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!

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You

 

Every day you work hard to provide for our family but that’s not what makes you amazing.

You get down on the floor to wrestle, change the princess dresses, play hockey in the drive and run around the playground but that’s not what makes you a terrific father.

You help me demonstrate every single day what a loving, healthy marriage looks like, that fun and love, apologies and respect are all part of the daily give and take but that’s not the thing that makes you such a titan among dads.

What makes you the example I thank the Lord daily for is the bible verses in your email, it’s the passion for understanding God’s will, it’s the desire to do what he calls even when it’s not what you “want”.

Our children are so blessed to have you, science can show the impact of a father on almost every area of a person’s life from self esteem to education and earning potential but it can not quantify the impact a Christ following father has on eternity. The seeds you are sowing in our family will sow seeds in their families and so on through the generations. I am thankful for the quanitifable impact you have on our kids but more so for the things that can’t be seen, those are the true treasures.

 

Teaching my Kids Truth AND Tolerance

Our society loves to throw around the word tolerance. It’s become synonomous with “accepting everything as right or true”. Sorry folks, you need to break out the dictionary because tolerance only deals with how much you can put up with an opposing view point, it does not in anyway mean you accept it as valid. [Actual Definition: “The ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.”]

I want my kids to be tolerant but also not to accept false things in the name of “tolerance”. It’s a tricky path but for the Christian a 100% necessary one. Jesus preached against adultery but still loved the sinners caught in it. I love alot of people I disagree with but that does not change that they are wrong (just like people who love me when i’m wrong). Being tolerant of their views can NOT look the same as agreeing with their views, I can not knowingly support something that is wrong but I CAN knowingly love someone who is wrong. I am called to love my fellow sinners. I am raising my children in a society that hates truth (because truth is offensive to those who live in contradiction to it) and it would be poor parenting on my part to let everyone else’s desire for political correctness overshadow truth.

One of my favorite movie quotes of all time comes from Disney’s Mulan when the emperor says, “No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.” Truth is unchanging, it is not a societal construct that can be changed to suit our moods.

I am raising my children not to speak about things they do not understand (the opposite of our culture which encourages children, and adults for that matter, to speak loudly and frequently regardless of whether they have any actual understanding of a topic). We forget that freedom of speech is not a compulsion to speak! They will not be jumping into the bandwagon with the Argumentum ad Populum crowd and proclaiming they know best because “a whole bunch of other people agree so it must be true!”. I see this far too often but popular does not equal correct.

My children are being taught to think for themselves but to make sure those thoughts are backed by facts before they share them. I was taught to think for myself but also to have deferrence for facts and life experience and wisdom and I am thankful for that, in fact without an open mind AND closed mouth I may have never become a Christian. People can only hear what they understand but they can only understand what they stop to actually hear. I want my children to grow up listening, knowing they can speak up anytime they need, but having the maturity not to always exercise that right.

Our society has created so many false dicotohmies that sometimes it seems like there are only two choices: religion or science, republican or democrat, christian or atheist, pro this, anti that, the list could go a while but there is no actual duel between truth and tolerance, in fact I think they coexist perfectly, you can know and speak truth AND be tolerant of others views. Telling someone you think they are wrong is not actually an act of aggression, in fact, if done for the right reasons, in the right way, it is an act of love!

Disagree, people, stand up for what you believe in but don’t hate those who disagree with you. The hatred in our society is an overwhelming force. Don’t participate simply because it’s popular.

 

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You have a Christmas Complex

Some people have a Christmas inferiority complex, some have a superiority complex and alot manage to have both but it seems Moms across the nation have a complex when it comes to Christmas. If you doubt me go look at ANY article dealing with a Christmas tradition like Santa or that Elf and you will find moms attacking one another and anger abounding.

Some think you are evil if you “steal magic” from your kids by not doing the Elf or Santa, others think you are promoting dishonesty by doing Santa or the Elf. Others say there is a “right” number and type of presents (tired of hearing: want, need, wear, read anyone?). Some think the more the merrier and some think we should just say “no” to gifts altogether.

None of this is right or wrong because it’s all just different ways to do the same thing: celebrate.

As a Christian I am alot more worried about WHAT we are celebrating than how.

We are celebrating the birth of a Savior, the moment that changed the course of history for all of eternity, the most selfless act mankind can ever know. 

So do you really care if your friend brings in a magical man in a red suit or a historically accurate portrayal of the man Saint Nicholas or a kinda creepy lil elf doll? Does it matter if I do “Truth in Tinsel”, “What God Wants for Christmas” AND “Adornaments” with my children instead, does that make us more holy somehow? I admit I have a complex too, I am overwhelmed by the complexity of a holiday meant to celebrate the most simple beginning in history. He came as a babe. No OBGYN, no midwife, no golden throne, no sterile hospital, no 5 piece layette, no royal artists to capture the moment. He was born in the least remarkable way and the truth he came to bring was simple. Simple but lifechanging. Christ is the only way to God, to truth, to heaven, to life; real, abundant, everlasting life. 

