Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knowledge isn't judgemental

Yesterday over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Sheila sparked a bit of heated debate. Was the topic politics, religion, or sex education? Nope. None of the above. Try "decorating". A baby's room.

You can pop over and read the article yourself -- my post isn't really about the pros and cons of making a child's room into a suite retreat from family living. What surprised me (but shouldn't have) was the defensiveness of some of the comments. Several readers seemed to feel that Sheila was judging their choices and declaring a "bad parent" verdict. When all she really did was draw attention to several studies suggesting detrimental effects of having televisions in a kid's bedroom; in fact, she included hyperlinked references to the studies for readers to easily access the information she discussed.

Taking the results of scientific studies as a personal attack happens almost as often as policy-makers ignoring the results of studies that aren't "PC". And it happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves, but that might be my Vulcan blood showing through. Knowledge is knowledge; even if it has emotional repercussions or rocks your boat, please expend the mental energy to figure out why it bothers you and don't ignore the new information (or shoot the messenger).

I'll give an extreme example, one that I learned from a virologist during an "advances in immunobiology" lecture series. She led a research team trying to isolate the cause of a disease that was making a lot of people with AIDS sick, even killing them. The team eventually realized there was a correlation between the disease and owning a cat. This led to the discovery that the cats were transmitting an opportunistic virus. When this news was published, the researcher received death threats. People (especially those affected by the disease) were so upset by their (mis)perception that the researcher was suggesting they get rid of their cats that they wanted the study retracted. And an apology, of course.

Do you really think the researcher set out to conspire against AIDS patients having cats in their homes?

Sounds silly when you say it out loud like that.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Needed: One Perpetual Energy Machine

I often joke with my husband that a stay-at-home-mom's job in a nutshell is to combat the massive amount of entropy generated by her children. You know, "Super Pickerupper" versus the archvillain "What's That Do?" and her sidekick "Mr. Poopy Pants".

Well, I don't know what's happened this past week, but entropy is getting the better of me. Maybe it's because we haven't been able to go for our pre-naptime walks or perhaps we're still recovering from the sugar high of Sunday night's fall festival. For whatever reason, my toddler is beating me when it comes to naptime (again).

As a result, I've spent far too much time considering this problem: how on earth is someone supposed to find the energy to fight a battle that has no end? I keep hoping that at some point, some of the training I've worked so hard to instill in my daughter will actually stick. After the toddler years, it must get easier...uh-oh. See, there I caught myself in what I know to be a myth. Sure, the battles I'm facing now will (eventually) be distant memories, but every stage of childhood/parenthood has its own, er, challenges. I'm going to be battling on behalf of my children (even when that means against my children) for as long as I'm their mother.

So...how, how, how, WHERE do I find the energy?

How has God been able to withstand His children pushing back against Him for thousands of years? I have a whole new comprehension and appreciation of His patience and faithfulness toward us. I'm also relieved to know that even He gets emotionally fed up on occasion, because it means there's hope that I can be a good parent despite the fact that my pool of patience isn't bottomless:

And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff- necked people! Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them." (Exodus 32:9, partial)

So why doesn't He give up? What keeps Him going in His pursuit of raising us up despite our many shortfalls?

The key is Love. He loves us, so He doesn't give up. Even when He destroyed the world in Noah's day, He wasn't giving up on His children -- He was just giving a new beginning and setting the stage for our rescue on the cross.

So when I'm running out of steam (or feeling steamrolled by the planet), that's what I'll turn to as well. Love is the fuel for this marathon.