Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

A Great First Step

If you have read my blog for awhile or if you are my real life friend you know that Cub Scouts (now Boy Scouts) is a big part of my family’s life. You also know that after the BSA reaffirmed their decision to ban any openly gay person from participating or serving in anyway my husband and I began to question if this was still the right group for our family.https://usemyvoice.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/tough-decisions/ We struggled with the ideas of staying and fighting for what we believe in and leaving because we did not want to condone discrimination. Last month the BSA made a very big decision. Openly gay young men are now allowed to participate in Boy Scouts. This is a really big deal. This is a huge first step in the push for acceptance and equality. It is not what we want to see in the end but it is a big first step. I think about it like teaching your child to read. You celebrate when they finish their first “I Can Read Book”. They have archived something important. But you don’t stop there. You know your child has to read beyond this level or they will stop growing. The same thing is true with the BSA. They have made a great first step. However, this can not be their last step or they will not grow. Soon they will have openly gay Eagle Scouts and are they going to turn them away the day they turn 18 and say they no longer have anything to offer the world of scouting? Are they going to continue to tell the scout whose parents are the same gender that his family can not be as fully involved as the boy’s whose parents are not? The questions will need to be answered soon.

So what does this first step decision mean for my family? It means for now we stay. We are staying for several reasons. First, I want the BSA to know we are proud of their first step. I worry that if we left now we would be confused with the people who are leaving because they disagree with their decision. Another reason we will stay for now is that I want to teach my children that sometimes you need to fight for what you believe from the inside. If everyone who was in favor of equality and inclusion left what motivation would the BSA have to change. It would be very easy to say, “Our members are ok with our decision” As long as my family is part of the BSA they will not be able to say that.

I don’t know how long we will stay. We have discussed the subject with our oldest and he knows how we feel and why we considered leaving and why we are staying. We have also starting to get our boys involved in other things in addition to Scouts in case we do make the decision to leave at some point. For this year we stay and make sure that when people as us how we feel about the decision we tell them we are proud of the BSA for taking this first step and that we look forward to the day that full acceptance is achieved.

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Following up to Finishing Well

I wanted to thank all of you who responded to my entry about finishing well. Kindergarten is over and all and all I will say we finished well. It wasn’t easy and I was more than a little tempted to blow off the last three days of school but I was committed. At times over the last three weeks it felt like I was literally carrying him to the end of the school year. That was ok though. I am his mom and sometimes it is my job to carry him, just to show him you can make it through. I mean how many times have I known that Jesus carried me through a situation that on my own I would have never made it through?

Monday was his awards day and he received was on the honor roll for earning all E’s and S’s for the nine weeks ( those are the grades they give in Kindergarten here). He has been on this list every nine weeks except the first one. I don’t say that to brag about how great my kid is (he’s great for a whole bunch of other reasons :)) but more as a matter of fact. I realized during this ceremony that he had no idea everything he had accomplished this year. All he knew was he needed to be “ready for 1st grade” and should be acting like a first grader now. If the messages I was hearing during this ceremony were anything like what he was hearing then he probably would not think he had accomplished anything.

I came home from that ceremony, called my husband and told him he needed to come home early because I had a very important date. We had some Build A Bear certificates I had been holding on to for the end of the year but decided it was time to use them. We went to Build A Bear and made a karate themed bear that played Star Wars. Then we found a new restaurant where he could get all you want, freshly cooked Chinese noodle and shrimp (his very favorite food). I took the chance to look him in the eyes and remind him about everything he had accomplished this year: going to school all day 5 days a week for the first time ever, how to navigate a school of 1,300 students, the cafeteria, the media center, of yea, lots not forget little things like reading, writing, addition, and subtraction. I told him how proud Daddy and I were of him. I told him that as pleased as we were that he had done at school academically we were the most proud of how he matured emotionally and spiritually. He still cares for people who are left out, he wants to make people feel better and know that they are special, and he has developed a passion for the Bible. I’ll take those categories over his academic accomplishments any day.

Here are some pictures of our date.

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What I Love About Three Year Olds

So I admit it I have been down on the three year old set a little lately. As the mother of a newly turned three year old I found myself thinking, “She’ll be four in a year. We will all survive until then.” Well, really I want to do more than just survive the next year and yes, I really do love my daughter to pieces. It is just three year olds are exhausting. They have not met a boundary that they can not push. They do not have an “inside voice”. Everything is treated with equal urgency in the three year old world good or bad.

Well, with my goal to do more than survive the next year I found myself purposely looking for all the great things about three year old and believe it or not I came up with a nice list.

1. The way the say three. Ask my daughter (or any other three year old I have ever met) how old she is and she will look at you proudly and say, “FREE” while holding up a mess of fingers because she doesn’t really know how many three is yet.

2. They play with people. My daughter and I had a play date with a friend and her daughter who is a couple of months younger than mine the other day. We marveled at the fact they actually played together and spoke to each other this time. I think it was the first time we had actually carried on a full conversation at a play date in three years.

3. They have imaginations. My daughter is all about pretend. We have moved passed just imitating what others do to full on imaginative play. I hear her dolls “talking” to each other and she regularly ask me , “You want to pretend to be Pink Power Ranger together ( what can I say she has two older brothers)?” .

4. They are confident. They are big they know it and don’t try and convince them other wise.

5. They want to help. Three year olds might not be to the point of their four year counterparts of wanting to please yet, but they do want to help. They take great pride in a job well done ( even if it is not exactly the most helpful thing to us).

6. Enthusiasm. I do not think I have ever met a three year old who was not overflowing with enthusiasm. I know it is true of my girl.

I am a big believer in building on one’s strengths especially when it comes to children. So with this in mind I am looking for chances to engage my girl from this perspective. She has been trying to help me with dishes for days. I have gotten frustrated and tried to get her to leave. Today I took a deep breath handed her a sponge and showed her out to scrub the leftover eggs off the pan from breakfast. We ended up with a lot of water on the floor but over and over she said, ” I’m helping you. We did this together”.

I am reminding myself these qualities are important character qualities I want her to keep. If I want them to develop I have to give her chances to use them and let them grow, even if I do end up mopping after we do the dishes sometimes.

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