Bad stuff happens to good people. I wish it didn't, but it does. It sucks.
Remember Job? Dude was top-notch. He was one of God's favorites and he still lost everything.
When bad stuff happens, it's easy to feel like you have no control in the situation and that you're just along for the ride. It's easy to feel like a victim and by the dictionary definition of the word, you probably are one. It's easy to throw up your hands and think, "Well, this is my life now."
The dictionary definition of "victim" isn't what I'm talking about here. I'm not talking about being so hard-core and in control of your environment that you never let bad stuff never happens to you. I'm not so far gone as to suggest that you should never let bad stuff happen. That's not possible.
What I'm talking about is accepting victimhood. The state of being a victim. I'm talking about the mindset of "Oh, this bad thing happened to me so now I'm defined by this unfortunate circumstance."
The problem with accepting the identity of victimhood is that you're surrendering control of your life to your circumstance. You're abdicating sovereignty as an independent and free-thinking person. The events of your life are no longer your responsibility. It's not your fault because some bad thing once happened to you.
Yeah, fuck that. That's not the sort of person I want to be.
So what are your other options? What can you do when bad stuff outside your sphere of control happens to you? What can you possible control in a situation that is out of control? How can you reject victimhood?
It's simple; you reject victimhood.
You refuse to let your life be determined by your circumstances. Sure you might have to deal with some enduring condition now, but you get to choose if you let your life be defined by that condition. The bad stuff is a part of your story, not the entirety of your story.
You get to write your own story. If you accept victimhood, you let your circumstance write the story for you. Backhand that punk and kick him in the nuts. Tell him he doesn't get to choose anymore. You do.
To pass this week's challenge, you have to play with your kid.
Video games count, but only barely. Get involved with your kid and do something fun - for them. Don't drag your kid somewhere that you like. Do something that they enjoy with them.
Maybe just playing Legos or pretending to be Jedi with pool noodles. It doesn't have to be anything tremendously complex or expensive. In fact, I've found that the more simple a thing is, the more meaningful it becomes when you share it with your kid.
Last week, I wrote about a conflict between my boys that I had to resolve. In that article, I focused mainly on my thoughts related to the value that I put on character and how that influenced my decision, but there was another component to that instance that I think is worth sharing.
In the original discussion, M pointed out that he thought that S was getting away with lying. Besides S's word, I had nothing on which to base my decision. It's entirely possible that he was lying and that he did get away with one. I acknowledged this in front of both and made sure I had S's attention when I told him that while he *might* be able to pull one over on me, he'll always know the truth and the only way to escape that is to be honest and tell the truth.
While I don't find myself in these sorts of situations where I have to address issues of honesty and integrity often with my boys, the times when it does happen leave an imprint on my memory. I've found that trying to communicate the importance of honesty and truth telling is an extremely difficult thing to do with young boys. I find that in these situations, the most effective way to get through to them is to tell a story about the future and the sort of relationship that I want to have with them.
Before I continue, I should point out that I totally stole this approach from the Bible. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus says that the all the commandments hinge on loving God and your neighbor. He compels people to act based on their loving relationship with their creator and their fellow created beings. While it may seem like Jesus was opening a giant loophole in saying this, I take it to mean the exact opposite.
When we behave according to laws, we look for loopholes that to excuse our behavior. "Who is my neighbor?" But when we behave according to love, the loopholes of law are filled by our morals and our values that stem from the relationship. Behaving according to love doesn't rescind the law, it compels us to stop looking for loopholes and think of behaving in a way that God would approve.
I'm getting off-topic. When I'm struggling to get my kids to understand the logic and reason behind these esoteric and values-based ideas, I tell them what I want our relationship to be like and how their decision to either tell the truth or tell a lie will affect that vision.
Below is an example of what that conversation was like:
To pass this week's challenge, you have to buy flowers for your lady.
Maybe flowers aren't her thing and that's fine, just pick something else. The point is to buy a small gift for your wife that serves no other purpose than to let her know you care about her.
It doesn't count for the purpose of this challenge if you've just had a fight or if you're apologizing for something. The point of this challenge is to do something spontaneous to show her that you love her.