Chronicling 40: Day 170 of 365

seasonendersale

Due to recent conversations in our home, I’m going to take a quick deviation from my word of the year plans … to address this topic.

In this conversation, I want to define social media as beyond just twitter or instagram, but any sort of media that reaches people socially (movies, magazines, newspapers, and even conversations).

Recently a well known youtuber posted a video that was inappropriate.  He was lambasted for it.  Posted his apology and that he is taking a break to evaluate things.  And this is trending on social media, parents are talking about it their kids who were/are fans, and companies are weighing how connected they want to be with this internet celebrity.

This isn’t a new story.  We’ve see variations of it.  Go back to when Miley Cyrus began to leave her Hannah Montana image behind.  When Britney Spears went off the rails for a time.  When Jeanette McCurdy (iCarley) had some instagram pics that were a bit to racey for the Nickelodeon audience.  Go back even further and you can find kid star turned adult drama, it just wasn’t as publicized and we lacked all the gory details because we didn’t have social media capturing every moment of it.

What the parents seem to wrestle with is how did these young kids who were sweet and innocent go so very wrong once they turned 18?

  1.  We have to remember that when they were kids, they had immediate consequences.  Their parents still had a semblance of control in their lives.  They could still control where they went, who they went with, what they did, etc.  Good parents were able and willing to pull the plug on their fame.  Companies with certain images to protect put very high expectations on how these kids would behave while under their wings.  They were kids treated like kids.
  2. We have to remember that companies will protect their own image, even if that means they have to cover up or settle controversies quietly.  I remember watching an interview with one of the Jonas brothers who shared that when they were under Disney contracts, it wasn’t uncommon for girls to sneak into their rooms, without disclosing their own behavior upon finding said girls, the protocol was for the body guards to get the girls out of the room unseen.  Disney had an image to protect.

So, what may have seen “all of the sudden” to us on the outside, may have long been a behavioral issue that was being kept at bay by the powers in control.  Which brings me to my next points, which are related to the fact that kids grow up.

3.  Often, in the world of television and film especially, when kids are cast for programs they are much older than the age of the character they are playing.  There are a lot of legitimate reasons for this, including labor laws and putting minors into adult situations.  It is much easier when the actor/actress is an adult who looks young for her age.  My generation will recall 90210 and I don’t think anyone of us bought for a second these actors and actresses were really 14-18 years old.  Which means actors face a weird situation where we the audience view them as 14 and 15 year olds, when in reality they are grown adults having real life relationships and struggles.

4.  When kids grow up, they slowly move out from under the control of their parents.  When a child turns 18 and can sign her own contracts… what threat does the parent have over their career to keep them in line?  Especially in a case where the child is making hundreds of thousands if not millions more than his/her parents?  Additionally, they tend to have less of a desire to play a “child” when they are an adult and may be willfully behaving badly to get out of their contracts and more freedom to do what they like.  Maybe.

5.  Kids aging into adulthood will often challenge authority for independence, even the good kids but especially the bad ones.  The former may feel like they have been caged from experience life at all, particularly if their character was the squeaky clean perfect image.  The latter may feel that they have been kept from living their authentic selves because no one would hire them if they knew they liked to do drugs, drink, have casual sex, etc.  Adulthood opens up an opportunity to experience what ever life they feel they have been denied.  Which also includes the kids who didn’t have a normal childhood because of being on set, under guard, at all times.

When it comes to our self made youtube and internet stars, we also have to remember a few extra points…

  • They are the content creators, producers, and performers.  Which means that other than terms of service violations with their platform… there is no one who is in authority over what they create.
  • This lack of authority gives them free reign to transition from more child-friendly content to maturing content as they themselves mature.  They see it as a natural progression and forget that they still have young children in their fan base.
  • They are usually surrounded by “yes men” who are so attracted to their fame, charisma, money, and influence … they are not going to try to talk these people out of doing something stupid, dangerous, or disrespectful.
  • Their online access to their fans, I believe, creates more loyalty than many other celebrities get.  Therefore it takes a LOT to make a dent in these guys/gals careers when called on the carpet for bad behavior.  They don’t have much to lose.

