Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Two Faced or Double Sided

I've heard all of my life that you can do everything for someone, but it doesn't mean they'll change. Some people believe that people never change, others claim they can. I lean towards the latter and want to believe in faith in others, but have seen many people not change. I can't trust that they will. Also, people can easily treat you one way, say that they believe you, and listen to you for hours- but still turn around and tell someone else that they think you're full of it or doing it all wrong.

I grew up in the church. I have worked with youth for a long time. At camps and retreats, you are getting kids out of their element and purposely confronting them in striking and memorable ways to help them "see the light" about themselves and their world, and hopefully faith or God drops in there somewhere behind it or in the middle of it. Christian retreats and camps serve as a wake up call to youth, to confront themselves and confront the world. It's character building, lifetime relationship building, and extremely memorable. We also have a ton of fun- because you can't get anywhere with youth if you don't start with what us corporate adults call "team building" and in youth ministry, we call games.

I can tell you that those trips can make a huge difference. They write letters to family and friends confessing their feelings and asking for help with their addictions and problems. They return home, asking their parents for hugs and to be listened to and promise to change. They look to a higher power, a guidance book (the Bible), and awesome leaders and counselors as role models. Sometimes the camp "buzz" is only temporary. But I've seen it change lives, and mission trips serve as major wake-up calls to spoiled teenagers who for the first time are confronted with a life different than their own where nothing can be taken for granted.

Now I'm in adult world. Married, a stepmom/parent, in suburbia, worry about my house, my job, and wonder how to get out of a cubicle. Nobody confronts anybody. I only hear about adults laying it out clear in church communities. I hear some families still do that- tell their loved ones that they're hurting themselves, need help, or should stop doing what they're doing. But mostly, I read and hear about overacceptance of people hurting people or living a double life. I say it all of the time: "Some people are just like that." I say it because I've been hurt so much by friends over the years, that I've learned that people like that need to be avoided or dropped- not confronted. My inclination is to confront, but I also don't like the frustration and sometimes the heartache.

A former coworker told me her dilemma in an Ikea store line once. She saw 2 little boys hurting their tiny baby brother, who was unaware- not even at the age he could walk yet. She said she was so upset watching this happen and the mother ignoring it, that she so badly wanted to call the police or social services. But her husband told her to not get involved and reminded her of how bad things happen when you "meddle". Bad things happen to you, maybe- because you took responsibility. But what about the good to the people/person being hurt?

I refuse to believe that we are supposed to not meddle. I refuse to accept that people should just hurt others, because it's their perogative, their job, or what they learned from someone else.

Be one person. Be your beliefs. Stand up for what you believe, and don't let others convince you that "both ways" are right or that any type of damage is acceptable. Challenge each other, and stop the continuation of abuse, addiction, or general ignorance with anyone who matters to you. Those people need you, someone, to care. Otherwise, they will teach the next person, the next person, and their kids to continue in their ways and accept it as "just the way things are."

Also, DVR the World's Strictest Parent show on MTV. (Yeah, MTV...I know!). Maybe, find it on YouTube and send it to a couple parents you know... Encourage them to be stronger examples for their struggling pre-teens and teens. Oh, and send some camp info to them as well.


  1. How do the girls feel about 50/50 custody? Have the kids been involved with the mediations or requested more time with dad? I'm curious because we are in the 50/50 process, but the kids are 12 and 14 and have requested to talk to the courts about what they want...which is a very set 50/50 schedule.

  2. My younger stepdaughter wanted 50/50 for years. Then right before court, she was convinced otherwise. She was convinced our house "isn't fair" because her sister gets in trouble more (because she's older and has done things like hurting her sister repeatedly). She couldn't explain why she didn't want to be with her dad equally anymore.

    My older stepdaughter wants the lack of parenting of their mom and her stepdad and can handle the yelling she gets even though it badly hurts her. She has told us that when her mom ignores her or yells at her, she feels worse than she's ever felt. But, she wants her own room, her own TV, her own... on and on. That wins.

    So, it didn't work out. We tried for 50/50, which is promised by the state, but as Alec Baldwin says- you have to fight for.