As a parent, it’s tough to achieve privacy sometimes.  Kids coming and going, in and out of the bathroom.  Aie.  I was taking a quiet bath this morning, thoroughly enjoying my “Horses Don’t Lie” book.  And in comes Payton.  Guitar in hand, sits on the toilet, and opens with, “this is a song I wrote when I was three.”  How could I ignore?!  So she continues strumming and talking in a soft voice, telling the story of how this song came to be.  And then she sweetly sings…”I wish I wish I wish…I wish my cats and dogs wouldn’t die…I wish I wish I wish…I wish my clothes wouldn’t get holes in them…I wish…” “Mom, you’re supposed to clap when I’m done.”  She finishes, and then the applause.  So sweet.

My kids have both accompanied us to the concerts we’ve had at church.  They’re in the evening hours, resulting in a late bedtime, but they both maintain solid attention throughout the entire thing.  They’re mesmerized!  And I think it’s an awesome thing to expose them to.  So they come, and we all look forward to it.  I forgot to say that Payton told me before she started singing, “pretend I’m May mommy.”  [May Erlewine…AWESOME artist!]  She’s mimicking her.  Fine with me!  Just made me think, humans adapt characteristics and behaviors, of those they maintain close connections with.

Another story…I remember a friend asking for help with her eight year old daughter.  “She’s out of  control!”  In trouble at school, misbehaving at home, difficulty with attention, etc.  I listened, we talked.  Then the next time I checked in with them…a world of difference.  Why?  Her parents thought it probably best she stop hanging around with her teenage cousins without parental supervision…they’re getting into trouble, talking poorly, etc.  They saw a resultant difference in their daughter.  We sometimes adjust pieces of ourselves depending on who we are around.

Part of my decision to stop waiting tables at the restaurant I was at for three years while in graduate school, was that I began looking at people and judging them on how much of a tip they would leave.  I hated that attitude.  But it was all around me.  Time to be done!  I went from there to a secretary position at a nearby church…ahhh… much more peaceful…not as much money, but more peaceful indeed:)

No wonder many of the folks I know from in jail get stuck in cycles of criminal and dysfunctional living.  They are unable, at the time, to run in different circles of people.  But it’s something that MUST happen in order for them to begin changing their lifestyles.  Hard, because the pull for us to be in relationships is so strong, that a bad one is often better than none.  But it’s possible to shift those connections, with some effort, stretching of your rubber band, and with time. Sometimes it requires us learning completely different life skills. It’s crucial.  I think it’s imperative to be a part of a church family for this very reason.  I must surround myself with people that have the same values and beliefs, and lifestyles.  It invigorates me, and keeps me on the right path.

So thanks Payton for the food for thought, and the beautiful concert:)


One Comment on “Community”

  1. Michelle Anderson says:

    I think God has a hand in surrounding us with the people we need in our lives. Good influences or bad, I think everybody we meet has a hand in our development as people and in our journey through life. They are all part of God’s gentle push to guide us to where we are supposed to be. The outcome depends upon our ability, and our willingness, to open our eyes and see, to recognize the signs, so to speak. When I think of all of the people who have cycled in and out of my life, even the ones that have hurt me or have had a bad influence on me, I see that each one of them were influential in guiding me to where I am today, and for that, I am thankful!

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