In the most recent example, youtube has cut a lot of ties and projects with the guy in the middle of the controversy.  Another article stated he was making roughly $12M a year, and the money made from youtube only accounted for about $3M of that.  Which means even if youtube (where is bad decision to post a distasteful and disrespectful video ocurred) were to drop him completely and ban his account…

He’d still be making about $9M a year.

I’m thinking that isn’t going to real hurt his way of living.

The only thing that will, is if the fans are willing to walk away.

And that is what brings me to my final points:

Parents:

  • Know who your kids are watching/following on social media.  Even your teens and young adults.
  • Have on going conversations about what kind of behavior is and isn’t acceptable by these people in general.
  • When controversy hits, talk about it directly and openly.  But remember, your kids may be fans and immediately defensive (especially if they think you are going to stop them from watching/following their favorite internet star).  Ask questions, guide conversation, help them come to their own convictions and decisions if possible.  BUT, also don’t be afraid to put the hammer down and cut ties.
  • There are programs that you can use to block certain sites and web addresses, to filter content, etc.

 

 

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Chronicling 40: Day 169 of 365

Word of the Year.png

Perhaps you’ve been doing this for ever and a day, or maybe you are just jumping on the train by picking your Word of the Year.

What is it?  Why are we doing it?

I liken picking the Word of the Year as a mixture of choosing a piece of scripture as a life verse, creating a mission statement, and making a New Year’s Resolution all wrapped into one word.  (Although, I have found a few people have chosen not to limit themselves to a single word, and have seen up to three).

In the case of picking scripture as a life verse, this allows some change by recognizing that year to year the verse the Lord may be showing me may change… as He changes me, moves me, redirects me, grows me, etc.  So, in this case, I may pick a life verse for this year and then sum it up in a single word that is easy to remember and encompasses all that the verse means.

There are some who will use the life verse to create a mission statement for themselves, or their family… or maybe you are not a “believer” and so the mission statement is in lieu of the life verse.  It’s the same idea, but instead of being scripture it is may be more of a philosophical mantra; it is the rule one is choosing to live their life by over the next year.  Life verses and mission statements become almost like a litmus that we test everything against… does this help me with my goals, my desires, my dreams?  If yes, move forward and do it.  If not, let it go and move beyond it.

Resolutions as we all know are positive goals we want to achieve or bad habits we want to break in the new year.  They can be practical like learning a new skill, long term goals like to stop smoking.  But they are generally far more specific than a life verse or mission statement which tend to be about life in general versus a very specific thing we want to do or stop doing.

A lot of people attempt one or more of these per year, and struggle with keeping it all in check.  I think this is how the “Word of the Year” evolved.  It was a way to take all of that and wrap it up into something simpler, easier to remember, and to pursue.  It puts all three of these things into alignment with one another.

It’s also begun to be more popular to share your words with one another, out of a spirit of unity, accountability, and even celebration when the words encompass victory over a past struggle.  I’ve been observing as friends announce their words, and it intrigued me that for some the word came to them so easily and others it was a struggle to find a word they could define their intentions for the year with. Some were waiting for God to reveal it to them through prayer, and others just couldn’t commit and faced uncertainty.

I’ve seen some pretty amazing words show up, inspiring words.  I think over the next few days I’m going to write about those words and what I’ve learned over the last 40 years about what those words mean to me.

 

Chronicling 40: Day 165-168

It takes more than a busy church, a friendly church, or even an evangelical church to impact a community for Christ. It must be a church ablaze, led by leaders who are ablaze for God

I’ve spent the last few days thinking about community, and what it means to be in fellowship with other believers.  I’m also beginning to recognize the need to seek out those who are in a similar space as I am.   Yes, in some ways I am referring to married with kids… because we have common unity there.  I also mean women who are in leadership roles, because yes… we have common unity there.  However, I’ve been narrowing the field a bit more and realized it is even more specific than that.  I desire fellowship with other leaders who are investing in leaders.

