Priorities – why are some people’s priorities so messed up?

20150829_085916Once again my life experiences have woken me up in this force from within me that could probably be seen from many angles: 1) Passion, 2) Anger, 3) Hate, 4) Fear, 5) Conviction, 6) Insult, 7) Holy Spirit… and whatever other emotion / force that people assign to the burning ache that happens in one’s chest that shouts: “You just have to stand up for this”… it seems most of my blogs are “sourced” from “that” place.

This blog, once again, revolves around the “Names” of Universities in South Africa saga. In particular, my alma mater: Rhodes University. Decades ago there was a guy whose surname was Rhodes, and there is the belief that the man (who no-one in the 21st century ever met, or could ever know) doesn’t deserve to have his name used anymore, because government has changed and a minority group believe that they should erase all white history in South Africa. I.e. they want to destroy DECADES of history, they want to cost the University a FORTUNE in ‘rebranding’, ‘re-heading’, and ‘re-marketing’ a mix that has worked for years. A little group of upstarts has decided that the alumni, who have put MILLIONS and MILLIONS into their “Rhodes” University, should now put more into it to pay for their little itch that dislikes a man who they’ve never met, dislikes an apartheid system they never lived in, and, in so doing, cause great annoyance, frustration and a waste of time and money because they have no respect for HISTORY.

This nonsense really has NOTHING to do with present day South Africa, anyone walking around the Rhodes Campus would know and feel how fantastic it is; and that has NOTHING to do with the NAME and EVERYTHING to do with the PEOPLE – of ALL races who live, work and study there.

This little group appear to be against white people in their essence and by nature interested in segregating themselves – this is wholly evident in the fact that they still call themselves the: “Black Student Movement”, thus, by their own title and own choice of label (that no-one is demanding that they change in this 20 year old multi-racial-EQUAL-Rights South Africa) they are telling the world that “Black” should be alone and separate from everyone else. How can ANYONE let a group who see themselves as a singled-out-more-important-separated race, in a VERY multi-racial society, dictate what the majority desire?

If they wanted to do this LEGITIMATELY, LEGALLY and DEMOCRATICALLY, then they would put out a VOTE to EVERY Alumni, every current student, and every lecturer in the decades of databases and ASK THEM TO VOTE on whether or not they want the name of their University to change. I have NO doubt in my mind that the hundreds of students I studied with will vote to KEEP OUR UNIVERSITY NAME … Why? Because of the Nickname. As students we all took on the “Rhodes” and reduced it to a “Rat”, we even have a Pub Called “The Rat and Parrot” just off campus. That Rat symbol – THE RHODENT – became the symbol for all of us for our student identity. We have mugs, bags, t-shirts, pens and all the other branded paraphernalia, with our “RHODENT” on it. I even have a bumper sticker. The Rhodent – a lowly rat, that holds no-one above anyone else, has become what the name means to students AND NOT the guy who died decades upon decades ago.

Interestingly, however, this little group of upstarts occupied the VC’s office – illegally. They have put graffiti on campus property – illegally. They are photocopying wads of the VC’s “Private and Confidential” documents – illegally – and are “playing” with journalists, like they are important. There are THREE: ILLEGAL, GO TO PRISON, offences going on and their supporters are blind enough to say – no, it’s all about that dead guy and what we think he stood for, and what history books portrayed…? Seriously?

How about skipping over a past that no-one can change, getting over your personal issues about whatever prejudices you have, and jumping into the 21st CENTURY where you can CHOOSE your view, and choose to see a new meaning for the name? Take on the “Rhodent”, take on the change, respect the history, respect the reminder of where we have come from, respect that change has to happen, and we can’t change or erase the past, and we shouldn’t desire to change or replace the past, because IT IS THAT PAST that got us to where we are today. IT IS THAT PAST, that history, that has taught us the lessons we need to remember, we need to acknowledge and we need to make sure we never repeat.

Changing a name will not erase racism. Changing a name will not erase the anger and hurt in anyone’s heart – it will only aggravate and cause more hurt because it is saying one group’s history is more important than another’s. Changing a name is expensive, in an economic climate where we should be focusing on spending money on NECESSARY things. Changing a name will not change the history that has already been laid down. Acceptance is the only way to move forward peacefully.

