Share the Responsibility

Richard Bach wrote, “You teach best what you most need to learn.”

Oh, I hope this is true. When I sit down to write a blog post or to prepare a Sunday School lesson I often find my direction in something that has been pressing on my own mind.

As Meagan and I tossed around the idea of writing together, what it would it look like, what would it say, etc. , I panicked. Because who am I? Why should I put anything out into the world? What in the world should we focus on? Meagan calmed me down and helped me realize we aren’t reinventing parenting or marriage, and certainly not life in general, but that we are trying to process and articulate our experiences.  We are I am certainly not perfect but we are in this together and want to help others out using our triumphs AND mistakes.

This blog isn’t just about parenting.  It’s not just about marriage.  It’s not our attempt to post about our oh so glamorous lifestyle.  And it is definitely not a blog by experts who have it all figured out. To be honest, it doesn’t really have a definite focus yet. It’s just sharing our heart with those we care about and establishing a community of people who feel supported in whatever stage of life they find themselves.

So here’s what’s on my mind lately. Here’s what I know I need to learn.

Several weeks ago Walt, our youngest, had to have surgery.  It was not super invasive, but we had to hand over our trusting, helpless 8 month old baby and watch as he was carried down the hall, looking back at us curiously. He was put under, and we had to wait as doctors performed a mechanically simple, but rare correction. We have known he needed surgery since Meagan’s 20 week ultrasound over a year ago – but it still doesn’t prepare you.  We didn’t sleep much the weeks before. Meagan cleaned out every closet in the house (notice I said “cleaned out” and not “put everything back”…). We spent a lot of time holding him and just drinking him in.

During his surgery people texted. Friends called. A sweet friend from high school offered to bring us food, coffee, or even a stiff drink if we needed it! The community held us up.  Walt’s surgery went perfectly, and he has bounced back remarkably.  Several families brought us dinner the day of and the days after as we stayed at home to let him recover fully.

Years ago after a rough car wreck and a broken leg, a friend came to mow my lawn so we wouldn’t get fined by the city for tall weeds.  Another friend drove me to and from work EVERY DAY until I was able to drive again. Some brand new friends with whom we shared maybe one meaningful conversation before the wreck, came and cared for us physically and made homemade pizza.

During a tornado warning while living in Oklahoma City our neighbor checked on us to make sure we had a place to ride out the storm (we did and it didn’t get close to our house!).

If we look back through our lives we see time and time again that we are not doing this on our own. And we should not expect people around us to do it on their own. We are a community that has to take care of each other. Whatever stage of life we are in we have to reach out and support one another.

We are constantly directed towards ourselves. We are constantly sold things we NEED. Culture creates an urgency in our lives, an urgency that frenzies us. And honestly, when are we NOT being told about how terrible things are?

I want to drown that noise out.  I desire to see the people around me in life, in work, in school, in my extended family, in my neighborhood, and just strangers in my daily life as people worthy of support and love.

This isn’t easy.  This is why I am writing about it. I am still trying to figure this out, to put words to action. I need to learn to do this better. This is going to cost something – be it time, money, resources, and/or energy. Opportunities are everywhere. But to see. And respond.

My hope for my children is that helping others becomes instinctual. I watched a video where little kids were catching a ball at a MLB game. The poor first boy dropped it, and another eager boy caught it and celebrated joyfully with the people around him. Then he noticed the first boy, very visibly upset about missing out.  The triumphant catcher walked over to where he was sitting and handed him the ball.  He gave up his prize. No reservations – no adult shooed him towards the other child, he just assessed the situation and handled it himself.  It was just a ball. Just a game. But that immediate, unreserved attitude that placed someone else above himself. I long for that attitude in myself and my kids.

Mr RogersFred Rogers was (and continues to be) a master teacher.  Someone who raised multiple generations to think, feel, and help.  I find myself quoting him often – and rightfully so, the man is arguably one of the most inspirational human beings of the last 120 years. As I wrap up this long-winded bit of rambling I want to leave you with one of my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

Let’s lift each other up. Let’s respond.  Let’s share the responsibility.

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