Directions for Pacifists

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Pacifists should not sit still in solemn protest.
They should instead be marching, walking always towards freedom. The journey is long and staying in place will not get us there.

Pacifists should not be afraid to raise arms.
They should raise their arms high, and in doing so, hold those who are hurting. They should wrap their arms tightly around those in need of protection, and those who are alone.

Pacifists should not be silent.
Instead, they must lift their voices, for when words are your only weapon, you must use them loudly and frequently until you are heard. If the voices are still and soft they must join together, because a chorus is the only way to be heard above the din.

Pacifists should not boycott those who disagree with them.
Rather, they should sit at the table beside one another and join in conversations. It is too rare that minds change on their own, and even more unlikely that they change whilst being yelled at from afar.

Pacifists should not chain themselves to trees, gates, or barricades.
It is better to chain ourselves to each other, and to realize that our liberations and our lives are bound together.

Pacifists should not go on hunger strikes.
The hunger for justice has already burned through their bodies, unquenched by anything but liberty.

Pacifists should not run away from conflict.
Instead, they should run toward it, and quickly. It is easy to remain on the sideline of fights that do not involve ourselves, but in doing so, we often find ourselves standing on the side of the oppressor. Work dilligently, instead, for another’s right to life, water, religion, and love.

Pacifists should not be still.
Action after action is the only thing that can topple the tyrant of complacency.

Too often it is easy to confuse pacifism with isolationism, or to pretend that being unaffected by violence is the same thing as being at peace. We cannot remain still, silent, and passive in the fact of injustice, but rather lift our voices in a cry for solidarity, march towards a better future, and one by one move the mountains that lay before us. Our support must not be in spirit, but in body, and our beliefs manifested as actions.

We – the pacifists – must act.

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Article Dump

In case you want some extra reading between Cyber Monday shopping, check out some of the articles I have published this fall!

My grandparent’s story on The Mighty: Alzheimer’s and the Long Goodbye

A debate on who works harder, stay at home moms or work out of the home moms on Parent.Co: Debate Club: A Different Take on the SAHM vs. WOHM “Battle”

Also on Parent.Co: Why I Cringe When People Tell Me I’m “lucky” to be a Stay at Home Mom.

Dispelling Equal Pay Myths on Parent.Co: After November 6th, Women are Essentially Working for Free.

An article on why teenagers can’t just fall asleep earlier on Parent.Co: AAP Study Says Teen Fatigue Is a Public Health Issue – Could Later School Start Times Help?

The reason I didn’t want my son to buy a purple coat on Mamalode: He Really Wants the Purple Coat.

My story of being discriminated against for being pregnant on Parent.Co: Know Your Rights: Pregnancy Discrimination Is Illegal

Why I wish my husband could have taken a longer paternity leave on Parent.Co: Paternity Leave is Essential to Building Healthy Families

And finally, the age old question on Parent.Co: How Much is a Stay-at-Home Mom Really “worth”?

Thanks for checking them out!

 

 

Turning tables


A small child walked up to his teacher’s desk to receive his school book for the year. He was given one that rewrote history, glossing over our past wrongs of slavery and racism, telling him the seas would not rise, that we were all equal and he need not question otherwise. 

A man with holes in his shoes walked up to the counter of a soup kitchen. The ladle was raised, poised to fill his bowl, but its contents were empty. Times are tough, the volunteer explained. He nodded in reply. 

A woman walked up to the reception desk at the hospital, her round belly a soft buffer between her and the forms she needed to fill out. How do you plan on paying, the receptionist asked and she slowly hung her head. 

Two men walked up to the clerk’s desk, hand in hand, wearing suits and smiles. No, I can’t do that, she replied. 

A young woman walked into a police station, to speak to an officer at the front desk. She told him what had happened through her tears. I didn’t want to, she said. He made me. Are you sure, the officer asked. Can you tell me what you were wearing?

An older couple walked to the teller’s desk and asked to make a small withdrawal. There’s nothing there, the teller replied apologetically. I’m so sorry. 

A family, shivering in a cold camp across the world, walked up to the make shift office – a card desk in a weather worn tent. You were denied, the aid worker said, choking on her own words. 

