Friday, October 16, 2009
I am almost a week behind posting this. Those of you who subscribe to the amazing digital magazine from Take Root and Write have already seen this ;)
I sometimes wonder if married moms get as wrapped up in their kids lives as some single moms do. Don't get me wrong, ALL moms need to be active participants in their children's lives and know what is going on at all times. ALL moms need to know who the friends are, where they are going, what the grades are, what they read, what they listen to, etc. I just wonder if married moms want to jump in and fix everything as much as single moms to.
My memory is terrible but I can vaguely remember my ex-husband telling me what normal boy behavior was every now and then and just to let some things go. I don't really have a male whose opinion I value, to bounce things off of; so I get more female opinions which almost always mirror my own. Yes, I have a job, and friends, and my own life, but since I don't have a spouse to tend to per say, my kids are next in line right under God. I find myself wanting to fix everything that goes on in their daily lives. Even more so now that the older they get, the bigger their problems have become.
My daughter has always come home with stories of mean girls ever since kindergarten. Being a girl, I could relate and knew exactly what she was talking about. In my school days, those things did not happen until Junior High so I was not really expecting the intensity in elementary school, but I still knew what she was going through. It was easy to tell her to play with other friends, and not to worry who was going to be her friend the next day. Making sure she labeled all her stuff so no one would "mistake" it for theirs was really no big deal. Oh those were the days! Now, the kids are so vindictive!
Now that my son is in high school, also known as the rumor mill, I am hearing things from him too. Yes there were three years in there when he didn't want to talk to me at all let alone share what was going on in his life, but high school is a whole new ball game. Kids deal with so much these days. It just amazes me how eager and willing they are to destroy another persons life, out of misunderstanding, or even just for fun! They seem to take pleasure in it. Even the Christian kids at church jump on the bandwagon! What I am talking about here is gossip, or the sport of spreading rumors.
The thing about gossip, is no one is immune to it, and everyone can participate. You don't have to try out for anything, be talented, or play an instrument. You don't have to be cool or popular. You don't even have to know the person you are talking about. All you need is the desire to participate. The thrill of being in on something, even if you don't know the truth behind it, is a strong temptation for kids.
Even though the Bible warns us about spreading gossip, it's still very easy to get sucked in. "Don't spread gossip and rumors. Don't just stand by when your neighbor's life is in danger" (Leviticus 19:16 MSG). Young people don't necessarily understand the consequences of their words until it is too late. Sometimes the damage rumors can create can not be undone. "It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell (James 3:6 MSG).
Our news is sometimes only unverified gossip. Tabloids make millions on rumors. As a society we buy into it. There is no wonder our children struggle with this. My kids have both been victims of rumors and gossip. I just want to swoop in and make it all better but I can't. I have to arm them with the wisdom and tools to deal with situations as they arise. Sometimes I think it is harder on me when I just want to jump in for them. That is when God equips me with patience and peace so I too can get through the situation without ending up on the six o'clock news.
I thought it was very timely that I just watched a movie called Gossip. I think it is from 2000 or 2001. It stars Kate Hudson. It is not a family friendly movie but it was fascinating. It was all about three college students who decided to start a rumor for an assignment to see how it would grow and change. The end story was not what it started out to be. It was very clear about how quickly lives can be ruined by gossip and lies. Not only can rumors ruin friendships, they can ruin an individual's personal relationship with God. It is easy for us to blame our circumstances, or what's wrong in our lives on God. This is exactly what the enemy wants. And that's no lie.