Confessing … November 7th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2745)

XXVII.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

I was 23 years old, and already the father of two little boys. I had no regular job and was quickly becoming known for mooching lodging and meals off of friends and relatives.

My saving grace was that all the people of the town knew I had some musical talent.

I had proven this recently by winning a contest, and in so doing, being awarded a recording session with 100 free albums.

I was thrilled.

Every time somebody would ask when I was going to get a job, I explained that I was getting ready for the project. I was blessed to have a music group filled with friends who believed in my writing.

We went to do the record and ended up having a studio engineer who had seen us at the talent contest, and was very excited about working with us.

The first couple of songs went really well, but when we came to the third selection, I went into the booth to record my piano first, before we laid down vocals.

In the process of playing the tune, I hit a really bad note. It was isolated off by itself. I was trying to hit a Db, but my finger slipped and I ended up with a C included. Without going into too much detail, it sounded terrible and it was obvious I had made an error.

When I finished the piece, the engineer waited for me to request another go-through.

I didn’t.

I asked him to play it back and when the foul-sounding note came over the speakers, I pretended I had planned it that way. He even gently took me to the side and asked if I was sure I did not want to go back in to correct the note.

I told him I was fine with it.

Matter of fact, that note remained through the whole session, mix-down, and was pressed onto the final record.

I was so defensive over being a jobless dad that I did not want to admit I had made a mistake.

You see, my sin was not in being young, foolish and without money. My sin was being prideful and defensive about my situation.

I look back on that day in horror.

It is difficult for me to believe that anybody could be so stupid–and then I turn on the television set and listen to grown men and women in politics, defending their mistakes as if they had actually planned them.

Sometimes we hit sour notes.

Our only advantage is to point them out before others discover them, or at least change them … before they become part of the permanent record.

confessing piano

 

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Ask Jonathots … July 9th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am the mother of two boys, age 5 and 7. I got divorced four years ago. I am trying to bring my boys up to be Christian young men, but my ex-husband is not a Christian and lets them watch movies I don’t approve of and play all kinds of video games. But the court says he has visitation rights. What should I do?

You cannot approach a childish situation by trying to come up with an adult solution. Somehow or another, you have to transfer a childish situation into a child-like format. Otherwise, your children will start picking sides based upon the perks they get with visitation.

If Dad gives them more freedom to do what they want, then Dad will be the cool parent–until they get in trouble, and then you’ll be stuck with the bail ticket.

There are some key words in your question that bother me. The first one is “ex-husband.” You should probably cleanse your soul right now by ceasing to call this gentleman that you were married to at one time your “ex-husband.”

He was never a good husband or you would still be married to him. So you can call him the man you were married to at one time, the children’s father, or whatever respectful name you can come up with, which will prevent you from feeling that you still have a bond with him personally.

When your children are sure that you have moved on with your life, they will be less likely to play you guys against each other. (And yes, kids are much smarter about that kind of stuff than you would think.)

The second word that bothers me is “Christian.” Because of the perversions, misrepresentations and fanaticism that exists in our religious community, the word itself has become almost meaningless.

What you want to teach your young men is how to be honorable. Fortunately for you, that kind of insight is found in the teachings of Jesus.

So don’t make a stand about movies or video games, but instead, teach your sons how a woman should be treated, how they should respect other people’s rights, and mostly, they need to understand that the blessing of money comes from work.

When they value these three concepts, they will begin to make better decisions–even at this early age.

So don’t be so concerned about what’s going on during their visitation times, but rather, about the values held dear in your home.

Don’t take them to a church that preaches instead of provides. If the church in the United States is going to survive for another generation, it will have to stop preaching its doctrines and begin to provide an atmosphere where human beings can prosper and get along with each other, developing the kind of tolerance that teaches us to cease being judgmental.

Whether you like it or not, your children are part of two households. Yet it is virtually impossible for people who are divorced to come up with a parenting plan on which both agree.

Just make sure that when your sons are home with you they see principles that are not only taught, but are also honored by their mother. And keep in mind, since children think life is a game, maintain the joy and fun in the experience.