What has gutted me more than anything about these little upstarts is their lack of appreciation for the privilege of being at Rhodes; their lack of respect for their elders, the alumni and the VC; and MOST of all – their SCREWED UP priorities. I really am heart-broken, that in the 21st century – 20 years AFTER apartheid, that they have not moved on from the past where other people were treated horrendously and into the present where they are free to IMPROVE the situation, instead of make it worse and create a century-long feud like the Capulets and Montagues in “Romeo & Juliet”.

Why are they not protesting against the fact that a woman is raped every few seconds in this country?

Why aren’t they protesting against the fact that the ESKOM bosses, who have cried “no funds” to give the people electricity, have received MILLIONS in bonuses? Or how about the fact that the government, who haven’t effectively managed coal energy, are now wanting to manage NUCLEAR ENERGY?

Why aren’t they protesting against the fact that in a time of poverty, 25% unemployment, water shortages and shocking educational statistics, the president has spent a quarter of a BILLION on his ONE house?

Why aren’t they protesting against the fact that pollution is killing us; that the world’s population is currently bringing itself to EXTINCTION for the first time ever in the millennia of the history of life?

Why have they placed The Name of an over 100 year old University as more important than the issues of the 21st century?

I don’t understand… and my mind asks: Which political party is sponsoring these little upstarts? What is their “REAL” agenda? How can a mass of people let them do what they are illegally doing? It’s apartheid all over again – Hitler all over again – one little group dictating to the masses and the masses letting them. . .  and still society is apathetic and lets it happen… ugh

What’s worse is that those supporting the name change appear completely clueless that “Rhodes” University does not teach or lecture racism; completely clueless that being racist is something that is ‘learnt’ from their parents and those they mixed with in their school years. Racism is not something anyone ‘learns’ at University, it is actually part of the baggage that individuals have chosen to take on from their elders. Changing the name will not get rid of the baggage, only the individual can choose to let go of it.

Part ONE: If you are a ‘victim’ of divorce, don’t read this

By fascinating twists of fate/God, I ended up at a “Singles’ Evening” last Friday night. Following a church leaflet, an art exhibition and then personally knowing the organiser, by the end of the week I had promised I would come along ‘to keep the organiser company’. Walk into the event and bam these guys arrive at your side and introduce themselves… it was rather weird to have guys I didn’t know just ‘appear’ out of nowhere all of a sudden. Anyway, one in particular ended up being around for most of the night, and being a meet and greet in a Christian capacity, I naturally told loads of stories about the awesomeness of God in my life and how different my journey is to all the ‘traditional’ followers and ‘church/pastor-guided’ followers. How I take the “God and the Spirit are IN ME” more seriously than ‘they are in someone-else, whose soul I can’t see for real’… I shared, he asked loads of questions and I answered. I listened to his story about himself, and then, as was the point of the exercise, I drew a symbol on his name card in order to ‘represent’ him, according to what I had heard. I won a prize because one of the organizers couldn’t believe how spot on I was after such a brief interaction… So, the evening continued with a dance class and I ended up partnered with him, which I thought was a blessing in disguise, as the guy could not dance to save his life, so I ended up teaching him. We were, however, supposed to be changing partners, which another guy pointed out, so that happened and the new guy told me off for leading, which frustrated me because it was a swing and he was dancing it at the pace of a waltz! GRRR, UGH!

From dancing we went back to the tables, and thus the original guy. He confessed that he had become a Christian when he was 21 and dancing was forbidden, so he hadn’t danced since then. The church had also forbidden him to choose his bride, they chose her for him and he wasn’t allowed to court her, so he spent time in “fervent prayer”, and, after that, he married her. Surprise, surprise the marriage ended in divorce… but get this… he said that he believed if he had have courted her, then maybe they would not have wed, but at the same time he believes his ‘fervent prayer’ and Bible clarifications had shown him that he was making the right decision. Thus, he feels that the Devil was in the words that were fed to him and his marriage didn’t work because of her lying. He didn’t believe his ex-wife was ever a Christian and thus he was a victim in the whole thing and he was angry because she made him divorce her, which now puts a “blemish” on his “perfect” Christian record! But he is ok with it all now, he has accepted it.

