Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Munchkin's 3rd Birthday

My baby boy is definitely now my little man. Yesterday, we celebrated his THIRD birthday! It's hard to believe that the time has gone so quickly. He's my little man now.

It almost was a tragedy. For days, we've been telling him that we'd take him to the Kingdom of Bounce for his birthday, a big warehouse filled with various bouncehouses. So, on his birthday, I finished up my work at the hospital, rushed home and got everyone in the truck. My wife and I had both checked their website the week before, and read that "Open Bounce" hours on Mondays were until 8pm. We started driving, and out of the blue, Charlie starts singing the "Birthday Bounce House Song." It was about 5 minutes long, and went something like, "It is my birthday, and we are going to the bounce house, and Mama said, 'We can go to the bounce house'..." We arrive. The warehouse is pitch black. A schedule posted on the front says, "Mondays: CLOSED."

If you're a parent, you know how my wife and I felt at this moment. Thankfully, my wife is quick on her feet! She suggests a movie...Charlie has never been to the theater. BLESS HIS HEART, Charlie was amazingly gracious about the whole thing. He was clearly disappointed, but we explained that it was closed, and we'd try to take him another time when it was open, and that we'd do something else fun. He said, "Well, OK." I can't express how proud I was (and am!) of him.

We took him to his favorite restaurant: Home Town Buffet! He had "pizza and mac n cheese and jello and an icee and ice cream." And then we went to the movies! Thankfully, the Disney movie "Tangled" was still playing. We grabbed a bag of popcorn (for tradition's sake, mostly) and walked into the theater. Charlie says, and I quote: "WOW, that's the biggest TV I ever saw!" :D

Providentially, Tangled had been out for long enough that we were the only ones in the entire theater. We had our pick of seats, and Charlie was so entranced that he actually sat still for the first half of the movie! Of course, after that he was up climbing around the seats...we decided to let him go up and down the stairs since the theatre was empty...hope that doesn't come back to bite us in the butt later! The movie was actually 3D--we couldn't get him to wear his glasses until the last half of the movie, but when he did, he was actually reaching out and trying to grab things on the screen! He really had a great time.

We got home and had the Caillou cake that my dear wife had made for him. He loved it! Then he called grandparents and great-grandparents. Then we went to bed!! Love my little man...hard to believe he will be a big brother in a few months!! Where does the time go?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Compassion?

My apologies for being MIA for so long...unfortunately, school must take precedence. I do have today off, though, so I'm going to take a quick break to at least write something here...I've wanted to write about so many things over the last few weeks!

My dear friend Robert wrote a piece on his blog last week entitled "Wicked Compassion" which I encourage all of you to read! He talks about how calloused people seem to be these days, and I have to agree.

First, he talks a bit about the tragedy in Arizona: "When I told her that Congresswoman Giffords was a Democrat, all my friend could do was screw up her face and shrug her shoulders in a way that said the life of a person who is a Democrat is meaningless." That kind of thinking seems to be widespread, and is absolutely abhorrent. On the other end of the spectrum, are the bloodthirsty folks who say things to the effect that no death is too good for the shooter. He clearly is guilty, and should answer for his abominable crimes. At the same time, he IS still a person.

The other thing my friend talks about is compassion towards those less fortunate than ourselves. So many people (myself included) often stop at pretty words about how no one should be starving or cold or thirsty, but go no further. My personal struggle with that is not knowing where to "put my buck"...I don't know how to best give with my limited resources, and so I often don't give at all.

My friend takes it to the next step, by calling out the people who are opposed to any government intervention of the social welfare type, while failing to take it on themselves to provide for the welfare of their society. Take the newly passed Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which will provide $4.5 billion to school lunches while raising the standards of the foods provided. I think it is a wonderful initiative and I hail its passage. At the same time, I've heard some NASTY comments about it. I know someone who links to that article with the comment: "See that chubby little kid over there? Looks innocent, doesn't he. Look again. He's not just a little butterball — he's a "national security threat"! Or so says Recognized Expert (?) Michelle Obama." A comment at the bottom of the article reads "More unnecessary Government Nanny State Spending".

A LOT can be said about the inefficiences and, in fact, heartlessness of the welfare programs. I unfortunately have some firsthand experience that shows how quickly you can be dropped from the program for simply forgetting to fill out a single form. I know people who are looking everywhere they can for work, TRYING to be productive, and are actually punished for that by the welfare system...if they simply stopped looking for work, they'd end up with more money! It can be a cruel, heartless system. I have a Facebook friend who wrote a few weeks ago: "California is like robin hood... only they steal from hard working Americans and give to the poor!" But my response was, "If only Americans would give to the poor of their own initiative...then the inefficient government wouldn't have to do it for them!"

And that's where I think much of the problem is. Many "hard-working" Americans DO try to help out those less fortunate, and indeed ALL Christians are obliged by God to do so (James 1:27- Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.) But, many don't, and in America we have a ridiculous class distinction where there are a handful of INCREDIBLY rich people, who DO give to the poor, but not nearly in proportion to their wealth. Poor people need to eat, and if those with money won't give of their own free will, YES, I believe it should be taken from them by taxes and redistributed. But I'd rather they give of their own free will, for MANY reasons.

Please, everyone...have some compassion towards your fellow man!

Disclaimer: There's a LOT I don't know, about economics, about politics, about everything. Where I'm faulty in logic or just plain ignorant, please, educate me!