The small child, the homeless man, the woman round with hope, the couple in love, the woman in need, the family far from home, the man and woman who only wanted to buy groceries for dinner tonight turned and walked away. 

Today, we hold on to each other. Today, we watch the system swirl behind the desks and feel powerless to overcome it. Today, we mourn with those who mourn. 

Tomorrow, we start throwing over tables. 

John 2:13-22

My children have (finally) taught me gratitude 


My children were the ones who finally taught me gratitude. 

There is a way this is essay is supposed to go. I’m supposed to say that the moment I held them in my arms, I was overcome with the miracle of life and realized all of the blessings that have made their way into my home. I should say that whenever I see their darling, preciously precocious smiles I am filled with nothing but love and thanksgiving for the joy of motherhood. I was supposed to realize what happy and healthy children they are and subsequently realized how lucky I am. 

That’s what should have happened. But that’s not exactly what did. 

Gratitude has never been a virtue that comes especially easy to me. I don’t think it is because I am inherently un-grateful, but rather I have a tendency towards pessimistic realism. When I am told I should be thankful for my health, I remember I do struggle with a chronic illness. When I think about how we are fortunate for our financial well-being, I find myself annoyed at the size of the monthly checks we write to pay off our student debt. For every blessing, I always seem to find an equal and opposite burden. It isn’t all bad, I think, to own and recognize our troubles. But often I have felt my tendency to balance fortunes with struggles has kept me from focusing more fully on the good in my world. 

But not anymore. My kids have fixed that. 

How, you wonder? If not by simply being shiny lights of joy in my life? (They certainly are, that’s just not what did it.)

No. It was the whining. 

The incessant, unrelenting whining. The high pitched, guttural noise that toddlers have so perfected that it may as well be the anthem of their age group. “I want juice, not milk! I want to go to the park! Not that park! The other park! I don’t want to go to bed. My brother is touching me!”

Don’t get me wrong. They aren’t inherently bratty or probably any worse that any other person. They are just at peak whining stage. Babies have even more frequent complaints, they are just non-verbal and because they’ve got nothing but screams, we tend to take them seriously. I’m assuming as they become teenagers there will still be lots of whining, but at least it will be silent eye rolling and not about the color of the cup I just handed them. And really, adults whine just as much. It’s just about the weather or the election so we feel it’s justified. 

The toddler whining though seems to be tuned to a pitch that dogs can hear and that makes mothers wish they had the ability to teleport themselves to beaches far, far away. I hand my kids a cracker, a slice of apple, the crayon they asked for, and they instantly dissolve into a puddle of tears that I have to mop up and resist the urge to wring into a bucket and leave it there until their dad comes home. 

And then I feel it bubbling up. The words handed down from annoyed parent to dismissive child, 

There are children who would give anything to eat this dinner!”

They stare at me like I’m crazy, because obviously I am. “Some kid really wants to eat this Pinterest fail casserole? Okay, sure mom. It ain’t me though.”

And while my admonishment falls on ears that can’t hear me over their own whining, I hear myself. Yes, this dinner that I ruined and honestly doesn’t taste that great is something to be grateful for. At least I can put food, or something resembling that, on their plates. 

Or having to wear something I don’t like. This very situation has rendered many a toddler apoplectic, and in doing so causes many a parent to clench their teeth and utter, “This is a perfectly fine shirt you are lucky to own!” Which I then have to say to myself when I look into my own closet and think, “Ugh! I have nothing to wear!”

They don’t want to walk to the park, and I am reminded we live in a safe neighborhood. They want Papa to read them bedtime stories instead of me, making sure to point out “We like him better!” and I am happy they have close relationships with their family. They want to watch cartoons again and I am amazed by the technology available to us today. They scream about getting flu shots, and I am thrilled to live in a place where vaccines are readily available. They want to go outside to play and I am thankful for their adventurous spirits, even if I can’t indulge them right at that moment. 

The whining, which I am sure they will grow out of eventually, has grated on my nerves until I am more frazzled than Ms. Frizzle by the end of the day. But it also serves as reminder to me to be grateful. My kids don’t see all of the blessings they have yet – it takes a little time and perspective for that to develop. All of those mild inconveniences we complain so frequently about tend to be blessings well disguised. 

They might not have learned hoe to be grateful yet, but they are still pretty good teachers.