Oh my greatness! BAM – in my humble-met-this-guy-once-opinion – I got it. I got why he was still single. I got why she couldn’t be with him. I got why he was probably often depressed and was using God as a crutch. “Victim” “victim” “victim” replayed in my mind… Seriously, he is a grown man! He is supposed to be responsible for himself, he should be as much to blame as anyone else that his marriage failed. How on earth can any woman live with a man who is expecting to be treated as ‘perfect’, we live in a fallen world, there is no such thing as a ‘perfect’ human being? How can a grown man, who made the choice to sign the papers, made the choice to leave, made the choice not to give his wife freedom to make her own choices and believe what she needed to believe, made his own choice not to court her, made his own choice to let others decide his destiny, claim “I’m a victim” – and I’m not embellishing here – the words “I was a victim” literally came out of this guy’s mouth. Like he was expecting God to live his life and his wife’s for them. Expecting God to “act” and “make” their marriage work. Expecting that “God” would intervene and “make” them find each other and they had to do no work…

They went to counseling he said and that should have made things work, but it didn’t… She went to counseling, that is a BIG DEAL, that is an affirmative: ‘I’m in this to make this work’… no, this guy didn’t see it like that – he saw himself as a ‘victim’, that he was the only one who was “Christian”, that he was the only one … BAM – if you are thinking “ONLY ONE” and you are married – BAM – that’s the thought that will make you become “ONLY ONE”, why? Because that is what you have thought, put out into the Universe, ‘prayed’ in your unconscious… and God grants us what we ask for… marriage is: “We”, “Us”, “Together”… NOT: “Me” “I” let’s sit in our corner alone and know we are ‘victims’…

I went home angry. Angry that people are allowed to wallow in this ‘victim’ nonsense. No-one is a ‘victim’ if what has happened has been created by their own choices, their own actions. They are experiencing their own: CONSEQUENCES. I couldn’t have a man around who was permanently reminding me that I’m not perfect {not saying this was the case for this guy, it was just an impression I got}, that I’m not … not… not… that will kill anyone, everyone… I think what got me the most may have been that: Here was a man who was a missionary, going out to people, spreading God’s word and I’m wondering if he’s read it? God tells us we are not victims, that we are sufferers for HIS Glory, that we have to live through HARDSHIPS to become more like Jesus, more empathetic with others, to become weak so God can be our strength. We, as Christians, do not suffer because we are ‘victims’, we suffer because it is a way to learn about being human, a way to experience things that those who need to be saved will hear from someone who has been where they are, knows the hell of divorce, of abuse, of neglect, of pain and whatever else we journey through. Whatever circumstances of suffering come our way, which they have to on this broken planet, Christians know it is being lived through for the Glory of God. The choice as a Christian is to see the positive, see the learning curve, acknowledge God’s strength and power to get us through it and then use it to uplift others… it is NOT to go around saying: “That woman has blemished my perfect Christian record!”

Oh my word! What crossed my mind: What is this guy sharing in his ministry? That God wants you to be perfect? That God wants you to ‘be good’? That evil makes you a ‘victim’, so you don’t have to take responsibility, because it’s ‘the Devil’s fault’; it’s ‘the ex’s fault’, it’s ‘the church’s fault’? What crap!

Nothing we CAN DO can make God love us more; NOTHING WE CAN DO can make God love us less. Here I was thinking that Christianity had evolved to understand that it is has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God’s Grace. Here I was believing that those out their sharing God’s love, understood what LOVE is – kindness, compassion, forgiveness, patience, generosity UNCONDITIONALLY… not you have the option of: “victim”…

Part TWO: If you are ‘depressive’, don’t read this

It all grated me so badly… and I took it to God in my confusion, was I in the ‘wrong’? Was this man entitled to behave in this ‘unmanly’ way by claiming ‘victim’? When I asked him if the Devil was using the Bible to steer us away from God – as he said about his ‘fervent prayer’ – then how do we know when it is God or the Devil speaking to us? He had no response… UGH! These people who go around making all these statements, and the minute you challenge them to discuss / break down / work through it, they close the conversation like they are the only ones who are right and what they believe is the final word; ANNOY ME! If you have a belief / statement / a truth, then BACK IT UP with SENSIBLE evidence and proof in real life terms and practice! Back it up so you can have an intellectual discussion about it! So annoying…

