Christian living- dealing with one 'oops' at a time…

Posts tagged ‘help’

O.K. Men- It’s Time To ‘Man Up!’

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I just read an article that has me fuming. Why? Because it is all too common. So common in fact that the writer of the article, a woman, did not see a problem with it. (And this was a secular, typically feminist, magazine!) Here’s the quote: “Given the surprise nature of the date, she didn’t know to arrange a babysitter and, besides, they had Mass and Mother’s Day brunch the next morning.”

What?!?!?! Did this guy not know he had children? Did he miss the fact they were too young to stay home alone? So he arranges a nice date in a fancy hotel and they have to leave without spending the night. Classy. But the article paints him as the king of romance. I think not!

Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. Too often I hear young mothers complain that they can’t go out because their husband cannot handle the responsibility of taking care of their own children. Or there is just too much mess to clean up when she comes home. Or there is too much prep to do before she leaves because her husband does not cook, or microwave, or even know how to order a pizza. Men, this is ridiculous. If you want to bless your wife, or even keep her sane, she needs to be able to take some time to relax and recharge without feeling like she is being punished for it.

Here are some thoughts for when the wife is away:

Take the children somewhere, anywhere. This keeps the mess in the house to a minimum and makes you look like a hero. Some suggestions are movies, museums, duck ponds and anything that has the word ‘play land’ in it.

Plan to go out to eat. This too cuts down on the mess. If you must eat at home frozen pizza is easy and the instructions are right on the package- just don’t forget to set the timer. Some varieties even have a vegetable or two on them (which your children will probable pick off, but at least you tried).

Remember, you cannot take your eyes off of young children! They seem to have a type of radar that knows when the adult is not looking. This is when the messes are made, and the things that necessitate an ER visit are done. Realize that this will not be a night where you kick back and watch TV or play a video game. Children are hard work that is why your wife is not as spunky as she used to be. But… If you give her enough opportunities to rest and relax she will have some more of that pre-kid spark back!

Practice makes perfect. The more time you spend alone with your children, the better it will be. And the advantage to all of this is that your children will see you as a competent human being, and not the person who cannot even figure out how to boil water for the mac and cheese. Trust me, this helps with your relationship with them. Just remember, the worst thing you can do to your wife is to trash the house while she is gone. Make sure the children are mobilized to clean (which may mean down for a nap, or happy in a swing) at least an hour before she gets home. (Take into consideration the time- too long before she gets home and you’ll just have to re-do it.) If you do fail, apologize and help her when she gets home. Don’t act as if you are now off-duty and any mess that was made is now hers to deal with!

I hope this helps. Motherhood is a tough job. If your wife does not take some down time she will not be as good at it. Make sure it happens in a way she can actually appreciate. Thanks guys, I know you’ll do well. (Subtle positive reinforcement here- not my typical sarcastic style- so enjoy- I really, really wanted to call certain people schmucks, but refrained. See how good I’ve gotten!)

Now if you are already doing this- check with your wife and see if she thinks you are doing this. I once took a karate class with what I thought, from their reports, were some of the best dads around. Then I found out they were the same husbands the wives complained about during the kids’ class at night! The biggest complaint: The husband, trying to be a ‘good guy’ would attempt to tackle a large, usually unnecessary, job, like cleaning the laundry room while the wife was away. He would ignore everything else and the laundry room would be spotless. (Not that anyone checks out how clean someone’s laundry room is when they visit. At least not anyone sane.) The problem: While he was cleaning the laundry room, the kids were destroying the rest of the house, so the wife came home to a very clean laundry room, a husband who expected praise, and more housework than she could ever imagine! Are you seeing the problem?

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How To Help The Poor

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It’s an election year and everyone has strong opinions. The problem with most opinions today is that they define the problem using one very limited example. Recently I responded to a tweet that attacked people by stating that if you think the problem with the poor is laziness then you have not met anyone who is poor. This is simply false since there are people whose problem is that they do not wish to work. Some of my favorite ‘lazy’ people include the person my sons worked with who thought the boss would not notice that he was not washing dishes when the boss was not looking. That the ever-growing pile of dishes might give him away never occurred to him. Another woman cleaned hotel rooms. She assumed she just needed to fold the toilet paper into a triangle and no one would know the difference. The management tried and tried to help her be successful. When people were watching she did a wonderful job, but when their backs were turned she folded the toilet tissue and left.

The Old Testament actually describes more than one type of poor person and gives us different instructions regarding how to deal with them.

First there is the ‘roosh.’ This person is poor because they make poor decisions. They will not listen when corrected, are lazy and make other poor people’s lives miserable. We are to feed these people, but because they ruin other people’s lives with their decisions they are also generally avoided.

The next type of poor person is the ‘dal.’ They are weak and cannot help themselves for some reason. Typically, this person’s situation is temporary and if given proper help they will do well. These are the people we are rewarded by God for helping. We are also cursed if we take advantage of them.

Another group of poor are the anav and aniy. They are the poor and needy. In the New Testament these are the people Jesus refers to when he gives instructions on how to treat the poor. These are the people who are poor because of a more permanent condition such as low IQ or severe disability. It can also be because of a more permanent situation like being an elderly widow with no family. They too are to be helped, and we are to be generous to them. They are the ones that the laws regarding gleaning were made for.

There are also a few other types of poor, which occur more briefly in scripture. They are the machcowr, a person who becomes poor because they spend recklessly on their own pleasure. He is best exemplified by the prodigal son. Remember, the son’s father did not send care packages, but did accept his son back fully when he returned in a repentant state.

Then there is the muwk. These are people who have made vows carelessly, or become in debt to the point of not being able to repay what they owe. They do have to work off the debt as a servant, but we are not to take advantage of them.

The ‘ebywon is a beggar. We are to treat him fairly. If we are doing things right there should be no beggars in our land.

The michen is poor through his own foolishness. All we are told about this man is that we are not to listen to his advice.

If we are ever going to truly help the poor we need to realize that there are many different reasons for being poor. Deciding that all of the poor are hard working people who just need a little help is just as destructive as deciding that all of the poor are lazy. It is just not true. Some people just need a little help and they will be fine. Others need education and wisdom. Still others have problems that may never be solved. And of course some are just unwilling to work. All of these situations require different solutions. Until we actually get to know the people we are helping we will not be very effective. The hard working poor will have a difficult time accepting help. The lazy poor will do all they can to gobble up the free stuff. And the people with lower IQs and other disabilities will fall through the cracks unless someone advocates for them. Just throwing money at the problem, or refusing to give any money is not the answer.

Photo by Matija Barrett

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