Can we focus on that?

I am not a “good secular mom”, I don’t do the elf, I don’t do Santa, I don’t do shoes left out or pickles in trees…heck I only give my kids one gift (and not even that as babies). [And yes I realize Christian moms do these too but I don’t see them being heralded as a benchmark for being a good Christian mom.]

I am not a “good Christian mom” either, I bought “What God Wants for Christmas” and tried to do it but my 3 year old just wanted to play with the people and so for the last year baby Jesus, the angel, Mary…the whole set have been lovingly toted around and played with alongside Elmo and Jake the Neverland Pirate. Maybe i’ll try one of those other sets someday…maybe I won’t.

Because I don’t think it matters what I do or don’t do to celebrate Christmas because I know that I am telling my kids the REASON we celebrate. I am showing it with the love and care I put into choosing gifts that I want to demonstrate Christ’s love. I am teaching him joyful service as I donate my time and talents to help where I can and when I can. I may not have a fancy way to do it but all year, especially at Christmas, I am teaching him the Word of God and the importance of Christ in our lives. If he grows up knowing the beginning of the greatest love story ever told then I will consider my Christmases a success no matter what else we did or didn’t do.

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*I am talking about the Christian holiday of Christmas, if you do not celebrate this then this blog isn’t directed at you but if you would like to know more about Christ and why Christmas is so important then contact me, I’d love to share the truth with you.*

The Joy of Gender Roles

Usually when I hear people use the phrase “gender roles” it is not in a positive light. Modern culture suggests that women and men do not have gender roles, that they are equal and capable of doing all things the same (save childbirth).

We are supposed to earn like men, lead like men and all but be men. The problem is I. AM. NOT. A. MAN.

Just thought I would get that out there. Am I as valuable and worth while as a man? Absolutely. Can I do “everything a man can do”? No, not really. More importantly I don’t want to.

I have always been a strong opponent of most of the ideals of feminism as it is popularly held. I can feel more absolutely than ever though the joy and freedom of living within those gender roles now that I am staying home.

Am I an intelligent, educated and capable woman? Yes. Have I been the bread winner in our marriage before? Yes. Do I speak my mind and have a huge role in the decisions of our family? Yes.

Do these things change that my husband is the head of our household? No.

I defer to his leadership whenever an important decision arises, more importantly I want to live in a way that makes his life better and easier.

Why? Because I love him, because he loves me and because God placed him in the position of accountability for our home.

I have been living with one foot in for a while because despite my desire to be a good wife to my husband I found that after working full time and being a mom there was little time or energy leftover to devote to my poor husband. I could not cook him meals as often as I wanted, grocery shop or do the dishes to prevent them from being a burden to him or show him the kind, gentle support he deserved. Instead I often found myself splitting the household duties and getting grumpy with him over small things simply because I was stressed out from trying to be all things to all people.

Staying home has allowed me not only to devote myself full time to being a better, less frazzled mom to my children but also to being a better less exhausted, stressed wife to my husband. I don’t think I realized how much my entire household would benefit from my being home, in fact I felt guilt over doing so, but as I see the rewards play out I recognize that I am already reaping a harvest from this decision and it is confirmed daily that I made the correct choice.

 

 

 

 

Happy Wife, Happy Life is ruining marriage

All those “cute” sayings that insinuate women need to be the focus of a marriage (or men) are pretty harmful ideas about relationships so i’d like to share a few things that have actually helped in my own marriage.

I’m celebrating seven years of marriage today. I have a stinkin awesome husband but I think the reason our marriage works so well has little to do with either of us, in fact I think the reason our marriage works so well is neither of us think it’s about us!

Marriage isn’t about one or both of us being happy. Are we happy? Absolutely! Is that the purpose of our marriage though?

No.

We have recognized some truths that spare of us from so many of the relationship pitfalls many of our friends and loved ones face.

Disclaimer* We are not perfect or walking around on rainbows while music plays from the clouds and we are not happy every minute of everyday, I am in no way qualified to speak on marriage but in our 7 years we have gleaned countless wise pieces of advice from a number of sources so why not put them together for people with even less experience than me! (Or people with more who haven’t encountered this awesome advice.)

1. God must be the center. Everything in the world is temporary, save God, if you are both walking toward God then you will also always be drawing closer together. “Drifting apart” or feeling “disconnected” can’t happen.