God’s reply to my confusion – SO BEAUTIFUL! So PERFECT! So REAL! I LOVE my God, and His perfect timing and perfect answers and the way He openly and freely deals with and responds to any questions I ask. It is such a blessing to receive more knowledge, more information, more guidance on the way to discovering truth. His reply was in the SAME book I have already been blogging about “Temperaments…”. In a previous blog I broke down Choleric, Phlegmatic, Sanguine and Melancholy… I jump around (typical Aquarius trait) and usually have about 4 books that I am reading at once, my mood / instinct guides me as to which chapter to read, and when. I LOVE it how God often leads me to two different books by my bedside and then when I get to chapter 4 in the one, at the same time as chapter 10 in the other (for example), they are on THE SAME topic, at the EXACT right time I’ve asked the question that both chapters answer. I genuinely do love those moments :)

According to Dr Tim LaHaye: Depression is caused by hypocrisy… lie this guy at the event (Part ONE) was saying his wife was a liar and not a Christian, meanwhile, he was not practicing Christianity either. Double standards… like there is a guy I know and he phoned me up quite annoyed because his great niece hadn’t said thank-you for the gift he’d given her… and there I was holding the phone in disbelief because the grandfather hadn’t thanked me for the Christmas or birthday gift I’d given him! Hypocrisy, so many people are blind to themselves.

Secondly, Physical problems lead to depression / forms of ill health… obviously I can’t comment on this, as I didn’t know the guy.

Thirdly, is this option of “the Devil”, the guy had literally pointed out that the “Devil” had influenced his reading… LaHaye says he doesn’t buy the “Devil” card, because if you are Christian and Spirit-filled, then God wins, God is the focus and everything in God is good, thus this point is illogical.

Fourthly, rebellion and unbelief. I’ll put my spin on this, you have a Soul that belongs to God and should be behaving in a Godly manner and you have a body and ego that behave in an unGodly manner… put the TWO together inside yourself – Godly and unGodly, BAM – depression. The fight and rebellion goes on to create torment for the being… if you do unGodly things to satisfy your ego / pride / desire for money / desire to please yourself etc, and/or tell yourself God (who is in you) doesn’t exist, OF COURSE your Godly side is going to be pissed off and react… depression is the reaction, the consequence.

FINALE – THE BASIC, TRUEST CAUSE OF DEPRESSION – SELF-PITY. “The truth of the matter is, a person becomes depressed after a period of indulging in … self-pity. I have questioned hundreds of depressed individuals and have yet to find an exception to this. I have had a number of people deny at the outset that self-pity was the cause, but upon thorough questioning they finally admitted that their thought process prior to the period of depression was one of self-pity. Many did not recognize their self-pity until I pointed it out, but they had still indulged in a self-induced “pity-party”.

Dr McMillen points out the many physical illnesses produced by the emotions of jealousy, envy, self-centredness, ambition, frustration, rage, resentment and hatred. He then observes: “These disease-producing emotions are concerned with protecting and coddling the self, and they could be summarised under one title – ‘self-centeredness’.” He further indicates, “Chronic brooding over sorrows and insults indicates faulty adaptation, which can cause any condition from itchy feet to insanity. The most common form of faulty reaction is ‘self-pity’.””

The following chapter then goes on discuss “THE BOTTOM LINE OF YOUR WEAKNESSES: Selfishness”; beginning with: “Selfishness: Destroyer of relationships”. “A study of human history will reveal man’s inhumanity to man caused by selfishness, which is the basic cause of all the heartache and misery from the beginning of time …It is the one sin that has destroyed more interpersonal relationships and sparked more conflict than any other. Selfish persons think first, last and always of themselves. Such an attitude appears most clearly in their conversation and conduct, particularly in the home, the central arena of life.

When two lovebirds say their vows to “love, honor, and cherish each other” … Whether or not they do is not dependent on how much money they make or where they love… It all depends on how selfish they are. For I have found that selfishness is the main destroyer of marriage. In fact, every other contributing factor to matrimonial breakdown, from “communication problems” to “sexual differences” to financial pressures and even the emotional conflicts of anger and fear, can all be traced to selfishness.

Nothing is more destructive to a marriage than selfishness. “I insist on having my own way!” “I can spend our money as I please!” “I” problems create a myopic marriage partner. Selfish people are rigid and intolerant of other people’s desires and insensitive to other’s needs or feelings.

It is almost impossible to love a compulsively selfish person. I have noticed in my associations with three and four-time divorcees that they are very selfish people; one disastrous experience is followed by another, and all are blamed on the other party. They seem incapable of recognizing the selfish culprit.”