Do you know what it is like to be gifted with leadership skills and no one willing to pour into you?  To sit in church, serve on committees, lead ministries and do so purely winging it?  To desperately search the internet for articles, books, and resources from someone who has been in your position that is willing to share that wisdom with you?  Or to long for someone else who you can talk to about your struggles in your particular ministry … who has been there, or is there currently… and can offer up a sympathetic ear?

It is this very reason the Women’s Ministry Council was started.  It is the very reason we decided to create a model that could expand into other areas.  It was this very reason why, four years later, we are planning the LeadHer Conference to connect even more women who have common unity in the role of leadership.

It is also why I have been fine tuning my thoughts on my own sacred circles of friendship, on a personal level.

Chronicling 40: Day 160-164 of 365

LetThem

My family just returned from a trip to Disney.  Let me set the final scene.

It was freezing cold.  The temps were about 43*.  While my Northern friends may scoff at 43* weather being labeled as “freezing”, you have to understand that when FL gets cold… it’s a different type of cold.  This is due to our humidity level.  We are not a “dry cold” but a “wet cold”.  It was 43* with humidity in the 80% level.

It was dark, we were waiting for the tram to take us back to our car, among many others waiting in the cold.  A man was there, with his wife, his mother in law, and their four children… I’m guessing ages 5 and below.  He was sitting on the concrete wall, drinking hot chocolate.  The 5 year old was pretending to sneeze on him, spraying his arm and face with spit.  The 2 year old kept running and bumping into him, also trying to be funny.  At one point, the two year old knocked into his arm, spilling the Dad’s hot chocolate all over his hand.

I don’t think I have ever witnessed a scenario like this go down and the person remain so calm.  He didn’t say a word.  He wiped down his hand on his pants, tossing the cup into a nearby trash can.  The 5 year old walked behind him as he headed toward his wife.  He handed her the 2 year old, and pointed the 5 year old to stand with her.  He simply said:

“I need a break for a few minutes.”

That was it.  He knew the kids were just being kids, after a long… cold… day.  They were not being bad kids, just kids.  So, there was no scolding.  There wasn’t even a word spoken as hot cocoa covered his bare hand.  He was calm, but recognized he needed a moment to himself.

In this moment, is there any one of us who couldn’t understand what this guy was feeling?

As he walked away from his family, the wife trailed after him asking what was wrong and where he was going.

He calmly repeated his intentions:

“I just need a break for a minutes.”

She couldn’t let it go.  Kept after him, pressing for an answer.

She couldn’t just let him be.  She couldn’t just let him walk.

If there is anything that I have learned in 20 years of marriage, is that sometimes we just need to let the other person be.  We need to let them walk or blow off steam.  We can get our answers afterwards.

I remember one night, I was really upset.  My husband asked what was wrong, I asked to be left alone… and he pressed.  I responded:  “I am upset right now, but I really don’t know if I am overreacting or have the right to be upset.  So just let me be.”

And, he did.

And, in the end, I was overreacting.

There was a speaker I listened to who suggested that when we encounter confrontation with our spouse, that we go at with the mindset of “this is a good willed person”.  If I approach any confrontation with my spouse believing he is a good willed person, not out to harm me… or hurt me… then I know he is for me and not against me.  Knowing this, if he passes the kids over to me & asks for a break… I know that he is doing this from his goodness.  He recognized he was being pushed to his limits, and needs a moment to take a break and regroup.

The same is offered to me.  If he comes home from work, and I let him know that I need to run to the store because I just need a break… he doesn’t question it.  He may ask a few questions about the status of things (like dinner, homework, etc), but otherwise he sends me on my way.

Marriage.  Parenting.  These are not always easy, pinterest worthy, book authoring, seasons.  They are often hard work, emotionally grueling at times, and some times just exhausting.  Extend some grace to your spouse, and when s/he needs a moment to just be, to walk, to find peace…

Let them be.

Let them walk.

Chronicling 40: Day 158 & 159

getaway

It is the last day of 2017, and I am excited for 2018 holds.  I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, in some new areas, and that is a little scary.  But, I’ve chose the word “Fearless” for 2018.

