Sunday, January 9, 2011

Enjoying family around the table, and living with love

Yesterday morning, before tragedy hit our ears, my oldest daughter (age 7) wanted to make me a special surprise breakfast. She even made a placemat in honor of the occasion, as pictured above. Isn't it precious? She's really into drawing spiral beauties right now.

The banana chocolate chip pancakes were delicious.

But even more delicious was savoring the time with my family at the breakfast table, praising our oldest for the yummy breakfast she made and watching her eyes light up with pleasure. I'll admit I was a little stressed at first, getting things organized in the kitchen for her to "take over." Mornings like that usually mean a little more cleaning after the fact. But as the four of us sat there enjoying those pancakes, I was thankful. Thankful for my husband and the two amazing girls God has blessed us with.

We nearly always eat our supper together as a family, but breakfast and lunch are not usually that way, with work and school and life, and even when we eat supper my mind is often wandering on to the next task at hand.

A little while later, we learned of the tragedy in Arizona. My heart and prayers go out to those individuals who are in recovery, to the families and friends of those who didn't make it -- and to the family of the individual who allegedly committed this act. (The reporter in me must use the proper terminology, so please don't harass me for using "allegedly.")

There is so much to be sad about in this world, and this is yet another example. It's easy to point fingers when something like this happens. We want answers to the many forms of "Why," and we want to fix it to hopefully prevent it from happening again. Sometimes we get the answers we seek and sometimes the blame is correctly placed. Sometimes we never know all the answers, and sometimes blame is placed in the wrong corner. But almost always, hate is perpetuated in this kind of talk and speculation. And that, really, is where this all starts. That is where the blame should be placed.

It's okay to disagree on things. Disagreement helps brings about change -- some good, some bad. But we must love one another, even if we disagree with each other. No one human is better than another. Race, religion, political party, social status, physical challenges, mental challenges, financially blessed or living in poverty -- each person is an equal. God doesn't look at those things. He created each person with love. God looks at the heart. He looks to see if we are treating our fellow humans with compassion. Are we seeing them as He sees them? Are we helping them the way we are called to help them? If we disagree with them, do we harbor dislike that festers when the debate is over, or are we praying for them?

What examples are we giving our children in this matter? At some point children form their own views, and they may differ from ours when they grow older. But there are seeds planted along the way. By parents. Grandparents. Teachers. Coaches. Youth leaders. Politicians. If you are a parent, are you setting examples that dictate love to others? Even if you do, do you see teachers or other family members who aren't? Do you sit back and allow it to happen or do you say something?

Let's strive to teach the younger generations to have compassion and not be so self-absorbed. Let it start around the table with your next meal, and savor that time together. It's easy to get distracted and busy, racing through that time together, but time can get cut short. Savor it. Count and be thankful for your blessings, and then share them with others.

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