Selfishness – impatient, unkind, proud, stingy, suspicious, self-seeking, inconsiderate, demanding, hostile.

Love – Patient, kind, sincere, generous, humble, polite, trusting, gracious, unselfish.

‘Taken from: Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye, 1992 Post, Inc., La Mesa, California.’

 

God answered me… There are no ‘victims’, people are their own creations. People choose their attitudes, choose their perspectives, and choose their methods. Depressives, failed marriages, diseases and the like are mostly created by the people involved. No-one on this planet should be blaming anyone else for anything, instead, in my opinion, they should be looking at their actions and realising that if the motivation is self, then they are going downward very quickly and karma will be boomeranging back with consequences for many years to come. It is every individual on the planet’s personal responsibility to actively practice love and not selfishness, and until everyone actually gets that, this world is going to stay broken and full of dis-eased and unhappy people, which, logically leads to depression – from focus on the self – selfishness – depression, cycle goes on and on; until love, unconditional love, can break it, and the only unconditional that exists in human knowledge; the only REAL constant that exists in human life is God the Father, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit. There is no other way to learn Love, except through them. Take the Godly out of your life, and it will react, it has to, it is fighting for good, and good always wins.

 

3599 views at sunrise today …

DSCF7301My Sunrise this Morning on this occassion :-)

 

Weird to think I simply began blogging and now… :-) … hoping that something of what I have typed and posted has touched one soul at least in those 3599 views… it would mean that some be good has been done.

Be blessed – be chasing those dreams and stay away from the Frankl “Existential Void”, it’s torture to be in that place without purpose! May you ALWAYS know that you have a purpose and engage with it, run with it, live it and know that it is the point
xx

Who is setting life’s standards in the 21st century, what are they? why?

I’m not sure if I’ve blogged about this before or not, in all honesty, I’ve never managed to keep up much over a long period and the fact that I now have over 180 posted blogs over a span of years has quite surprised me! So now I may end up rewriting on topics that I’ve already blogged about, sorry if I do, but I know people who repeat the same story at every gathering they are at (do you have that family member too?), and I’m not doing that, so I forgive myself. This time: Standards.

I’m once again being confronted with the notion of: “Shannan, your standards are too high.” This bothers me, it has always bothered me. “You can’t expect things from people.” For example, twice now within the last few months I’ve given birthday gifts to others for their significant birthday, and I didn’t receive a “thank-you” from either of them. Upon texting the first to explain the origin of the gift, I didn’t even get a reply. The second, I messaged a week later and she replied with an apology and sincere thanks. So expecting a “thank-you” for generosity and giving my time and finances is not on… When did “ingratitude” become an acceptable standard? So my moan is not about the expectation, it’s about the now ‘accepted standard’ of: “you are supposed to give a gift/s”.

Further to this, in my classroom, the learners have said that my standards as a teacher are too high, that being from both learners and some teachers. That I’m too passionate, I work learners too hard, do my job too well, and I shouldn’t be or do as I do because it only creates stress i.e. if I stop being so passionate and working to achieve high standards, then I wouldn’t get tired or be stressed…
So my ‘standard’ of doing my job to the very best of my ability is: ‘too high’. So what’s ok then? Half a job? Half commitment? Low standards and expectations? So I’m not tired? When did society and human beings decide that settling for less is ok? How can that be ok? I had a professional in a different field tell me to change careers the other day because teaching is too much stress and hard work and I should go with something that makes me more money and is “easier”… I told him straight how tired I am of people thinking that lesser-IQ-intelligent, lazy, apathetic and less passionate people should be teachers (which must be their meaning by their reasons for telling me not to be a teacher). If we let the less organised and less-proactive individuals become teachers, in my opinion, then the cycle will ‘re-cycle’ itself; it will replicate itself, and lazy, apathetic, disorganised and uninterested learners will be created, or: frustrated, under-mentally-nourished misfit deviants will make everyone know that they exist and are unchallenged. The microcosm of a school will become the eventual macrocosm of that society of learners. It only makes sense to me to have THE TOP Educators in Schools, to get them in, to pay them, to develop them, to embrace them as the artists who will be carving the morals and standards of the generations moving through schools and into the business world. We have cluster meetings with people from numerous other schools and their principals aren’t at school to approve things, because the principals are at their second jobs where they make more money… Is that the standard? Why do people tell me I’m at fault for my standards when I see it that anything less is going to create far less?