So much of the scriptures tell us not to be afraid, and I don’t think many people who know me would consider me a person who is… afraid.   Truth be told, I’m not… generally speaking.

I’m not afraid of a challenge.

I’m not afraid to try something new.

I’m not afraid to speak to a stranger or a group of people.

I’m not afraid of change.

I’m terrified of being vulnerable.

I remember once, in college, having a class assignment where we had to bring something personal in to class.  This item needed to be something that we felt represented us as a person.  I chose a painting that I made in high school.  I liked it because it was unique, it represented how I viewed the world, and depending on how you turned the painting you could see something new.  I tried to explain that it represented me because I’m far more complex than people often realize, many facets to my personality and interests.   The more you get to know me, the more you can see those other sides.

I couldn’t get a word out about myself without crying.  I don’t really cry often, but it’s almost guaranteed to happen if I begin speaking about myself.

In 2018, I will begin showing my artwork publicly.  This is a big deal, and incredibly vulnerable.

To do this, I’m going to have to cling to being fearless.  Fearless is not the absence of fear, but stepping out courageously in spite of fear.  Fearing less because I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  I don’t believe the Lord gifted me an artistic talent and eye to hide it in closets and shelves of my home.  Instead, it is a gift that can be used to honor Him.

Chronicling 40: Day 157 of 365

skeptic

This spring we said goodbye to our elderly dog.  She had been with us for seventeen years and it was incredibly hard.  We learned very quickly that our younger dog had never been taught to alert us to go outside to use the restroom.  Because he was brought into our home with an existing, experienced dog… and one that was aging and using the restroom more often…

He had become dependent on our routine for going outside. 

He never learned to alert us because he never needed to.  She would bark, or we would let her out on our normal schedules… and he would follow. The first day after she passed, he went to the bathroom in the house.  It was nearly 8pm.  The poor thing hadn’t been out since early that morning.  It wasn’t that we forgot about him.  We interacted with him throughout the day.  He never alerted to needing to go, and we too had become dependent on her routine.

Once we realized that he had never learned, we realized we needed a new routine.  It’s about five months and he has just finally begun to let us know that he needs to use the restroom.  If I am sitting near the door, he will walk over and paw at the door.  He still doesn’t alert, but this is a huge deal.  I’m thankful my desk space is near the back door.

This experience with our dog has made realize how easy it is to just go with the flow of things, to get into habits (good or bad), and how long it can take to change those habits.  We have extended this little dog so much grace, as he is learning.  I wonder if I extend that same amount of grace to others who are faced with new circumstances…

… learning a new trade, skill, talent…

… breaking an old habit …

I also wonder if I am extending the same grace to myself, as I am trying to learn and grow.

Chronicling 40: 154-156 of 365

magicband

It is so easy to accumulate things, but it seems like it is getting harder and harder to accumulate memories.  As our kids have gotten older, admission prices go up… more hotel space is needed… they eat more.  In general, everything is more expensive.  Because of this, and our dedication to ridding of debt (Thanks to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program)… it’s been a while since we have gone on a real family vacation.

Our kids are getting older though, and at this age… well, you begin to feel like time is running out.  Before you know it there will be marriages and then they will have their own families.  You feel this need to spend as much time together as a family as possible.

Then, when 40 comes knocking on top of all of this… for your own self you begin to question how much stuff you really need.   Would you rather have more things or more experiences in life?

And so this Christmas there were far fewer presents under the tree, because we opted for “Presence Over Presents”.

We are fortunate enough to live close to Orlando, to allow for regular visits… and we qualify for the Florida Residents Discount.  Until just this year we didn’t even know there were special passes for Florida Residents which afford us an opportunity that otherwise would have been out of our budget.   We are looking forward to spending time together versus managing things.  We are excited to make memories versus passing the days.  We are going to take advantage of whatever time we can to be together when work and school keeps us apart the majority of the week.

Things break.  Stuff needs to be repaired.  Technology becomes obsolete.

Memories last forever.