Sunday, January 10, 2016

Keeping HOPE in the Big Picture

There are days when I scroll through the Internet headlines and am amazed (and appalled) with what I read. Stories about thieves who are arrogant (and stupid) enough to post their illegal endeavors on Facebook, video clips of professional athletes playing like schoolyard thugs, and politicians ... well don't even get me started on the public behavior of politicians. 

I fully support an athlete being caught up in the moment when they score a touchdown or a goal, hit a home run, or make a game-winning basket. When emotions are real you can tell, but when a touchdown is scored and a pre-choreographed silly dance is performed in the end zone it is obviously premeditated. It comes across as arrogant and showboating; definitely sets a different tone. They're grabbing the spotlight and hoping their fans will boost them up another level to a higher podium. Although, you know what they say? The higher the podium, the further you have to fall.

Whatever happened to humbleness? Whatever happened to being appreciative for a God-given talent? Of course, to be fair, I have seen award shows and heard people thank 'God' for getting them where they are and then I have to wonder if these are the 'same' people I read about on the Internet and see on the covers of grocery store tabloids. Where was God in their life when they were caught doing something less than ideal? People need to remember that with fame and exposure comes certain responsibilities. Whether they want to be or not, they are now in a position to influence other people (for good or for bad).

As parents, we try to teach our children about morals, values, the importance of being honest, and conducting ourselves with integrity. We do what we can, but in reality we can't be with our kids 24/7 (and then there is the whole debate about at what age you quit referring to them as your 'kids', lol). The way I see it, when you become a parent you are a parent for life; not until the day they turn 18, get dropped off to college, or get married. Sure, as our children become adults they will need to make adult decisions on their own about their finances, relationships, employment, etc. But as a parent, you should always be there to offer an ear to listen or just be there for them to ask advice or bounce ideas off of. While it's true that it takes a village to raise a child, we can't leave all of our mentoring to the people they're around; the people they read about or see on TV, the people they go to school or work with. We can hope though that we've given them enough of a solid foundation that they'll be able to tell the difference when people start giving them advice. We can all give advice from the couch and tell people what we think is best for them, but until we actually walk a day in someone's shoes or REALLY listen to their story we may not truly be helping.

So, where does that leave us? With HOPE. HOPE that our toddlers will learn to walk without too many bruises. HOPE that our teenagers will be safe when they get behind the wheel of a car. HOPE that our young adults won't get their hearts broken as they begin to have relationships. HOPE that everyone (not age specific) will make smart decisions about drinking and drugs. HOPE that our college grads will be blessed with jobs when they graduate. HOPE that we'll all remember to let God into our lives and our decisions. Having HOPE reminds us that none of us have to face anything alone.

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