A significant other: “Just go have sex already, your standards are too high, guys will be intimidated”. Seriously? How can a human being think that way? I can’t even comprehend how people can think that my standards of honesty, respect, manners, upholding my dignity, being kind and helpful and generous are “bad”? How? They get upset that I won’t go out and spend hundreds on getting drunk like they do, so I can vomit it up like they do, have car accidents like they do, get arrested for drunk-driving like they do, destroy my liver, kidneys and brain-cells like they do… why? I make enough mistakes in everyday conversation without needing to add alcohol to the mix to make it even worse. I think that when God gave me such bad physical reactions to alcohol in the first place, when I was in university, that He did me a BIG favour. Same as when I tried smoking and it made me vomit the taste was so bad. When did our standard become: Cool for sleeping around and gathering diseases; cool for getting so trash-drunk that you can’t walk or find your way home; cool for sticking poisonous sticks between your lips and making everything around you smell horrendous? When did it become a “bad” thing not to be sleeping around, not to be drunk every weekend, not to be smoking your funds away?

Relationships: I wouldn’t hook up with a guy who had a girlfriend and that made him bleak with me… when did it become ok that the person doing ‘right’ was treated as being ‘difficult’ / ‘wrong’ / ‘too good’? Can there be such a thing as “too good”? Being honest with another person and telling them exactly how I feel and where I’m at… why does that make me a “bad” person who shouldn’t be spoken to anymore? I wish more people were always honest with me, it would be so much more helpful than trying to fix the hell that lies create, especially as that trust can never be built up again. I want to be trustworthy, I want to be loyal, I want to be honest, healthy, real, genuine, open and the best that I can be, so why does society keep trying to make me feel like I should be less than that?

Who do you want teaching your children? Lazy? Apathetic? Couldn’t care less? Disorganised? More interested in their tea break and eating cake on Cake Day? People…

Who do you want to marry? Someone who’s dishonest? Disloyal? Untrustworthy? Angry all the time? Insecure? Continually changing to suit others? People…

Who do you want to have children with? Someone unreliable? Drinker? Smoker? Materialist consumer-addict? Someone purely image conscious? Only out to please other people, no matter what? People…

My every answer to all those questions is “No!!!”… so how can I “drop my standards” and “expect less”, when I desire to live a life that had a gloriously uplifting and helpful impact on the world?

I’m so tired of this “do as I say, not as I do” approach to others; “do as I do”, that’s what it should be. Full Stop.
People – Why can’t they all just hook up with Jesus Christ and His Standards for Life? If His standards were a ‘norm’ instead of the ‘low’ standards I face every day, then I’d be a MUCH happier person!

And God Answers… An Earth Father is …

On the 21st of June, 12 days ago, I posted a post asking what the criteria are for a “Father’s Day father”…
5 days later on the 26th of June the school librarian said I had to take the DVD “Courageous” home to watch…
7 Days exactly after that I was moved to watch it… Tonight.
With a restless Soul, with a saddened heart, in a space of praying for God’s peace and answers, He answered me.
In prayer, in thanks, in awe, in Love for His Awesomeness, I bow before the truest Father we have, the Greatest Provider, the Strongest Protector, the Most Glorious and Gracious being we will ever encounter… Our Heavenly Father God.
Thank-You Lord for speaking to me tonight and bringing peace to my Soul that it is not up to me to be anyone’s father, that I must simply pray that the men of the world will step up to realise the HONOUR, the RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY of their roles as fathers, as their roles as role models and how they are Your example on earth… Thank-You Lord. Amen.

And His Answer:
The Resolution Message:
“I do solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for myself, my wife, and my children. I WILL love them, protect them, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of my home. I WILL be faithful to my wife, to love and honor her, and be willing to lay down my life for her as Jesus Christ did for me. I WILL bless my children and teach them to love God with all of their hearts, all of their minds, and all of their strength. I WILL train them to honor authority and live responsibly. I WILL confront evil, pursue justice, and love mercy. I WILL pray for others and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion. I WILL work diligently to provide for the needs of my family. I WILL forgive those who have wronged me and reconcile with those I have wronged. I WILL learn from my mistakes, repent of my sins, and walk with integrity as a man answerable to God. I WILL seek to honor God, be faithful to His church, obey His Word, and do His will. I WILL courageously work with the strength God provides to fulfill this resolution for the rest of my life and for His glory. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. —Joshua 24:15”

Courtesy of: http://purposelyparenting.blogspot.com/2012/03/courageous-movie-quotes.html
From the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9VT_NBIVfs

Father’s Day…. What are the criteria?