2. Marriage is a tool to sanctify us, not make us deliriously happy all day long. I LOVE my house, I love being home but if someone told me I was going to Disney World and took me to my house I would be disappointed. Given the choice to live in my house or Disney though it’s hands down, I want to be home. Marriage is my home, I went into expecting the work and upkeep that comes with maintaining a home not the expectations of nonstop entertainment, catering and excitement that comes with Disney and because of it I get to thoroughly enjoy each day of it.

3. Failure is not an option, we took time before we got married (premarital counseling, I highly recommend it ya’ll) to make sure we were ready then we got married THEN we stayed married for a few years before we decided to have kids. Waiting gave us time to adjust to life as a unit, work out our communication, and get to do all the fun spontaneous things you can do before kids like spur of the moment travel 🙂

4. Get up everyday and make the choice not just to love your spouse but to show it through actions. (And when you simply can’t at least apologize so they know you tried!) We are always trying to finish a project or chore for one another and it makes us both feel valued.

5. Don’t put so much emphasis in gifts and holidays. Women are really bad at this, they blow these things up in their minds then get let down/hurt/angry/etc. when the gifts/presentation/setting don’t meet their expectations. We like our holidays super low key, it takes the stress, pressure and expense out of celebrating! We like to get each other little just because surprises frequently instead (I might buy a favorite snack for his work bag or he might pick me up a sweet tea and bring it to home or work for me).

So many people have told/shown us so many wonderful things to do over the years but these are a few of my favorites I thought I’d share.

 

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And a Child Shall Lead Them

My son, whose introverted nature I wrote about here, loves to learn about the Bible and loves to pray and sing about God. He sings “My God is So Big” while running through the front yard hitting things with sticks, asks me to read him “one more” Bible story at least 3 times each night and loves chapel at his daycare. He really loves to pray though, he seems to understand how important it is. On nights when Dad is at work and he and I pray he does not want to recite his “nite nite” prayer he wants to make his own because he wants to thank God for his daddy. When he is done he proceeds to thank the Lord for each member of his family by name, for Jesus, for God (yes he thanks God for God but…shouldn’t we all?) as well as every single friend, teacher and pet and he often follows this with the many small wonders adults forget are actually tiny miracles like trees and water as well as all the amazing comforts of life in America in the year 2014 such as: my shows, elmo, bathtubs, my toys, our big, big car (which is a camry not a tank as the description might lead you to believe). These lists of gratitude go on in the dark still of his room for minutes until his voice gets slower and heavy with sleep. He never asks God for anything though…in fact my son doesn’t do alot of asking, he is frequently very happy with what he gets. He is a joy to give gifts too because even if there is a pile of presents he will not move one by one like a machine, no he opens one and enjoys it for minutes or hours if allowed before moving to another, a skill a desperately wish to master regarding the gifts I’m given daily.

For the last few months he has had to remind me constantly to pray before we eat. Frequently, as I whirl around in our kitchen throwing something to eat on the table before the exhaustion of the day can catch me, I will plop in my chair, grabbing a bite as I do, only to hear his tiny voice, “Mama, we forgot to pray!” I say your right buddy and take a breath so we can indeed thank the Lord for food to eat, in our warm home with abundance surrounding us. It’s rather backwards for him to have to remind me of this, i’m a devoted follower of Christ, unshakable in my faith and knowledgeable in theology but i’m also a sinful adult, all to often consumed by the busyness of all the “important” day to day matters I must take care of. Jidge is not yet a follower of Christ at the tender age of 3, he cannot explain all the details of Bible stories correctly (in fact he sometimes gets them comically wrong) but he has one thing I don’t, the ability to just love. He loves God purely, without all the entanglements that adults get caught up in and this causes him to remember, every single time we sit to eat, that he is thankful for the meal we are eating only by God’s grace.

I can honestly say he has been teaching me spiritual truths since the day he was born and I felt, for the first time, what it meant to love someone so selflessly and completely you would be willing to die for them. But these days its different, he is not just teaching me truth by existing but by his own heart and intentions and actions. As we sat down for Easter dinner at my in laws this last weekend, my child who can barely speak to his extended family because of his own shyness and nerves gleefully prayed clear and pure over our meal in front of all the adults and children present without a second thought. His own comfort at speaking was forgotten entirely as he chose to honor God and for that moment he was not a shy three year old, he was a confident young man strengthened by the power of Christ.

I’m not forgetting to pray these days. In the hustle and bustle of adding a new little one and moving and maternity leave and returning to work I had been forgetting far to often to stop and thank my heavenly father for the gifts, big and little, in my life. My son has reminded me in earnest of the importance of prayer and I am not ashamed to follow his lead, because sometimes a child shall lead them.

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