family

Paw Patrol and Diversity in Families

I should blog more about cartoons and how they are shaping our young children.

It’s being done in a subtle way if you ask me.  I’ve moved on since Ian’s fascination over Peppa Pig has faded and now a days Paw Patrol and Sponge Bob have taken stage center.

One of the things that kind of pinpointed the impact these programs were having on Ian was when we brought home Albizu (our puppy) and he asked me,

“Why doesn’t Albizu talk?”

“What???”

Is this kid going nuts or what?  And then, BOOOOOM it hit me!  The pups in Paw Patrol spoke, so he kind of figured our puppy could do it as well.

I then explained, that the pups in Paw Patrol were not real pups and that real pups didn’t speak.

As his obsession with Paw Patrol went further I began noticing some things about the program.  For instance, Mr. Porter (a character on the show) has a grandson who’s name is Alex (which always gets in trouble).  Alex’s parents don’t figure on the show and basically his grandfather takes care of him.

They are both a family unit, which brings family diversity into perspective.  Today in our society we can find many grandparents taking care of their grandchildren.  When Ian goes to preschool he is going to be okay if some of his friends are taken care of by their grandparents.

He’s going to be able to see this as normal.

Mr. Porter (which seems to be in his middle years) is doing perfectly well, taking Alex to his dental appointments, first day at school, getting his patches in something that seems like the equivalent of our Boy Scouts and so on. Alex hasn’t mentioned his parents once on the show so it seems their non-existent.

Thinking across these lines,,,,

maybe their at work,

or on a business trip,

or just darn busy to be attending to all the nuisance small children bring with them.

For whatever reason  Mr. Porter is stuck with Alex and he seems to love it and his grandchild. He fits him in his busy schedule in the store.

So you see my dear friends, today’s cartoons are a bit more than you would think. We have to take time to watch television with them, that way we’re sure to know when to explain why things are happening and get hold of what they are learning as things that seem normal.

Next time, we can try to figure out where are Ryder’s parents and why Kally is grooming the pets and not saving the world.

Don’t forget, “If your ever in trouble, just yelp for help”.

“Hasta la próxima.”

Presbyterian Church

“Do you really think God cares?”

This question popped up recently during a conversation with one of my sons.

It actually popped up when he was talking about how one of his classmates each time they were working on an investigation would say, “With God’s help” at the beginning of each lab session. Even though he kept his thoughts to himself, he really didn’t agree with her.  He thought, “Do you really think God cares about this?”.

Well, immediately he landed the question, I gave him the “I’m going to have to knock some sense into you right now” look.

My immediate reaction was,  “Whoa, what’s gotta into you today?”

He said,  “Stop Mom, what I’m trying to tell you is that there is so much going on in the world that my investigation isn’t God’s priority right now, we’ll just have to figure it out on our own.”

He went on to tell me that everything in our world is about balance. He believed in a Superior Being that guided us through life, but it wasn’t really about us as individuals.

His words stayed on the back of my head for some weeks.

via Google images

In developed countries like ours, most of the things we tend to worry about are basically stupidities.

It’s not a secret that I’m one of the Frozen Chosen and we’ve made the news lately because our denomination is open not only to non-celibate homosexuals being ordained, but also to same sex marriages.

Well, for some that makes us  the chosen from hell kind of Christians.

Well, if you think about Jesus and what and who He preached to,  it’s not that bad.  He taught us through example to love the outcasts and those who have no worth to society.

There is a saying in Spanish that goes, “Lo menosprecian” meaning people who think others are worthless because of how they’ve acted in the past.  Wow! Are we full of it, or what?

People aren’t perfect and that’s part of our humanity, when the time comes we’ll know if we were right or way wrong.  However, the only one that will set our record straight will be God.

Moving on to our main discussion, which is,

“If God really cares about the menial stuff we worry so much about?”

My answer would probably be, that he cares about us.  The rest He tends to rely on our practicality and good judgment to deal with the rest.

In a world where famine is basically the major problem that leads to major issues.  Professor Michael Chossudovsky perfectly outlines the situation when he writes,

“The New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the natural environment.  It generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife, undermines the rights of women and often precipitates confrontations between nationalities.”

There is much more where this came from and we can go on forever discussing the reach of all these factors, however, the important thing here is that we really don’t know first hand what famine is.

We’ve become God’s spoiled brats.

The United States government issued the poverty line for Puerto Rico to be fifteen thousand or less. IN other words, if you make $1,250 per month you are going to face economic prejudice.  In Puerto Rico sad to say, it’s not really about education, or your ability to land a great job, it’s more about who you know and the connections you have.  So many of us have to make ends meet with an yearly income of more or less twenty thousand.

We need to step out of our insularism.

Let’s look at Haiti, not very far away from Puerto Rico, with a major per capita income of $400 a month.  In other words my friends, a monthly income of $33.

I feel wealthy in comparison, but what do I really do about it?

Does God care about all these dramatic issues?

YES!

But, I might just wonder for a second, that He’s going to care more about Haiti than for us.  Specially in a world where large areas of our global population live below the REAL poverty line where famine is just a step away.

Rosa Robles and her family.

Does he really care about our Church’s Anniversary itinerary or about what we think is sin, or all the debate that has our local synod buzzing or does He care a bit more for Rosa Robles who lives in sanctuary in South Side Presbyterian Church?

