but at least while they are little we can enjoy them more if we stop trying to train them to be something they aren’t yet: independent. Let it happen on its own because…it will, you can’t stop it and once they are you’ll miss this time.

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*Disclaimer, of course there comes a time and age when training kids to do things becomes necessary but i’m still in the littles stage so i’m talking about the littles stage 🙂

Birth is Birth, ditch all the labels.

*Now when your friend who is pregnant with their first child asks you for in depth stories of pregnancy because they want to know you go all in my friend, you tell them all you can because it may make them feel somewhat more prepared. *

But.

For the rest of us, birth is birth.

We don’t need: vbac, non-medicated, water birth, ceasarean, vaginal, home birth or worst of all “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean for the other unnatural? births). But really, we don’t.

These are just more ways to say “I’m a Better Mother Than You” and we don’t need that stuff.

I hate when women say “Yeah, but i’m just so amazed by moms who have unmedicated births they are so strong!”

Really? Because my non-medicated 2nd birth was a whole lot shorter, easier and less painful than one I got an epidural for. Yes, less painful. Easier. Medication was not some easy way out. My “medicated” birth (because I had an epidural) was far harder and more painful and more exhausting. (Oh and both my kids where posterior facing, should I get a trophy for back labor?)

And can I just say that women who are willing to be CUT OPEN to bring their children safely into the world are pretty freaking brave to me! Just cause I haven’t done it doesn’t mean I can’t guess that it’s freaking painful, they are doing that for the safety of their child (typically, let’s not talk about the convenience Cs I know happen because those women are a whole nother breed).

And why does where you give birth to a baby have any bearing? There are women who give birth in interesting places (you know like taxis or the curb of a New York City street) THOSE women can tell us because that’s interesting but most of the time…no one cares.

Stop labeling stuff that doesn’t need labeled! Birth is bringing a baby out of your body and into the world. All that other stuff is not important.

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“It Couldn’t Happen to Me.”

“I’m a good parent.”

“I always check.”

“I’d never forget.”

“I wouldn’t…”

These things are easy to say. We don’t want to envision a scenario where we could be responsible for our child’s death so we try to reason with reality.

But the reality is you could, you might, and it only takes one time. You could forget your child in a car. It could happen to you. I know there are cases when horrible scum of humans have intentionally left children but normally it is just an accident. A terrible, life wrecking, soul destroying accident.

I am terrified of something like that, it makes me check my car constantly.

But that is not enough.

I have started using the left shoe method (read about it here) and I have to say that it is so simple but so important.

I know it is intended mainly for dads or moms who are out of routine and want to make sure nothing could happen but it should be intended for every parent with a young child in the car.  I want devices that will help prevent these tragic deaths just like everyone else but this is important now and there is a solution available now.

Every time you get in the car with your baby place your left shoe in the back with them. It will help ensure you never have to experience the pain and loss and guilt that so many good parents in our country have.

When I arrived at the mall to meet a girlfriend for shopping I had not planned to take my daughter but she was fussing and I didn’t want poor dad to have a rough evening so in the car she went. I put my shoe back there knowing that the feeling of playing my own music (no 3 year old in the backseat!) and heading somewhere to shop for myself for fun was so out of routine that it would put me out of “mommy” mode and it alleviated the fear I could get there and walk off in a rush forgetting the sleeping angel in my seat.

If we all stop pretending it could never happen to us and instead take steps to prevent it maybe it never would have to happen again.

This year alone there have already been 16 deaths in the U.S., 7 would have certainly been prevented using this method.

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An Ounce of Prevention

She looked like a nice lady, strolling through the kids section of Barnes & Noble with what I assumed was her grandchild’s little backpack full of toys on her back. But she lingered a bit too long, lurking near shelves and displays to watch children and something just felt off. I kept my eyes discreetly on her as my husband and I sat watching my son at the train table from nearby chairs. She moved our direction and I realized finally that she was alone, she had been here for 10 minutes with no kid in sight. She drifted to a shelf just behind us and pretended to look at kids books but her eyes never skimmed the pages, they hovered for a moment on my little princess, snuggling in a sling on my hip and settled on the handsome 3 year old playing trains. My child. Not hers. She stayed focused on him, momentarily lost enough she didn’t pretend to look at the books even, minutes passed and still she stared. Her odd behavior had now drawn the attention of my equally perceptive husband. Sensing potential for danger he stood and pretended to glance at a storytime paper, repositioning himself so that she was no longer behind him and forcing her to make eye contact. I also moved so that I was now able to see her eye to eye, faced with two attentive parents she suddenly moved away.

At the end of the shelves a parked stroller with a sweet toddler sat unattended, she leaned down and began talking to the girl which caught the attention of the mother, only two feet away looking at the display of new books. She quickly dropped the book and placed her hands on the stroller, asking the woman an indistinguishable question before backing away, clearly uneasy as well. When she turned back to see my husband and I also still keeping an eye on her she swiftly made her way downstairs and out of the store without stopping.

Was the woman dangerous? My gut told me possibly, was there a temptation inside her to have a child at a cost I might never understand? I believe so. Hopefully she will never act on her desires even if an opportunity presents itself but it was clear to me that it was something she may consider. (The fact that myself, my husband and another mom all independently reached the conclusion she way not be safe speaks to the fact her behavior just wasn’t right).

There is no such thing as too vigilant with your child. No one who has ever had a child taken thought it would happen to them (most abductions are not strangers though).  Never feel like its “judging” someone if your intuition says something is wrong trust it, be extra cautious, make your presence known. Too many parents live on eggshells now, afraid to be politically incorrect or stereotype someone but you shouldn’t silence your inner voice when it tells you someone is not safe or something is not right.

You’re Replaceable

This is easy to say but in reality it seems to be difficult to grasp.

You may be an amazing worker, doing your job with exceptional creativity, efficiency and talent but you are completely replaceable.

Sure, it make take them a while and they may say you are irreplaceable but come back in a year and you will find someone else in your chair, hanging out with your coworkers, rocking your job.

 

You may be a hilarious, thoughtful friend who offers the most sage of advice and is always ready to help but you are still replaceable.

It would be hard to lose you but give it time and your friend will move on, they will surely think of you fondly on occasion but they will make a new best friend and you will be a rare memory.

 

(If you are in one of today’s “modern” relationships even your husband may find it easy enough to replace you).

 

But your kids will never have another mother. You are not replaceable to them.

Even if you aren’t great this job you can not be fired, you can not be replaced and you never get to quit. Are we working as hard at mothering as we do at those other jobs?