I’m sitting with 100 odd exam papers still to mark, with 300 odd down… and I know that my time is now very limited to get the stuff marked, but I can’t focus. I can’t focus because today is “father’s day”, and I’ve been marking English Essays on topics that have led learners to write about how much they wish they had a father in their lives. How some of their fathers just walked out the door on them. How some fathers: “went to hospital and died”, just like that (with the HIV/Aids epidemic going on around the world, I wonder). How the girls have this idea that if their father was there, then they would have this “awesome”, “incredible”, “brilliant” father-daughter bond and it would be “perfect”… those learners aren’t reading the essays by other girls whose fathers have raped them, or have been beating their mothers black and blue.

I know it’s against the law for me to publically write about what these girls put in their essays, but, even if they have written ‘fictional’ essays, which may very well be the case, then the choice of content is still beyond frightening. It makes my stomach churn to the point of vomiting at what I’m reading, or crying at what has been stolen from the characters who 14 and 15 year olds are writing about. . . and society sweeps it under the rug and tells everyone that we must go out and buy “The Best Dad in the World” cards. We must believe that “father’s” are these wonderful people who have to be respected and admired and even to a point – ‘worshipped’… as I read about these ‘men’ causing such pain, trauma and devastation, like step-dads who won’t let their wives see their children from their first marriages. What about those girls? How is society helping them deal with the fact that they do not have a perfect relationship with their father? How is society helping those who have lost their parents and end up spending the day in pain over what has been lost for numerous reasons? How do I mark when the topic of the day scrapes like course sand paper over the fabric of real life?

I sit here and I want to know: What are the criteria that qualify a man to get a Father’s Day card? To get breakfast in bed and/or a gift? Is it sperm donation? Is it based only on the fact that he was used to create half the child? (Please note I’m also currently in the context of trying to allocate Dramatic Arts half-colours / colours / honours awards according to ‘criteria’, and most learners fall short of receiving any award.)

How does a child deal with the scenario of having a rapist as a dad? A drunk? An addict to gambling or drugs or prostitutes? Or is a man who introduces his child to pornography a ‘great dad’? I was told the other day that a friend’s ex was taken by his father to a brothel, apparently an Italian tradition, and the head of the brothel took the boy’s virginity and taught him how to have sex with a woman because “it is a skill that should be taught”… is that a great dad, providing for his son’s ability to perform in the bedroom? Or how about the time I had to go to a wedding knowing full well that the mother had taken out a second mortgage on her home to pay for her daughter’s wedding in the 21st century as the father only contributed about R5000 for the entire function, yet there he was walking her down the aisle and then acting all proud like he was the most amazing father ever because he did a speech; is that a ‘great’ dad, deserving of a Father’s Day card? Is the father who chose not to pay any maintenance whatsoever a ‘great dad’? Is the father who left his ex-wife to fend for herself and his children on her own, a ‘best dad ever’?

How about the dads who fight with their daughters; forbidding them to take a subject they LOVE, like Art, Drama, Music or Dance, because the father firmly ‘knows’ that Maths, Science and Accounting are the way, the truth and ‘the only way to be a success’ in this world? Is he a great dad? Is that daughter supposed to buy him a card and say that he is “The Best Dad in the World”, even though inside she is dying in a subject she hates down to her core? Inside she has a huge anger that she has to suppress daily? Is that a great dad?

Where is the line? When do sons and daughters get the chance to say – “No, you’re not the ‘best dad in the world”, “No – you are not someone who deserves a text”? When do the children get to be angry? When so they get to ‘let it out’? When do sons and daughters get the chance to say that so much of what their fathers have done have caused them hurt, anxiety and pain? When do the ‘fathers step up and say: I’m sorry, I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused, I’m sorry for not doing everything that I could to earn this ‘Father’s Day Card’? Or is it just accepted throughout society that each generation is going to feel the hell of the generations before as passed down by their parents (yes, one could apply this to some mothers too)? And when the father apologises and repeats his actions over and over again, when is the child allowed, by religious and/or social standards, to walk away without feeling guilt?

