Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Getting to Eagle

The Eagle Scout Project
or "It is ok to let a 14 year old lead."

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

This is why I support the Boy Scouts of America.  This is why I give my time, money, energy, and my husband's time to the Boy Scouts.  This is who and what I want my son to be.

When Thomas achieved the rank of Life Scout and began thinking about his Eagle Project he struggled to know what to do.  He thought he had an idea to build a bridge at a local park but there were some complications that nixed that project.  While driving in the car I asked him to think about who he wanted to serve.  (Proud mom moment here.)  He started listing the most vulnerable members of the population: the homeless, victims of domestic violence, refugees, etc.  
As part of my responsibilities with my church women's group I had recently started a conversation with a local organization that serves refugees.  I gave my son the contact information and then helped him make the initial phone call.  

Here is the hardest part of helping your son earn an Eagle Scout award.  Letting him lead.  I cannot tell you the number of times I had to bite my tongue, or walk away.  My mantra: "It is ok if this activity looks like a 14 year old is leading."  The whole point of the Eagle project is for the boy to practice the leadership skills he has learned in scouts.  That is not to say that my husband and I didn't help.  We helped a lot.  But we worked hard to make sure that Thomas did everything that he needed to do to be able to say in the end, "This was my project and I did it."

Tom's project benefited an organization called Samaritas.  One of the things Samaritas does is sponsor refugees arriving in America.  They provide refugees with apartments, furniture, clothes, medical care, education, English classes, and help finding a job.  They serve these families for 3-6 months and then the family is on their own.  It is truly amazing.

They have a small warehouse space where they store home furnishings that have been donated until they are needed by a refugee family.  It was a mess.  More than anything they needed some shelves.  Thomas set up a GoFundMe account to raise money to buy used industrial shelving.  Then he organized a day of service for his scout troop.  He also invited our church friends and his old Cub Scout Pack to join us.  We spent the morning putting together shelves and clothing racks.  Then we filled them up.  It was a great day.  

It is ok to let the 14 year old lead.  It might even be AMAZING!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

It is OK to be Sad.

It is OK to be sad.

Pixar nailed this one on the head in the movie, Inside Out.
Allowing ourselves, and the people we love, to be sad when we experience loss makes it possible for us to heal.

Sorrow acknowledges that something is wrong 
and allows us to search for solutions.  
It lets the people who love us know that we are hurting 
so that they can help us.
Our sorrow is what makes us kind, compassionate, 
empathetic people.

Whether you are a toddler who has lost a favorite toy, a teenager losing a friend or an older adult who has lost a spouse, the pain you feel is real.  Being sad is how you deal with that pain.  
It is ok to be sad.

Be sad as long as you need to.  Let it heal you.  When you are ready to be done being sad you will feel it and God will give you the grace you need to complete the healing process.
It is ok to be sad.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Happy Mom

This is the Mad Mom!
She is on display at Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids Michigan.  (If you are ever in West Michigan I highly recommend it.)
I like the Mad Mom.  I can appreciate her on so many levels.  From the look on her face to her hands on her hips to the simplicity with which the artist portrays the emotion of being disappointed in a child's behavior.  I admit it, I look just like her far more often than I want to.

My daughter joined the art club after school in 5th grade.  The teacher introduced sculpture.  My daughter came to me trying to decide what she should make.  I recommended "Mad Mom," simple, doable, and I always really wanted a miniature "Mad Mom" to put in my kitchen.  (Just to remind everyone...)

The day finally came when the sculptures were fired and painted and ready to come home.  I was excited to see what she had created.

This is the Happy Mom.

For many years she was on display in my family room.  
I like the Happy Mom.  I can appreciate her on so many levels.  From the goofy grin to the bad hair day to just not having enough hands.  (She loses her head regularly, but never her positive attitude.) I love the simplicity with which the artist portrays the emotion of being happy amid the every day struggles of parenthood.
I proudly displayed the Happy Mom, just to remind myself.