So in conclusion, you don’t have an ex-husband, you have a man you used to be married to.

And you’re not trying to raise “American Christians,” you’re bringing up two sons who need to respect their own bodies and the rights of others.

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Three Ways to Enjoy Family… December 25, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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family

Sitting around a delightful Christmas Eve gathering with the members of my family, I was blessed and enlightened.

Family has provided some of the most treasured moments in my journey, and also a good parcel of the frustrations that have come my way.

Let us never forget that the sweet little family in Bethlehem, which birthed the Savior of the World, turned into a fussy, argumentative clan, which was part of the reason that Jesus was run out of his hometown of Nazareth.

Balance.

It is important for us to know how to deal with our families, or we will end up giving either too much emphasis or too little value to these kinsmen.

Let me give you three ways to always enjoy your brood:

1. Avoid too much reliving and instead, work on restocking.

There is a peril in sitting around reminiscing about the past because it makes us tend to live there. For every time you remember a special occasion, you should simultaneously work on creating a new one. Reliving can be beautiful, filled with tenderness, and is especially effective if you’re in the midst of creating new memories.

2. Honor boundaries.

Once I was Dad. Now I have sons and daughters who are performing their own task of parenting.

I need to find my place–pass the torch. Honor the boundaries.

For instance, my children do not believe everything I believe. I can spend time focusing on our differences or I can revel in our similarities.

My son is no longer my son. He is someone else’s dad. As long as I remember that I can continue a relationship with him which is rich, adult and free.

3. And finally, don’t stay too long.

Every family has a length of time which is perfect for peaceful co-existence. If you exceed this barricade, you will begin to try to heal old wounds but instead, open them up, creating pain and bleeding.

Stay long enough that you’re still enjoying yourself, disappointed to leave, but ready to commence your life, to return again.

Have a great Christmas, but do so by enjoying your family.

Restock your memories, honor each other’s beliefs and boundaries and have the wisdom of making a beautiful exit.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 36 (June 12th, 1967) Trimmings… October 18, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2385)

(Transcript)

All of our neighbors had already mowed their lawns twice.

I kept insisting that our grass was not in need of such a precaution or I was able to check the weather forecast and cite that there was rain coming and therefore dangerous to be out in the storm.

For you see, in my house it was my job to be the caretaker of “the green.”

I hated it.

I avoided it.

I even pretended I was sick to escape the arduous chore of pushing our power mower around the yard to guarantee my one dollar a week allowance.

Part of it was teenage rebellion. There is certainly a misunderstanding about the condition. Teenage rebellion is not a choice, like whether to wear a hat to the beach. It’s more like an emotional diarrhea, which attacks you when you least expect it, causing you to run out of the room screaming. And in addition, I was a fat boy, and the idea of walking around, back and forth, to simply receive the payoff which pleases your family for only about eight days, was not enough to motivate me to fire up the old “growler”–to give the yard a haircut.

I even listened to people’s suggestions on how to cut the lawn and make it enjoyable. I was never able to recapture their ecstasy.

But worst of all, my dad expected me to use the hand-trimmers after I finished mowing, and caretake the areas that were not able to be reached by the blades.

I refused.

Matter of fact, I can’t remember doing it more than two or three times–because it demanded two actions that every fat boy dreads.

Bend over or kneel down.

(My body type was more suited for standing, sitting or reclining.)

After a while, my dad was content when I actually did mow the lawn before a machete was needed–so much so that he completely dropped the trimming issue. He got tired of hearing me claim that the blades were too rusty to cut through the overgrowth.

Because my dad did not force me, it was a good ten years before I learned the importance of straining my will to do a little bit more than my whim dictated.

So when I raised sons, I learned that there are three purposes for discipline:

  1. To get your kid to confront his or her weakness.
  2. In the process, to address their fear.
  3. And maybe most important of all, to trap them into doing something they really don’t want to do.

If you consider this discipline to be cruel or unusual, you will probably give your children a pardon which will later haunt them as they continue the crime of laziness.

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