A temple that not only is where people gather to worship, but also is a home for a woman and her family.  Where it’s members protect and become our Lord’s hands and voice to help one of his children facing the government.

Our denomination has such a strong social justice calling and basically one of the things that makes me Presbyterian.

That’s why not only do we believe in equality for ALL of God’s children, we also care enough to donate our time and resources to a small  Kitui (Kenya) area for it to have  enough water to build a strong community where resources like water are now close and not miles away from home.

Less then thirty people were able to work with this community to help them complete this project.  God cares enough to move our spirits towards generosity to give freely and joyfully to this and other projects through One Great Hour of Sharing.

If we have to deal with chronic illness, homosexuality, divorce, separation, grief, economic hardship, family issues, deciding to get married or not, our children, our personal projects, money or jobs and so many more other things then let it be.

All of these situations are particular to each one of us and all come in boxes that our Lord places in our hands with ribbons.  The ribbons are the many opportunities He gives us to handle them.

The truth is, we want our lives to be perfect, and that my friends is not going to happen. So, in a sense you can say God cares, but not as much as He does for those who struggle each day for survival.

So my dear “amigos” and “amigas” please let’s get over ourselves and open up to a global world that has more to the eye then we can possible see.  Life is full of endless opportunities and blessings,  just stretch out your hand to catch some of them and never stop believing in yourself or life’s beauty.

“Hasta la próxima.”

Parenting

“Mami, what’s sex?”

Mami, what’s sex?

I heard this question as my than five-year old daughter was coloring, sitting at the table. My immediate reaction was, “Whaaaaaaat is sex?” in a loud clear voice. Gaining a few brief seconds by answering it with her same question, thinking maybe it wasn’t what I had heard. About the loud I’m under playing it a bit, my loud was almost yelled back to see if my husband was paying attention to what was happening as he read the newspaper in our living room.

As usual he was into the news and didn’t offer me much help addressing my daughter’s curiosity.

I did get out of the predicament pretty soon as I answered in a “matter of fact” tone that sex is about if you are a girl or if you are a boy. I was getting ready for the following launch of questions that I was sure were going to be targeted at me. To my surprise she remained silent for a while and kept on coloring. No further questions were asked and she moved on talking about other things as usual.

Woooof, I was more than relieved that I didn’t have to begin a sex ed conversation with her. I said to myself that there would be more time for this same conversation in the future. Boy, and I was spot on with that one.

As a young parent of three children during that time, I felt a bit uncomfortable breaching “that subject” with them. In other words, sex was a bit of a taboo.

An issue that was clearly resolved during her preteen years when I did what I always do when I’m not sure about something. That is, buy a book that would help me deal with all the sex conversation we would have during that time. We read the book together as she grew into her preteen years and we discussed everything she wanted to know.

Since, your first child is always the ice breaker when my other two boys began their adolescence I was more than ready to handle the sex situation.

Parents are supposed to teach their young children the basics of life but, as they grow older they get to teach us a few things in the way. I told her as a preschooler that sex is being a boy or girl and she’s taught me over the years that this premise isn’t necessarily true. There is more to sex than gender.

When my two boys were stepping into their adolescence I asked them, “Do you like girls or boys?”

Both had basically the same reaction with their stunned “Are you nuts or what?” expression.

I wasn’t nuts, what I was trying to tell them was “It’s okay either way”.

via google images

When your child, teenager or even emerging adult discovers that their sexuality doesn’t fit in the box, you have to be ready to deal with their issues. It’s hard enough navigating their sexuality by itself to add more stress factors to it.

The common mistake many parents do is making it about them. Your child sexuality doesn’t belong to you it belongs to them.

Certainly it’s more easy said then done, all my kids are heterosexuals, so basically what can I know about the situation?

Well, I don’t but, I sure know it should feel bad to experience rejection and humiliation because of your sexual orientation. Specially in a world where most people are homophobic. In the States it’s getting to feel like the Segregation Era. Laws are being passed in some places where you can be banned if you are gay, while in others the LGBT community is advancing towards equality.

It’s as if we have a sexual oriented apartheid (term I just made up  by the way, so don’t look it up) going on.

Why do people (parents included) need to place others in compartments of what’s socially accepted or not. Why do we need to lash against what we don’t understand or accept?

There is really no concrete answer to these interrogatives, however you can make up your answer by being accepting and tolerant towards those who make choices different from yours.

A reality check for those who are still in your children rearing years is that they are not going to be always around. Probably they will forget your exact words, but they will never forget how they felt.

They will learn what’s accepted or not according to you, and if they don’t fit they will move on leaving you out of their lives. Family is a funny thing is a sense, we come with a set of them, but sometimes we make them along in our lives.

Family are the people who are part of your day-to-day life and cherish and accept you in every way. It’s not that everything will be perfect because that sure is a fantasy, it’s about knowing that no matter what you have people in your life that have your back covered always.

So “mis queridos amigos” inhale, exhale and think twice before judging or wanting to live through your kin. Before saying or doing anything put yourself in your children’s shoes and then help them get on with life. Being part of our children’s lives as adults is one of the best stages of parenting. Specially when you can’t help yourself think that they have become some of the most interesting people you may know. Enjoy listening, laughing and even crying with them because then they will know that when everything or anything goes wrong in their lives you will always be there for them.

Remind yourself constantly that life is a gift and never doubt the beauty of it or yourself.

“Hasta la próxima.”