For those walking past the card racks who read them and think: “but I don’t have the Best Dad in the World; so what do I do?”. For those who walk around with this chain of guilt around their necks for not being ‘happy’ or ‘at peace’ with the hell their fathers have caused in their lives… what should they do on this: Father’s Day? How do they find peace in a world of fathers telling them that it is ‘their’ fault for being too educated, thinking themselves ‘superior’ to their elders and/or being ‘bigger than their boots’?

I have friends who have had their father’s walk out on them, and never talk about it again, as if it was the child’s fault that the father was too insecure / self-absorbed / unstable / over-laden with his own issues. Those children who the fathers ignore are most likely going to go through a life-time of dealing with ‘failure’ and ‘rejection’ because of the actions of their father in a society that places men in the ‘right’, in the ‘light’ of ‘Dad’.

So I ask again: what are the criteria? Has anyone told these ‘men’/’fathers’ that there are criteria? That they should be uplifting and encouraging their children? That they should be engaging in conversation and discussion and growth in a loving and healthy fashion with their children, even learning from their children, and not walking away because they ‘can’t deal with it’? Has anyone told them that they are required to grow up and be mature if they would like to inspire and help young, impressionable souls?

And the adult children? The ones whose dads believed their only role was to provide money? The ones whose dads spent all their time working and showing them that money and work are the most important things in the world, are those ‘card-worthy’ dads? When the father has finished ‘funding’ ‘the child’, can there be any more purpose to the relationship? Is a child purely a monetary burden?

What about the adult ‘children’ who have been brave enough to face their dads and try and open up adult conversation, but the fathers believe that they are entitled to respect and not to be questioned? That because they are ‘the father’ they should never be questioned by a ‘child’, even if the ‘child’ is now 40 years old? Is that a ‘card-worthy’ dad? If that 40 year-old, now wiser, more mature and more full of grace than their parent, steps back and says “I can’t do this anymore,” when does their guilt at feeling like they have failed end? When are they able to not hurt at what they have lost out on?

I sit here on this “father’s day” with no idea on any of the answers to my questions, but I have a full knowing in the fact that fathers, who, by fair, decent and honest standards, do not deserve the love of their children, will receive it today and hence believe that they are ‘the world’s best dad’. I type this knowing that many people in this world are in a LOT of pain and hurt on this day.

As I fight a hate for society and what it repeats generation after generation without realising the pain and hurt of it all; as I try to mark and sit close to tears over the fake ‘happy’ father’s day that a broken society pushes forward, I pray thanks.

I pray thanks to MY FATHER IN HEAVEN, who knows how to be a perfect Father. I pray thanks to Him that created all and holds all, and that He brings hope, that My Father in Heaven gives hope. Hope that maybe all the fathers out there who are running on pride, self-importance, arrogance and totally messed up priorities, will see that their selfishness causes pain and hurt that is going to echo into eternity if they don’t step up and heal what is broken. I pray to My Father in Heaven, that His Grace will become echoed in the voices and actions of this world that I feel SO separated from. I pray THANKS to My Father in Heaven for creating such brave and awesome children of all ages who have the guts to step out of the negative cycle and move to unconditional love. I thank the LORD for the Grace of those human beings who still, even though their fathers do not deserve it (as we do not deserve God’s Grace either), still act in love and take care of parents whose Spirits are so young and immature next to their children’s, that it can only be in, of and through God the Father that they exist with such integrity and dignity. May God continue to provide for those who have risen above the lost sadness of earth-bound fathers.

Most of all I want to wish My Father in Heaven an INCREDIBLY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY and thank Him for being so open to me and all my faults, for loving me unconditionally and showing me His Grace and Love every single day. As a weak, weak person myself, an oversensitive girl who battles with so many things, it is truly by the love, strength and presence every day of my Dear Father in Heaven that I get through each day. Thank-You LORD, so much Love to You xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

P.S. ….. PLEASE help me get through this hell of this marking Lord, Thank-You xxx

To all those dads out there who are doing a great job in this difficult world – Well Done! Please keep on keeping on – we need your excellent morals and practices now more than ever before. Be blessed.